Former Sri Lankan PM casts ‘serious doubt’ on official COVID-19 figures

Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sri Lanka’s former Prime Minister and leader of the United National Party (UNP), has called on the government to “reveal the true impact of the coronavirus spread” as he maintains that there is “serious doubt” on the “accuracy of the COVID-19 figures given by the authorities”. The Sri Lankan government have claimed that there has been zero community transmission of the virus. This follows the government's rejections of findings from the University of Jayewardenepura. The university has subsequently withdrawn from conducting PCR tests. Wickremesinghe has stated on the...

‘Deterioration in Sri Lanka’ - UK Human Rights and Democracy Report 2019

The human rights situation in Sri Lanka has seen a “deterioration” said a report from the British government today, including “controversial senior appointments” that “called into question Sri Lanka’s commitment to human rights and reconciliation”.

Reporters Without Borders 'appalled' over manhandling of journalist by 'notorious' police inspector

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) are "appalled by the way a Sri Lankan police inspector reputedly close to the president was allowed to manhandle and threaten a newspaper outside a courthouse" they said in a press release . On July 10, Inspector Neomal Rangajeewa grabbed and threatened Ceylon Today journalist, Akila Jayawardane, outside Colombo High Court for reportedly taking a photograph of the inspector. Rangajeewa questioned why Jayawardane was taking photographs, despite the journalist repeatedly showing his press card to the inspector. The Sunday Observer reported that Rangajeewa then...

HRCSL establishes unit to investigate rights violations ahead of elections

The Human Rights Commission Of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) announced the establishment of a new unit “to investigate allegations of Human Rights violations by government officials in the context of the 2020 Parliamentary Election”. The announcement was made this week, as Sri Lanka gears up for parliamentary elections next month. The commission was initially set up in 1996 with the aim of fostering a culture of human rights in Sri Lanka. However, it has come under criticism throughout the decades for failing to adequately investigate rights violations committed by the state against the Tamil people. For...

Tamil political prisoners face risk of coronavirus infection – ITAK Leader

Tamil political prisoners – some of whom have been held for up to 24 years – are being held in prisons where others have been infected with coronavirus and face “imminent danger of spreading it further among them,” warned Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) leader Mavai Senathirajah, in a letter to Sri Lanka’s president this week. “In foreign countries such persons under detention for long time are being temporarily released by order of Courts and continued to under detention in their own homes and some prisoners are bailed out/set free subjected to conditions dictated by courts,” said...

Sri Lankan Defence Secretary vows to leave ‘no space for terrorism again’

Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary, and alleged war criminal, Kamal Gunaratne vowed that the government would not allow for religious extremism or terrorism and was fully committed to ensuring national security. The statement came during a speech at the 30 th anniversary of the Battle of Kokavil, fought on 27 June – 11 July 1990. During this battle, the LTTE carried out a successful 14-day siege on a Sri Lankan military camp at Kokavil, which enabled the Tigers to destroy the government’s relay station and tower. During this siege over 60 government soldiers were killed, including Capt. Saliya...

Sri Lankan military takes over issuing driving licenses and control of vehicle data

The Sri Lankan military announced that it would be taking control over the issuing of driving licenses from next year, in a move that will see the military control all vehicle and driver data on the island. Sri Lanka’s Minister of Transport and Energy Mahinda Amaraweera announced the move after he held discussions with the war crimes accused Defence Secretary Major General Kamal Guneratne and Army Chief Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva. “Our information system that is which is with a private company to be kept with the Sri Lanka Army,” Amaraweera told reporters, claiming that the overseas...

US donates equipment to support ‘search and rescue capabilities’

Alaina B. Teplitz, the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, has donated rescue boat engines and other life-saving equipment to Sri Lanka to support and rescue capabilities during the monsoon flooding season. The donation is to include, “3 Suzuki 40hp outboard motors for use with inflatable rescue boats, 44 safety helmets for boat operators, 11 rescue ropes and 22 lifebuoys rings”. The US is also working with Sri Lanka’s Ministries of Health, Education, and Tourism in creating the country’s first water safety policy. This news increased patrols in the North-East, as the Sri Lankan Navy...

Families of the disappeared urge Indian PM to help protect Hindu temples

The families of the disappeared in Vavuniya have called on the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to help Tamils on the island and to immediately intervene and protect Hindu temples. On the 1,239 th day of continuous protests in Vavuniya last Friday, the families of the disappeared have urged Modi to help safeguard the Hinduism and said “it is his responsibility to protect the Hindu religion in India’s neighbouring country - Sri Lanka.” “Buddhist extremism and fundamentalism has been a cause for the disappearances and also an obstacle to finding our loved ones who have been forcibly...

Four arrested over Jaffna explosion

Four people have been arrested by Ilavalai Police in Jaffna following an explosion, which the police allege, was caused by the individuals lighting explosives they had discovered clearing land. The four individuals have been admitted to Jaffna Teach Hospital for treatment before they were arrested. They were all residents of Ilavalai between the ages of 30 and 40. The Police have alleged that the explosives were abandoned by the LTTE during the armed conflict. These arrests come as campaigning for Sri Lanka’s parliamentary elections next month continued. During presidential elections last...

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