One month of Gotabaya - abductions, assaults and intimidation

Just weeks into his tenure, journalists, activists and human rights defenders are increasingly fearful of Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government following incidents of journalist harassment; intimidation, interrogations and abductions across the island. Colombo has denied reports linked to many of these incidents, with government spokesperson Ramesh Pathirana denying state involvement in any intimidation of media personnel. "There is no reason for the government to carry out such activities,” he said. “These are baseless allegations.” Earlier today Rajapaksa gave assurances of...

Mullivaikkal survivor abused by Middle-East employers pleads to return home

A Tamil woman who survived the Mullivaikkal genocide is pleading to return home, alleging that she has been abused by her employers in Oman. Selvakumar Priyadarshini sought employment in the Gulf state to relieve her family’s extreme poverty. The 36-year-old from Alampil, Mullaitivu, has told her family that she has been subjected to various abuses and harassment since her arrival in September this year and that she needs help to return home. Priyadarshini and her family survived Mullivaikkal but have struggled to rebuild their lives due to the pervasive poverty and lack of economic...

Sri Lankan president promises ‘media freedom’ under his government

Sri Lanka’s new president Gotabaya Rajapaksa issued a statement on Thursday, claiming that media freedom will not be hindered in any form during his tenure. Rajapaksa, who has a record of violently stifling dissent, addressed heads of local media institutions on Thursday where he said while there was an opportunity for “reasonable criticism”, he expected every media institution to fulfil its obligation towards the country, by “engaging in favourable media reporting” to uphold the country’s reputation. In the statement he called for the media cooperation’s to support his presidential...

Journalist assaulted by SLPP trade union leader

Journalist Maduka Fernando of Lake House Media has reported that he was assaulted by several members of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party’s trade union members. Fernando complained to the police that the assailant is the Chairman of the SLPP trade union, Pragathashili Sangamaya. Fernando went on to name his assaulters, stating that the Chairman was supported by Nuwan Kodikara Chandana Bandara, Gayan Bandara, Hemantha Depp and Chameera Elladeniya. There is reported CCTV footage of the journalist being taken from the office of the Resa Newspaper by a number of persons,...

Indian PM pays tribute to cherished Tamil poet Mahakavi Bharathiyar

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to Subramaniya Bharathy on his birthday, 11th December marking the 137th year of his birth. Arguably the most prolific of Tamil poets, Bharathiar is celebrated by Tamils all over the globe for his influence on feminism, social reform, fight for freedom and many other revolutionary causes. Modi praised him as ‘a symbol of patriotism, social reform, poetic genius and indomitable spirit of freedom and fearlessness’ recognising by his better-known name ‘Mahakavi Bharathiar’, or 'great poet Bharathy'. The annual celebration of Bharathiar's birthday...

CID to investigate allegations against Muslim doctor

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has released a statement, stating that they would launch an investigation into a Muslim doctor, Dr. Mohamed Safi Sihabdeen, who is accused of illegal sterilisation, corruption and supporting terrorism. An investigation launched earlier this July 2019, reported that there was no evidence to support the claims against Dr. Shafi Sihabdeen. Read Colombo Page reporting here .

Swiss embassy employee ordered to undergo psychiatric examination

The Swiss embassy employee who was abducted on November 25 was ordered by the Colombo Magistrate's Court to undergo a psychiatric examination tomorrow. The travel ban imposed on the victim has been further extended until December 17, when the psychiatric report is to be submitted. ColomboPage reported that Attorney-at-law, Upul Kumarapperuma, the victim's representative, requested that the victim be questioned at the Swiss Ambassador's official residence. However, this proposal was rejected by the State counsel on the basis that legal issues may arise. On November 25, the Swiss embassy...

Petition filed to UN after Sri Lanka arrests author for insulting Buddhism

A joint petition by US based law firm, Proskauer Rose LLP and non-profit, Freedom Now has been filed to the United Nations over the arbitrary imprisonment of Sri Lankan author Shakthika Sathkumara by Sri Lankan authorities for allegedly insulting Buddhism.

British prime minister thanks Tamils and hopes for accountability in Sri Lanka

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson released a video thanking the British Tamil community for their contribution to life in the UK and expressed hopes for accountability in Sri Lanka. In a video message that Johnson released on Twitter on the day of Britain’s general election, he said: “I want to thank the Tamil community for everything they do for our country. And I think that the values of the Tamil community and the contribution they make to the NHS, to the entrepreneurship in our country, the value they attach to education, educational achievement make a fantastic difference.” Johnson...

Vavuniya residents mark another massacre

A commemoration for another massacre carried out by the Sri Lankan army in 1984 was held in Vavuniya on Sunday. Twenty-eight Tamil men and boys in Semamadu were woken up from their sleep and rounded up by the army, taken away in military vehicles never to be seen again, assumed to have been massacred. On the same day, December 2, 1984, similar round-ups took place in villages across the Vanni region, including the Cheddikulam massacre where 52 were taken away and killed by the Sri Lankan army, and the Othiyamalai massacre where a total of 32 were killed - 27 shot and killed at the village...

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