SLN official denied asylum over ‘complicity’ in war crimes

A Canadian court has found a former Sri Lankan naval officer not eligible for asylum because the Sri Lankan Navy was complicit in war crimes. The claimant “had been complicit in the crimes against humanity because he had a long service with the navy, an organization that was known to regularly and systematically commit human rights abuses against the LTTE, the Tamil population and individuals suspected or perceived to be LTTE collaborators or sympathizers ,” the Immigration Review Board found. Justice John O’Keefe ruled that the evidence supported “ a finding that the navy and security forces...

Tamil priest in Jaffna attacked by Sri Lankan Army

The Tamil Saiva priest of the Aathi Paraasakthi temple in Valveddithurai was attacked by Sri Lankan soldiers, reported TamilNet on Tuesday. The brutal assault happened shortly after the priest had reminded a soldier who had entered the temple premises wearing boots, that this act is considered sacrilegious. The soldier, who had come in to retrieve a ball, returned with more soldiers, including his commander, who then proceeded to beat the priest, inflicting injuries that required hospitalisation. The Sri Lankan Army had appropriated land belonging to the temple and turned it into a playground...

More than 15,000 reported missing to ICRC

A total of 15,780 people were reported missing to the ICRC until the end of last year. In its annual report , the ICRC president Jakob Kellenberger said that "thousands remained unaccounted for, leaving relatives without definitive information about their fate". The missing individuals include 1494 children and 754 women. The report said although ICRC staff made visits to around 17,700 detainees, they were unable to see anyone in the 'rehabilitation' camps. "Thousands of people continued to be held in relation to the former armed conflict at temporary and permanent places of detention around...

53 arrested for not clearing mosquito breeding sites

Sri Lankan police have arrested 53 people for failing to clear stagnating water and other mosquito breeding grounds around their homes. Police, army soldiers and health officials have searched 11,500 homes in Colombo on Sunday, in order to check whether government guidelines for ‘dengue eradication month’ are being followed. Suspects could face fines and up to 6 months in prison, if found guilty. Over 10,000 personnel of the security forces have been drafted in to help efforts during ‘dengue eradication month’. Dengue fever has killed over 74 people in Sri Lanka this year. Government...

Sri Lanka to continue receiving United States GSP benefits

The United States has decided to not change the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) benefits to Sri Lanka. The GSP country practice review of Sri Lanka was closed based on the Sri Lankan government’s efforts to address worker rights issues over the past few years. “The GSP country practice review on worker rights in Sri Lanka has closed without any change to Sri Lanka’s GSP trade benefits,” Ron Kirk, Trade representative for the US said. The review on Sri Lanka was initially carried out after a petition was filed in 2008, outlining shortcomings in Sri Lanka’s recognition of worker rights...

Transferred Tamil political prisoners attacked in Anuradhapura

Six Tamil political prisoners, who were transferred from Vavuniya prison to Anuradhapura prison in amidst of the recent attacks, have been attacked by prison officials, reported Uthayan on Saturday. Families of the attacked prisoners told TNA MP P.Airyenthiran that four have been injured severely, with one in a very critical condition. Families state that the injured are yet to receive adequate medical attention. Expressing concern over the continued attacks against Tamil political prisoners, MP Ariyenthiran called for the attack to be investigated and for the injured to receive treatment...

Sri Lanka opposition figure calls for end to arbitrary rule

The deputy leader of Sri Lanka’s main opposition party, Karu Jayasuriya of the United National Party, has called for an end to arbitrary rule stemming from the constitution. Legal analysts say that the 1978 constitution, which made the president the sole appointing authority and disciplinarian, was a key factor in allowing the current arbitrary rule to exist. According to Lanka Business Online , Jayasuriya did not apologise for the UNP’s responsibility in enacting the constitution when they were in power , which paved the way for ‘an unrestrained state’. Analysts say the new system led to a...

EU expresses concern over SL media raid

The Heads of Mission of the European Union has expressed its concern over Friday’s raid on opposition websites. “Freedom of the media is a vital element in democratic societies and journalists must be able to carry out their legitimate work without fear of harassment or intimidation. "Any action intended to intimidate independent journalism and or limit freedom of expression is in contradiction to UN human rights standards," the EU said in a statement. The statement comes a day after the US called for an end to harassment of media in Sri Lanka. Meanwhile the government has warned media...

US calls for end of media harassment

The US has called on Sri Lanka to end media harassment, after police shut down opposition websites on Friday. In a press release , issued on Saturday, the US Embassy in Colombo said it is following the case closely. “We have raised on several occasions our deep concern over efforts to suppress independent news media, including the blocking of news websites, intimidation, and disappearances of journalists. “The United States believes that an uncensored and independent media available to all citizens is an indispensable part of any vibrant democracy and we call for an end to the harassment of...

Britain should review proscription of 'terrorist' organisations – report

A report by the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation , David Anderson Q.C., has recommended the British government to review its policy of proscribing and de-proscribing organisations. In his detailed report, presented to parliament in June, Mr Anderson said that organisations that cannot be proven to be ‘concerned in terrorism’, taking current, active steps to ‘commit, participate in, prepare for, promote or encourage Terrorism’, should not be proscribed and be ‘promptly de-proscribed’ . Mr Anderson further recommends that proscriptions of organisations should expire after a set...

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