TID seeks information about babies born in Kilinochchi in May

Sri Lanka's Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) has sought information regarding all babies born from May 25th to 30th in Kilinochchi district from the Northern Provincial Council health department. The reason for the enquiries remains unknown however local residents have expressed concern and fear over the reports. "Why does the TID want to know about babies," one mother who had recently given birth said, speaking anonymously. Asked by journalists about the TID enquiries, the secretary to the NPC health ministry, S Thiruvarangkan said, "they asked us to hand over specific details [but]...

Court adjourns hearing on disappearance of two activists

The habeas corpus case on two disappeared activists was adjourned by Jaffna Magistrates Court on Friday until October, after the state's senior legal representative failed to appear. The two activists, Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganathan, who disappeared in 2011, were organising protests on behalf of families who have had relatives gone missing. They were last seen in Avaragal near Jaffna as they were making their way to a protest in December 2011. Supporters state Sri Lankan Security forces were responsible for the mens' disappearances and said that one of the victims motorbikes was...

UNP to recommence discussions on 20A

The United National Party (UNP) is to recommence discussions on the proposed 20th Amendment to the constitution on Monday which looks to abolish the executive presidency. Sri Lanka's Speaker informed parliament last year that the proposed 20th Amendment would need a two third majority in parliament before being put before the public via a referendum in order to be implemented following a Supreme Court ruling. Discussions on the amendment have been stalled for weeks follow fierce opposition from a variety of groups for differing reasons. Sri Lanka's senior Buddhist clergy, the Maha Sangha, in...

Former Sri Lankan army chief acknowledges police use of torture

Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka admitted that Sri Lankan policemen and Special Task Force troops have carried out torture and demanded ransoms, as he criticised plans to involve the military in drug enforcement activities. "They throw chili powder on the face of suspects, cover their heads with plastic bags and assault them”, said the former head of the Sri Lankan army, who is a minister in the current government. “This is unhuman. These are the tactics used by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa when he was in power.” "We know sometimes policemen have also been killed in encounters with drug dealers. Sometimes...

Sri Lanka's law and order minister blames Tamil cinema for gang violence

Speaking to Colombo papers following what he described as a 'fact finding mission' in Jaffna, Sri Lanka's law and order minister, Ranjith Bandara, said he had concluded that it was Tamil films that was fuelling the gang violence in Jaffna. "These Tamil youths were emulating the violent scenes to instill fear before carrying out their criminal activities such as robberies," he was quoted by the Daily Mirror as saying. "They brandish swords to terrorise the people," he added. Announcing his intention to visit the North-East, Mr Bandara's team had said earlier this week that the minister was...

Colombo court calls for Sinhala translation of ‘pro-LTTE’ speech

Colombo Chief Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake has ordered Sri Lanka’s state translation department to translate into Sinhala and English a speech by former UNP minister Vijayakala Maheswaran, where she stated that the LTTE was needed in the North-East to prevent the rising violence and anti-social behaviour that is taking place in the region. The Chief Magistrate’s Court also issued an order demanding full video footage from the event earlier this month, reports The Island. The order comes follow a request made by Sri Lanka’s Organised Crimes Prevention Division. Sri Lanka’s Criminal...

Former SL cricket captain praises Sirisena over death penalty policy

Sri Lanka's former cricket captain T.M. Dilshan on Friday praised the president, Maithripala Sirisena for deciding to implement the death penalty for drug traffickers. "There is no purpose in safeguarding human rights if we cannot save the country. Cases of drugs use and child abuse has increased at an alarming rate today. So is is essential to carry out the death sentence,” Mr Dilshan was quoted by the Daily Mirror as saying. “Not only for drugs, it should be implemented for child abuse and rape cases,” he said, adding that the decision should have been made a long time ago. International...

Keppapulavu families mark 500 days of protest against military occupation

Families from Keppapulavu today marked 500 days of protest against the occupation of their lands by the military. "International community are you also closing your eyes? Are you too devoid of justice," banners read, as families campaigned for their lands to be released.

Protest in Colombo in solidarity with Tamil families of the disappeared

Civil society groups and human rights activists demonstrated in Colombo on Friday to show their support for the ongoing struggle for justice by families of the disappeared. Holding placards and banners, demonstrators urged the government to provide answers to the whereabouts of missing loved ones and drew attention the plight of families who have been protesting on the issue for over 500 days.

Duterte praises Sri Lankan president for following Philippines 'war on drugs'

The Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte praised his Sri Lankan counterpart, Maithripala Sirisena for what he described as following the country's 'successful war on drugs'. The Sri Lankan cabinet this week announced they would implement the death penalty for drug trafficking offences. Despite widespread criticism of the move, Mr Sirisena defended it saying he was attempting to replicate the 'success' of the Philippines. Commenting on this at a press briefing this week, Mr Duterte's spokesperson, Harry Roque said, “Of course, we are happy that other countries have taken note of our war on...

Pages