Gigolos and a day in Sri Lanka’s parliament

Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Dilan Perera and UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayaka called each other ‘gigolos’ during a debate in parliament, The Island reported on Wednesday. The debate centred around the fate of Rizana Nafeeq, a house maid on death row in Saudi Arabia. "There are gigolos who go from here and stage protests in front of our embassies but no problem could be solved in this manner," Minister Perera. MP Ramanayake replied in kind, asking why Perera was calling him a gigolo, when the minister was the one known by that name.

Tamils from Palali demand to be resettled home

Tamils from Palali who remain internally displaced after the army took control of the area, demanded that they be allowed to go home, reported the Jaffna newspaper, Uthayan. Raising these concerns with the TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah, over 200 Tamils have threatened to fast unto death in protest unless the resettlement occurs immediately. Tamils who have been displaced from Palali have been living in welfare centres and at the homes of relatives for over 30 years. Currently, there still no plan in place to resettle them back to their original homes as Palali remains within a High Security Zone...

Monks resume protests against Dambulla mosque

A large number of Buddhist monks and supporters took part in a protest march in Kalutara on Monday , demanding the removal of the mosque in Dambulla. The protest was organised by a Buddhist organisation called 'Buddhist Protection Foundation'. Addressing reporters, the Executive Director of the Foundation, a Buddhist monk, Puliyadde Sudhamma Thero vowed that Monday's protest was just a "beginning in a series of protests" against the mosque. He said that "muslim extremists" had built the mosque in a sacred Buddhist area. Last month, thousands of Buddhist monks and protesters protested outside...

Power behind the throne

Sri Lankan president, Mahinda Rajapaksa Sri Lanka's Buddhist monks have often played a decisive role in the key issues facing the country, such as the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka , the 2009 general elections , and the resumption of armed conflict in 2008 . UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe TNA leader R Sampanthan See here for more on what has been dubbed the 'angry monk syndrome'. The Dambulla mosque protests provide yet another glimpse into what drives them. In an interview with the Sunday Leader, the chief priest at the Rangiri Dambulla Viharaya, Sumangala Thero, who took part in the...

Tamara on route to Cuba

After days of defiance, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Tamara Kunanayakam, was transferred to Cuba, reported the Daily Mirror. According to reports the external affairs minister, G.L. Peiris, made a phonecall to Kunanayakam late last month stated that she would be transferred to either Cuba or Brazil. Indignant, she reportedly sent a letter to Peiris dated 1st May, rejecting the transfer offer. Excerpts include: "Your proposal to move me out only nine months after assuming duties as PR in Geneva, will suggest instability in our diplomacy and an ad hoc character, when, in a...

Sailor shoots female officer and commits suicide

A Sri Lankan Navy sailor placed in Trincomalee has committed suicide after shooting a female officer earlier on Monday, reported Ceylon Today . The incident marks the second time in the space of a few days where a member of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces has killed a colleague and then committed suicide in the heavily militarised Tamil homeland, in the North-East of the island. See our earlier post: 2 SLA soldiers dead after shots fired in Jaffna (05 May 2012)

Embassy examines murder site of Canadian Tamil

Canadian embassy officials examined the residence of the 53-year-old murdered Canadian Tamil, reported the Jaffna daily newspaper, Uthayan. Anthonypillai Mahendrasa was found dead with a slit across his throat near Paranthan Junction in the Kilinochchi district of Vanni, last week. According to the post mortem report he had fallen to the ground and had been struggling before he died. Local people said they had seen unidentified men wearing balaclavas during the time of his death. Mahendrarasa was reportedly visiting the area to reaffirm his ownership of land he owns in the Kumarapuram -...

Sri Lanka to protest against Navi Pillay

The Sri Lankan government will submit its formal protest against the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, reported the Daily Mirror. The Sri Lankan government will be sending a letter to the High Commissioner, accusing Pillay of violating her mandate and the UN Charter. One of those believed to be working on this campaign is Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative in Geneva, Tamara Kunanayakam. Interestingly, Kunanayakam has reportedly been asked by her government to resign from her current position. However, refusing to resign, Ms Kunanyakam argued that such a move would "suggest instability" in Sri Lanka's diplomacy, in letter to the external affairs minister G.L. Peiris See report by Daily Mirror here .

Tamil refugees need better access to legal support - TAG

Commenting on the recent killing of a deported Tamil refugee in Sri Lanka, the US-based activist group, Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) highlighted the "urgent need" for better access to legal and financial support. Speaking to Tamilnet, Jan Jananayagam of TAG said, "while in the U.K. we are becoming more familiar with the legal system, and with the help of a handful of legal professionals setting up a system to help the Tamil asylum seekers, the refugee situation is worse in Europe and in South Asia." "There is an urgent need to help these refugees to gain easy access to legal and financial...

29,092 SLA deserters to be arrested

The Sri Lankan Army has announced a new drive to arrest more 29,092 army deserters who have refused to appear for duty or hand themselves in during periods of amnesty. Military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya has stated that during the last three years 36,308 deserters had already been arrested. The army has offered numerous amnesties in the past, with the President himself pardoning deserters on the occasion of a Buddhist festival. Shortly after the end of the armed conflict in May 2009, the army announced that an estimated 65,000 deserters were at large .