Chinese firm to develop Colombo port amid sweeteners for Hambantota

Sri Lanka has signed a 35 year build-operate-transfer deal with a joint venture between a Chinese state-run firm (which owns 55%) and a local partner. The deal was signed during President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to China last week. See LBO’s report here , and China Daily's here . Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) is a venture between China Merchants Holdings International, the Hong Kong listed Chinese state-run firm, and local firm Aitken Spence (which owns 30%). The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) owns 15%. “The project will further anchor the Port of Colombo’s position as a...

TYO-UK remembers 5th anniversary of Sencholai bombings

TYO-UK remembers the 5th anniversary of the attack on Sencholai orphanage and the children who lost their lives in the air raid. On the 14th of August 2006, sixteen bombs were dropped by Sri Lankan Air Force jets killing 53 female students and injuring many more. The students had been attending a first aid course in an orphanage. Only a short-while before the bombings, the coordinates of the orphanage had been given to the ICRC who in turn had informed the Sri Lankan state. Though the Sri Lankan government predictably accused the young girls of being LTTE cadres and the orphanage of being a...

What we said five years ago …

Extracts from our editorial of August 23, 2006 (see full text here ): “Despite its Buddhist pretensions, the Sinhala state invariably and swiftly resorts to a strategy of collective punishment when faced with what- in moments of forgetful sincerity - it calls ‘Tamil terrorism.’ Embargos on entire districts, bombardments of whole villages and towns, massacres of entire neighborhoods, pogroms. These are the tools Sri Lanka’s state intuitively deploys against the Tamils. “The massive forced displacements of the past month, and the earlier waves that began in April, have all been directed to...

India’s opposition parties unite behind Eelam Tamils

With India’s opposition parties, including the BJP and CPI(M), now united in demanding justice and autonomy for Eelam Tamils, the ruling Congress party’s continued silence is striking. Adding to demands for India to take a tougher, more decisive role in on Sri Lanka's war crimes and genocide, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha pledged his party’s commitment to Eelam Tamils and determination to ensure justice is done. Speaking at a protest rally organised by MDMK chief Vaiko in New Delhi, Sinha mocked the Congress government for cowering before China for fear of losing regional influence. “ This shows mere helplessness that we have lost all our clout and friends and that we have to surrender ourselves to China. It is a matter of shame for our country and it is [a] matter of great shame for the government” said Sinha. His remarks echo those of fellow BJP senior member Jaswant Singh, who asked if India's geopolitical concerns justified inaction over Sri Lanka's warcrimes, said: “ I am always extremely chary of this catchall phrase, ‘geopolitical’ . I tend to be very suspicious about the use this phrase because it is a coverall phrase which can mean anything and everything . “ I don’t think a great country like India can determine its policies and practice its policies in apprehension of the activities of any other country. ” See here for CPI’s call for autonomy.

Boycotts and Sri Lanka's ire

Realisation that economic sanctions and international isolation will be needed to compell the recalcitrant Sri Lankan regime to ensure an independent, international investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity is growing. The calls for such decisive action are most vocal in India and particularly Tamil Nadu where the chief minister J. Jayalalitha is calling for India to impose economic sanctions, following a unanimous resolution condemning Sri Lanka passed in the state assembly. Little wonder these developments have triggered a furious tirade from Colombo. Defence secretary...

Angry locals attack police in east

Angry mobs attacked police stations in Valaichennai, Samanthurai and Potuvil in Sri Lanka’s east on Thursday and Friday respectively, ColomboPage reported. S ee reports here and here . Predominantly, Valaichennai is inhabitated by Tamils, Samanthurai and Potuvil by Muslims.

"If there is to be peace, there must be justice"

Comments by Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. For full text click here. "It has been more than two years now. Early 2009 was a frightening, chilling time for hundreds of thousands of Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka. Trapped between an advancing Sri Lankan military offensive and the retreating armed opposition LTTE (or Tamil Tigers), they were caught in the middle of intense, unrelenting fighting and suffered abuses from both directions. Thousands of women, men and young people were killed and there were massive levels of displacement. Sri Lanka now faces immense...

Trends in China - Sri Lanka ties

From a recent Reuters’ fact-box (see full text here ), with added details from the BBC and others: Trade In the first half of 2011, trade between China and Sri Lanka was worth $1.28 billion - but Sri Lankan exports to China were worth just $68 million. Lending China was Sri Lanka's largest lender in 2009 and 2010, giving $1.2 billion and $821 million respectively. China Development Bank Corporation has agreed to provide $1.5 billion within three years for construction of roads, bridges, power plants and water and irrigation schemes. However, the projects China is financing are built by...

Oman Tribune editorial on Sri Lanka’s killing fields

“As evidence of the Sri Lankan army’s mass killings mounts, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s charm offensive is proving to be a futile exercise. It’s time the president and his younger brother Gotabhaya Rajapaksa stopped seeking solace in a deliberate state of denial and realised that they can no more cover up the horrendous crimes committed against innocents on their orders. “Sri Lanka’s stand has the support of a handful of countries that do not have an enviable human rights record. Yet, there’s no way President Rajapaksa can escape the growing clamour for justice. The UN chief has so far not...

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