Sinhalese youth arrested for growing cannabis in Vavuniya

A Sinhalese youth has been arrested for growing cannabis in a house in Vavuniya. Special drug eradication officers operating under Vanni police said they had recovered three cannabis plants from a house in Mamadu. A Sinhalese youth was arrested under suspicion of having grown the plants, police said.

UK magistrate orders retrial of Sri Lankan brigadier over death threat gesture

A UK chief magistrate has ordered a retrial of a Sri Lankan brigadier after an initial conviction was quashed on procedural grounds in London earlier today, amidst claims of Sri Lankan officials photographing witnesses involved in the case.

Draft UN resolution on Sri Lanka tabled in Geneva

A draft United Nations resolution on Sri Lanka has been tabled at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, calling on the Office of the High Commissioner to “continue to assess progress” in implementing previous resolutions that called for a hybrid accountability mechanism for another two years. The current draft resolution, calls for a written update on Sri Lanka in 2020 and a “a comprehensive report, to be followed by a discussion on the implementation” in 2021. See the full text of the resolution here . The resolution states that the council reaffirms “its commitment to the sovereignty,...

Prominent Mullaitivu journalist's equipment burgled

The home of a well-known Tamil journalist from Mullaitivu was broken into and burgled on Tuesday, with the journalist’s work equipment including a laptop and two cameras among the items stolen. Journalist Kumanan, who reports regularly on issues of militarisation and Sinhalisation in Mullaitivu, as well as on the campaigns of families of the disappeared, said he believed the break-in was a deliberate attempt to silence his work. Kumanan has regularly faced targeted harassment while carrying out his work, including recently when he was intimidated by Buddhist monks while reporting on the...

Body of missing man found in Batticaloa

The body of a Tamil man reported missing from Batticaloa was found with his hands tied in a canal on Monday. Kanapathipillai Thirunavukkarasu, aged 62, was reported missing on Sunday and his body was found the following day in a paddy field canal, with his hands tied behind his back. Vellaveli police said they had made two arrests in connection with his death.

Sri Lanka must deliver on promise of international justice - FFT

The Sri Lankan government must deliver on its promise of an internationalised justice process said Freedom from Torture (FFT) Chief Executive Sonya Sceats, in a statement released last week. Responding to a UK Supreme Court judgement earlier this month that overturned the rejected asylum claim of a Tamil torture victim, Sceats said it was “a wake-up call for President Sirisena and others who continue to deny Sri Lanka’s responsibility for war crimes including torture”. “The Supreme Court has accepted that there was extensive torture by state forces in Sri Lanka in 2009 and noted that evidence...

TNPF reiterates call for international justice process in Sri Lanka

The Tamil National Peoples’ Front (TNPF) has reiterated calls for Sri Lanka to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) or for an ad hoc international tribunal to be set up, in order to obtain justice for violations of international law, in a statement delivered to the UN Human Rights Council this week. TNPF leader Gajen Ponnambalam addressed the council, stating that despite Sri Lanka co-sponsoring a 2015 UN resolution that mandated an accountability mechanism with international judges, “it has consistently rejected the need for such criminal justice accountability”. “The Prime...

Teachers protest demanding better funding for schools

Teachers across the North-East protested on Wednesday demanding better provisions for education. Mirroring a campaign which took place across the island calling for the Sri Lankan government to allocate more funding for schools, teachers and school staff protested outside their schools on Wednesday morning. The protests called for resolutions to ongoing disputes over teacher pay and to fill the gap in funding for schools.

Sri Lankan president claims ‘human rights’ are hindering discipline in schools

Sri Lanka’s president Maithripala Sirisena blamed “human rights” for hindering discipline at schools at a speech in Matara earlier this week. Sirisena was quoted as stating that “the interference of the concept of human rights in the duty of teachers has made it a challenge for the task of building a better future generation”.

Muslim protest against Sri Lanka navy occupation passes 3 weeks

Muslims in Mannar have continued a protest for the release of their lands from Sri Lankan navy occupation for over three weeks. Over 200 Muslim families from Silavathurai have been campaigning for the release of 35 acres of land from the Sri Lankan Navy. The protest passed 22 days on Wednesday. The protesters had faced intimidation from navy personnel at the start of their protest but continued to demonstrate after appealing to the human rights commission for protection.