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Why Sri Lanka is severing ties between Tamils at home and abroad
Published Date: 21/04/2014 (Monday)
Days after the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted a resolution calling for an international inquiry into war crimes in Sri Lanka, the Colombo government began moving to cut links between the country’s Tamil minority and its powerful diaspora. The Tamil diaspora, many of whom were driven out of Sri Lanka due to atrocities committed by government troops and rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fighters, is expected to play a prominent role in presenting evidence at the inquiry, expected to begin later this year.
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UK denies UN special rapporteur access to detention center
Published Date: 17/04/2014 (Thursday)
A UN special rapporteur investigating violence against women has been denied access by the UK government to the controversial Yarl’s Wood Detention Center. Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre is an immigration detention centre at Milton Ernest in the Borough of Bedford in Bedfordshire. It opened on 19 November 2001 and was built to hold up to 900 people making it the largest immigration detention centre in Europe at the time.
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Getting Away With Murder CPJ’s 2014 Global Impunity Index spotlights countries where journalists are slain and the killers go free
Published Date: 16/04/2014 (Wednesday)
Syria has joined the list of countries where journalists’ murders are most likely to go unpunished, while Iraq, Somalia, and the Philippines once again were the worst offenders, the Committee to Protect Journalists has found in its newly updated Impunity Index. Convictions in four countries represented a glimmer of good news. Syria’s entrance to the Index at number five highlights the rising number of targeted killings there, a recent threat to journalists operating in the country.
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Canada Suspends Voluntary Commonwealth Funds
Published Date: 15/04/2014 (Tuesday)
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today announced that Canada will suspend its voluntary contribution to the Commonwealth Secretariat and reallocate the funds for the next two years. “As host of the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and current Chair in Office, Sri Lanka has a duty to take meaningful action on human rights, political reconciliation and accountability. However, Sri Lanka has failed to realize progress on any of these issues,” said Baird. “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada took a strong and principled stand in not attending the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo, and today’s announcement is an extension of that leadership.
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Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) in Sri Lanka: Why we need to unite against it
Published Date: 15/04/2014 (Tuesday)
The PTA law is being applied arbitrarily, and even offences that could be dealt with under the normal laws are being dealt with under the PTA. This is at a time when the Emergency Laws have already been revoked. Since the PTA law is being wrongly used in this way, it is necessary for us to acquire a good knowledge of what this law is and what are its implications. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is very clear about civil and political rights of the people but all its provisions are not enshrined in our country’s law.
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Children can now lodge complaints with the UN about violations of their rights
Published Date: 14/04/2014 (Monday)
United Nations child rights experts have hailed a new treaty that allows children to complain directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about alleged violations of their rights. The treaty, known as the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure, has today (14 April) entered into force following its ratification by the required 10 countries.
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“Inclusion” and “ Participation” discussions in the Post-2015 Development Agenda
Published Date: 10/04/2014 (Thursday)
The continuation of an inclusive dialogue on Post-2015 is a key mandate given to the UN by its Members States as well as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. As the Post-2015 Development Agenda process moves into its next phase, we seek to build on the outcomes of the first round of consultations (held in 2012-2013), to ensure the inclusion of a wider range of voices and approaches in the Post-2015 Development Agenda process.
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Pakistan General bestowed Guard of Honor, pays tribute to Sri Lankan soldiers
Published Date: 09/04/2014 (Wednesday)
On Pakistan Army Chairman joint chief of staff committee (CJCSC) General Rashad Mahmood’s first visit to Sri Lanka, he was bestowed with the guard of honor as per the military tradition of Sri Lanka by the army at the defense ministry. As per details from News.IK, The CJCSC met Commander of Sri Lankan Army, Lt General Daya Ratnayake on Wednesday and discussed current state of affairs and the relevancy of army organizations in their regions.
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Lords reject statelessness power
Published Date: 08/04/2014 (Tuesday)
Last night the Lords rejected the idea of rendering British citizens stateless. In doing so, they safeguarded our security and stood firm on our democratic values remarked the Civil Rights organisation Liberty. Last night, quietly and without fanfare, the Lords delivered a victory for all who believe in democracy and human rights.
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Sri Lanka Refuses Cooperation With UN-Backed Probe
Published Date: 07/04/2014 (Monday)
Sri Lanka's foreign minister announced that his country will not cooperate with the United Nations human rights chief when she begins an investigation into alleged crimes from the island nation's civil war. Minister G L Peiris said that Sri Lanka does not accept the authority of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay to conduct an investigation. He said such an investigation will not be fair and objective because Pillay has a prejudged mind.
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JVP to fight for rights of Muslims
Published Date: 07/04/2014 (Monday)
Coming down hard on an alleged illegal construction taking place in a Muslim burial ground at Maligawatta, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) said it remains committed to protect the rights of Sri Lanka's Muslim community. JVP Western Provincial Councillor, K.D. Lal Kantha alleged that the illegal construction, in the Muslim burial ground at Maligawatta, is taking place with the consent of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development. "Since of late, a trend has been witnessed in Sri Lanka where the Muslim Community is being subjected to marginalization.
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UN to review 20-year confidentiality clause ‘at a later stage’ War crimes probe targeting Sri Lanka:
Published Date: 06/04/2014 (Sunday)
The United Nations said that the issue of confidentiality of sources/eyewitness needed to be considered at a later stage. A senior UN spokesperson said: "The High Commissioner for Human Rights will now be making arrangements for a comprehensive investigation requested by the United Nations Human Rights Council and these are issues which will need to be considered at a later stage. In any case, the protection of witnesses and their consent to sharing their identities remain the overriding considerations when dealing with these matters."
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The World Tamil Web Conference 2014 held in London
Published Date: 05/04/2014 (Saturday)
The World Tamil Web Conference 2014 (WTWC 2014) took place on Friday 4th April 2014 in London with the aims of discussing the future of Tamil Media across the World Wide Web. The conference was attended by numerous Tamil Web based media. With a diverse range of participants ranging from Tamil web-based editors, media journalists, researchers, analysts and activists and even artificial intelligence developers. The Panels of guest speakers participated were;
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Indian envoy calls for Sri Lanka power sharing
Published Date: 04/04/2014 (Friday)
India's ambassador urged Sri Lanka's government on Friday to expedite power sharing with ethnic minority Tamils after a recent United Nations resolution authorized an international war crimes investigation. Ambassador Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha said early talks between the government and the main ethnic Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance, are a "key imperative" and urged the government to create conditions that would lead to a resumption of the dialogue.
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Open letter to the Members of the UN Open Working Group (UN OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals
Published Date: 02/04/2014 (Wednesday)
30 organisations have come together to formulate a set of goals and targets that would effectively address armed violence in the post-2015 framework to bring it to the attention of the UN OWG. This is to ensure that sustainable peace remains prominent in the UN OWG's discussions and that any goals and targets that the UN OWG proposes effectively addresses the underlying drivers of armed violence.
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After Sri Lanka Samarasinghe Rebuffs Pillay, UN Tells ICP Ban Wants Cooperation
Published Date: 01/04/2014 (Tuesday)
While UN Secretary General had no comment last week on restrictions on human rights defenders in Sri Lanka (and previously accepted controversial military figure Shavendra Silva as an adviser, telling Inner City Press it was entirely up to the member states), on April 1 Ban through his deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq gave a pre-prepared answer to Inner City Press' question.
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Transcript: Northern Province Chief Minister’s speech at the Bernard Soysa Centenary Memorial Event: THE NATIONAL QUESTION
Published Date: 31/03/2014 (Monday)
Mr. Chairman, distinguished Guests, my dear Brothers & Sisters. It is indeed ironic that we are remembering a stalwart among our Majority Community Parliamentarians of yesteryears at this citadel of Tamil Letters and Literature on his hundredth birthday. In fact we live at a time when a mere 57th Lane cannot be renamed as Tamil Sangam Lane in Colombo because the word ‘Tamil’ appears to be anathema to some of our governing elites. I am wondering whether calling this Lane as Thamil Sangam Mawatha might be acceptable to those who oppose the renaming. There could be a fusion of Thamil Sangam with Sinhala Mawatha!
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French charity welcomes inquiry into aid worker massacre in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 31/03/2014 (Monday)
French charity Action Contre La Faim (ACF) has welcomed a United Nations resolution which paves the way for an inquiry into human rights abuses committed during Sri Lanka's civil war, including the massacre of 17 of its aid workers eight years ago. The ACF workers were murdered outside their office in the town of Muttur in the mainly Tamil north of Sri Lanka in August 2006. The charity said they were lined up and shot at point blank range.
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Ending sexual violence
Published Date: 31/03/2014 (Monday)
Speaking at the meeting organised by Lawyers’ Collective Women’s Rights Initiative, Sir James Bevan KCMG, UK High Commissioner to India said, Sexual violence is a global pandemic. The official statistics say that one in three women suffer violence or sexual abuse at some time in their lives. I suspect the real figures are much, much higher.
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Sri Lanka: Western and Southern Provincial Council Elections
Published Date: 30/03/2014 (Sunday)
The ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) emerged victorious in both the Western and Southern Provinces. The UPFA emerged victorious by beating the Opposition by 388,977 votes in the Southern Province and by 683,993 votes in the Western Province, with an overall lead of 932,292.
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Baroness Warsi welcomes conclusions of UN Human Rights Council
Published Date: 28/03/2014 (Friday)
The UN Human Rights Council concluded its 25th Session today with important resolutions on Sri Lanka, DPRK, Iran, Syria and Burma. Senior Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi said: The UK welcomes the strong action which the Human Rights Council has taken on Sri Lanka, DPRK, Iran, Syria and Burma at this session. I am also encouraged by the Council’s effective response to a range of other critical human rights situations including Ukraine and South Sudan.
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CPS to prosecute G4S guards for the manslaughter of Jimmy Mubenga
Published Date: 27/03/2014 (Thursday)
It has taken nearly four years of sustained pressure from the family and supporters of Mr Mubenga, and much public outrage, for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to finally bring criminal charges against his G4S killers. An inquest in 2013 heard how three G4S guards deporting Mr Mubenga on a British Airways flight, violently restrained him in a position known to cause asphyxia. Having considered the evidence of Mr Mubenga’s harrowing death, the jury found that he had been “unlawfully killed”.
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South African Tamils Supports Independent and International Inquiry into Human Rights Violations of Tamils in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 26/03/2014 (Wednesday)
The South African Tamil Federation (SATF), which represents more than 650 000 South Africans whose mother tongue is Tamil, has supported moves by the United States, United Kingdom and other countries to call for an international and independent commission of inquiry into the allegations of human rights violations of Tamils in Sri Lanka. The SATF's support is contained in a letter submitted on Monday this week to the United Nations Human Rights Council session which is currently being held in Geneva, Switzerland.
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UN Rights Council: Crucial Vote on Sri Lanka Inquiry International Investigation a Pivotal Step for Justice
Published Date: 26/03/2014 (Wednesday)
Members of the United Nations Human Rights Council should vote for a resolution calling on the UN’s human rights office to investigate allegations of war crimes by all sides during the final months of Sri Lanka’s civil war, Human Rights Watch said today. The vote on the resolution is expected this week. The Sri Lankan government has failed to seriously respond to two previous Human Rights Council resolutions seeking national investigations into violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the last stages of fighting with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which resulted in the deaths of as many as 40,000 civilians.
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Dal Khalsa on Tamil Right to Self-determination
Published Date: 26/03/2014 (Wednesday)
Amritsar- Asserting that like Tamils in Sri Lanka, Kashmiris and Sikhs face similar situation in India, the Dal Khalsa has urged the United Nations to intervene in India also to ensure justice and protection of rights of Sikhs and Kashmiris particularly their right to self-determination. Realizing that UN intervention in South Asia has been negligible, the party’s secretary for political affairs Kanwar Pal Singh has sent a letter addressed to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms Navi Pillay seeking the UN intervention.
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