SL deputy High Commission receives bomb threats

Sri Lanka's Deputy High Commission in Chennai has stepped up security after officials received bomb threats via a letter, reports . According to officials, a postcard warned that bombs would go off at the mission, and condemned the Sri Lankan government's activities. The Chennai police's cyber crime wing will be investigating the incident.

"Firstly, we need to secure the Tamil nation from the ongoing genocide" - Gajendrakumar

Speaking to The Weekend Leader, the leader of the Tamil National Peoples' Front (TNPF), Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, explained his reasons for calling for a Transitional Administration in the North-East, stating that "firstly, we need to secure the Tamil Nation from the ongoing Genocide." See here for part 1 of the interview, extract reproduced below: Q : You were the first Tamil leader to demand internationally supervised transitional administration of the Tamil homeland in the North and East of Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva. Can you elaborate how it would function and fulfill the...

Jayalalithaa calls for ‘bold stand’ from India

Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has called upon India’s central government to "take a bold stand in support of (Sri) Lankan Tamils" and stated that the aspirations of Tamils on the island could only be realised through an independent state. In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Chief Minister urge d India to act “as a leader of the region and as a champion of human rights” saying it cannot remain a "passive bystander". She went on to add that Tamils across the world were, "outraged and incensed over the impunity with which the Sri Lankan government was ignoring...

'Matter for humanity that justice is done' - interview with Callum Macrae

Tamil Guardian's correspondent based in Toronto, Canada, caught up with the director of the documentaries 'Sri Lanka's Killing Fields' and ' No Fire Zone - the killing fields of Sri Lanka ', Callum Macrae, at the sidelines of FETNA 2013 , to find out how he viewed Sri Lanka's reaction to the documentaries, himself and others who are speaking out against the massacre of tens of thousands of Tamils. TAMIL GUARDIAN : On Wednesday July 3rd a screening of ‘No Fire Zone’ at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall organised by the Malaysian human rights organisation, Pusat Komas, was raided...

No European monitors at provincial polls

Political parties were told by the Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya that no European countries would be invited to monitor provincial elections. According to Deshapriya, the decision was made based on an uncited request that monitors from countries that voted against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) should not be entertained by Sri Lanka. Monitors will only be invited from the South Asian Election Management Board and the Asian Election Monitoring Authority, despite calls from opposition parties to allow European monitors.

Sri Lanka pledges to allow 'free' press at CHOGM

In light of concerns that Sri Lanka will restrict media access to international journalists to cover the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), the Sri Lanka government have outlined that it will entirely follow the guidelines set by the Commonwealth Secretariat. A statement issued by the Task Force Secretariat for CHOGM 2013 read , “The Government of Sri Lanka, as host of CHOGM 2013, welcomes all journalists to Sri Lanka to cover this very important summit. As a member of the Commonwealth of Nations for more than 60 years, Sri Lanka remains fully committed to Commonwealth...

‘Special police units’ set up for NPC

The Sri Lankan Police have announced that ‘special units’ are being set up in every police station in Jaffna, specifically for the upcoming Northern Provincial Council elections. Speaking on the announcement, the Senior Superintendent of Police Jaffna said that they would be operating 24 hours a day, adding, “We expect the political parties and their candidates in the fray to adhere to the election laws”. See the report from Ceylon Today here and our earlier post: No European monitors at provincial polls (13 July 2013) Also see our editorial: Facing the inconsequential (15 June 2013)

US and Sri Lanka Armed Forces engage in training

Troops from the US Naval Special Warfare Community and the Sri Lankan Armed Forces began their annual joint training program in Trincomalee earlier this week, reported Sri Lanka’s Navy. A 10 member team, made up of troops from the US Navy SEALs, Special Boat Unit and Air Force will train alongside troops from the Sri Lankan Armed Forces, including the Navy and Special Forces. The program began on the 2nd of July and is expected to conclude on the 19th of July.

SL minister refutes rape testimony of murdered Brit's partner

Sri Lanka's Chief Government Whip, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, told Parliament on Wednesday that the partner of the murdered British citizen, Khuram Shaikh, was not subjected to any rape or sexual violence. Gunawardena said that she 'had only received serious injuries as a result of being assaulted', reported Ceylon Today. However, earlier this year, Shaikh's partner Victoria Alexandravona, speaking in an interview said , “You try not to think that could have happened but it’s disgusting because they killed Khuram and sexually assaulted me”. When Gunawardena was challenged, by highlighting the fact that her testimony contradicted his remarks, Gunawardena replied: “I am presenting the answer given to me by the Ministry of Defence, based on the police records submitted to them. If you have more details or evidence on the matter, present it to the Court as there is case pending.” Asked whether she was still alive, Gunawardena assured that she was. See related articles: Sri Lanka rape victim will ‘go on to the end’ for justice (21 Apr 2013) UK MP pledges to canvas Queen for CHOGM boycott (08 Mar 2013)

Commonwealth Sec defends its authority over media accreditation

In a press release, published on Thursday, the Commonwealth Secretariat's spoksperson and Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Richard Uku, clarified regarding media accreditation for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) due to be held in Sri Lanka later this year. The statement comes amidst increasing controversy surrounding the media accreditation for international journalists, following remarks by Sri Lankan officials - including the Media Minister, Keheliya Rambukwella, and the Consul General to New South Wales, Australia, Bandula Jayasekara. See here . Such interference by the host country into the international media presence at a CHOGM is unprecedented. Highlighting the sentence in bold, the spokesperson's statement read: "As is customary, the Commonwealth Secretariat is the final authority for all international media accreditation for CHOGM ", but added "The accreditation process will be carried out in collaboration with the host country authorities, who are responsible for processing and approving visa applications by accredited media." The statement comes as another journalist for a Tamil media source, Uthayan, was attacked . See here for full statement, further extracts reproduced below.