Taking Sri Lankan Foreign Policy to the Post-Confrontational Phase

[ Wire ][ Jun 29 10:06 GMT ]

The government’s foreign policy strength perhaps lies in the position of equidistance it is now maintaining with regional, continental and global powers. In a world where (a) there is no bipolarity, and there are old and emerging global powers in rivalry as well as acting in cooperation, and (b) regional centres of power emerging as important players in the global arena, Sri Lanka’s foreign policy should not be informed by dogmatic adherence to ignorance. This government has taken Sri Lanka’s foreign policy to a post-ideological, post-egoistic, and post-confrontational phase. Some critics may not see the value of it. Yet, the realisation of it is no mean achievement for any government. [ full story | comments ]

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Taking Sri Lankan Foreign Policy to the Post-Confrontational Phase

The government’s foreign policy strength perhaps lies in the positio...

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Sri Lanka wants the world to forget about justice for war victims. Please don't

A mere week after the president’s comments and amid the ongoing UNHR...

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Sri Lanka denies cluster bombs found in war zones were government weapons

The Sri Lankan government has denied reports of the discovery of clust...

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Displaced Tamils call for expert panel to monitor progress in Sri Lanka

[ TamilGuardian ][ Jun 29 10:11 GMT ]

Tamils who have been displaced from their homes for decades have written to the United Nations human rights chief, urging him to appoint an expert panel to “monitor and report the progress on resettlement, relief, and restoration of the sociopolitical and economic structures”. In a letter written to the High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Al-Hussein, Tamils from Valikamam North in the Jaffna district said that the Sri Lankan military continues to occupy their houses. [ full story | comments ]

Shortage of safe land blocks Sri Lanka disaster relocation efforts

[ Reuters ][ Jun 28 09:41 GMT ]

It is not only in the hilly regions that the government is likely to run short of relocation land. Since landslides and flooding killed close to 200 people in May and water marooned over 300,000 others in their homes, the Sri Lanka government has been exploring the possibility of relocating thousands of families living in low-lying areas prone to floods. But finding suitable land has been a struggle. "All over Sri Lanka we are facing a situation where we just cannot distribute land ad-hoc," Minister Yapa said. In urban areas, like the capital Colombo, an already large population is one key reason finding unused land is difficult. [ full story | comments ]

Recapturing the democratic space

[ CDN ][ Jun 27 12:20 GMT ]

Last week, a very senior foreign official, who had previously served as his country’s topmost diplomat in Lanka, during the height of the war, told in Jaffna that the present moment in Lanka constitutes the best opportunity to find a political solution. Every diplomat who visits Lanka suggests the same. Even the main Tamil political party, the Tamil National Alliance, characterised it as such and expressed hope during the election campaign last year that by the end of this year a political solution would have been signed! [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka denies cluster bombs found in war zones were government weapons

[ Guardian ][ Jun 26 10:33 GMT ]

The Sri Lankan government has denied reports of the discovery of cluster bombs in formerly war-hit areas of the country by questioning the evidence and rejecting the suggestion that government forces used the weapons said Rajitha Senaratne, the health minister. “How do you say that these bombs belong to the Sri Lanka army? What is the basis?” Halo confirmed in an exchange with the Guardian that it had found a total of 42 cluster munitions in sites across northern Sri Lanka near Pachchilapalli, a location of fierce fighting between government and LTTE forces at the end of the war. It also stated that records of the discoveries, categorised as A02.5s, were submitted to a national mine action centre, run by the government, when they were found. [ full story | comments ]

Illegal fishing, land grabbing by outsiders add to Tamil fishermen's woes

[ NIE ][ Jun 25 10:44 GMT ]

Seven years after the end of the war the fishermen of Kokkilai in the Tamil-majority Mullaitivu district of North-East Sri Lanka are yet to enjoy the fruits of peace. If fighting on land and sea disrupted their livelihood during the 30 year war, illegal fishing by Sinhalese and Muslims from outside the area; forcible occupation of lands by outsiders with state-backing; and grabbing of private lands to build an army-backed Buddhist temple, are troubling the Tamil fisher folk after the war. [ full story | comments ]

RTI Bill unanimously passed

[ Sunday Times ][ Jun 25 10:39 GMT ]

The long awaited Right to Information (RTI) Bill was unanimously approved by Parliament today. The Bill was passed after two days of debate during which the majority of law makers spoke on the benefits the Bill would have for the public of the country. The new law provides for the public the right of access to information so that the people of Sri Lanka would be able to more fully participate in public life through combating corruption and promoting accountability and good governance. [ full story | comments ]

EU referendum: BBC forecasts UK votes to leave

[ BBC ][ Jun 24 04:53 GMT ]

The UK has voted by 52% to 48% to leave the European Union after 43 years in an historic referendum, a BBC forecast suggests. London and Scotland voted strongly to stay in the EU but the remain vote has been undermined by poor results in the north of England. Voters in Wales and the English shires have backed Brexit in large numbers. The pound fell to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985 as the markets reacted to the results. [ full story | comments ]

Tamils stranded in Indonesia face 'probable torture' if returned to Sri Lanka

[ Guardian ][ Jun 23 10:14 GMT ]

Several of the Tamil asylum seekers stranded after arriving by boat on the Indonesian island of Aceh have been tortured in Sri Lanka and face certain persecution if they are returned, a compatriot living in Australia has claimed. Karikalan, who has agreed only to be identified by a nickname, came to Australia as an asylum seeker by boat in 2010. He was recognised as a refugee – having a “well-founded fear of persecution” in Sri Lanka – and is now a permanent resident, living in Melbourne. [ full story | comments ]

Cabinet suspends work, payments of Defence HQ

[ Daily Mirror ][ Jun 22 16:02 GMT ]

The Cabinet on Tuesday suspended the construction of the Rs. 40 billion Defence Head Quarters Complex (DHC) at Akuregoda and the payments to the private contractor, as the selection of consultancy firm and payments that had been made were done without providing true information to the Cabinet, Cabinet Spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said today. The Cabinet Memo presented by President Maithripala Sirisena as the Minister of Defence to this effect had revealed that a huge financial mismanagement, running into billions of rupees, had taken place during the initial stages of the project and all Cabinet Papers pertaining to the project had been prepared on the whims and fancies of the former Defence Secretary, he said. [ full story | comments ]

Tamils in Sri Lanka need a federal solution: Wigneswaran

[ PTI ][ Jun 22 15:57 GMT ]

The grievances of minority Tamils in Sri Lanka can only be addressed through a federal system of governance and the merger of north and eastern provinces, Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran has said. Mr. Wigneswaran said he had conveyed this to the Colombo-based ambassadors, including those from the European Union, during his recent engagements with them. The Tamil issue should not be seen by the government from the view point of the nationalist extremists in the south, Mr. Wigneswaran said in Jaffna on Tuesday. [ full story | comments ]

U.N. urges Sri Lanka to rein in military, prosecute war crimes

[ Reuters ][ Jun 28 09:44 GMT ]

Sri Lanka must rein in its military forces, prosecute war crimes committed during the long civil war with Tamil rebels and win the confidence of the Tamil minority, the United Nations said on Tuesday. Witnesses must be protected under an effective transitional justice mechanism that should include international judges, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in an annual report. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka wants the world to forget about justice for war victims. Please don't

[ Guardian ][ Jun 27 12:24 GMT ]

A mere week after the president’s comments and amid the ongoing UNHRC session, fresh evidence has emerged of the use of cluster bombs against Tamil civilians during the last phase of the war, including in areas declared by the government as “no fire zones”. Reports by the Guardian have identified the Sri Lankan Air Force as being responsible for these attacks.It is vital that the international community not only focuses on the UNHRC to ensure it efficiently and effectively addresses the legitimate concerns of Tamil war victims and survivors, but also explores other avenues beyond the UNHRC in order to avoid the elimination of this very grave issue from the international agenda, and to deliver justice and achieve accountability. [ full story | comments ]

ICE, US Marshals arrest 45 international fugitives with Interpol notices

[ ICE ][ Jun 26 10:41 GMT ]

Forty-five foreign fugitives – all subjects of active Interpol notices for individuals wanted in connection with criminal activity – were arrested across the United States this week by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and the U.S. Marshals Service. Arrests occurred nationwide during the three-day enforcement operation June 21 to 23. “Project Red II” targeted individuals with Interpol red notices and others wanted for serious crimes within Interpol member countries. A red notice serves as an international wanted notice and provides information on the identification of fugitives charged with or convicted of serious crimes who have fled prosecution or the serving of their sentence. [ full story | comments ]

Is Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister On Autopilot?

[ Huffington Post ][ Jun 26 10:30 GMT ]

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera recently spoke at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs in Oslo. Mr. Samaraweera has again presented a very optimistic assessment of the current state of affairs in the war-torn island nation. The foreign minister is right to note that recent political developments have presented the country with an unforeseen opportunity. And he, importantly, highlights the passage of the 19th amendment to the constitution, which trimmed presidential powers and reintroduced term limits for the presidency. [ full story | comments ]

The Heat: Is reconciliation possible after Sri Lanka’s civil war?

[ CCTV USA ][ Jun 25 10:41 GMT ]

After a bitter 36-year civil war, can the people of Sri Lanka be reunited? The United Nations estimates that as many as 40000 people were killed in the final phase of a war between Sri Lanka’s majority Sinhalese and the Tamil minority. The hostilities finally came to an end seven years ago when government forces overtook the last area controlled by the Tamil Tiger rebels. Fast forward to the 2015 election when, amid charges of corruption, human rights abuses and growing authoritarianism, former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapasksee lost his bid for a third term in a stunning upset. [ full story | comments ]

BBS threatens a repeat Aluthgama

[ GV ][ Jun 25 09:56 GMT ]

Just two years after the violence that caused death and destruction to Muslim lives, businesses and property worth billions of rupees in Aluthgama and Beruwela, the Bodu Bala Sena’s call in Mahiyangana on the 21st of June 2016 for a repeat of Aluthgama is a dangerous threat to peace for all Sri Lankans. This time, the threat from Ven. Gnanasara and the Bodu Bala Sena is not targeted just at the Muslims, but also at the Police and Judiciary. He demands that the Police and Judiciary release two youth who were arrested for intimidating businesses to close their shops to protest against a previous incident involving an intoxicated Muslim youth who had pulled down a Buddhist flag. [ full story | comments ]

'The situation in Sri Lanka is not alarming for refugees to return'

[ Rediff ][ Jun 23 19:30 GMT ]

A 28-minute documentary, No Longer A Refugee, tells the story of Sri Lanka Tamils who have returned home after spending many years as refugees in Tamil Nadu. According to one estimate, there are over 65,000 65,000 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees still living in nearly 110 refugee camps in Tamil Nadu. The documentary was produced by Ashok Gladston Xavier, a Chennai-based academic, on behalf of the Organisation for Eelam Refugees Rehabilitation or OfERR, a self-help group run by refugees since 1983 and which has offices in Chennai and Colombo. The documentary will be shown in all refugee camps in Tamil Nadu, and where not possible CDs will be supplied to refugee camps for exhibition. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka, UNDP promote social inclusion through language labs

[ LBO ][ Jun 22 16:07 GMT ]

Sri Lanka’s multicultural society should be regarded as a strength and not a weakness to promote national co-existence, a minister said. “Multiculturalism and pluralism is not a weakness but a strength to our country,” Mano Ganesan minister of national co-existence, dialogue and official languages said at the opening of the second United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) assisted language laboratory recently. “My goal is to establish 16 language laboratories across Sri Lanka. On a journey to realize this and achieve national co-existence, I thank the UNDP for their assistance.” [ full story | comments ]

More Worries Regarding Sri Lanka’s Lack of Progress

[ Huffington Post ][ Jun 22 16:01 GMT ]

A group of international human rights organizations has recently penned an open letter to U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. The letter expresses a range of concerns regarding Sri Lanka’s compliance with a U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution that the government co-sponsored last October.The HRC’s 32nd second session remains ongoing and the high commissioner will deliver an important oral update pertaining to Sri Lanka’s compliance with the previously mentioned resolution on June 29. Some diplomatic language is expected, but let’s hope the high commissioner is also open and honest about the coalition government’s lack of progress. It has become increasingly difficult to defend the new administration’s prevarication. [ full story | comments ]

President Sirisena’s second visit to Beijing to boost China-Sri Lanka ties

[ Asia Times ][ Jun 22 15:55 GMT ]

Taking a leaf from his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa’s book, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena appears to have finally joined the pro-China bandwagon. He recently granted several large-scale development projects to China in his hometown, Polonnaruwa, some 228 kilometers from Colombo...While this may be good news for both countries, observers in Sri Lanka view President Maithripala Sirisena’s pro-China tilt as an act of desperation after his administration had failed to bring in substantial foreign investments. The government’s U-turn on Colombo Port City Project by giving it green light in March this year has angered greens who view it as a sellout to China. [ full story | comments ]


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[Wire - Jun 29, 2016 10:06:49 GMT]

Taking Sri Lankan Foreign Policy to the Post-Confrontational Phase


[Guardian - Jun 27, 2016 12:24:19 GMT]

Sri Lanka wants the world to forget about justice for war victims. Please don't


[Guardian - Jun 26, 2016 10:33:54 GMT]

Sri Lanka denies cluster bombs found in war zones were government weapons


[NIE - Jun 25, 2016 10:44:39 GMT]

Illegal fishing, land grabbing by outsiders add to Tamil fishermen's woes


[BBC - Jun 24, 2016 4:53:40 GMT]

EU referendum: BBC forecasts UK votes to leave


[Rediff - Jun 23, 2016 19:30:03 GMT]

'The situation in Sri Lanka is not alarming for refugees to return'


[Asian Correspondent - Jun 21, 2016 12:52:55 GMT]

Sri Lanka: Broken promises again at the UN?


[The Diplomat - Jun 21, 2016 12:49:22 GMT]

Can Sri Lanka Leverage Its Location as Indian Ocean Hub?


[The Guardian - Jun 20, 2016 8:24:01 GMT]

Cluster bombs used in Sri Lanka's civil war, leaked photos suggest


[ICG - Jun 20, 2016 8:20:28 GMT]

Impunity and Justice: Why the UN Human Rights Council Must Stay Engaged in Sri Lanka


[Spectator - Jun 16, 2016 13:25:22 GMT]

The Tamil Tigers' top 'show-prisoner' tells all


[ORF - Jun 16, 2016 9:51:12 GMT]

Sri Lanka: Time for international community to wake up


[GroundViews - Jun 15, 2016 9:36:07 GMT]

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Policy Trends since January 2015: Some Critical Thoughts


[Wire - Jun 14, 2016 10:23:05 GMT]

Sri Lanka’s 65,000 Disappeared: Will the Latest Missing Persons’ Office Bring Answers?


[HRW - Jun 13, 2016 10:17:58 GMT]

Sri Lanka: Enforce Commission Directives on Terror Detainees