Separate NE governance won't be a reality - Gotabhaya

Speaking to a visiting Indian parliamentary delegation, the Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that a separate system of governance for the North-East will never be a reality, reports the Island. He reportedly added, 'the government wouldn’t discriminate against any community'.

US aid cut will have no impact says SL official

Responding to a proposal by the US Secretary of State John Kerry for a 20% cut in US aid to Sri Lanka, a senior government official has asserted that the proposed cut will have no impact on the Sri Lankan economy, according to the government's official news portal - . According to the news source, the official, who wished to remain anonymous also remarked: “Yes US is having its own problems to solve as it has to tackle the terrorism in its own soil”.

Change venue or postpone CHOGM - CTC urges CMAG

Drawing attention to the Uthayan attack and the continued post-UNHRC resolution violations of human rights, the Canadian Tamil Congress called on members of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to move the CHOGM 2013 from Sri Lanka. See here for full statement published on Monday. Reproduced in full below: Only three weeks ago, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed a resolution stating its concern surrounding the "continuing reports of violations of human rights in Sri Lanka, including enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture, and violations of the rights of expression, association and peaceful assembly, as well as intimidation of and reprisals against human rights defenders, members of civil society and journalist, and threats to judicial independence and the rule of law, and discrimination on the basis of religion or belief."

India’s aid to SL unconditional

The Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai has said that no conditions are attached to aid that India gives to countries including Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. "Our engagement is demand driven and response to the developmental priorities of our partner countries. We do not attach conditionalities, we do not prescribe policies and we do not challenge national sovereignty. We promote mutually beneficial exchange of development, experiences and resources," Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said . "Over the years, we have considerably expanded our development cooperation portfolio through...

U.S State Department reiterates calls for freedom of expression

The United States expressed concern over the prevalent threat to freedom of expression in Sri Lanka, adding to the mounting calls for Sri Lankan authorities to protect freedom of expression. Responding to a media query on the recent attack on a Tamil daily Paper, Uthayan, the U.S State Department Acting Deputy Spokesperson, Patrick Ventrell, outlined the U.S condemnation of the attack. " This incident is the latest in a series of attacks against this outlet and media organisations in general. And as we have said many times, we remain extremely concerned about threats to freedom of expression...

Navy denies arresting Indian fishermen

The Sri Lankan Navy has denied arresting Indian fishermen, as alleged attacks against Indian fishermen remained rampant over the past week. As Indian officials and the President of the local fishermen association alleged that 9 fishermen were held in custody by the Sri Lankan Navy, spokesperson Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya said , "We have not arrested any Indian fishermen anywhere". Earlier this month 56 Indian fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy, prompting widespread criticism in Tamil Nadu. They have not yet been freed. There have been continued allegations of attacks by the...

US proposes aid cut citing SL military interference

The US Secretary of State John Kerry proposed cutting aid to Sri Lanka by 20 per cent, citing difficulties experienced in channelling money towards IDPs due to military interference. A senior state department official has been quoted as saying: " This reflects both the fact that we had difficult time in programming a lot of our money in Sri Lanka . We tried to do a lot in the North to help the IDPs and get back to their normal life and support reconstruction efforts there. But in several cases we had programmes that we were trying to support, to which the government - the military got quite...

SL Washington embassy hires firms to lobby US govt

The Sri Lankan embassy in the Washington DC, has hired the lobbying firm Majority Group to 'lobby the US government to change its attitude towards Sri Lanka', reports the Ambassador Wickremesuriya made the agreement on behalf of the Sri Lankan government for US $50,000 a month. Last week the reported that Sri Lanka's Central Bank hired the US lobby firm, Thompson Advisory Group LLC for US $ 66,600 a month. See here .

British Airways resumes flights to Sri Lanka

British Airways resumed flights to Sri Lanka, for the first time in 15 years, after the service was suspended due to the country’s civil war, which was concluded by a mass onslaught on Tamil civilians. The British Airways Boeing 777 touched down, to a warm welcome, at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International airport. A celebratory reception was held for 19 crew members, including the Chief Executive Officer of British Airways, William Keith. British Airway’s decision to resume services to Sri Lanka, comes amidst international calls for an independent international investigation into war crimes...

FCO Human Rights report expresses “serious concern” on SL

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Human Rights and Democracy report 2012 was released today, criticising Sri Lanka’s human rights situation. The report expressed “serious concern” at a number of “negative developments” in the country in 2012. “The human rights situation in Sri Lanka in 2012 remained of serious concern, with a number of negative developments, including with regard to freedom of expression and media and judicial independence,” the report said. The report also criticised the militarisation in the north and the harassment of former LTTE cadres. “At the end of 2012, 775 ex-...