SL rejects Navi Pillay's March 2014 deadline

Sri Lanka’ s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ravintha Aryasinaha, rejected the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay’s March 2014 deadline for Sri Lanka to address concerns regarding the investigation of rights violations. Speaking at the United Nations Human Rights council, Arayasinha said , “Sri Lanka strongly repudiates the High Commissioner’s assertion that if certain concerns are not comprehensively addressed before March 2014, she believes the international community will have a duty to establish its own inquiry mechanisms.”

HRW urges Commonwealth Ministers to press SL on rights abuses

Human Rights watch urged Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, to press Sri Lanka on human rights abuses and make it a priority during the meeting due to take place tomorrow. HRW's Asia Director, Brad Adams said: “The UN rights chief decried a worsening situation in Sri Lanka and listed past and present problems that contradict official ‘Commonwealth values,’” “The Commonwealth should not bury its head in the sand and ignore Sri Lanka’s serious human rights problems.” “Commonwealth ministers should at least be willing to hear an independent account of the situation in Sri Lanka,” “Why haven’...

Lawyers Rights Watch call for 'complete' withdrawal of military from N-E

In a statement delivered at the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday, Lawyers Rights Watch Canada condemned the military's interference at the Northern Provincial Council this weekend, drawing particular attention to the attack against the TNA candidate, Ananthi Sasitharan. Calling on the Sri Lankan government to " fully withdraw its military from the North and East of Sri Lanka ", the group demanded that the " withdrawal of the military should be immediate, unconditional, and complete and should take place by December 31, 2013 ". Delivering the statement, Vani Selvarajah of LRWC said: "The...

International community's duty to set up investigation mechanism in SL: Navi Pillay

Sri Lanka faced intense scrutiny at the 24 th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council , as Navi Pillay’s oral update on Sri Lanka was delivered by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, today. Download full statement here . Noting the heavy militarisation of the North-East 4 years after the end of the war, the update expressed concern about reports of actions undertaken by the Sri Lankan government to deceive the Human rights commissioner, stating, “The High Commissioner has identified, however, a number of factors impeding normalization, which – if not quickly rectified – may sow the seeds of future discord. Four years since the end of the war, the military presence in the north remains considerable. The High Commissioner received information that a number of military checkpoints and barriers were removed just before her arrival and reinstated after her departure .” Disappointed at Sri Lanka’s attempts to credibly investigate allegations which had been of concern to the Human Rights council, the statement read, “ The High Commissioner stressed that appointing the armed forces to investigate itself does not inspire confidence in a country where so many past investigations and commissions of inquiry have foundered. ”

UK to deport Tamil family despite risk of persecution

The British authorities plan to deport a three year old autistic child born in the UK, along with his Tamil parents and siblings who are all suffering mental health problems on the 26 th of September 2013. Lawyers have stressed that the parents are too mentally distressed to support their children who have already been traumatised by earlier attempts to deport them. The father claimed asylum in the UK under the grounds that he is at risk in Sri Lanka on the grounds that he is a homosexual, had past involvement with Tamil Tiger rebels and taken part in recent human rights protests whilst...

"A terrible pact not to mention Sri Lanka’s war crimes." - Jon Snow

Channel 4 reporter Jon Snow blogs about the cocktail party co-hosted in New York near the United Nations by British Foreign officials along with Sri Lanka and Australia. See here for full post. Extracts reproduced below: Last night, in a dimly lit side street a stone’s throw from the towering UN headquarters here in New York, Britain co-hosted a drinks party with Sri Lanka - a country led by regime accused of the worst war crimes committed this century. Australia joined the fray to render it a tripartite affair. This was an early taster of what is to come. An institution – the British Commonwealth – is to play a macabre role in securing the re-entry into the family of nations of a country which has unaddressed blood on its hands on an horrific scale. Commonwealth countries will be greeted and facilitated by a president, and a government, against whom evidence exists of war crimes and crimes against humanity, which we have screened and which the UN itself has substantiated. The reform programme underway inside the Commonwealth is centred on human rights. On the basis of the prickly charm offensive conducted last night, a terrible pact has perhaps been entered into not to mention Sri Lanka’s war crimes.

US calls for investigation into election violence

Commenting on the recent Northern Provincial elections, the United States Embassy in Colombo reiterated the need for the abolishment of violence and intimidation to ensure effective administration. Issuing a statement today, the US embassy called for accountability and justice stating , “We remain concerned about reports of elections violence, and urge a transparent and independent investigation into the various attacks and that the perpetrators be brought to justice swiftly. Particularly the troubling reports of involvement by uniformed individuals in these acts. A process free of violence...

TNA won't be able to fulfil Tamil mandate in NPC - Douglas

Douglas Devananda – Minister for Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development – accused the TNA of tricking the Tamil people of the North to vote for them, according to the Island . Devananda made his accusations on the basis that the TNA would not be able to keep any of the election promises made to the Tamil people, mainly, reducing military presence in the North, resettlement of Tamils in their own homelands and development of the North.

Diaspora organisations react to NPC results

In a statement released today, the British Tamils Forum (BTF), outlined the need of the international community to work with the Tamil People in the North-East to safeguard their human, political and cultural rights. Commenting on the resolve of the Tamil people the statement read, “The Tamil people’s overwhelming support for Tamil rule in the election is made all the more remarkable by the widespread violence, intimidation and misinformation they faced in the run-up to and on the day of the election. The fact that Sri Lanka’s ruling alliance received such a drubbing in the election – despite the threats and bribes it offered the Tamil people – is testament to the courage and overwhelming conviction of the Tamil people. Furthermore, the shocking reports of intimidation during this election – often in full view of election monitors and the media – should serve as a reminder to the global Tamil community that it is their duty to speak up and tell the world about the injustices and persecution faced by their kin in the island of Sri Lanka.” “ Given the increasingly perilous position of the Tamil people in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka, it is more important than ever that the international community works with the Tamil people, and the Tamil- mandated TNA, to safeguard their human, political and cultural rights – including their right to self- determination – and to protect them from the genocide perpetrated by the Sri Lankan state. British Tamils Forum stands shoulder to shoulder with any individual or organisation that works towards these aims.”

JHU fears NPC will breed separatism

One of Sri Lanka’s hardline Sinhala nationalist parties has warned the government to scale down Northern Provincial Council powers for fear that the TNA’s landslide victory and the powers it will acquire will breed separatism. Leader of Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), part of the governing United People’s Freedom Alliance, Udaya Gammanpila said : "The real war has just begun. We are entering a new phase of the war. It is not a war that will be fought with guns and bombs." "The TNA will revive the separatists' campaign through the provincial council."