US welcomes Pillay UNHRC report

The US State Department has said in a press release on the outcomes of the 24th UN Human Rights Council Session in Geneva that it welcomes High Commissioner Navi Pillay’s report. It highlighted restrictions on freedom of expression, attacks on human rights defenders and journalists, and interference with the judiciary as areas of concern and said the US “also noted the High Commissioner’s assessment that, absent meaningful progress on post-conflict accountability, calls for an international inquiry will persist.” See full press release here .

Tamil journalists complain of harassment by security forces

Two Tamil journalists of the Yarl Thinakkural have been harassed by individuals claiming to be from the Terrorist investigation Division (TID) of the Sri Lankan security forces, reported TamilNet . The chief editor of the paper, V Atputhananthan complained to the regional branch of the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission in Jaffna, saying that Punitharuban Vinslow and Tharmabalan Vinojith were being inquired about by the individuals, who visited the office of the paper and the areas where the journalists live. “The above two are working in this institution as Staff Reporters for the last five...

'I look beyond seats and positions' - Ananthy Sasitharan

Since the conclusion of the Northern Provincial Council elections, the TNA leadership's selection of ministerial positions for the NPC has proved a contentious topic. Much of the controversy has centred around Ananthy Sasitharan - a widely popular, outspoken, openly Tamil nationalist candidate, who also happens to be the only female candidate to win a seat on the council - with many reports suggesting the leadership are trying to sideline her. Both local and international observers commented that the positions being considered for Sasitharan, who secured the second highest number of preferential votes in the election, did not fairly reflect her high standing among the Tamil electorate. (See article by Amanda Hodge for The Australian). In an official response in Tamil, released on Tuesday, Ananthy Sasitharan stood firm on her election campaign, whilst dismissing any notion that she was interested in fighting for positions, and rejected allegations that she herself had caused the controversy. See here for Ananthy Sasitharan’s full statement in Tamil. Translation in English below: “I cannot express enough gratitude to all that cast their vote for me in the recent Northern Provincial Council elections and secured for me the second highest number of preferential votes after the Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran. I assure you all that I will not budge an inch from the expectations with which you voted for me. Some media outlets with certain intentions have been circulating distorted stories alleging, that I, Ananthy Sasitharan, have been clamouring for a ministerial position in the Northern Provincial Council. I reject these distortions and allegations as I have never considered a ministerial position on the Northern Provincial Council to be the only possible way to serve our people. If being a member of the Northern Provincial Council proves to be an obstacle in being of service to and being a voice to our war-scarred people, then I am willing to pass up that position also.

Sri Lanka has no obligation to answer for Tamil civilian deaths of 2009 : GL Peiris

Sri Lanka’s foreign minister, GL Peiris, stressed today that his government has no obligation to answer for the reported deaths of thousands of Tamil civilians at the end of the 2009 conflict. Speaking on the side-lines of the United Nations General Assembly, Peris, defended the Sri Lankan government’s efforts of investigating the alleged massacres, assuring that a commission of inquiry appointed by Sri Lanka’s president in August to investigate disappearances would report back after six months. Contending that the UN human rights council was discriminating unfairly against Sri Lanka, he said...

Madras High Court wants answers over war ship deal

The Madras High Court has called upon the Indian Government’s Cabinet Secretary to answer three queries, regarding the sale of two war ships to Sri Lanka. The Madurai bench of the High Court wanted further details on the "mechanism and arrangement" of the sale, and also questioned as to why the deal was being made at a time when there were strained relations between the two governments. Madurai based lawyer, Stalin, had earlier filed a petition against the sale, stating that Tamils were strongly against Sri Lanka, "who hold the island government responsible for the death of Tamils". He went...

JHU accuses TNA of violating the constitution

The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), a member of the ruling coalition in Sri Lanka, accused demands of the TNA as a violation of the Sri Lankan constitution. Commenting on recent calls by the TNA to change the governor of the northern province, the legal advisor to the JHU and Western Provincial Council Minister, Udaya Gammanpila, said, “I am ashamed of the legal knowledge of former Supreme Court Judge C.V Wigneswaran and Counsel M.A Sumanthiran.” Gammanpila recently criticised the for not banning the TNA after the defeat of the LTTE, stating , “Once Saddam Hussein was defeated the Ba’ath Part was...

SL rejects March 2014 UN deadline... again

The Sri Lankan government has reiterated their rejection of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay’s March 2014 deadline for the government to credibly investigate and prosecute those guilty of human rights abuses. Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunatilaka Amunugama however stated, “ She cannot set a deadline. We have implemented most recommendations in the LLRC report. There are some shortcomings which we will deal with accordingly.” The Sunday Leader also reported that “The External Affairs Ministry Secretary said he did not believe there will be an...

Ban Ki-moon and Indian Minister discuss Sri Lanka

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Kurshid met at the UN in New York and discussed developments in several countries in India’s periphery, including Sri Lanka and Burma. Ban Ki-moon is reported to have stressed India’s regional role and the importance of dialogue, inclusiveness and reconciliation, reported the Colombo Gazette. Read more here .

SL army to investigate rape allegations in Haiti

The Sri Lankan Army has announced that it will send a high-profile team to Haiti to investigate allegations of rape committed by a Sri Lankan peacekeeping soldier. The appointed Court of Inquiry which consists of three senior army officers, to investigate the allegations, is also under the mandate to investigate if there were any deliberate attempts to discredit the Sri Lankan Army in Haiti.

Jayalalitha calls for “firm” action against Sri Lanka

Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister J Jayalalitha has urged India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take firm action against Sri Lanka and force it to stop attacks on Tamil fishermen. "The government of India has virtually abandoned its poor and defenceless fishermen to face an uncertain future caused by the risk of daily attacks and abduction at the hands of the Sri Lankan Navy,” she said in a letter to Singh. "Unless the government of India displays greater fortitude and firmness and acts with alacrity through diplomatic channels to put pressure on Sri Lanka, there appears to be little chance of...