Indians lead Sri Lanka tourist arrivals

Indians top tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka, the country’s tourism authority says. (See Xinhua’s report here ) 68,830 Indians visited Sri Lanka between January and May this year – up 54% from the same period last year. British tourists came second, with 41,474 arrivals – up 7% from the same period last year. A large number of these are Tamil and Sinhala expatriates with UK citizenship. The number of Pakistani tourists in Jan-May 2011 doubled from last year – to 6,027. Last year Sri Lanka reported a total of 600,000 foreign tourists, with Indians and Britons leading. By way of comparison, in...

A Canadian Parliamentarian’s maiden speech - in English, French and Tamil

Rathika Sitsabaiesan, MP, representing the Scarborough-Rouge River constituency, addressed the Canadian Parliament for the first time on Friday:

International lawyers condemn erosion of judicial independence

A global group for legal professionals, the International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), expressed their concerns at the 'increasing erosion of judicial independence' in Sri Lanka, in a letter addressed to the Sri Lankan government. The letter itself, dated 19 May 2011, was confidential, but the content was outlined in a statement released by IBAHRI on 02 June 2011. 'T he IBAHRI outlined its concerns to the Government of Sri Lanka in regard to the 18th Amendment to the Constitution and the proposed 19th Amendment – which limits the term of the Chief Justice to five years...

HRW: UNHRC should ensure accountability

Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a statement during the 17th session of the Human Rights Council on the 6th June 2011 calling on the UNHRC to work towards accountability for alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka with no further delay. Citing the report released by the Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, HRW highlighted the damning lack of progress by Sri Lanka on accountability or justice, and reiterated the irrefutable need for an independent international investigation. " This report and all its recommendations should be seriously considered. It is a careful and professional study written by three...

Tamil Nadu Assembly demands India pursue Sri Lankan war criminals

In a show of unity, the Tamil Nadu Assembly led by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, unanimously passed a resolution calling upon the central government in India to ensure those responsible for the massacre of Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka are declared 'war criminals' by the United Nations. The resolution also demanded that India should join hands with the international community to impose economic sanctions on the island nation over the ill treatment of Tamils. Jayalalithaa moved the resolution in the Assembly stating allegations of Sri Lanka committing human rights violations and preventing...

US: Defense Attaché's remarks do not reflect US policy

Following the US Embassy's Defense Attaché, Lt. Col. Lawrence Smith's peculiar remarks at Sri Lanka's three day seminar, the US State Department have responded swiftly in a statement describing his remarks as 'personal opinions' and stipulating that they 'do not reflect the policy of the United States Government'. The statement went on to reiterate the United States' concern over the findings of the UN Panel report and commitment to ensuring credible accountability. The US previously declined their invitation to participate in the conference, however, as the statement clarified, Lt. Col...

People have the right to resist annihilation - Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy, Booker Prize winning novelist and political activist, speaking to reporters on her new book, a collection of essays on the Maoist guerrilla movement in India entitled 'Broken Republic', argues the case for violent resistance in the face of brutal oppression. "If you're an adivasi [tribal Indian] living in a forest village and 800 CRP [Central Reserve Police] come and surround your village and start burning it, what are you supposed to do? Are you supposed to go on hunger strike? Can the hungry go on a hunger strike? Non-violence is a piece of theatre. You need an audience. What...

CPJ: Sri Lanka fourth 'Getting Away With Murder'

Sri Lanka ranked fourth amongst states ‘Getting Away With Murder’, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said this week. (see the 2011 Impunity Index ) Sri Lanka fourth comes after Iraq, Somalia and the Phillipines. ( Philippines ranks higher due to a single incident – the massacre of 32 journalists and media workers in 2009.) Sri Lanka ranks higher than Afghanistan, Mexico and Colombia. On Sri Lanka, CPJ pointed out that the repeated lack of adequate investigation or arrest of suspects left "persistent questions as to whether authorities have been complicit in some of the crimes."...

Judge hails Mladic arrest, hopes same for Sri Lanka and Syria leaders

Judge Richard Goldstone (former chief prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda), writing for the BBC on the extradition of General Ratko Mladic, said it represented yet another key milestone in the "end of the effective impunity for the worst war criminals". Making particular reference to Sri Lanka and Syria, Judge Goldstone warned perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide that they will be brought justice. " It is my hope that the leaders of Sri Lanka and Syria will not be granted immunity for the crimes they...

Making it up

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank is twisting statistics to project an unrealistic picture of economic development, an economist and parliamentarian of the main opposition said this week. These falsehoods are contributing to the " deteriorating credibility of the now completely politicized institution ," Harsha de Silva of the United National Party (UNP) told The Island newspaper. See also our earlier post: Dodgy numbers (Nov 2010)

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