US bans Sri Lanka’s army chief from entry over war crimes

The US State Department has announced the head of Sri Lanka’s army Shavendra Silva has been barred from entering the USA “due to credible information of his involvement, through command responsibility, in gross violations of human rights”. A statement released by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Silva and his immediate family are now “are ineligible for entry into the United States”. “The allegations of gross human rights violations against Shavendra Silva, documented by the United Nations and other organizations, are serious and credible,” said Pompeo. “His designation underscores...

Two bodies and bullets uncovered from Mullaitivu hospital grounds

Excavation work at a hospital in Mullaitivu has uncovered bullets and the bodies of at least two people, after skeletal remains and mines were found on Wednesday. Deminers with protective equipment carried out excavation work at the site, under the supervision of Kilinochchi district hospital medico-legal officer Dr Thanushan and Sri Lankan police officers. Alongside the bodies of what appears to be two people, several bullets and items of clothing were uncovered. It remains unclear as to how the two were killed, but the region is host to many mass graves, dating back to the final stages of...

Review: ‘Keenie Meenie - The British Mercenaries Who Got Away with War Crimes'

This month saw the release of an explosive new book that documents how a private British company formed of former Special Air Service (SAS) veterans turned mercenaries, went on to effectively set up one of Sri Lanka’s most notorious military units – one that has been accused of committing egregious mass atrocities. Authored by Phil Miller, ‘Keenie Meenie: The British Mercenaries Who Got Away with War Crimes', goes into meticulous detail of how a band of former British soldiers trained and even flew helicopters for the Sri Lankan military whilst massacres were reportedly underway, all under the watchful eye of the UK Foreign Office.

Tamils raise black flags in protest on Sri Lanka’s Independence Day

Tamils across the North-East held rallies and protests today demanding justice for the disappeared and for perpetrators of abuses to be held accountable, as Sri Lanka marked its 72 Independence Day. See a selection of photographs from events in the North-East and diaspora below.

Sri Lanka’s diplomat to UN is member of government death squad that murdered children

The Sri Lankan government’s proposed ambassador to Geneva is a known member of a government death squad, responsible for the murder of hundreds, including school children, said the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) and Journalists for Democracy Sri Lanka (JDS) in a joint press release this morning. C. A. Chandraprema was a key member of the PRRA, the People’s Revolutionary Red Army - a group that worked with the Sri Lankan military during the late eighties to quell a Sinhala uprising, said the groups. Nicknamed “Thadi Priyantha”, Chandraprema was involved with the squad that is responsible for “the murders of hundreds of people, including human rights lawyers, journalists, university students and school children”.

A Dangerous Sea Change in Sri Lanka - ICG

The International Crisis Group (ICG) has listed Sri Lanka as one of the ten countries on it’s “early-warning Watch List” given the appointment of accused war criminals Gotabaya and Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Prime Minister and Presidential position. In their report, they urge members of the European Union to reconsider the favourable trading relationship offered to Sri Lanka through the GSP+ which will be coming to review; as well as, calling on members of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to reiterate their commitment to UN resolution 30/1. They have also called for a funding review of the...

‘He knows what they did’ - Tamil families of disappeared hit back at Sri Lankan president

Tamil families of the disappeared reacted angrily to the Sri Lankan president’s assertion that the thousands of forcibly disappeared and missing Tamils “are actually dead,” stating that as defence secretary at the time of the abductions he should be fully aware of their fate.

Tamil journalists sent threats of 'death punishment' in Batticaloa

A number of journalists from the Batticaloa district were issued death threats, with leaflets of their photographs circulated warning that they will soon be executed

‘Missing persons are actually dead’ - Sri Lankan president tells UN

Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa told the United Nations’ resident co-ordinator on the island that the thousands of forcibly disappeared and missing Tamils “are actually dead”, in a widely condemned declaration on Friday. According to the official Sri Lankan president’s media division , Rajapaksa met with Hanaa Singer, where “he explained that these missing persons are actually dead”. The statement will have caused widespread offence across the Tamil North-East, where families of the disappeared have been protesting on the roadside for over 1,000 days, demanding to know the fate of their loved ones.

HRW - Sri Lanka's human rights in grave peril

Gotabaya addressing military as Defence Secretary In their annual global human rights report, Human Rights Watch (HRW), warns that Sri Lanka is in ‘great peril’ of losing ground since the election of Gotabaya Rajapaksa and subsequent appointment of several ministers who have credible human rights accusations against them. Meenakshi Ganguly, HRW’s South Asia director stated on the matter; “There is every reason to fear that any progress Sri Lanka has made in recent years in restoring basic rights and rebuilding democratic institutions will be overturned with a vengeance,” Appointment of War...

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