'Unethical to hurry up murder case' - Attorney General

Sri Lankan Attorney General Palitha Fernando defended the delay in charging the killers of British Red Cross worker Khuram Shaikh, stating it was "unethical" to rush the case in any way. The Attorney General denied there was any political influence over the almost 2 year old murder case, of which one of the killers is a ruling UPFA politician and reported close associate of the Rajapaksa family. He told Ceylon Today , " That is an absurd claim. We can assure everyone that there is no influence exerted over this case. There is no political interference." Instead he blamed the delay on a "lack...

Tamil Nadu activists intensify demands for a boycott of CHOGM

Discontent over the possibility over India's attendance of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting intensified today as 150 activists of the Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam movement were arrested in Tamil Nadu, for staging a rail roko in demand of an Indian boycott of CHOGM in Sri Lanka next month. Police reports suggest that the activists were arrested at Tambaram, Chromepet and Pallavaram railway stations.

'Sri Lanka avoiding Iran sanctions'

Sri Lanka's Sunday Times has reported that the government may be getting around US sanctions placed on Iran by purchasing crude oil from ships in international waters. The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation is reported to have contracted a company called Mercol General Trading LLC to supply the shipment for its oil refineries. Sri Lanka was hit hard by the sanctions imposed on Iran over its suspected nuclear programme, as the country's only refinery is designed to process Iranian-type crude.

BBS wants Defence Ministry to 'take over' archaeology

The group of Buddhist monks, Bodu Bala Sena, has called upon Sri Lanka's Ministry of Defence to 'take over' the archaeology department. General Secretary Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera stated on Thursday, “The Archaeological Department is not capable of protecting our heritage. There are some corrupt officers in the department. They are giving away clues to treasure hunters. The Defence Ministry should take over the Department”. One such claimed Buddhist historical site claimed was in Anuradhapura, where in 2011, monks demolished a mosque and burnt Islamic flags. The incident has not been...

Cameron has 'missed a significant opportunity' - Labour Party

The UK's Labour Party has released a statement declaring that Prime Minister David Cameron has 'missed a significant opportunity' to put pressure on Sri Lanka by attending CHOGM. In a statement released on Friday,Douglas Alexander MP Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, responded to repoprts that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may not be attending the summit by saying, “The indications that Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, may withhold his attendance at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka are a reminder that David Cameron has missed a significant opportunity to...

'All we want is to see our children from a distance'

Reporting from Mannar for the Telegraph, David Blair met with families of the disappeared, who told of their distressing search for their loved ones, as Colombo gears up to host CHOGM in the coming weeks. One mother, Uthayachandra Manuel, whose son was abducted said, "Sometimes I think to myself, 'perhaps if they had killed my son, that may be better than me sitting here and wondering where he is'" "If they had killed him, at least we could have done a religious ceremony and prayer and I would have thought to myself 'it's another death'. The pain of a missing child is not something that anyone can really understand. "

The case of Nimalaruban

As part of a series of posts examining Sri Lanka ahead of CHOGM, the Telegraph looked at the case of Nimalaruban Ganeshan, the 28-year-old Tamil beaten to death in his Vavuniya prison cell. His mother spoke to the Telegraph, saying, “He was a strong boy and because he was my only son, I loved him beyond words... He would vomit every time and he would cry to just stay on my lap”. She recalled how she was asked to sign forms in Sinhalese, a language foreign to her as a Tamil, which cleared the police of any wrong doing, “I screamed at the police ‘you’ve been lying to me all this time, you’re a...

'Sri Lanka: International crimes and a way forward' - TAG

Speaking at the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils and British Tamils Forum joint discussion on genocide in Sri Lanka, Rajganna from Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) called for an international investigation to bring the perpetrators of international crimes in Sri Lanka to justice. Drawing upon existing international legal norms, Rajganna went on to describe how there were "striking similarities" between the events of Srebrenica in 1995 and Mullivaikkal in 2009, both of which satisfy the international legal criteria for genocide. Elaborating on the Srebrenica case study and its...

Government contributes to insecurity among Tamil women - MRG

A report on marginalisation and sexual violence against women in the Northeast by NGO ‘Minority Rights Group’ (MRG) has found that the Sri Lankan government actively contributes to rights violations and insecurity among Tamil women in the Northeast and also said that the situation for many Tamil women has only got worse since the end of the war. In the report’s key findings, MRG explains that many Tamil women in the Northeast are required to be breadwinners, but have not seen an improvement in their rights or status, instead being left out of official development programmes. The report also says that the government’s ‘pervasive’ militarisation had ‘negative consequences for the safety and freedom’ of Tamil women, and actively led to rights violations and insecurity. MRG also noted that female household leaders were especially vulnerable to land grabs and other violations. The Sri Lankan Army responded , denying allegations that military presence is responsible for sexual violence and insecurity in the Northeast, writing them off as a “myth” and presenting statistics claiming that "in a majority of cases, the perpetrators had been close relatives or neighbours of the victim and had been of Tamil ethnicity". See full MRG report: ‘Living with insecurity: Marginalization and sexual violence against women in north and east Sri Lanka’ (PDF) Extracts from the reports executive summary below: “In the latter stages of the conflict and its aftermath, military forces were responsible for a variety of human rights abuses against the civilian population, including extrajudicial killings, disappearance, rape, sexual harassment and other violations. In the current climate of impunity, sustained by insecurity and the lack of military accountability, these abuses continue.”

It is ok to kill terrorists using journalism as cover - Daily News editor

The New York Times, in an interview with the editor of state sponsored Sri Lankan newspaper, The Daily News, looked into why the editor felt state sponsored media was vital in Sri Lanka. Speaking to the New York Times, the editor of the Daily News, Rajpal Abeynayake, outlined that need to have a predominantly state owned media to make sure that the government views were not ignored. Condemning the notion of a complete free press, he said , “ A coterie of privately owned media could bring down the government by manipulating the news, and that doesn’t do justice to those who elected them.” “You...