Rajapaksa's 'words of wisdom'

Addressing United Nations Day of Vesak celebrations in Bangkok on Saturday, Sri Lanka's president Mahinda Rajapaksa said : “The superiority of one individual or a group of people or community, therefore, is not through a particular divine right or by virtue of their birth, but by their actions. The manner in which one group conducts itself will determine whether it is worthy of a higher or lower label. " "Such words of wisdom are of paramount value in today’s context, where certain nations and groups have endeavoured to preach and lord over others by virtue of their given labels -- super...

Body found by Bambalapiti Hindu College

The mutilated body of a male was found by Bambalapiti Hindu College on Friday morning, reported Uthayan. The Sri Lankan police believe he was believe he was murdered the night before. According to Uthayan, the victim is from Batticoloa.

Buddhist monk convicted of child abuse

A senior Buddhist monk from south London has been jailed for sexually assaulting an underage girl. Pahalagama Somartana, 65, of the Thames Buddhist temple in Selsdon, was sentenced to seven years in jail after being found guilty of carrying out four sexual attacks on a girl aged between 8 and 9 at the time of the attacks. The court heard how Somaratana, a Sinhalese originally from Sri Lanka, enticed his victim to his room with sweets before touching her. He had denied attacks at a temple in Chiswick between 1977 and 1978, and a second string of attacks at the Croydon temple in the mid 80's,...

Military marks 4000 acres for construction in Mullaitheevu

Sri Lankan Army has been constructing houses in Thirumurukandi, Mullaitheevu district, after seizing 4,000 acres of land reports Uthayan. Project “War Heroes Housing Scheme” started last year intending to establish one thousand houses, fully equipped with modern facilities, for 'disabled' Sri Lankan soldiers. It has recruited over 2000 Sinhala construction workers from the southern part of Sri Lanka. Meanwhile the 126 families from Thirumurukandi who had long lived in the area and owned land, remain internally displaced, living in welfare centres or at the good-will of their friends and...

To go back to the IMF for more

Sri Lanka is to request a further US$500 million after the completion of the Standby Arrangement (SBA) of US$2.6 billion next month, the International Monetary Cooperation Senior Minister, Sarath Amunugama, revealed on Wednesday. Amunugama said , “This will be an important policy support for the government as it faces some critical issues like rising prices in fuel and other commodities in the global market,” “The SBA with the IMF will end with the release of the final tranche of some US$ 500 million. The IMF programme with Sri Lanka for the release of US$2.6 billion has been judged to be a...

More evidence of Tamils facing torture - TAG

A report by the Tamil rights group, Tamils Against Genocide (TAG), provides primary evidence supporting the claims of torture against failed asylum seekers, and Tamils deemed to be political active. Find report here . See TamilNet article here . One signed witness statement, which we should warn is extremely distressing, said: "... about 5 CID officers beat me . And pushed me roughly and tightly. They hit my head against the wall and tore my T shirt off. Then one person untied the knots in my hand and ordered me to undress. They forced me to undress and then beat me left and right with their booted legs ..."

36 deported asylum seekers arrive in Sri Lanka

A group of 36 asylum seekers have arrived in Colombo after being deported from Britain on Thursday. The group, which includes 22 Tamils, were amongst those who did not receive a last-minute reprieve after a British judge ruled there was evidence “ill treatment” could occur following the release of a Human Rights Watch report earlier this week. The chartered flight was originally scheduled to remove an estimated 80 people to Sri Lanka, before around 40 Tamils had their deportation halted in a widely welcomed move. See our earlier posts: Deportation halt widely welcomed (31 May 2012) British...

Mervyn Silva cleared at ‘disciplinary hearing’

Sri Lankan Minister Mervyn Silva has been cleared by a party ‘disciplinary hearing’, following comments made by the Minister threatening journalists and human rights activists after the 19th UN Human Rights Council session. According to the Sri Lankan Mirror , the ruling Sri Lankan Freedom Party’s central committee cleared Silva, with Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi noting that they could not punish the minister based on reports in the media, which may not be true. Silva was reported to have said, “If you get caught to me in Sri Lanka, I will break your limbs in public. I say this responsibly...

TAG calls for arrest of Rajapaksa

Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) have submitted a formal complaint to the UK’s Metropolitan Police Service, over Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapksa visit for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations next week, and called for criminal proceedings to commence against him. In a complaint sent to the Metropolitan Police on Friday, the organisation noted that Rajapaksa stands accused of involvement in war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, stating, “In light of the UK’s obligations under universal jurisdiction provisions, we invite the Metropolitan Police to investigate these allegations and arrest Rajapaksa in order to commence criminal proceedings.” Speaking to the Tamil Guardian a TAG spokesperson said, “TAG has submitted a formal complaint with the aim of bringing justice to the victims of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Sri Lankan state. While TAG appreciates that there are immunity issues involved, it is our understanding that this will not prevent the Metropolitan Police from opening a case file and commencing investigations.” Sending a copy of the recent case submission in the United States against Rajapaksa, TAG highlighted the case of Dr Kasipillai Manoharan, father of one of the ‘Trinco 5’ students killed by Sri Lankan security forces in 2005, and a UK resident. The group went on to cite sections of the UN Panel of Experts report, commenting “the report characterizes the systematic shelling of civilians and intentional deprivation of access to food and medicine as “calculated to bring about the destruction of a significant part of the civilian population”. This characterization is identical to the definition of genocide in Article 2(c) of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.” Noting that the Sri Lankan President is also “Commander-in-chief” of the armed forces and bears command responsibility, the complaint concluded, “ The strength of these credible allegations clearly meets the threshold for an arrest to be made and charges to be brought. TAG urges the Metropolitan Police to take necessary steps in accordance with the UK’s universal jurisdiction and international law obligations to arrest Rajapaksa and bring him to justice.” Read the full text of the formally submitted complaint below.

Protest at Commonwealth Secretariat over Rajapaksa visit

British Tamils protested outside the Commonwealth Secretariat in London on Friday afternoon, objecting to the presence of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations due to be held next week. [ more ]