EU will not send monitors as Sri Lanka prepares for polls amidst COVID-19 concerns

The European Union’s Election Commission has decided against deploying a fully-fledged observer mission for Sri Lanka’s upcoming parliamentary elections, which is et to take place on August 5 despite logistical and health concerns relating to COVID-19. The EU has instead proposed to send an Election Expert Mission, which will not have public visibility and will not qualify as electoral observers, due to coronavirus concerns. Elections were initially scheduled to be held on April 25, but were postponed to June 20 and subsequently, to August due to COVID-19 concerns. Sri Lanka has reported 1,...

‘We are monitoring the situation in Sri Lanka closely’ – UK

Britain’s Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the UK was “monitoring the situation in Sri Lanka closely” and continues to support “Sri Lanka's accountability commitments” made to the United Nations Human Rights Council, in response to questions on Sri Lanka this week. Nigel Adams responded to Stephen Kinnock, the Shadow Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when asked about steps the UK would be taking with international partners at the Human Rights Council to deliver international accountability by stating, “The UK has long supported Sri Lanka's...

Another Tamil father dies searching for his son

Yet another Tamil father who was searching for his forcibly disappeared child has died today, despite more than 1,222 days of protest in Vavuniya. Thirunavukarasu, a 69-year-old man from Chettikulam, spent more than a decade demanding information on the whereabouts of his son Wickeswaran, who went missing in Vavuniya in 2008. For 1,222 days Thirunavukarasu joined other Tamil families of the disappeared in roadside protests in the district, demanding justice for their forcibly abducted loved ones. He died without ever knowing what happened to his child or before those responsible were brought...

Archaeology Department promotes only one religion says Sampanthan

The all Sinhala Presidential Task Force to manage “Archaeological Heritage” in the Eastern Province serves the interests of Sinhala Buddhists only says Tamil National Alliance Leader (TNA) leader R Sampanthan. In a letter to the Sri Lankan President, Sampanthan reportedly questioned why other religions and communities had been left out of the task force. In his letter, Sampanthan wrote: "It is also necessary to state certain facts pertaining to Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Amparai and the Eastern Province. It is well known that since Independence in 1947 there had been strenuous efforts to...

Vavuniya villagers protest against Sri Lanka forest department for land grab and arrest threats

The people from the village of Kanchuraimoddai in Vavuniya North, staged a protest on Monday calling for the “atrocious” land grab by the Sri Lanka forest department to be addressed. The people who were displaced during the 1980’s and 90’s due to the war and ended up in places like India, have now returned to being denied access to their land. They cleaned and set up temporary bins on the land their parents used to live on.

Families of disappeared urge international community to fulfil ‘last wish’ of investigating Tamil genocide

The families of the disappeared in Mullaitivu have asked the international community to “urgently come forward and help investigate the Sinhala chauvinist government’s genocide by establishing a special tribunal” and to take the government to the International Criminal Court to seek justice.

Sirisena claims Easter Sunday attacks were planned to disrupt his war on drugs

Following a denial of responsibility for the Easter Sunday attack, Former Sri Lankan President, Maithripala Sirisena, claimed that the Easter Sunday attack, which killed over 250 people, was planned to disrupt his heavy-handed war on drugs. Speaking at a rally in Higurakgoda, Sirisena claimed that he successfully launched a campaign to end drug-related crimes in Sri Lanka which would include implementing the death penalty for drug trafficking. Sirisena’s campaign was widely panned by human rights activists and the international community. His campaign drew influence from the Philippines...

Karuna causes a stir with boast of victory at Elephant Pass

Pro-government paramilitary leader Karuna Amman caused controversy in the Sinhala south this week, after he boasted of killing thousands of Sri Lankan soldiers as part of the LTTE’s capture of Elephant Pass in 2000, before he defected and joined the Sri Lankan state. Addressing a political rally in the East, Karuna claimed to have killed “2000 to 3,000 Sri Lankan Army personnel in one night at Elephant Pass”.

Former Sri Lankan Finance Minister defends the Central Bank against the President’s ‘tantrum’

In an open letter to Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister, and current Finance Minister, Mangala Samaraweera, the former Finance Minister, defends the conduct of Sri Lanka’s Central Bank officials from what he describes as a “tantrum” from Sri Lanka’s President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa. This follows a statement from the Sri Lankan President which condemned the central bank and demanding action within 24 hours. According to Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Central Bank had failed to “put forward a single proposal to rebuild the economy” and this has forced the government to “take the blame for the economic...

Funeral of murdered Tamil man takes place amidst tightened military presence

The funeral of a Tamil man who was shot dead by the Sri Lankan army took place in Jaffna yesterday, as Sri Lankan security forces took out a court order banning all protests from taking place in the region.