UK minister reiterates March deadline for Sri Lanka

Britain’s Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire once again reiterated that unless allegations of war crimes have “credible, transparent and independent investigations” taking place by March, then Britain will push for an international investigation to begin. Responding to a question on the progress of establishing an independent investigation, Swire went on to state that, “We are regularly discussing Sri Lanka with a range of international partners in the run-up to the next session of the Human Rights Council in March”. Swire also said that, “we will continue to press the Sri Lankan Government for credible, transparent and independent investigations into alleged war crimes”.

Body of 19y male found in Oorkaavarthurai

The body of a 19 year old male was found in marsh land in Oorkaavarthurai yesterday, reports Uthayan . The decomposing body has been identified as that of Anton Isrin, who was last seen leaving his house on January 14th. His body has been taken to Jaffna Teaching Hospital for a post-mortem.

Sri Lanka to present findings from census at Geneva

Sri Lanka’s Plantation Industries Minister Mahinda Buddhadasa Samarasinghe has said that he will present the findings from the census in Geneva during the UN Human Rights Council session in March. The government announced the census last year and said it would be used to ascertain the real number of people who died during the conflict. Samarasinghe also said that the government would not betray the motherland and the security forces in Geneva, accusing “self-appointed human rights protectors of finding faults with the Sri Lankan security forces”, reported The Island. See our TG View - Erasing...

Mannar mass grave toll reaches 40

As excavations continued today, the number of human remains found rose to 40, reports Uthayan. Excavations are set to continue on January 20th. The mass grave was initially discovered after construction workers found two human skeletons on December 20th when digging in Thirukketheeswaram. The following week, a further four skulls were unearthed , with more over subsequent weeks (see also here and here ). This week the Bishop of Mannar said that the holes in many of the skulls were believed to be from gunshot wounds.

Will not betray our nation or gallant troops at UNHRC - SL Human Rights Minister

Sri Lanka's Human Rights envoy to Geneva and Plantations Minister, Mahinda Samarasinghe, asserted that Sri Lanka was "ready to face any challenge" as the UNHRC this March, and would "neither betray the nation or our gallant troops", reports the Daily Mirror Lk . Speaking to crowds in Kandy, Samarasinghe said, “We have a big challenge in March. We are ready to face any challenge,” “We will neither betray the nation nor our gallant troops.” “We all know what the LTTE did. They took as human shields 300,000 civilians. They fired at troops from among the civilians.” “It was true that the...

Sri Lankan defence university gets most funds

The Inter University Students’ Union has complained that the government spent more money on the Kotelawala Defence University (KDU), than on all other universities combined, reported ColomboPage earlier this month. IUSF Convener, Sanjeeva Bandara explained that the government has allocated Rs10.144bn to state universities while allocating Rs17.311bn to the KDU this year.

US sponsors ‘Civil Society Initiatives to Support the Rule of Law’

The United States has announced it is supporting the Bar Association of Sri Lanka’s program entitled “Civil Society Initiatives to Support the Rule of Law”, signing a Memorandum of Understanding at the US Embassy in Colombo on Thursday. The sponsorship, through US Agency for International Development, will see support for the three-year program, which will “foster further linkages between the Sri Lanka Bar and U.S. state bar association” according to an embassy press release . Photograph: US Embassy Colombo US Ambassador Michele Sison stated at the signing ceremony, “I am so pleased to...

Holes in skulls from gunshots - Bishop of Mannar

Skeletons found at Mannar mass grave had holes in skulls, believed to be from gunshots wounds said the Bishop of Mannar, Rayappu Joseph, speaking to Reuters . "This grave has grown-up people and children, and there are some holes in the skulls believed to be from gunshots," "We don't know who killed these people. This is an area that was held by army for a long time. Wherever there has been LTTE or army camps, we must dig." The Bishop of Mannar had earlier called for an international investigation into the mass grave to ensure complete transparency. A total of 36 remains have been found since...

Britain allowed SAS to train Sri Lankan army - The Guardian

The British government allowed former SAS officers to train the Sri Lankan army in the 1980s as it attempted to defeat Tamil insurgency groups, according to recently released government documents reported The Guardian yesterday. According to the newspaper, a document revealed that days after the Amritsar Temple killing, the Indian Premier asked Margaret Thatcher to stop aiding the Sri Lankan military. "We hope that you will use your influence to persuade [Sri Lanka's] President Jayewardene to give a positive lead by making constructive suggestions at the All Parties Conference. "Military aid and anti-insurgency assistance are not enough to overcome a political crisis which has to be faced and resolved."

Buddhist group calls for arrest of Tamil Bishops

The Ravana Balaya, an organisation made up of Buddhist monks, has called for the arrest of Tamil clergymen who provided ‘false information’ about war crimes to the visiting US ambassador-at-large for war crimes, Stephen Rapp. “We condemn Stephen J. Rapp’s statement calling for a war crime investigation on Sri Lanka. We strongly believe that his statement is based on false information provided by Mannar Bishop Rev. Rayappu Joseph and Jaffna Bishop Rev. Thomas Soundranayagam. Therefore they should be arrested,” General Secretary Iththekande Saddhatissa sid. Sri Lankan archbishop denies war...