Transitional adminstration in NE is a 'matter of urgency' - TNPF

In a statement released at a press conference held in Jaffna on Tuesday, The Tamil National People's Front criticised the failure of the international community " complete failure of the UN and the international community in its obligations under the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) to have intervened on behalf of the Tamil Nation ," and called on the members of the UN Human Rights Council to " to resolve to invoke the doctrine of R2P to the Tamil Nation and to set up a transitional administration in the Tamil homeland comprising of the North East provinces in Sri Lanka, as a matter of urgency ." See statement in English and Tamil . An extract is reproduced below: It is under these circumstances that the TNPF also wishes to draw the attention of the members to 1) the Report by the Panel of Experts appointed by the UN Secretary General to look into accountability issues in Sri Lanka, 2) the recently leaked internal UN Petrie Report 3) the Report by the OHCHR to the 22nd session of the UNHRC, specifically the reiterated call for international independent investigations.

S Africa initiative must not be allowed to mislead - ICG

Whilst the Swiss government has expressed support for what has been dubbed the 'South African initiative' - an effort to promote negotiations towards peace and reconciliation between the the Sri Lankan government and the TNA, led by the South African government and civil society groups - Alan Keenan of the International Crisis Group has cast doubt on the whole affair, stating that it was " hard to be optimistic ". Speaking to Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, Keenan said : “If it has any value, it is only as a long-term channel for eventual trust-building between the parties. But the onus is on...

US opens new hospitals in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu

The US embassy has opened two new hospitals at a cost of over $1 million in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts. Deputy Chief of Mission William Weinstein opened the Mulankavil Base Hospital (Kilinochchi) and the Oddusuddan Divisional Hospital ( Mullaitivu) on Tuesday. “These two civilian hospitals will provide easier access to better and higher quality medical care to the people of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu Districts,” he said, “The US government is helping to improve the lives and health of some of the most vulnerable people in the North,” he added. See details on the US embassy website .

Army officer arrested for stealing gold from Killing Fields

A Sri Lankan Army Officer and 4 soldiers have been arrested for stealing gold, desperately hidden in the ground by fleeing civilians during the last stages of the armed conflict in 2009. The soldiers and the Lieutenant Colonel were digging through the ground and scavaging for the jewellery, before attempting to flee the area in a cab, according to reports . See our earlier post: Floods wash up bodies from the killing fields (08 February 2013)

FT on IMF and Sri Lanka

See here a comment in the Financial Times on Sri Lanka’s row with the IMF over another loan. See also our recent post for background: IMF hesitant to fund Sri Lanka spending (13 Jan 2013)

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...