Ruling coalition partner calls for British HC deportation

The National Freedom Front (NFF), a constituent party of the ruling coalition in Sri Lanka, has called for the deportation of the British High Commissioner John Rankin, after he criticised the disproportionate military presence in the Northeast of the island . At a press briefing, Piyasiri Wijenayake of the NFF, said it was not up to the British High Commissioner to decide on the withdrawal of military camps in the country, ColomboPage reported on Wednesday. Wijenayake said that the High Commissioner should be deported for interfering in the defence matters of Sri Lanka for the comments made...

British judge orders halt in deportation of Tamil asylum seeker

A British judge has halted the removal of a Tamil asylum seeker who was due to be deported today (31st May), after evidence from a Human Rights Watch report released earlier this week. The ruling, passed just hours before the scheduled flight, stated “the recent Human Rights Watch Report dated 29.05.2012 suggests that there may be new evidence relevant to the risk of ill treatment” , and the judge thus ordered the Secretary of State to restrain from removing the applicant to Sri Lanka. The judgement was passed after a judicial review application was filed and will be applicable to all other...

Deportation halt widely welcomed

Welcoming the High Court ruling halting the deportation of Tamil asylum seekers from the UK on Thursday, David Mepham, the UK director of Human Rights Watch said, "This is a very dramatic development . It is incredibly welcome that a High Court judge has recognised the serious risk facing failed Tamil asylum-seekers . "This should be a wakeup call for the British government . Its existing policy towards Sri Lanka is fundamentally flawed and needs to be seriously re-thought ." The ruling by Justice Eady has been widely welcomed by barristers representing similar clients, who have cautiously...

Protest in Colombo calls for release of political prisoners

A protest was held outside Welikada prison in Colombo earlier Tuesday, calling for the release of political prisoners, some jailed for years without charge. A group called the Movement to Free Political Prisoners staged the protest, with relatives holding photographs of those detained and placards calling for their release. Photograph: A mother holds a photo of her daughter held inside Weliakda Prison. Courtesy Ceylon Today Last week, more than 200 Tamil prisoners went on hunger strike calling for the immediate release or to at the very least be charged, with many having been held for years...

TNA MP responds to Gotabaya's remarks

Responding to comments made by Sri Lankan defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, TNA MP Suresh Premachandran has stated that the government is in the midst of changing the demographics of the Northern Province. Commenting that the government has an agenda in place, the parliamentarian said, “The growing number of Buddhist temples in the area, the militarization of the north and the fact that there are new Sinhalese settlements in many areas of the North shows what the Defence Secretary wants to do is to change the demographic patterns of the Northern province”. He further stated, “The most...

Jaffna students speak on military intimidation

Students at Jaffna University have spoken out at the recent attack on the Secretary of the Student’s Union and the ongoing military intimidation in Jaffna, which attempted to prevent them from holding a remembrance event for those killed in Mullivaikkal earlier this month. In a piece by Young Asia TV, a student who concealed his identity said, “ Inside the university, those associated with the military and those who can be considered as military intelligence, roam freely without revealing their identity. There have been many situations like this. Even though we have notified the University...

Heavy military presence around Jaffna University

According to reports there has been a heavy military presence surrounding Jaffna University since Monday night. See here and here . Despite ongoing tension between Jaffna University students and Sri Lanka's security forces, the Sri Lankan army spokesperson, Brigadier Ruban Vanikasurya, claims the military presence is due to a request made by the university administration and university student leaders to Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe for 'security'. Many students meanwhile continue to speak of intimidation by the military. See Jaffna students speak on military intimidation (30 May 2012...

British Tory MPs due to visit Jaffna – Daily Mirror

A delegation of British Conservative MPs is expected to visit Jaffna to look at concerns about high levels of military personnel, reported the Daily Mirror . Presidential advisor Arun Thambimuttu said ten Tory Members of Parliament, including former defence secretary Liam Fox, MP for Croydon South Richard Ottaway and MP for Enfield North, Nick De Bois, were invited to visit the north of the island during a recent meeting in London to monitor the situation themselves. David Amess (Southend West), Guto Bebb (Aberconwy), Alun Cairns (Vale of Glamorgan), Alan Duncan (Rutland and Melton), Sheryll...

HRW: UK should 'immediately suspend' deportations

In a statement released on Tuesday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the UK government to " immediately suspend deportations of ethnic Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka and review its policies in assessing these claims " and highlighted that the next scheduled deporation is due to take place on Thursday. Noting the Sri Lankan security forces long-standing use of torture against those it deems to be linked the LTTE, HRW said there was a " growing evidence indicates that Tamils who have been politically active abroad are subject to torture and other ill-treatment ". Citing the recent cases of...

Iran invites Mahinda to Tehran for NAM summit

Iran invited Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapaksa to Tehran on Tuesday, to attend the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in August 2012, reported the Colombo Page. The invitation by Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was delivered by the Iranian deputy minister of foreign affairs, Abbas Aranghchi, whilst on an official visit to Sri Lanka where he met his counterpart, Neomal Perara. Aranghchi was accompanied by an Iranian business delegation seeking to increase Iranian-Sri Lankan trade ties.

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