LTTE bribes western politicians – Mahinda

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has claimed that the LTTE uses “money to bribe western politicians” in order to make them take an anti-Sri Lanka line, in an interview with The Australian . Rajapakse said that the LTTE was still active in the diaspora and blamed the network for people smuggling activities. "The LTTE sympathiser networks have been in this business for a long time. It was their big money-raiser. They are still doing it today. I don't know whether the money they make goes to the LTTE today or to propaganda efforts. "It's easy money for them. Sometimes they even rent a...

UN must respond to concerns raised by Pillay – Amnesty International

Amnesty International has called on the UN and the Commonwealth to respond effectively to the concerns raised by UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay after her visit to Sri Lanka. “Navi Pillay’s take on the human rights situation during her visit very muchechoes our own findings. Being critical of government policy in Sri Lanka is highly risky, and the extent to which people are being harassed into silence is shocking”, said Polly Truscott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director in a statement released on Saturday. “We’re glad that Navi Pillay got a chance to meet some victims and families of the disappeared. But the reprisals against those she met, doesn’t bode well for the Commonwealth Summit set for November in Colombo.”

SL launches tourism campaign in Beijing

A new media campaign aimed at attracting Chinese travellers to Sri Lanka was launched in Beijing today. The “ Sri Lanka Shines in Beijing” campaign, set up under the guidance of Mahinda Rajapaksa, and his brother Basil, is being organised by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and the Sri Lanka Embassy in China. As part of the campaign, billboards showcasing attractions related to Sri Lankan history, culture beaches wildlife and festivals, will be placed in strategic locations across the city of Beijing. The media campaign commenced with a ‘Sri Lankan night’, featuring an array of...

Threats to delegates meeting Pillay

The harassment of two priests who had met Navi Pillay in Trincomalee has been brought to the attention of the UN Human Rights Commissioner, TNA MP Suresh Premachandran told BBC Tamil . Premachandran said he expected Pillay to bring up the issue with the Defence Secretary and other state representatives. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella has denied that any threats were made, saying that Pillay has been free to meet whomever she wishes to. Members of the TNA met with Navi Pillay in Colombo today. Civil society activist and TNA candidate for the NPC, Ananthy Sasitharan was not included in the...

Rajapakse tells Navi Pillay about ‘UN bias’

During a meeting with the UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay, Mahinda Rajapakse said that Sri Lankans believe that the body is biased in the manner it deals with countries, according to a statement released by the president’s media office. The statement further says that Pillay acknowledged that many achievements had been made by the government and that she was pleased by the establishment of the LLRC. See full statement released by the government here . External Affairs Minister GL Peiris also met with the High Commissioner on Thursday and "ticked her off", according to the DailyMirror...

SL military urges press to report 'true facts'

The Sri Lankan Army urged the country’s press corporations to secure invitations to the press briefing by visiting the United Nations Human Rights Chief, Navi Pillay and relay the ‘true facts’ to the public. In an email to local journalists and international correspondents, the Military Spokesman Ruwan Wanigasooriya, urged press to act responsibly, stating , “I am sure you will exercise your right to media freedom and attend this event and report true facts to the public as the whole country is keenly awaiting to know the outcome of the visit.”

Government will not listen to UN orders – Minister

The Minister for Irrigation and Water Management Nimal Sripala de Silva has said that the UN High Commisisoner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, could not give orders to Sri Lanka, and even if she did, the government would not comply. Talking to reporters at the office of Mahinda Rajapakse’s SLFP, the minister said Navi Pillay was able to visit any place on the island as the country had nothing to hide. " She now has the opportunity to see for herself the ground situation and reach a conclusion accordingly... Ms Pillay could release a good or bad report on Sri Lanka after her visit," de Silva...

SL minister questions UN Human Rights Chief's impartiality

A Sri Lankan minister accused the visiting United Nations Human Rights Chief, Navi Pillay, of acting without impartiality whilst assessing the country. The Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa, the leader of the National Freedom Front, a party in President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s ruling coalition, criticised Pillay of not sticking to the agreed upon itinerary. Weerawansa determined that Pillay would produce an “extremist and unjust report” suggesting that “ she looks at problems in a partial manner, with a preconceived judgement.” Weerawansa argued the case of impartiality stating , “She is also...

Soldiers return to streets after Pillay visit

Soldiers that were said to have been withdrawn to their army camps returned to the streets of the North straight after Navi Pillay's visit on Wednesday, reports BBC Tamil . Troops were reportedly concealed and some removed from the streets of villages which formed the route of Pillay's visit in Jaffna, Kilinochi and Mullaithivu. The Elephant Pass check point which had been closed during the visit also reopened, with vehicles on the A9 road being subjected to checks again.

Tamils implore visiting UN Human Rights chief to find their disappeared loved ones

Hundreds of families of those who disappeared in Sri Lanka gathered in front of the Jaffna Public Library to voice their grievances to the visiting United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay. Sources reported that Navi Pillay who attended a meeting in Jaffna Library, was forced, by government officials, to leave through the back exit of the library, in what was seen as an attempt to nullify the voice of the protestors. Protestors wielded placards that called on Pillay to intervene and make sure that that Tamils were resettled into their own lands, whilst brandishing pictures of missing loved ones.