Mahinda Rajapaksa is a great leader - Israeli president

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa with Israeli President Shimon Peres (@PresRajapaksa) The Israeli president Shimon Peres has received Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa at his residence today, a day after Premier Benjamin Netanyahu held talks with Rajapaksa. Peres hailed the president as a "great leader" who has brought peace, reconciliation and restoration to his people “which is not a small achievement”, reported Colombo Gazette . “You have come here as a leader with an impressive record. You have invested your heart and mind and days and nights in peace, and you are seeing the fruits. You have come to a region still in search of peace and reconciliation. Israel is determined to make peace,” Peres said. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa with Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu (defence.lk)

Sinhala nationalists protest outside US Embassy

Photo: @AzzamAmeen on Twitter Hundreds of Sinhalese protestors gathered outside the US Embassy in Colombo earlier today, protesting against the visit of US Ambassador at large for War Crimes, Stephen J. Rapp. Traffic was closed in one direction as hundreds of supporters brandished placards in English and Sinhalese stating the allegations of war crimes were “unfair”. Other placards depicted the visiting US Ambassador with fangs and blood streaming from his mouth, labelling Rapp as a “threat to world peace”.

'We urgently need an international investigation' - Bishop of Mannar

The Bishop of Mannar, Mgr. Rayappu Joseph, has reiterated the need for an international investigation into war crimes on the island, stating that the Tamil people have no faith in domestic commissions. In a note written to Fides , the Bishop stated, " We urgently need an international investigation to ascertain the truth about alleged war crimes, given that most of the Tamils in the north and east of the country no longer have confidence in an internal process. This will contribute to reconciliation" "Thousands of cases of human rights violations, sexual abuse, murder, disappearances, extrajudicial killings remain unpunished." Describing the current situation in the Tamil homeland, the Bishop went on to say that, " The people of the North and East still live in fear. The women live in fear of being raped. Others live in fear that the military seize their lands. Many who are in prison live in fear of being tortured. The common people fear the high level of military presence. And all those who criticize the government, including representatives of many churches, live in fear and insecurity."

Sri Lanka ready for March resolution

Sri Lanka’s Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella has said that the government is ready to face any US-sponsored resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in March. Rambukwella said the government was aware of the US collecting information on Sri Lanka and how this is being done, reported the Colombo Gazette . “Win or lose we must face it. We had won once at the UNHRC and we lost once as well,” he said, adding that the government had a responsibility towards the Sri Lankan public and no one else.

TID interferes in funeral of detainee's 15 year old son

The father of a 15 year old boy that passed away on the 4 th of January, Sivasubramaniyam Veeralingam, was stopped from performing religious rituals at his son’s funeral by the Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) today. Veeralingam, who has been held, without trial, in Sri Lankan state custody since 2009 for alleged links to the LTTE, was prevented from performing funeral rights and taken away at gunpoint from his son’s funeral by TID officers, reported the Uthayan . His 15 year old son, who provided income for the family after the detention of his father, passed away after unexplainably...

US to lead on calls for international investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka at UNHRC

The United States will move a resolution seeking an international investigation into the alleged rights abuses in the final months of Sri Lanka’s war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), outlined the US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, Stephen J Rapp, on his visit to the North-East. Rapp visited Tamil National Alliance representatives and members of the Tamil civil society in the North-East today. This is the third time Rapp has visited the island ahead of the United Nations Human Rights Council sessions, where the US have already lead on two resolutions urging Sri...

Farmers in Vanni on brink of suicide

Many farmers in Vanni are on the brink of suicide, as they struggle to maintain their livelihoods, reported the Uthayan . The farmers, who faced displacement during the final stages of the armed conflict, and have only just been resettled, are now faced with numerous debts to banks, as well as drought and a poor harvest. On New Year's Day, S. Ajaman, a farmer from Manthai East committed suicide in desperation, reported the paper.

Ban halal meat completely – BBS

The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), an influential group of Buddhist monks, close to the defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has demanded a complete ban on halal meat products in Sri Lanka. General Secretary Galabodaththe Gnanasara said that the organisation will launch an agitation campaign to push for a complete ban, a day after the main muslim organisation on the island, the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU), declared that halal certification will now be issued by a new company, after they stopped issuing certificates with the end of 2013. The BBS has pressured Muslim organisations in the recent...

Jayalalithaa slams Centre as ‘hopelessly inadequate’

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has criticised the Indian government for their “hopelessly inadequate response” to the arrest of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, calling on the government to secure their release. In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Jayalalithaa stated, "The repressive Sri Lankan Navy is establishing its authoritarian presence in the Palk Bay by chasing and arresting unarmed innocent fishermen from Tamil Nadu who offer no provocation". "These oppressive acts of the Lankan Navy on the direction of the emboldened Sri Lankan regime have caused a great deal of suffering and coupled with the hopelessly inadequate response of the Government of India, have given rise to considerable resentment and angst not only amongst the fishermen community, but also amongst the entire population of Tamil Nadu.” She went on to slam the government saying that it, "has been a mute spectator all along and not at all willing to understand the sufferings of its own fishermen and their families and intervene effectively".

Wigneswaran warns of unrest due to current distortion of history

The Chief Minister of the Northern Province, CV Wigneswaran , today called for the practice of distorting the island's history to be stopped, warning that unrest would ensue if distorted history continued to be taught to children in schools. Speaking at the inauguration of a children’s village in Jaffna, Wigneswaran stressed that ‘platform speakers from the majority Sinhala-Buddhist community were spreading the theory that Sri Lanka was a Sinhalese-Buddhist country’ where other communities lived as per dictates of the Sinhala-Buddhist majority. He further added that these Sinhalese platform...

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