Ruling party child abuse accused released on bail

The Tangalle Magistrate’s Court has released a politician of the ruling UPFA and 9 others who were accused of raping a child, on bail. ColomboPage reported on Friday that Tangalle District Magistrate Yuresha de Silva released the suspects, including Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Anjana Liyanage, on a Rs 25,000 cash bail. 21 suspects were arrested over the rape of a 13-year old girl in a hotel, where she was abused over a period of 6 days. According to ColomboPage the case has outraged child right activists, who demanded severe punishment of the culprits. They called for rape to be made a...

The army taketh and the army giveth

The Sri Lankan army - the all-rounder, ever expanding security force - has found yet another civilian project to venture into - education. A new computer centre, a reading camp, books, stationary and seminars have been bestowed upon Jaffna, the army has proclaimed . And what of the teachers? What do they think of the army's boon? Teacher's complain about the destruction of Tamil youth's education in the north (11 Jul 2012) Teachers campaign against building of army camp over teaching centre in Palali (22 Apr 2012)

Foreign Office warns of ‘upsurge in nationalism’ in Sri Lanka

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has warned of an increase in anti-Britsh rhetoric and an ‘upsurge in nationalism’, and has warned its citizens to stay away from political rallies. In its travel advice it also noted an increase in reports of sexual attacks on minors.

Finding new friends

The Sri Lankan government has announced that they will be establishing diplomatic relationships with 13 Latin American and Caribbean countries. The move, proposed by External Affairs Minister GL Peiris, has been described as “another step forward in Sri Lanka's foreign policy". The 13 countries are Guatemala, Suriname, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, St Kits and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines. Earlier this year, Sri Lanka closed a string of embassies in European countries that had voted against them on a resolution that was...

Sri Lanka rejects South Africa offer to mediate talks with Tamils

Sri Lanka has rejected South Africa’s offer to broker talks between the Tamil National Alliance and the Colombo government, The Island newspaper reports . The government will not accept any third party mediation, the paper said. There is no need for an external role in essentially a domestic political process, it quoted External Affairs Ministry sources as saying in response to a recent offer by South Africa to assist Sri Lanka in the post-war reconciliation process. A senior foreign ministry official said that assistance had been offered by a South African government delegation which met...

US message at Sri Lanka Defence Seminar

Speaking at a controversial “Defence Seminar” organised by the Sri Lankan government, the Chief of the International Engagement Branch for United States Army Pacific, spoke on the importance of ensuring that a military acts with "respect for human rights and international humanitarian law" and holding "transgressions to account" . Extracts from Colonel James Robinson's address have been reproduced below. See his full speech here . "Protecting the population includes not only complying with the law of armed conflict, but also consistently respecting and protecting the human rights and basic dignities of the populations we serve. Failure to treat civilians with respect risks alienating the population and re-animating old or new grievances that can give rise to renewed conflict." "This is the first lesson I’d like to speak about, the need to engage legitimate authorities as early as possible. In our experience the engagement of legitimate civilian authorities includes working with civilian authorities both within our own government, and, more importantly, outside of it – with local experts."

Buddhist monk-led mob steals statue from Hindu temple

A Buddhist monk led a mob into a Saiva temple in the Amparai district last week, where they forcibly removed a statue of a deity. The temple, in the village of Paanama, was stormed last week and the statue of Pillayaar taken, in what has been a reported spate of similar incidents. The move was allegedly carried out with assistance from the chairman of Paanamai Preathesiya Saba, the brother of a Buddhist monk. Photograph courtesy of Thinakkathir See our earlier post: 'Buddhists Behaving Badly' (03 August 2012)

Tamils protest in Jaffna against the deaths of political prisoners

Photograph Twitter @rkguruparan Protesters gathered by Jaffna bus stand, demanding justice to the murdered Tamil political prisoners - Nimalaroopan and Dilrukshan. See here for report on Uthayan. Despite the presence of police officers and intelligence officers within and around the crowd, protesters gathered in this morning. Shouting slogans such as "the deaths of Nimalaroopan and Dilrukshan need justice", and "we'll send the murderous regime home", protesters held banners and placards demanding that the those responsible be punished.

Human Rights activists call for UN inquiry over prison deaths - BBC

Human rights activists in Sri Lanka have blamed the government for the deaths of Tamil detainees after violence in a Vavuniya prison and called for an UN-led investigation the deaths, reported the BBC on Wednesday. A total of 28 activists have issued a statement, saying the deaths of Nimalaroopan and Dilrukshan were caused by torture, inflicted by prison officers, after detainees protested over the disappearance of a fellow Tamil inmate. "We, the civil society, have lost confidence in domestic mechanisms in being able to deal with such situations," they write.

Chinese power plant fails again

The power cuts imposed across the country due to continuing problems at the Chinese built Norochcholai power plant have been extended for another fortnight. Sri Lanka has lost around 17% of its capacity to meet demand for electricity due to the failure.