Foreign Affairs Committee calls for CHOGM boycott from Britain

A British Foreign Affairs Committee report has criticised the Commonwealth’s decision to hold the next Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka, and called on the British Prime Minister to boycott the meeting unless there were advances in human and political rights. The report, entitled “The role and future of the Commonwealth”, is due to be released on Thursday the 15th of November, but embargoed copies were made available earlier on Tuesday. The report states that the British Prime Minister David Cameron should refuse to attend the meeting, due to be held in Colombo, unless, he receives “...

Sri Lanka looks to Singapore for fuel supplies

The Sri Lankan government may consider purchasing fuel from Singapore in order to ensure that the country does not suffer any shortages, after sanctions on the island’s main crude oil supplier, Iran. Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premajayantha announced the government was considering the option, as well as increasing fuel purchases from Saudi Arabia and Oman. The Minister also announced that “technical adjustments” may have to be made to the country’s sole oil refinery, which can only process Iranian crude oil. The refinery has now had to shut down due to a lack of Iranian crude...

Eyes On The Ground

A call by ITN Productions for graduate film students to create an original short film based on the production company's original documentary - Sri Lanka's Killing Fields, has produced a striking result. See the video below : Cristina Picchi, a 30 year old filmmaker in London, has created a moving short film, that captures the responses of five people as they watch Sri Lanka's Killing Fields. Speaking to Channel 4 news, Picchi said , "When asked to edit a video using the film's footage I felt overwhelmed: everything seemed so important yet, when de-contextuali sed from the original narrative, so horrific and unnecessarily graphic. I then decided to take a different approach.

Suspect arrested in Colonel Parithi murder case

A Sri Lankan man has been arrested by French police on suspicion of the murder of Mathinthiran Nadarajah, alias Col Parithi, reported Le Parisien on Monday. The 33-year old man was apprehended in the 20th Arrondissemente of Paris late on Sunday. A source close to the victim said that a second man was apprehended and placed in custody, according to the parper. Tamil community shocked at activist assassination (10 Nov 2012)

Ethical tourism lobbying initiative launched

The Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice has launched an initiative aimed at upholding ethical tourism in Sri Lanka after finding that British tour operators were offering holiday packages that commercially benefits alleged perpetrators of human rights abuses. The #ThinkAgain campaign on ethical tourism in Sri Lanka aims to inform tourists of hotels, airlines and attractions that have links to the Sri Lankan military. Writing i n the Huffington Post , the co-director of the campaign, Lucy Popescu, categorically outlined why Sri Lanka was not the best place for ethical tourists to holiday, despite travel organisations such as Lonely Planet stating otherwise. Below are some excerpts from Popescu’s article, “What many tourists do not know is that the new peace in Sri Lanka has come at a high cost to freedom of expression and the human rights of citizens. The country is now rated the fourth most dangerous place in the world for journalists, higher even than Afghanistan. More than fifteen journalists are believed to have been killed since 2006.” “ At the end of the war 300000 civilians were illegally detained in inhumane conditions likened to concentration camps. According to a United Nations panel “The Government subjected victims and survivors of the conflict to further deprivation.. some of who were separated were summarily executed and some of the women may have been raped..”

Iranian funded development project suspended

An Iranian funded development project in Uma Oya has been suspended, prompting the Ceylon Electricy Board to meet and discuss the situation, reported the Island . The project was suspended after a number of issues were reported, including overdue payments and Sri Lanka deciding to purchase crude oil from countries other than Iran, upon which Sri Lanka was almost fully reliant on for supplies. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa inaugurated the project on the 8th of August 2012 with Iranian officials, which was set to provide 100-150 MW of hydro power and irrigate around 4,000-5,000...

We never promised to devolve power

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Agriculture, JHU front-liner Udaya Gammanpila has said that he believes Sri Lanka was able to successfully counter human rights abuse allegations at the UN Human Rights Council. Calling the allegations “baseless theories put forward by separatist forces” in an interview with the Sunday Observer, Gammanpila explained how the Sri Lankan delegation at the UPR was able to defy them by detailing Sri Lanka’s extensive post-2009 ‘achievements’ in rehabilitation and infrastructure. Gammanpila then went on to talk about the Tamil issue, claiming that a solution can only be formed by the Sri Lankan government.

Gota goes to China

The Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was in China today, meeting his counterpart, Defence Minister Liang Guanglie. Meeting in Beijing, the pair discussed means of boosting relations between the two countries and militaries, reported China's Xinhua news agency. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is due to attend the 9th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, where China's new attack helicopter and fighter jets will be exhibited. Meanwhile, China's communist party figure, Wu Bingguo, was in Sri Lanka and pledged $760 million in aid towards infrastructure development.

Welikada prison riots ‘a massacre’

The UNP has said that the violence in Welikada prison ended with security forces committing a massacre. Mangala Samaraweera of the party said that most of the dead were gunned down by police and the army. "It's a massacre that has to be condemned. It shows the breakdown of the rule of law in the country," he said, according to Reuters. "[The] information I have is that most of the prisoners were cold-bloodedly gunned down" he added. Relatives of some of the victims told BBC Sinhala that after the first clashes died down, soldiers removed prisoners from their cells and shot them. The secretary...

New amendment considered for 'meaningful' devolution

The Sri Lankan government indicated plans to introduce a 19th Amendment to the Constitution aimed at addressing the current issue of power devolution to the north-east, reported Colombo Page . The government is preparing the draft of the 19th amendment as an alternative to the 13th Amendment, which has been facing calls of abolishment. The draft amendment, which claims to offer a solution to the current ethnic issue, will be shown to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC). Amidst strong calls for the 13th amendment to be repealed, President Mahinda Rajapaska outlined that a change to the...