UNP tariff hike protest causes scuffles in parliament

Members of the UNP held a candlelight protest, calling on the government to scrap the recent electricity tariff increases, forcing the sitting to be adjourned. TNA MPs MA Sumanthiran and S Yogeshwaran also supported the opposition in their protest. While UNP and other opposition members shouted slogans, members of the ruling coalition threw water bottles at them, reported The Island : “One of the bottles hurled by MP Ratwatte hit MP Ranjan Ramanayake, who advanced towards the government side challening MP Ratwatte for a fight. MP Ratwatte however retreated while Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara...

Sri Lanka lauds Bahrain's enforcement of the 'law'

The Bharain Council of Representatives Speaker, Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Dhahrani, outlined the importance of fortifying parliamentary cooperation between the Bharaini and Sri Lankan parliaments, in a visit to Sri Lankan parliament Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa. Whilst presenting an open invitation to the Sri Lankan parliament Speaker to visit Bahrain and discuss bilateral parliamentary cooperation, Al Dhahrani stressed the need of the two nations to coordinate stances at international and Asian gatherings, The Sri Lankan speaker also welcomed strong bilateral parliamentary relations, accentuating the...

'Local politicians behind increase in tourist attacks' - Sunday Times

Sri Lanka’s Sunday Times has reported increased incidents of sexual harassment and other attacks on tourists. The paper reported that police sources said local politicians are behind the attacks. See excerpts below: “Police are recording frequent complaints of sexual harassment of tourists in the South, with the latest report of sexual harassment of an Israeli female tourist by a local. On Sinhala and Tamil New Year’s day, a 32-year-old Israeli tourist was sexually harassed while on the beach, when her husband had gone to the nearby beach resort in Mirissa, where they were staying. “According...

Bangladesh will back SL - says Rajapaksa's office

Bangladesh will stand by Sri Lanka on the issue of human rights, reported the Sri Lankan president's office on Tuesday. Following a visit to Sri Lanka this week by the Bangladeshi Foreign Secretary, Shahidul Haque, he was quoted by Rajapaksa's office as saying to the president: "We stand by our Sri Lankan brothers on the issue of human rights. It's an internal matter, and we are confident of the leadership. We don't want to see this brought up [in international fora] at any level," Bangladesh is the Chair of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) at present. Bangladeshi delegation...

UK judge affirms risk to Tamil protesters facing deportation

In an asylum appeal case last month, a UK judge deemed that the asylum seeker - a Tamil man who had taken part in numerous protests in the UK - was at risk on deportation purely due to his participation in anti-Sri Lankan government protests, and was granted asylum one this alone, not due to any association with the LTTE. The First Tier Tribunal Judge Mailer in the Immigration and Asylum Chamber considered: “The evidence relating to Sri Lanka is clear. Those who seek to appose the government by way of demonstrations, contending that the leaders should be implicated and charged for war crimes, would be treated harshly”. “Having considered the background material produced as well as the evidence from the report of TAG, we find that the submissions relating to the potentially hostile treatment meted out by the Sri Lankan authorities in respect of a person perceived to have been involved in anti government protests in the diaspora, to be made out.” See here for a report by Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) on the case. Extract reproduced below: "The ruling is especially perspicacious in recognizing that risk is related not to facts alone but to perceptions. It was put to the appellant that his being part of protests did not amount to his being a member of the LTTE. The appellant concurred, “He said that it was not he who was saying that. The government might think that.” It is the question of perception that matters and that needs to be considered when assessing risk. There are several sources for unearthing the Sri Lankan State perception with regards to protesters. In her evidence before the Tribunal, TAG Director, Janani Jananayagam enumerated many of these sources. She was quoted in the determination, speaking of a “history of hostility to and demonisation of diaspora organisations supporting a secession of the Tamil homelands in Sri Lanka” – indeed the GoSL attitude and actions today against those who call for accountability for crimes is not without precedent.

PEARL calls on CMAG to suspend SL

The US based advocacy group PEARL - People for Equality And Relief in Lanka - called on the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to suspend Sri Lanka from the Councils of the Commonwealth in a statement released on Wednesday. See here for full statement, extracts reproduced in full below: "Suspending Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth will send a clear message to the Sri Lankan government as well as other oppressive regimes around the world, that the Commonwealth is willing and able to take decisive action in the face of the world's worst crimes. If CMAG does not decide to suspend Sri...

Tamil from Australia tortured in Sri Lanka

Photograph ABC A Tamil man from Australia who returned to Sri Lanka last month to visit a sick family member was raped and tortured by Sri Lanka’s security forces. Speaking to Australia’s ABC , the man, only identified as Kumar, made shocking claims regarding the treatment he was subjected to on return. See video of news report here . Kumar was abducted by a white van, soon after his arrival and taken to a blood-stained room by army intelligence officers. "I was naked and no place to sleep, except the floor like a dog. I felt like dying but I thought of my kids and family back here, "They came back and again started hitting me with a log at my back and now I've got a spine problem as well, "The two guys were drunk and they came to me and they just put their hand on my body and they just rubbed me and I had some sexual torture as well,” Kumar said.

Sri Lankan Police reject US State Dept report

Sri Lankan Police have rejected charges of torture raised in the US State Department’s 2012 Human Rights report, slamming the allegations as “baseless”. The report , released earlier this week stated that there were still credible reports of torture of civilians carried out by security forces, noting “"a disproportionate number of victims of human rights violations were Tamils". Police spokesman Prishantha Jayakody called the allegations “baseless”, adding , "There have not been such reports in recent times". Earlier this year Human Rights Watch also released a report detailing the rape,...

'No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka' screened in the UK

www.nofirezone.org On 23 rd April 2013, the documentary “ No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka ” , outlining credible allegations of war crimes and human rights abuses committed by the Sri Lankan government, was screened for the first time in the United Kingdom. Introducing the documentary to an oversubscribed preview screening event at The Frontline Club, the director, Callum Macrae, assured that, “We can rule out any possibility of this evidence being faked.” He also noted, “if there are any Sri Lankan government representatives here they will say that this evidence is fake.” The...

Relocate CHOGM - HRW

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has repeated its calls for a change of venue for the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) due to be held in Sri Lanka. HRW Asia director, Brad Adams said: “The Commonwealth will rightly face international ridicule if it goes ahead with its summit in Sri Lanka,” “The CMAG meeting should send a message to the Sri Lankan government that the scale and severity of its abuses violate the Commonwealth’s core values and will not be rewarded.” “The Commonwealth needs to have the courage of its convictions and its values and inform the Sri Lankan government...

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