News Archives
  • UN against amnesty for jailed Sri Lanka rebels: chief minister

  •    [ Feb 07, 2016 22:58:32 GMT ] [ AFP ]

        The UN rights chief has said Tamil rebels still detained years after the end of Sri Lanka's bloody civil war should not be granted universal amnesty, a top regional official said Sunday. More than 200 suspected Tamil separatists remain in prison, many without charge, following the country's bitter 37-year-war that ended nearly seven years ago. Tamil political and civil society groups have long demanded their unconditional release, tough the government has rejected demands for universal amnesty. [ Full Report ]

  • President defends FCID even though SLFP ministers call for its disbanding

  •    [ Feb 07, 2016 22:56:20 GMT ] [ Sunday Times ]

        Last Saturday’s arrest of Lieutenant Yoshitha, second son of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, continues to reverberate in many quarters. One such instance is the weekly ministerial meeting on Wednesday. Ministers representing the United National Party (UNP) were livid that one of their Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) colleagues had, wanted the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID), which made the arrest, disbanded. [ Full Report ]

  • The High Commissioner for Human Rights visit to Sri Lanka raises hopes for victims

  •    [ Feb 07, 2016 22:54:55 GMT ] [ Groundviews ]

        This week, the UN’s top human rights official, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein – the High Commissioner for Human Rights – is visiting Sri Lanka. He will see a country that has changed considerably since his predecessor Navi Pillay came to the island in 2013. Since then, the increasingly authoritarian government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa was voted out of office. The new government, led by President Maithripala Sirisena, has taken notable steps to change Sri Lanka’s course on human rights. [ Full Report ]

  • India assures Sri Lanka of support for reconciliation

  •    [ Feb 07, 2016 22:44:12 GMT ] [ The Hindu ]

        India has expressed support for Sri Lanka on its reconciliation and development policies. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who was here on a two-day visit, conveyed this to President Maithripala Sirisena when she discussed a number of matters with him nearly for an hour on Saturday morning. She also expressed India’s appreciation of Mr. Sirisena’s address to Parliament last month when a resolution on constitutional reforms was introduced, a release issued by the President’s office said. [ Full Report ]

  • And now for the other independence

  •    [ Feb 07, 2016 12:12:18 GMT ] [ Sunday Times ]

        Some days ago the Daily Mirror, the sister paper of the Sunday Times, carried two news reports of hotels and restaurants in southern Sri Lanka that cater only to foreigners and refuse to provide service to Sri Lankans. Last Sunday this newspaper carried a further report of the national/racial discrimination that Sri Lankans suffer in their own country at the hands of owners and staff of hotels and restaurants, especially in Mirissa which was the local area in the spotlight.Incredibly the picture of a place called “Ram’s Surfing Beach” carried with the Sunday Times story unashamedly stated on its name board by the roadside that it was for “foreigners only.” [ Full Report ]

  • Zeid meets relatives of missing persons during visit to North

  •    [ Feb 07, 2016 11:56:51 GMT ] [ AdaDerana ]

        UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein today visited Sri Lanka’s war-affected Northern Province and held talks with top officials as well as the relatives of missing persons. Al Hussein, who arrived in Sri Lanka just yesterday on a four-day official visit, first met with the Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran in Jaffna this morning. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lankan nationalists protest U.N. rights chief's visit on war crimes

  •    [ Feb 06, 2016 16:23:29 GMT ] [ Reuters ]

        Hundreds of hardline nationalists gathered outside the United Nations' office in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo on Saturday to protest against a visit by the U.N. human rights chief who will assess Sri Lanka's progress in prosecuting alleged war crimes. The U.N. says both Sri Lanka's military and the Tamil Tiger rebels most likely committed war crimes during a 26-year war which ended in 2009. A U.N. resolution calls for post-war reconciliation and that all alleged war crimes be investigated and tried in special courts by international judges. [ Full Report ]

    - UN rights chief in Sri Lanka for talks over war crimes - AFP
  • Gently in Colombo

  •    [ Feb 06, 2016 16:20:06 GMT ] [ Indian Express ]

        Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Colombo for the ninth edition of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission will see the two sides discuss the bilateral relationship under a gamut of heads. Through the highs and lows of the relationship, the 26-year-old joint commission, which last met in New Delhi in 2013, has been symbolic of the bread-and-butter ties between the two countries, covering areas such as trade, education, defence cooperation, information technology, partnerships in the energy sector, and cultural and religious matters. [ Full Report ]

  • Sushma Swaraj meets Tamil leaders in Sri Lanka

  •    [ Feb 06, 2016 16:18:25 GMT ] [ The Hindu ]

        The External Affairs Minister also met Eastern Province CM Nazir Ahmad and leaders of the Sri Lankan Muslim Congress. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday met leaders of Sri Lanka’s main Tamil party TNA led by its chief R Sampanthan, who briefed her about the efforts made by the government in moving forward the reconciliation process with the minority community. “Engaging across the political spectrum. Leader of the Opposition, TNA’s R Sampanthan calls on EAM @SushmaSwaraj,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted. [ Full Report ]

    - India ready to address Sri Lanka’s concerns on economy pact - The Hindu
  • A wider view of Colombo

  •    [ Feb 06, 2016 16:14:30 GMT ] [ Indian Express ]

        Indian foreign policy on a political solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka has been consistent for close to three decades. The Indo-Lankan accord of 1987 led to the 13th amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution, recognising Tamil as an official language and devolving power to the provinces — two longstanding demands of the Tamil minority. Since then, India has consistently called for the full implementation of the amendment and meaningful devolution. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka: Looking for a deal, not truth and justice

  •    [ Feb 06, 2016 15:22:30 GMT ] [ JDS ]

        Sri Lanka’s fledging transitional justice process is in trouble already. It’s getting impossible to paper over embarrassing public differences between the country’s President and its Prime Minister on the issue of war crimes. Sceptics of course say neither man really acknowledges the gravity and scale of the atrocities committed. The most immediate crisis is over interviews the President gave to the BBC and Al Jazeera in which he rolled back on the country’s commitments in Geneva regarding international involvement in a special court yet to be set up. Tamil victims don’t have faith in a process that’s purely domestic - it’s not a question of ability and professionalism - but one of trust, given many of the alleged war criminals are still in positions of power. [ Full Report ]

  • Explaining Transitional Justice in Sri Lanka

  •    [ Feb 06, 2016 15:19:23 GMT ] [ The Diplomat ]

        On January 29, I had the pleasure of attending a transitional justice workshop in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. The event was organized by the National Peace Council (NPC), a Colombo-based organization. Jehan Perera, executive director of the NPC, participated. The workshop was led by Patrick Burgess, an Indonesia-based lawyer with deep knowledge of human rights and transitional justice. Burgess spoke about the four key parts of transitional justice: truth-seeking; prosecutions; reparations; and institutional reform. He emphasized the importance of taking a holistic approach. [ Full Report ]

  • India offers to set up IT park in Sri Lanka

  •    [ Feb 06, 2016 15:18:13 GMT ] [ The Hindu ]

        "We are ready to set up an Information Technology Park in Sri Lanka that could attract investments in this important sector, and both sides agreed to explore this issue further," Ms. Swaraj said. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday offered to open an Information Technology Park in Sri Lanka that could attract investments in this growing sector. She made the remarks while inaugurating an exhibition on the ‘Rise of Digital India Exhibition in Colombo’ as part of the first Festival of India in Sri Lanka, which is aptly titled, ‘Sangam: a confluence of cultures’ [ Full Report ]

  • India Needs to Urgently Engage With Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora Groups: Global Tamil Forum

  •    [ Feb 06, 2016 15:17:13 GMT ] [ Indian Express ]

        India has so far, kept powerful Diaspora groups at an arms length, preferring to deal with the main Tamil political party Tamil National Alliance for engagement with the community. In an interview with The New Indian Express, spokesperson of the London-based Global Tamil Forum, Suren Surendiran said that India should urgently open a formal dialogue with Lankan Tamil diaspora groups to strengthen moderate voices at this critical juncture in the reconciliation process. [ Full Report ]

  • TPC to present proposals to diplomats

  •    [ Feb 06, 2016 11:46:35 GMT ] [ Nation ]

        The Tamil People’s Council (TPC) has decided to present their constitutional proposals to the international community.The TPC, co-chaired by the Northern Province Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran, released its proposals on Constitutional reforms on January 31. According to sources, the TPC would hand over the set of proposals to ambassadors and diplomats in order to enlighten the international community and the Diaspora on its stance on the issue. The proposals were also handed over to key members of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). The alliance had stated that it would study the proposals before making any commitment. [ Full Report ]

  • Responsibility, Autonomy and the Geneva Resolution

  •    [ Feb 06, 2016 11:44:14 GMT ] [ CDN ]

        The resolution co-sponsored by our government at the United Nations Human Rights Council is a mutual agreement entered into by Sri Lanka, as a sovereign member state of the UN, which recognises our responsibility to embark on a process of reconciliation among communities that will foster peace and prosperity. This resolution is an opportunity to do what is right, by ourselves and for ourselves, and for our future generations. Over many decades, including the post-war period, there have been assassinations, abductions, torture, and conscription of children and sexual violence perpetrated on women. These realities have often been denied by most politicians who have tried to promote racist and divisive ideologies to achieve short term gains. [ Full Report ]

  • India must take action to stop bottom trawling – TNA tells Sushma

  •    [ Feb 06, 2016 11:33:29 GMT ] [ AdaDerana ]

        Speaking to reporters after the meeting India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the TNA leader R. Sampanthan said that the matter of land issues, the excessive presence of the military particularly in the North, resettlement, rehabilitation, livelihood, housing and so on were extensively discussed. “We also discussed the need for an acceptable political solution and referred to some of the issues that needed to be resolved if there was to be an acceptable, durable and reasonable political solution.” “That matter was discussed at some length,” Sampanthan said. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka should honor UN obligations, say activists

  •    [ Feb 06, 2016 11:26:07 GMT ] [ UCA News ]

        Sri Lankan activists have called upon their government to stand by commitments made in a U.N. Human Rights Council resolution that it co-sponsored in October. Concerns that the government is backtracking on the resolution come after comments by President Maithripala Sirisena in a BBC interview. The president appeared to indicate "a withdrawal" from the government's obligations, said a statement signed by 23 civil rights organizations and 121 activists including Catholic priests and nuns. "The president in these interviews categorically stated that foreign judges and experts would not be part of the process," said the statement. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka's Rajapaksa family: Crashing fall from grace

  •    [ Feb 06, 2016 11:22:58 GMT ] [ BBC ]

        Much of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, is set in Sri Lanka. But the island has seen something of a modern epic in the past year or so, with the crashing fall from grace of the family which once appeared to run most aspects of life there. Once Mahinda Rajapaksa lost the presidency a year ago, his successor set about unravelling the network of power the Rajapaksas had built. The picture showed how starkly the fortunes of this once invincible clan have tumbled since Mr Rajapaksa senior was ousted from office early last year.Many in the Sinhalese majority revered Mr Rajapaksa for crushing the 30-year Tamil separatist insurgency, notwithstanding the massive civilian casualties that caused such outrage among human rights advocates. [ Full Report ]

  • UN human rights chief in Sri Lanka over atrocities probe

  •    [ Feb 06, 2016 11:20:43 GMT ] [ BBC ]

        The UN's top human rights official has arrived in Sri Lanka amid concerns that the country's president is backtracking on promises to investigate war crimes. Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, will spend four days in the country. Sri Lanka had committed to allowing foreign judges to investigate allegations against Sri Lankan forces. But President Maithripala Sirisena last month said no foreign judges would be allowed in the investigation. [ Full Report ]

    - UN rights chief in SL for talks over war crimes - AFP
    - Top UN Human Rights Official Arrives in Sri Lanka - AP
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