Rajapaksa announces militarised task force for 'disciplined, virtuous, and lawful society'

Sri Lanka’s president Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced a Presidential Task Force consisting entirely of military and police personnel to build a “secure country and a disciplined, virtuous, and lawful society,” as the state continued with its militarisation of the island. The creation of the task force, entitled the “Presidential Task Force to build a Secure Country, Disciplined, Virtuous and Lawful Society” , was announced by Rajapaksa just hours after Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court dismissed petitions challenging his refusal to reconvene parliament and paves the way for parliamentary elections to be...

Falsely arrested and tortured disabled Tamil man submits complaint at Human Rights Commission

An elderly disabled man was falsely accused and arrested by police officers and tortured in custody. A complaint regarding the incident has been lodged at the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, in Jaffna. In his complaint, he stated that he was brutally tortured on the night of the incident by the police officers and arrested under a false accusation, despite not being involved.

Sri Lanka to reopen tourism industry in August with restrictions

Sri Lanka plans to reopen its tourism industry on August 1 by allowing small groups of tourists to visit the island. Speaking to Reuters, Kimali Fernando, chairperson of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau said that visitors will be able to visit from August and “stay in approved five-star hotels that have put strict safety measures in place.” Tourists will be required to carry a “COVID-19 free” certificate issued by their governments and will also need to wait on arrival at the airport for coronavirus testing. If the proposals are approved by the Sri Lankan government, Bandaranaike...

Sri Lankan President vows to overhaul prison system

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has vowed to overhaul the prison systems in Sri Lanka to eradicate the criminal underworld however the appointment of war criminals to head these reforms is a reason for concern. A committee comprised of the notorious war criminal and Army Commander Shavendra Silva , Defence Secretary Kamal Gunaratne , and the Inspector General of Police. This committee was announced during a meeting attended by these figures as well as the President, the Secretary to the President, Minister Nimal Siripala, Secretary to Ministry of Justice, Mrs. S. M. Mohamed,...

'I do not need to talk about that' - Sampanthan

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R Sampanthan refused to answer several questions on Sri Lanka’s flag and the armed Tamil struggle in a hot-headed interview with Sooriyan FM last week, where he distanced himself from spokesperson M A Sumanthiran as the party’s senior leadership continued to come under criticism. Speaking to Sooriyan FM, Sampanthan became visibly irate during the interview, shaking his fist and refusing to elaborate on several questions, stating that many topics were “old stories”.

UNP cancels membership of those who joined Samagi Jana Balawegaya

The United National Party (UNP) has cancelled the membership of 99 members who joined the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), which includes the membership of deputy leader Sajith Premadasa. The SJB is a breakaway political fraction which seeks to contest the 2020 Sri Lankan elections which have been postponed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. This decision will mean that Premadasa will lose his position as deputy leader, electoral organiser, and his position within the Working Committee. Senior party members such as Lakshman Kiriella, Kabir Hashim, Mangala Samaraweera, Gayantha Karunatilaka...

Commemorations held to mark 39 years since burning of Jaffna Library

Commemoration events to mark 39 years since the burning down of the Jaffna Public Library, were observed yesterday in Jaffna. The library, which housed over 95,000 unique Tamil literature, was targeted and set ablaze by Sri Lankan security forces and state-sponsored mobs on the midnight of May 31, 1981.

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court unanimously dismisses petition and sets stage for elections

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed a petition challenging the president Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s decision to reconvene parliament. Rajapaksa had dissolved parliament, with hopes of holding a general election to build on his party’s popularity after his electoral victory in presidential polls last year. However, the coronavirus pandemic has led to the elections being delayed.

Murdered Tamil journalist Aiyathurai Nadesan remembered in Vavuniya

Murdered Tamil journalist Aiyathurai Nadesan was remembered by journalists in Vavuniya, to mark 16 years since his assassination. Mr Nadesan was shot dead in Batticaloa on his way to work on May 31 2004. He was a profile journalist and a columnist who worked for local Tamil dailies and international news agencies. Members of Vavuniya Tamil Journalists Association lit candles and laid flowers in tribute to the slain journalist. The award winning journalist, known by his penname "Nellai Nadesan" was threatened before his death for his reporting on the Sri Lankan army. He was one of several...

Human rights lawyer faces continuous death threats from Sinhala extremist groups

Sri Lankan Supreme Court lawyer faces continuous death threats on social media from Sinhala extremist groups. Attorney at Law, Achala Shanika Seneviratne, is targeted by extremist groups as she represents victims in several cases of human rights violations committed by Sri Lanka’s security forces, Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS) reported. She has filed two complaints with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in the last year, yet no action has been taken. “As a lawyer, I appear on behalf of victims in several cases including the case of navy personnel abducting and...