Mullaitivu fishermen call for release of access roads from military occupation

Mullaitivu fishermen have stepped up calls for the release of access roads to fishing waters from Sri Lankan navy and military occupation. The district’s fishermen said that their livelihoods continue to suffer due to the forces continued occupation of two access roads in the Vadduvakal area, one which leads to the lagoon and another to deeper sea areas. The roads have been closed off to the public since 2009. Local fishermen said so far their pleas to have the roads reopened have fallen on deaf ears and that they would consider carrying out mass protests if they continued to be ignored.

Tamil Nadu High Court permits water protests

Tamil Nadu’s High Court has ordered Chennai Commissioner of Police to permit Arappor Iyakkam, a non-profit charity, to hold protests in the city of Chennai and near Valluvarkottam June 30. This follows the initial rejection of Iyakkam’s application to protest by the commissioner of police on June 20. The police alleged that a separate protest was occurring on the same day and would cause undue to conflict and disturbance creating a law and order problem. The protesters challenged the denial order maintaining that a denial of the right to protest was a violation of their fundamental right to...

Vavuniya disappearances activist questioned by TID

A disappearances activist in Vavuniya was questioned by Sri Lanka’s terrorism division earlier this month. The secretary of the Vavuniya Families of the Disappeared association, K Rajkumar was questioned by Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) officials at the site of the Vavuniya protest on June 20. Initially attempting to question Rajkumar by telephone, the TID officials appeared at the protest after he had refused and asked for any requests for investigation to be made in writing. Rajkumar said he had been questioned for over thirty minutes, including over disappearance activists going...

Muslim doctor subject to Sinhala newspaper smear campaign detained illegally

A Muslim doctor who was falsely accused of sterilising thousands of Sinhalese women in the southern district of Kurunegala, is being detained illegally, a court heard on Friday. The doctor was subjected to a smear campaign by Sinhala newspaper Divaina, which was forced to admit after CID investigation that the allegations had come from one of the district’s top police chiefs. The CID said the doctor’s arrest and detention under emergency regulations did not conform to due process. He was arrested on a charge of having unexplained wealth, which the CID said was baseless. The smear campaign...

More countries oppose Sri Lanka execution moves

More countries have condemned Sri Lanka’s move towards implementing the death penalty this week. After reports emerged that the Sri Lankan president had authorised the execution of four drug convicts, the European Union, Canada and France followed the UK in opposing the move. “Resuming the death penalty would also send a wrong signal to the international community, investors and partners of the country,” the EU said in a statement. “The European Union will continue to monitor Sri Lanka’s effective implementation of the 27 international conventions relating to the Generalised Scheme of...

Families of disappeared accuse international orgs of derailing campaign

Tamil families of the disappeared have accused international organisations of working to derail their campaign for justice by trying to convince families to abandon their protests in favour of welfare payments and other buy offs. Families in Mullaitivu have been campaigning for over two years for answers about their disappeared relatives, many of whom surrendered at the end of the war. Their representative said organisations were working in the district to phase families out of campaigning for answers and justice, and instead pushing them towards accepting government buy-offs via the Office...

10 new charges of torture made against Gotabaya

Gotabaya Rajapaksa faces ten new charges of overseeing torture and sexual violence during his period as defence secretary. The charges were filed by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on June 26 and document the horrific abuses the ten plaintiffs faced. This includes being branded with hot metals rods, whipped with cables, asphyxiated by plastic bags soaked in petrol, and six of them were repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted. The ten plaintiffs include three women; eight are Tamil and two Sinhalese. These documents are now available for the public domain. The...

Death penalty will make UK reconsider security engagement with Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s implementation of the death penalty will cause the UK to reconsider its engagement on security issues, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said in a statement expressing concern. Reports emerged this week that Sri Lanka’s president had signed the execution warrants of four drug convicts. The reports have drawn international criticism from states and rights groups. “Sri Lanka voted in favour of a global moratorium on the use of the death penalty at the UN General Assembly just six months ago,” the FCO highlighted. “A reversal of this policy would be a regressive step that...

Sri Lanka backs India for UN Security Council

Sri Lanka backed India's candidature as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council yesterday. In a tweet, the India's Permanent Representative to the UN, Syed Akbaruddin wrote: “A unanimous step. Asia-Pacific Group @UN unanimously endorses India’s candidature for a non-permanent seat of the Security Council for 2-year term in 2021/22. Thanks to all 55 members for their support." “Asia-Pacific Group Endorses India for Non-Permanent seat of UNSC 55 countries, 1 nominee - India for a non-permanent seat of UN Security Council Term 2021-2022." India's bid was also endorsed by Afghanistan,...

Sri Lankan president signs executions of 4 convicts

Despite international criticism, the Sri Lankan president, Maithripala Sirisena today signed papers authorising the executions of four convicts. The convicts were sentences over drug related offences. Speaking to the media, the president said, "I have already signed the papers and they will be carried out soon.” Responding to the decision, Amnesty International said it was "shocked" and "outraged". “We are outraged that the President has signed the first execution warrants issued by Sri Lanka in 43 years. In one stroke, he will undo all the country’s progress in putting a stop to the use of...

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