Sirisena vows to implement death penalty within 3 months

Sri Lanka's president, Maithripala Sirisena, yesterday vowed that "come what may" he would implement the death penalty within "2-3 months". Over recent months Sirisena has repeatedly reiterated his plans to reintroduced the death penalty for those convicted of drug trafficking, despite international outcry and warns of interventions. “We need stringent laws to make a law abiding and spiritual society,” Sirisena told parliament. “The country is now proliferated with various drugs including marijuana, cocaine, heroin and ice." "Come what may I will put into practice the decision I took to...

Court rejects Sri Lankan police attempts to throw protesters out of Keppapulavu

The Mullaitivu court rejected an application by Sri Lankan police to prohibit Tamil protestors from protesting anywhere within the army-occupied village of Keppapulavu. On January 28, residents of Keppapulavu intensified their campaign to have their lands released from Sri Lankan army occupation, getting as close to the camp and their lands as possible while military personnel and police were deployed to hold them back. A court ordered that the protesters must keep at least 75 metres away from the army camp entrance, to which the protestors responded by measuring and setting up exactly 75...

Refugees from Sri Lanka excluded from India’s Citizenship Bill

Tamil refugees who fled Sri Lanka are to be excluded from India’s current Citizenship Amendment Bill which was adopted by the Lok Sabha, the lower house in the country’s bicameral Parliament. There are approximately a hundred thousand Tamil refugees in India, with over two-thirds residing in government camps and the rest living on their own. India’s home minister, Rajnath Singhji, has defended the exclusion of Tamils stating that they would be protected under a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued in December 2011. This extended the protection of the Long Term Visas (LTVs) which both Sri Lankan and Myanmar refugees were eligible for. To be eligible for this protection they needed to prove that they had been “victims of oppression in their countries of origin on account of race, religion, sex, nationality, ethnic identity, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.” Experts are wary of this proposal as generally LTVs have not been issued to Tamil refugees, The Hindu reports.

British Tamils protest on Sri Lankan independence day

British Tamils protested outside the Sri Lankan High Commission in London on Monday, Sri Lanka’s 71st Independence Day. Protesters held black flags and Tamil Eelam flags and said that the day was a black day for the Tamil nation that marked 71 years of genocide and oppression at the hands of the Sri Lankan state. The demonstration mirrored similar protests across the Tamil homeland. Many of the London protesters had also witnessed the death threats made by Sri Lankan brigadier Priyanka Fernando at the same protest in front of the high commission, one year ago.

US ‘eager to build partnership with Sri Lanka’ says Secretary of State

The US Secretary of State said his government “remains eager” to grow ties with Sri Lanka, as he praised the island in a message released earlier this week. Marking Sri Lanka’s Independence Day Mike Pompeo said “Sri Lanka’s democratic institutions and constitutional processes have ensured your country’s continued advancement”. The United States remains eager to build on our partnership with Sri Lanka and advance shared interests in the Indo-Pacific region based on our common democratic values,” he said. “We look forward to working together to further deepen ties between our nations, promote...

Tamil Lawyers Forum urges UNHRC to refer Sri Lanka to ICC

The Colombo based Tamil Lawyers Forum this week called on the UN Human Rights Council to refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court, arguing that extending the time given to deliver on UN Resolution 30/1 would "deny justice". "In an appeal to UN High-commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet Jeria and to UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Tamil Lawyers Forum urged Sri Lanka be referred to International Criminal Court (ICC) and not to give any additional time to Sri Lanka, when Sri Lanka come up for review at the upcoming UNHRC Session in March 2019," the Forum wrote, also calling on the Council to establish a UN Special Rapporteur for Sri Lanka. "Due to Sri Lanka’s misleading and delaying tactics to avoid fulfilling the main requirements of Resolutions 34/1 and 30/1, it is time to explore other avenues to get justice. Giving any more time to Sri Lanka will be a nonstarter and would embolden Sri Lankan Security Forces to continue their abuses against Tamils and destroy vital war crimes evidences. This will also serve as a road map for other countries to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity without any fear, fully well knowing that they will escape accountability by following Sri Lanka’s path.

Remains of 4 more children found in Mannar mass grave

The skeletal remains of four more children have been excavated from the Mannar mass grave site today, the judicial medical officer, Dr Saminda Rajapaksa said. The new finding brings the total number of skeletal remains of children to 27.

UNP to launch new alliance in May

The United National Party (UNP) is to launch a new political alliance on May 1, the minister, Rajitha Senaratne told Daily Mirror. The new alliance will be known as the 'Democratic National Alliance (DNA)' with a ten member council, including ministers Patali Champika Ranawaka, Rauff Hakeem, Palani Digambaram, Mano Ganeshan, Rishad Bathiudeen and Arjuna Ranatunga, Senaratne said. “The 10-member leadership council will be chaired by UNP Leader and Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe,” he added. The news comes as the UNP on Friday sought permission from the Speaker of parliament to form a...

Barcelona calls for investigation into genocide of Tamils and recognition of Tamil Eelam

The Catalan city of Barcelona has called for an investigation into the genocide of Tamils by Sri Lanka, and to recognise the rights of the Tamil people to an independent homeland, Tamil Eelam. In a resolution voted by the city’s municipal council on January 25, representatives denounced systematic violations against the rights of Tamils, urged the recognition of Tamil sovereignty and called for an end to the Sri Lankan military’s occupation of the Tamil homeland. See the full text of the resolution, passed by the council as an ‘institutional declaration’ below. Original Catalan text here. The...

Sirisena opposes national government proposal

Sri Lanka's president, Maithripala Sirisena on Monday rejected the UNP's push towards a formation of another 'national government'. “I heard through the media that a Minister is talking about how to form a National Government and what its benefits are. What I see is the need to benefit themselves by obtaining Ministerial posts. My thought is that when we are accompanied by less people, we are able to do our duty to the nation." Sirisena said the proposed national government was simply an attempt to increase the number of Cabinet ministers and provide privileges to the ministers at the people’...