UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay arrives in SL

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay addressed press in Sri Lanka today, as she began her week long visit to Sri Lanka. At a press conference held on Sunday, she said : "I am here to assess the human rights situation and I am speaking to both the government and the civil society. And I'm traveling around the country as much as I can, and when I go back, I will be reporting on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka." "I have not come here to criticise. I have come to raise human rights concerns, and I frame myself within the human rights standards set for the whole world, by...

Madras Cafe pulled in the UK

The release of Bollywood film 'Madras Cafe' which opened on Friday was pulled in the UK by exhibitors Cineworld after protests by British Tamils. The film is currently not showing at any British cinemas, although the film's marketing officials said they were still hopeful for a later release. Cinemas in Tamil Nadu have also refused to screen the movie following widespread protests.

Exam prep for school girls in Jaffna

Grade 5 school children in Jaffna were given "examination oriented seminars' by the Sri Lankan army's 55th Division earlier this month .

Engaging in militarisation

Recent weeks have once again seen the Sri Lankan military enjoying cordial ties with several members of the international community, including states that have led the call for accountability and justice, as well as been at the forefront of criticising the present militarisation that pervades the North-East and the island as a whole. The US military continues to provide training and hold joint military exercises, as well as engage in ‘development’ projects in the North-East with their Sri Lankan counterparts. Meanwhile, it recently emerged that the UK has approved over £8mn worth of arms sales to the country, including small arms and assault rifles. Current engagement by the West, far from yielding any progress, is only serving to legitimise, embolden and endorse Sri Lanka’s military. Four years of ‘engagement’ has not resulted in progress. The call for justice and accountability has not produced any meaningful results, militarisation is only becoming more pervasive and the military continue to act with impunity.

Rajapaksa sets up Ministry of Law and Order

President Rajapaksa has set up a new ministry, called the Ministry of Law and Order, reports the DailyMirror.lk . The former Ambassador to Indonesia and a former Army Chief of Staff, Major General (RTD) Nanda Mallawarachchi is believed to be the Ministry's Secretary.

Sunday Leader associate editor attacked

Five armed men held a Sunday Leader newspaper associate editor, Mandana Ismail Aveywickrema, at knife point as they searched her home today. Upon arrival, Sri Lankan police officers shot one of the intruders dead, in what was described by the Police spokesman, Buddhika Siriwardena as an attempted armed robbery. Sri Lanka’s main press freedom organisation, Free Media Movement (FMM) spokesmen described the attack as being linked to the journalist’s work, stating “The intruders spent a lot of time inside the house going through files and documents. If they wanted only the valuables, they could...

Chennai High Court stops deportation of Tamil refugee

The High Court in Chennai stopped the deportation of a Tamil refugee on Thursday to Sri Lanka, reports the Times of India. V.M.P Nehru, or 'Eela Nehra' as he is known, was given a reprieve on Thursday when the High Court preventing Tamil Nadu and Central government from deporting him. The reprieve was by Justice V. Dhanapalan and Justice C.T Selvam, after Nehru's wife, Santhira Leela, filed a habeas corpus petition citing a threat to his life on return. See here . The case has been adjourned till the 27th August.

New ministry to take charge of police

Mahinda Rajapakse has created a new ministry to take charge of police operations, reports the Island . The Internal Law and Order Ministry is set to take over supervision of police from the Defence Ministry. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that the creation of the ministry was in line with LLRC recommendations. Sri Lanka's former ambassador to Indonesia, Nanda Mallawaarachchi, who previously held the post of Army Chief of Staff in the early nineties, has been appointed as secretary to the ministry.

No army intimidation in North-East: Elections Commissioner

Speaking during a visit to the North-East, Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya, highlighted that there had been no complaints of the army interfering in election work ahead of the provincial council elections in the North-East. Mahinda Deshapriya also outlined the need for solid evidence of intimidation when making claims stating , “In general by saying the army is intimidating voters in a particular area cannot be taken as a complaint. There needs to be specific incidents reported. But we have not got specific or detailed complaints." Purporting that the army was beneficial for the...

BJP opposes screening of Madras Cafe

Opposing the screening of the film ‘Madras Café’ for allegedly portraying the LTTE in bad light, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of India warned that activists would take to the streets if the film was screened. Expressing concern over the nature of the film, the Mumbai president of the BJP, Ashish Shelar, said “The movie deals with the Rajiv Ghandi assassination and mentions Tamil organisations as terror outfits,”