SL will not contest a seat at UNHRC

A top government official announced that Sri Lanka will not contest for a seat in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) at the upcoming elections this year. Sri Lanka lost the vote when it last contested for a seat at the UNHRC in May 2008, a year before the barbaric onslaught of 2009, amidst allegations of human rights taking place in the country. The government official failed to provide a reason for not contesting. Earlier this year Sri Lanka lost in a vote at the UNHRC when a resolution, tabled by the United States, regarding Sri Lanka’s human rights and reconciliation issues was passed...

Asylum seekers sparks further debate in Australia

A week after over 100 asylum seekers, including Tamils from the North-East, drowned off the coast of Indonesia en route to seeking refuge in Australia, the Australian opposition leader, Julie Bishop, called for all aslyum seekers to be sent back to Sri Lanka without coming to Australia. Bishop said , "If the Government grants people from Sri Lanka refugee status, the Australian Government is accusing Sri Lanka of persecuting their own citizens," "Sri Lanka is already making a significant effort by preventing many boats from leaving their shores, however those who make it through should be the subject to an immediate arrangement to be transferred back to Sri Lanka without coming to Australia," "There is an extremely high rejection rate for Sri Lankan asylum seekers with the vast majority proving to be economic migrants." "But once they are in Australia they can pursue their claims for asylum through our courts regardless of the merit."

Peiris to work his magic in the UK

External Affairs Minister G L Peiris has rushed to London in the hope of lobbying the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to revise its latest travel advisory , reports Colombo Page . Despite protestations from Peiris against the advisory which warns of an upsurge in nationalism, sexual offences and anti-Western rhetoric, the FCO extended the advisory following the conviction of French tourists for offending Buddhist sentiment . An official meeting has not been confirmed but Peiris hopes to ‘discuss’ the advisory and the issues it raises with his British counterparts. This is not the first time...

Mahinda to visit India this month

As the controversy over the training of Sri Lankan security forces personnel in India rages on , it has been revealed that the Sri Lankan president and Commander-in-Chief of the Sri Lankan Army Mahinda Rajapakse is due to visit the country later this month. Rajapakse will lay the foundation stone for the Sanchi University for Buddhist Studies in Madhya Pradesh on September 21 and take part in celebrations to mark the 2600th anniversary of the Buddha's enlightenment. The university is jointly funded by the India, Sri Lanka, the government of Madhya Pradhesh and the Maha Bodhi society. The...

Tamil and Muslim voters intimidated by government deployed officers

More than 1000 officers sent under the instruction of the Economic Development Minister, Basil Rajapaksa have been involved in the intimidation of Tamil and Muslim voters in three districts of the eastern province, Ampaarai, Batticaloa and Trincomalee, reports TamilNet. According to complaints made by the leaders of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and Sri Lankan Muslim Congress, R.Sampanthan and Rauff Hakeem, voters were warned of serious consequences should they not vote for the ruling United peoples Freedom Party (UPFA) in the upcoming Eastern Provincial Council election. The gangs of...

Sri Lanka declares a ‘Day of National Mourning’ for Buddhist clergyman

The Sri Lankan government has declared September 3rd as a national day of mourning to commemorate the life of the Chief Prelate of the Sri Lanka Ramannya Nikaya, Weweldeniye Medhalankara Thero. Ramannya Nikaya, who passed away at the age of 103, was a long standing upholder of the Buddhist order and spent most of his life disseminating the Sri Lankan Theravadic monastic tradition. Nikaya was also an avid supporter of the discriminatory and power enhancing Buddhist temporalities act of 1931. The government has also declared that a funeral will take place with full state honours for the late...

Sri Lankan footballers kicked out of India

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha has ordered the expulsion of two Sri Lankan football teams, who were taking part in training sessions in Chennai. The Chief Minister slammed the Indian Government for inviting the Sri Lankans, ordering the suspension of a stadium official who allegedly allowed “friendly” matches to take place. Jayalalitha commented that, “I have directed the Chief Secretary to place the officer under suspension and take departmental action against him. The Sri Lankan team will not be allowed to play any matches in the State and I have issued orders to send them back to...

The Ayatollah and the President

President Rajapakse and Ayatollah Khamenei (Fars News Agency) President Mahinda Rajapakse met with the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei on Friday, on the sidelines of the 16th Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran. The Ayatollah praised Sri Lanka for standing up against ‘colonialists’. He said hegemonic powers try "to portray themselves as invincible, but Iran and Sri Lanka's experiences show that resistance against colonialists and hegemons [sic] is possible" . The Supreme Leader also praised Sri Lanka’s support for the Palestinian cause and its ‘respect’ for the...

China's unswerving path to peaceful development

China's Defence Minister Liang Guanglie, who is currently on an official visit to Sri Lanka spoke about China's national defence policy, and dismissed talk of the "China Threat Theory". Guanglie said , "On this point, the Chinese government issued a whitepaper China's Peaceful Development in 2011, solemnly declaring to the world that China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development. The core idea of this path is that China will develop itself through upholding world peace and contribute to world peace through its own development." "Up to now, China has dispatched around 21,000 person/times to 30 UN Peace-keeping missions, making it the largest personnel contributor among the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council. We have sent rescue teams for 18 times to conduct humanitarian rescue operations. Since 2008, China has sent 12 batches of naval task forces to conduct escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia. With the further modernisation of China's national defense, China will make greater contributions to world peace as a responsible member of the international community." See also: China's support for Sri Lanka's militarisation (28 Aug 2012)

50 surviving asylum seekers in custody in Indonesia

Indonesian authorities are holding in custody 50 asylum seekers from the island of Sri Lanka for the past two days, just after they survived the sinking of their vessel en route to Australia, and over 24 hours in the water. Over one hundred others perished. The National Search and Rescue Agency spokesperson, Gagah Prakoso, said to AFP: "They were starving and dehydrated, but have since been given food, water and medical attention. They are now in the custody of police in the town of Sikakap." See: Asylum seeker boat sinks en route to Australia (30 Aug 2012)

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