China and Sri Lanka sign sixteen bilateral agreements

On Monday, Wu Bangguo Chairman of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) met with President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo on his four-day official visit to the country. Wu praised Sri Lanka for its post-war achievements, and asserted that it will continue to support economic growth in the country and provide aid for its development projects. Wu said, "China-Sri Lanka relations are now at the best period of development in history." Currently, China is the largest development partner to Sri Lanka, providing development assistance over 5 billion dollars. Rajapaksa thanked China for its...

60 Tamils to be deported by UK on Wednesday

Up to 60 Tamil asylum seekers are set to be forced to return back to Sri Lanka by UK authorities on Wednesday, despite evidence from human rights groups that even Tamils who have returned to the island voluntarily, have faced torture. Channel 4 spoke to one asylum seeker due to be deported on Wednesday, who had already cut his neck in an attempted suicide last week. He said, “Definitely, the government, they’ll harass and detain me. I won’t go tomorrow. I want to die here, in this place better. I want to die.” “The government, they will kill me. Definitely” Another Tamil asylum seeker showed...

'Returnees at risk' says TAG

In a report published on Sunday, rights groups TAG (Tamils Against Genocide), called for a 'comprehensive re-evaluation of the UK government's current policy towards asylum applicants' of Tamils from the island of Sri Lanka. Publishing 27 recent asylum appeal determinations, with extensive analysis, TAG highlighted that 26 of the 27 claims were of egregious torture, and were "found credible under the most stringent adversarial review". See here for report in full. Extracts of Judicial Opinions contained with TAG's report are reproduced below: Case 15 The appellant resembled a British Tamil who had protested to call for an independent international enquiry into war crimes in Sri Lanka. In a case of mistaken identity he was detained, interrogated about this protest [which he had not participated in] and subsequently tortured. Finding “Background material relating to Sri Lanka and the expert's report and previous case law all confirm that Sri Lanka is a country where corruption of officials is rife and the circumstances of the appellant's detention and the subsequent release through bribery and the assistance given for him to leave the airport after being tortured whilst incredible in the context of many regimes is not incredible in the context of what happens in Sri Lanka , even after the final onslaught against the LTTE. I conclude that the appellant is a truthful witness. I accept his account as credible in its entirety.” [emphasis by TAG]

Karunanidhi joins chorus against Mahinda visit, as protestor dies

Tamil Nadu opposition chief M Karunanidhi has urged Delhi to prevent the Sri Lankan president’s visit this week, saying that Tamils are not prepared to welcome him. "Considering that no Tamil is prepared to welcome him to the country, the Centre should prevent his visit and also be humane at the UN review meeting," he said in DMK party organ 'Murasoli’. Karunanidhi also expressed sadness at the death of a protestor who self-immolated in protest over Rajapakse’s visit to India.

Cricket 'will fade away' the war crimes - SL

As Sri Lanka prepares to host the World Twenty20 which starts tomorrow in Rajapaksa's hometown of Hambantota, with many hoping that the image of cricket can 'fade away' the horrors of war crimes and genocide. One of the key brand ambassadors for the event, the Sri Lankan Central Bank Governor, Nivard Cabraal, told AFP: "The T20 World Cup programme will provide an excellent platform to endorse the new Sri Lanka brand during the next three weeks," "I am confident that this trend will continue in the future, and those so-called international calls for (war crimes) investigation will fade away...

Outrage grows over Mahinda visit to India

Mahinda Rajapakse's upcoming visit to India is becoming the political headache for Delhi it was predicted to be. A 26-year old male has self-immolated in Tamil Nadu against the proposed visit and is said to be in a critical condition with 95% burns and the Union territory of Puducheri was completely shut down, in protest at Rajapakse's visit to Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh later this week. MDMK leader Vaiko slammed Madhya Pradesh's BJP government and said he will go ahead with a planned protest in Sanchi, while talking to Headlines Today . “It’s atrocious that BJP-led Madhya Pradesh government has invited Rajapakse, who was responsible for the genocide of thousands of Tamils. “He is coming with the blood-stained hands and he cannot be forgive..It’s the Sinhala regime that destroyed nearly 2,000 Hindu temples in Sri Lanka.

6% rise in sexual offences in Sri Lanka

Abuse and sexual assaults on children and women in Sri Lanka has risen by 6%, Uthayan reports . The incident of child abuse and rape in Sri Lanka has consistently come under national and international attention, culminating with the recent warning by the UK FCO of sexual offences on the island.

UN names SL as one of 16 that cracks down on government critics

The United Nations listed Sri Lankan among 16 nations where governments are believed to be cracking down on critics with impunity, reports the Associated Press. Addressing a special session of the Human Rights Council, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that the 16 nations had been “ far from sufficient ” in preventing intimidation and attacks by government members on various activists. Along with Sri Lanka , the other named nations were Algeria, Bahrain, Belarus, China, Colombia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malawi, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Uzbekistan and Venezuela . Ms Pillay further said: “Reprisals and intimidation against individuals continue to be reported. People may be threatened or harassed by government officials, including through public statements by high-level authorities. Associations and NGOs may see their activities monitored or restricted. Smear campaigns against those who cooperate with the U.N. may be organized. Threats may be made via phone calls, text messages or even direct contacts. People may also be arrested, beaten or tortured and even killed.” “[There has also been a] lack of accountability in relation to the majority of reported cases of reprisals.”

TNA councillors go into hiding after threats

Five councillors from the Tamil National Alliance have fled from the Eastern province following threats to support the government and are now in hiding in Colombo. TNA leader R Sampanthan stated that unidentified persons threatened the councillors to support the ruling UPFA, reports Colombo Page. TamilNet previously reported that each councillor was offered 50 million rupees in cash as well as a vehicle and house in Colombo. Sampanthan confirmed that the councillors have fled from the Eastern province and gone into hiding in Colombo. See our TGView on the Eastern Province elections here .

Indian General admits training of Sri Lankan Army

The Indian Army’s Southern Command chief, Lt Gen A.K. Singh has admitted that the Sri Lankan Army takes part in a ‘diverse’ training programme with Indian security forces. Speaking after a passing out ceremony of new cadets in Chennai, Lt Gen Singh said that the Sri Lankan army’s ‘expertise' is due to the training provided by India. “With the Sri Lankan Army, we have an ongoing training programme. It is very diverse.” said Lt Gen Singh when a reporter questioned him about training provided to Sri Lanka. “I think the Sri Lankan Army acknowledges that their expertise in various fields is...