Tamil groups welcome UN Rights Chief’s call for independent international investigation into Sri Lanka atrocities

Full text of joint statement: The British Tamils Forum, the Canadian Tamil Congress, and United States Tamil Political Action Council acknowledge the Report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights , which emanates from United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 19/2 . While welcoming High Commissioner Navanethem Pillay’s continuous commitment to human rights in Sri Lanka, the use of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) as a framework against which to measure progress is a grave mistake . The LLRC’s fundamental and well-documented flaws...

SL govt invests in... Uganda

The Sri Lankan government has earmarked $150 million for an investment project in Uganda, in order to provide safe water. See here . The pledge follows a visit by the Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, last year.

Home Office records show returned asylum seekers were tortured

Fiften asylum seekers who were deported from the UK have alleged torture and rape by Sri Lankan security forces on return, reports The Guardian newspaper. In a Freedom of Information request of Home Office data showed that the 15 who were deported between 2009 and September 2012, had managed to escape once again to Britain where they alleged torture and rape. One of the 15 said he was gang raped and tortured by Sri Lankan security forces, following deportation on a specially chartered UKBA flight in 2011. Another, a lady in her late 40s, said that she too had been raped and tortured after...

Rajapaksa's boon

On a visit to Jaffna, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has ordered the release of the Jaffna University students who were arrested late last year, for remembering those who had died in the struggle on 27th November. According to the Government Information Department, Rajapaksa came to this decision after 'having taken into consideration the appeals made by the parents of these students'.

Commonwealth Secretariat refutes media reports that SL confirmed as CHOGM venue

In a statement published on the Commonwealth Secretariat's website yesterday, the organisation refuted Sri Lankan media reports that the Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma had made public statements confirming Sri Lanka as the venue of CHOGM 2013. Statement is reproduced in full below: Contrary to some media reports, Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma has not made any statements today with regard to Sri Lanka as host venue of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November 2013. The only public statement issued by the Commonwealth Secretariat thus far is a press...

Sri Lanka to ban sale of land to 'foreigners'

The Sri Lankan government is in the process of introducing new laws that will ban the sale of land to any foreigners, according to Land Development Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon, reported the state-run Daily News. The Minister stated that, “The new land laws are aimed at safeguarding the land rights of Sri Lankans”. A Canadian Tamil who went to Vanni to reaffirm his ownership of land, which was occupied by the Sri Lankan Army was murdered last year. Meanwhile... Tax free land to China (03 February 2013)

Rajapakse apologist in contention for Papacy – Forbes

The Sinhalese head of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, has been touted as a possible successor to Pope Benedict XVI by Forbes magazine. The Cardinal has been widely criticised for his lack of concern about the plight of Tamil priests, arrested by the military in Mullivaykal in May 2009 and has been accused of supporting the government’s land grabbing and militarisation . Cardinal Ranjith has also spoken out against last year’s resolution at the UN Human Rights Council, saying that "such efforts by western powers is an insult on the intelligence of the people of Sri...

Navi Pillay’s report on Sri Lanka calls for international investigation

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has released her report on assistance for the Sri Lankan governemt on promoting reconciliation and accountability, as mandated by the resolution in Geneva last March. The report details concern in several areas, including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, militarisation and land grabs . Areas of possible technical assistance are also identified, including the right to truth, criminal justice and accountability, legal and institutional reforms, and the right to a remedy and reparations. The High Commissioner also "offered...

IMF hesitant to fund Sri Lanka state spending

Sri Lanka has dropped plans for another $1 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund following disagreements over how the money should be spent, AFP quoted the central bank as saying. The IMF usually extends loans to cover countries’ difficulties in meeting foreign exchange obligations, but Sri Lanka wanted to spend the loan at home. However, “the IMF has indicated [it] may not be in a position to consider any direct or indirect budget support to Sri Lanka,” the central bank said. The Political risk consultancy Eurasia Group said in a note that though Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange...

'Engage constructively' says Gota to West

The Sri Lankan defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told governments in the West to "engage constructively" with the Sri Lankan government. Speaking at a seminar organised by the Lakshman Kadiragamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studeies and the Pakistan High Commission, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said : “Instead of narrowing the scope of their engagement with Sri Lanka because of many misinterpretations and lobbying by special interest groups in their own countries, the nations should engage constructively with the Government. It is only then that they will see for...

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