News Archives
  • Lack of trust slows Sri Lanka reconciliation

  •    [ Jul 15, 2014 12:35:31 GMT ] [ Aljazeera ]

        Five years after government's war with Tamil Tigers ended, former fighters say cultural insensitivity remains an issue.Despite rehabilitation programmes for its 12,000 fighters, there is little trust in the government among Tamils. The government says it is developing the north of the country, where many Tamils live, but at one project to build a railway station, most workers were from the South. Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford reports from Jaffna, Sri Lanka. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka’s Downward Spiral

  •    [ Jul 14, 2014 21:34:20 GMT ] [ Foreign Policy ]

        The U.S. Congressional Caucus on Ethnic and Religious Freedom in Sri Lanka held a hearing on July 9 in Washington D.C. The caucus, created in 2013, is co-chaired by Congressmen Danny Davis (D-IL) and Bill Johnson (R-OH). It remains to be seen how effective this newly created group will be but - given the recent developments in Sri Lanka - there is no question that there was plenty to discuss at the gathering. Aside from the persistent ethnic and religious violence that plagues the country, the war-torn island nation is still grappling with a bunch of problems as it struggles to make the transition from a post-war country to a post-conflict one. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka court keeps five in Australia asylum case in detention

  •    [ Jul 14, 2014 21:32:16 GMT ] [ Reuters ]

        A Sri Lankan court on Monday ordered that five suspected ringleaders of a people-smuggling operation remain in custody for two more weeks, in a case that has fuelled controversy over Australia's tough line on immigration. The five were among 41 Sri Lankan asylum seekers sent home by Australia after their refugee boat was intercepted. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has denied that the operation violated international conventions. The men have not been charged but their detention was extended to July 28 by a magistrate in Galle, a port on Sri Lanka's southwestern coast, pending a ruling on whether they can be charged. [ Full Report ]

  • Lanka to pass new laws on NGO activities

  •    [ Jul 14, 2014 17:40:30 GMT ] [ Business Standard ]

        The Sri Lanka Government has decided to enact a law on Non Government Organizations (NGOs) that will compel them to register with the National Secretariat. The NGOs in Sri Lanka currently come under the Voluntary Social Service Organizations (Registration and Supervision) Act Number 31 of 1980 and Voluntary Social Service Organizations (Registration and Supervision) (Amendment) Act Number 8 of 1998. The Secretariat, under the Ministry of Defence, has 1421 NGOs registered under it, reports the Daily Mirror. In a recent incident, the NGOs were instructed by the secretariat to avoid conducting press conferences if it was not mentioned in their annual action plans approved by the Secretariat. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka's Free Media Movement speaks out against government

  •    [ Jul 14, 2014 17:38:05 GMT ] [ Committee to Protect Journalists ]

        In a high-risk move, the Free Media Movement in Sri Lanka released a statement condemning the government's ban on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) holding press conferences and issuing press releases. CPJ blogged about the government's move last week. The Free Media Movement, on which CPJ relies to monitor press freedom abuses in Sri Lanka, did not mince words in its rejection of the government's July 1 directive. "We stress that this circular is totally illegal and we further bring into notice that there is a danger of this circular being used to oppress the freedom of expression of any citizen in Sri Lanka. Also this circular violates many charters of Human Rights which Sri Lanka is committed internationally through United Nations Organization," the signed statement said. [ Full Report ]

    - Press Release - Committee to Protect Journalists
  • Media Watch: Secrecy on the High Seas

  •    [ Jul 14, 2014 17:34:08 GMT ] [ Australian Broadcasting Corporation ]

        Journalists speak out on the government’s information black out on asylum seekers. But it’s not just the future that is currently hard to know. When it comes to stopping the boats it’s almost impossible to find out what’s happening now, as reporters keep discovering. In [a] bizarre exchange two weeks ago Immigration Minister Scott Morrison was asked about a boat with 153 Tamil asylum seekers reportedly off Christmas Island. 27 times the Minister refused to confirm the boat’s existence or comment on its fate. [ Full Report ]

  • Canada's long tightening of refugee policy

  •    [ Jul 14, 2014 17:30:03 GMT ] [ The Ottawa Citizen ]

        On July 4, Federal Court Justice Anne Mactavish ruled against the government’s “cruel and unusual” changes to refugee policy. In 2012, the government removed or reduced federal health care services for failed refugee claimants and claimants originating from one of 37 countries deemed “safe” from humanitarian conflict, whose residents can thus be deported faster and have no right of appeal. This decision corrects the injustice of the 2012 changes to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP), which, for the first time since the program’s introduction in 1957, created a two-tiered health care system for asylum seekers. [ Full Report ]

    - Timeline: Canada's refugee policy - The Ottawa Citizen
  • Photo shows 'intercepted asylum boat'

  •    [ Jul 14, 2014 17:28:02 GMT ] [ Special Broadcasting Service ]

        SBS has obtained what is thought to be the first photo of a boat that left India bound for Australia, carrying 153 Tamil asylum seekers. The asylum seekers on board the boat were transferred to an Australian Navy vessel, where they remain while their fate is decided in the High Court. The unverified photo shows the vessel before it left port in June. Family members of those on board have told refugee advocates that the photo is of the vessel intercepted by Australian authorities late last month. Sources have told SBS that the photo can not be confirmed because the boat is a different colour from the one that that asylum seekers say they were on when intercepted. [ Full Report ]

  • Asylum seekers: Sri Lanka court detains 5

  •    [ Jul 14, 2014 15:12:19 GMT ] [ Gulf News ]

        A Sri Lankan court on Monday ordered that five suspected ringleaders of a people-smuggling operation remain in custody for two more weeks, in a case that has fuelled controversy over Australia’s tough line on immigration. The five were among 41 Sri Lankan asylum seekers sent home by Australia after their refugee boat was intercepted. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has denied that the operation violated international conventions. The men have not been charged but their detention was extended to July 28 by a magistrate in Galle, a port on Sri Lanka’s southwestern coast, pending a ruling on whether they can be charged. [ Full Report ]

  • Support UN Probe on Lanka, PMK Boss Tells Centre

  •    [ Jul 14, 2014 2:55:01 GMT ] [ The New Indian Express ]

        PMK founder S Ramadoss has expressed shock and disappointment over the announcement of the Ministry of External Affairs that India will not support the UN inquiry into the war crimes committed during the final stages of the Lankan civil war. He urged the NDA government not to continue in the same vein as the previous UPA government as far as the stance on the Sri Lankan issue is concerned. Ramadoss’s statement to this effect came two days after a meeting between Sushma Swaraj and GL Peiris,the Foreign Affairs Ministers of India and Sri Lanka, respectively. [ Full Report ]

  • Fact file: Why the fate of 153 asylum seekers is in the hands of the High Court

  •    [ Jul 14, 2014 2:53:46 GMT ] [ Australian Broadcasting Corporation ]

        On June 20, the Federal Government announced the "continued success" of its border protection operations, evidenced by six months without a "successful people smuggling venture". However, in the days following, reports emerged in Australian media of at least two boats of Sri Lankan asylum seekers purportedly on the way to Australia. The Government has since confirmed the existence of two boats. Some people have been returned to Sri Lanka, others are under the control of Australian officials. Fact Check takes a closer look at what has been happening and where the law stands on what the Government has been doing. [ Full Report ]

  • War is over, but not Sri Lanka’s climate of violence and threats

  •    [ Jul 14, 2014 2:51:10 GMT ] [ The Conversation ]

        The Australian government has become the great defender of Sri Lanka’s post-war human rights credentials, it seems. But Sri Lanka’s (and Australia’s) insistence that the end of the civil war means an end to persecution ignores considerable anecdotal evidence of continued ethnic intimidation and a rise in Buddhist-nationalist violence. And perhaps more significantly, it disregards an ingrained culture of violence as part of Sri Lanka’s political landscape. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka Keen on Home-Grown Solution to Ethnic Problem

  •    [ Jul 13, 2014 16:20:57 GMT ] [ NDTV ]

        Mr Peiris was in New Delhi on Wednesday and held talks with Ms Swaraj on an entire gamut of bilateral ties. "I apprised her on the parliamentary select committee process. I told her clearly that we were keen for a home-grown solution through the participation of all political parties. We urged Indian assistance towards this," Peiris said. Sri Lanka's select committee process remains stalled due to non-participation of opposition groups including the main Tamil party, TNA. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka must promote religious tolerance

  •    [ Jul 13, 2014 16:17:16 GMT ] [ Gulf News ]

        Authorities in Sri Lanka need to sit up and take notice of a warning from the leading Muslim politician on the island. In recent months, both Muslim and Christian communities in Sri Lanka appear to be coming under a coordinated attack that has tacit government backing. In June alone, three Muslims were killed and 75 injured in the latest outbreak of anti-Muslim violence in two southern coastal towns. The situation has deteriorated so much that the country’s Justice Minister, Rauf Hakeem — who also leads the island’s main Muslim party — has warned that the minority community could become radicalised by the violence perpetrated by Buddhist hardliners. [ Full Report ]

  • 'Pakistan must learn from Sri Lanka's success against LTTE'

  •    [ Jul 13, 2014 16:15:55 GMT ] [ Economic Times ]

        Pakistan must learn from Sri Lanka's success against the now vanquished LTTE to fight the Taliban insurgency in the country, a senior police officer has said, arguing that using decisive force could be the only solution. Mohammad Ali Babakhel said in an article published by Dawn newspaper today that the Lankan forces' all-out onslaught against the Tamil Tigers can be replicated in Pakistan against the Islamist rebels. [ Full Report ]

  • Australian minister under fire for not meeting Tamil groups on Sri Lanka trip

  •    [ Jul 13, 2014 15:33:46 GMT ] [ Reuters ]

        A Tamil group criticised Australia's immigration minister on Thursday for visiting northern Sri Lanka without meeting Tamil leaders, days after Australia returned a boat of asylum seekers, including Tamils, under its hardline border security policy. Some of the 41 Sri Lankans intercepted and sent home by Australia said on Tuesday they had been mistreated by Australian Customs, accusations Immigration Minister Scott Morrison denied. [ Full Report ]

    - People smugglers planning more boat trips to Australia, says analyst - SMH
    - Scott Morrison attacks critics of Sri Lanka - The Australian
  • Fishing crisis: Lanka may resort to tit-for-tat

  •    [ Jul 13, 2014 15:28:17 GMT ] [ Sunday Times ]

        Sri Lanka’s Fisheries Ministry has proposed tit-for-tat measures against Indian fishermen arrested for poaching in Sri Lankan waters after Indian courts began fining Sri Lankan fishermen arrested by the Indian Coast Guard and produced them in courts by the local police.Thirty-three (33) Sri Lankan fishermen produced before the judicial magistrate at Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh were fined Indian Rs. 25,000 (SL. Rs. 54,000) each and Indian Rs. 60,000 (SL Rs. 130,000) each for the eight trawlers that were in their possession. They had been in Indian remand custody since May 2 – more than two months. On Friday, the Mannar magistrate released without fines 37 Indian fishermen arrested for poaching in Sri Lankan waters. [ Full Report ]

  • Modi applies UPA balm on Lanka

  •    [ Jul 13, 2014 15:14:49 GMT ] [ Calcutta Telegraph ]

        The Narendra Modi government will not support a UN probe into alleged human rights violations by Sri Lankan forces against Tamils, New Delhi has told Colombo. When the UPA government had adopted the same position, sections within the BJP had criticised it. Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj today told her Sri Lankan counterpart G.L. Peiris that the Modi government would uphold the objections to a UN probe that India had articulated in April while abstaining from a vote against Colombo. “We feel that international bodies need to address human rights concerns in a cooperative manner with the countries concerned, and not in a punitive manner,” foreign ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said. [ Full Report ]

    - Allow UN team to stay in Chennai to conduct probe into war crimes in Sri Lanka: PMK - Times of India
  • Sri Lankan Muslim leader warns of radicalization after clashes

  •    [ Jul 13, 2014 15:12:08 GMT ] [ Reuters ]

        Sri Lanka's Muslim minority could become radicalized and turn to foreign Islamic groups for support because of violent attacks on them by Buddhist hardliners, the island nation's main Muslim leader and justice minister said on Friday. Last month, at least three people were killed and 75 seriously injured in violence between Buddhists and Muslims in two southern Sri Lankan coastal towns best known as tourist draws, with Muslim homes set ablaze. Increasing violence over the past two years against Muslims, who make up about 10 percent of Sri Lanka's population, mirror events in Myanmar, which has also seen a surge of attacks by members of its majority Buddhist community against Muslims. [ Full Report ]

  • Hundreds of Tamils Have Simply Vanished on the Perilous Sea Voyage to Australia

  •    [ Jul 11, 2014 12:26:22 GMT ] [ Time ]

        According to one eerie estimate, 800 asylum seekers — men, women and children — have set off for Australia in the past three years and have simply never been heard from again Antonyamma, a Tamil refugee from Sri Lanka living in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, last heard from her daughter Mary more than a year ago when the younger woman had boarded a boat heading for Australia, along with seven other members of her family, including four children aged under 9. In total, 63 people from their community were on the same boat, which left the Indian port of Kochi on May 1, 2013. None have been heard from since. [ Full Report ]

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