Vanni fearful amid further arrests and intensified militarisation

Vanni is gripped with fear amidst intensified militarisation and arrests, including two incidents of a pregnant mother in Trincomalee and a 28 year old woman in Vasvamaadu , Mullaitheevu district being arrested, reports JDS. One senior citizen from Vanni told the JDS of increased mobile and permanent check posts along Paranthan-Mullaithivu road and Puthukudiyiruppu-Mankulam road since the arrest of the the disappearances campaigner Balendran Jeyakumari and her 13 year old daughter Vipoosika on Thursday.

President Rajapaksa defends government's foreign policy

The Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa defended the government's foreign policy yesterday at the opening ceremony of the Galle-Matara Southern Expressway, reports Sri Lanka's Sunday Times . Making reference to criticisms from the opposition party, UNP that the government's poor foreign policy had resulted in the latest UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka, President Rajapaksa said “it is their foreign policy which divided the country,” adding,

Excellency - 'we'll protect you with our last drop of blood'

A poster spotted in Galle this weekend, featuring a large smiling President Rajapaksa, reads: "TO INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY / HRC GENEVA Avoid meddling in Our Motherland Do not Touch Out Leader Dear Leader, Excellency MAHINDA RAJAPAKSHA, You Will also Take Our Country to Prosperity You are Our Great Leader, You are Our President, We'll Protect You With Our Last Drop of Blood, We are Prepared to Fight on Your Behalf! "

NPC to protest against limestone quarrying in Kilinochchi

The Northern Provincial Council has said it will be lodging a formal protest with the Environment Ministry against the government's approval of a limestone quarrying project in Kilinochchi, reports the Sunday Times. “Our Chief Minister [CV Wigneswaran] will be taking it up with the central government and at the district level as even the local officials had not been consulted about the environmental impact of the project,” said the NPC's Environment Minister Ponnuthurai Ayngaranesan.

Video of Sri Lankan soldier describing use of chemical weapons - India's News X

2nd lead (updated 18:58 GMT) comments from Maga Tamizh Prabhagaran The Indian news channel 'News X' broadcast today footage of a Sri Lankan army officer reportedly boasting of the use of chemical weapons against Tamil fighters and civilians during the final stages of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka. The footage, from the documentary 'This land belongs to the army ' by the Indian journalist Thamizh Prabhakar, shows a Sri Lankan soldier pointing to a chemical weapon and describing in detail how it works.

Two more activists detained - Kilinochchi

Published 17:24 GMT, last updated 19:42 GMT Two rights campaigners, Father Praveen the Director of the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, and the Sri Lankan human rights campaigner, Ruki Fernando, have been detained by security forces in Kilinochchi, local sources said. The sources said the activists were detained by officials from the Terrorism Investigation Department (TID), however Kilinochchi police gave contradicting reports.

BTF: Arrest of disappearances campaigners underscores need for strong UNHRC resolution

The arrest and detention of the disappearances campaigner Ms. Jeyakumari and her 13 year old daughter Vipoosika on Thursday, " underscores the need for a strong resolution at the UNHRC " said the British Tamils Forum on Friday. Calling on the UN Human Rights Council member states to ensure an international investigation with "real authority and clout" is established, the BTF said, "The actions of the Sri Lankan state are all the more brazen given their timing . Sri Lanka is currently coming under intense scrutiny at the 25th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, and yet these arrests show it no longer has any concern over its international image and, more worryingly, indicate that Sri Lanka does not expect the international community to take any concrete action to arrest its ongoing persecution of Tamils."

Tamils protest in Vavuniya against detention of Jeyakumari and Vipoosika

Photographs @GGPonnambalam Tamils took to the streets in Vavuniya this morning, protesting against the arrest and detention of disappearances campaigners Balendran Jeyakumari and her 13 year old daughter Vipoosika. Families, distraught over the disappearance of their loved ones, lined the streets holding photographs of the missing and demanding that their fellow campaigners be released. Ms. Jeyakumari and her daughter Vipoosika, came to prominence for their relentless campaigning over the disappearance of her husband and son, particularly during the British Prime Minister's visit to Jaffna. Protest organisers, TNPF (Tamil National People's Front) reported Sri Lankan police had attempted to disrupt the protest. Party leader, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, said government intelligence agents were actively "chasing away" Tamils from taking part in the protest. Shortly before the protest was due to start, the TNPF Secretary, S. Kajendran received a phone call from an officer belonging to the Vavuniya division, demanding that the protest be cancelled or postponed. Stating that a 'counter protest' had been organised with an expected crowd of over 3000, the officer warned the police could not guarantee the safety of the Tamil protesters if there were "clashes".

CMAG pressed on attitude towards Sri Lanka

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), the Commonwealth body responsible for dealing with serious or persistent violations of Commonwealth values, came under scrutiny over its handling of Sri Lanka during a press conference following its 43rd meeting in London on Friday.

SL Army accuses Ananthy Sasitharan of making 'misleading' statements over Jeyakumari-Vipoosika arrest

The Sri Lankan Army accused the Northern Province Councillor and campaigner, Ananthy Sasitharan and other politicians of making " misleading statements " that were " politically motivated " about the Sri Lankan police's arrest and detention of the prominent disappearances campaigner, Balendran Jeyakumari and her 13 year old daughter, Vipoosika. Rejecting international concern over their arrest, the Army asserted, "The actions taken by the law enforcement authorities are well within the existing legal framework and are carried out to ensure peace, territorial integrity and national unity ." Ananthi Sasitharan addressing UNHRC on March 14th Explicitly naming Ms Sasitharan, who raised the issue of Ms. Jeyakumari's and Vipoosika's detention to UN Human Rights Council member states , during an address to the Council on Friday, the Army said in a statement issues today, "The allegations made by Ms. Ananthy Sashidharan and other politicians with vested interests that this arrest was carried out as the suspect was one of their supporters is incorrect and totally baseless . Such misleading statements are politically motivated and we reject these attempts to hide the truth ." Accusing Ms. Jeyakumari of giving shelter to an armed criminal, the Army claimed that her 13 year old daughter was " also taken in to protective custody as there was no adult in the neighborhood willing to give shelter to her. "