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The Forever War? Military Control in Sri Lanka’s North
Published Date: 25/03/2014 (Tuesday)
The heavy militarisation of Sri Lanka’s northern province after the civil war’s bloody end in 2009 has been the subject of growing domestic and international concern, says International Crisis Group, working to prevent conflict worldwide. The large numbers of military personnel in the north, and the deep involvement of the military in the province’s governance, endanger the re-establishment of democratic institutions that is necessary to lasting peace (see our November 2013 report Sri Lanka’s Potemkin Peace: Democracy Under Fire).
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Sri Lanka: Further acts of harassment against Mr. Ruki Fernando and Rev. Praveen Mahesan
Published Date: 25/03/2014 (Tuesday)
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Sri Lanka.
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President Rajapakse to brief Maha Nayaka Thera’s
Published Date: 22/03/2014 (Saturday)
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has accepted a request made by the Most Venerable Mahanayaka Thera’s to brief them on the ongoing Human Rights sessions in Geneva. The Government information department stated that accordingly the meeting will be held tomorrow. The request for the meeting seeking an update about the US sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC session was made by Mahanayaka Thera of the Malwathu Chapter Most Ven. Thibbatuwawe Sri Sumangala Thera and Mahanayake of the Asgiriya Chapter Most Ven. Udugama Sri Buddha Rakkitha Thera.
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“I have secured full backing of EU for resolution on Sri Lanka”, UK Prime Minister David Cameron
Published Date: 22/03/2014 (Saturday)
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom said he has secured the full support of the European Union for the UN resolution on Sri Lanka UK co-sponsored with the United States. Addressing the press conference at the close of European Council on Friday (March 21) Cameron said Sri Lankan President\'s failure to properly address the issues of accountability for the past and bring reconciliation in the country has necessitated the international investigation called on by the resolution.
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On Sri Lanka, After Arrest of 2 Rights Defenders, US Speaks, UN Doesn't By Matthew Russell Lee
Published Date: 21/03/2014 (Friday)
As the Sri Lanka draft resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva had the reference to demilitarization dropped, the government has arrested two human rights defenders, Ruki Fernando and Praveen Mahesahn, who is both a pastor and director of a rights group. The UN had no comment when Inner City Press asked on March 17, nor at the UN noon briefing on March 21. But now later on March 21 US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki has issued this, link added here
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Report on torture and sexual violence released on Friday, 21 March 2014
Published Date: 21/03/2014 (Friday)
A shocking report detailing the ongoing sexual violence and torture in Sri Lanka, some as recent as February 2014, was launched by international human rights lawyer, Yasmin Sooka, the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) and The International Truth & Justice Project, Sri Lanka, this Friday 21 March in the Canadian High Commission, Macdonald House, 1 Grosvenour Square, London W1K 4AB. The event was chaired by Geoffrey Robertson QC.
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Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka figures in disappearance probe
Published Date: 21/03/2014 (Friday)
The conduct of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka figured in complaints received by a Sri Lankan government commission probing disappearances during the country\\\'s civil war, a senior official said today. The complaints against the IPKF was received during the sitting of a 3-member disappearances probe panel in the former conflict zone in the eastern province. \\\"We began our sittings in Chenkaladi and called some 60 cases. There were also new cases numbering 250,\\\" HW Gunadasa, panel\\\'s Secretary said.
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Chairman Menendez Expresses Support for an International Investigation into Sri Lankan War Crime Allegations
Published Date: 19/03/2014 (Wednesday)
Chairman Menendez wrote UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay to express his support for a resolution at the current session of the UN Human Rights Council that calls for an international investigation into Sri Lankan war crimes committed during that country’s civil war.
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Sri Lankan Christian Clergy writes to members of UN Human Rights Council
Published Date: 03/03/2014 (Monday)
Two hundred and five Tamil Christian priests from North and East including Mannar Bishop have written to the members of UN Human Rights Council calling for international investigation on Sri Lanka’s war crimes and human rights violations. The priests call for a strong and action oriented resolution on Sri Lanka at the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council.
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Sri Lanka Corruption
Published Date: 12/02/2014 (Wednesday)
In early 2009, Government Accountability Project (GAP) in Washington reports it began to hear from anonymous whistleblowers in Sri Lanka who were concerned about official misconduct with respect to IMF funds. After regularly providing updates on several political and judicial developments in Colombo, GAP released two reports that chronicle a series of unlawful transactions involving privatization. Both transactions transferred valuable revenue-producing enterprises from the public to well-connected corporate ownership. The reports are Unlawful Privatization in Sri Lanka: The Role of the Auditors, and Corrupt Privatization Does Not Deter IFI Lending to Sri Lanka.
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APPG-T meeting with Minister of State at the FCO
Published Date: 11/02/2014 (Tuesday)
Following a recent meeting with Hugo Swire MP Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; The All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPG t) represented by Lee Scott MP and Siobhain McDonagh MP (Vice Chair) hosted a meeting yesterday, the 10th of February 2014, at Parliament which was addressed by senior representatives from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in order to receive an update on the proposed resolution to the 25th UNHRC session in March.
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Prince Charles unveils plan to launch charity for South Asia
Published Date: 07/02/2014 (Friday)
Britain's future king Prince Charles has endorsed his commitment to charity projects in countries like India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka with a plan to launch a charity for South Asia. Prince Charles made the announcement at the annual fundraiser of the British Asian Trust at Victoria and Albert Museum in central London yesterday. "I am someone who can't help believing that people of common purpose and good spirit can achieve so much more when they work together," CHarles said.
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Bradman Weerakoon’s letter to President Rajapakse
Published Date: 22/01/2014 (Wednesday)
I am addressing this letter to you as part of a project initiated by the Fullbright Commission of Sri Lanka to commemorate the 6oth Anniversary of the Fullbright programme in Sri Lanka. The Project called for Fullbright awardees over the years to write a letter to the Presidents of their countries indicating how their period of academic study abroad and the broader experiences gained through that exposure to the United States, its government, culture and people, influenced their subsequent careers.
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Baloch long march for release of 1000s of Baloch reaches Jampur
Published Date: 22/01/2014 (Wednesday)
Today was day 42 of Baloch’s LongMarch from Karachi and 69 from Quetta to Islamabad. The Baloch Long March started walking 10 Kilometre away from Muhammedpur and reached 4 Kilometres away to Jampur area of Baloch territories in Punjab. The participants of VBMP have been chanting slogans for release of abducted Baloch and urging UN and international media to raise their voice against disappearances, continuous military operations and kill and dump policy of state in Balochistan.
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Genocide and Indigenous Rights: The Inuit People of Canada
Published Date: 20/01/2014 (Monday)
Nunavit: in 2014 most Canadians, individually, are strongly resistant to tuberculosis. Yet, on May 8, 2013, Night’s Lantern noted the tuberculosis rate for Inuit people as 186 times the rate for non-Aboriginal people. After James Anaya’s visit in early October, 2013, the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous rights found the Aboriginal peoples “in crisis.” The causative problem remains: successive Canadian governments serve the interests of resource extraction corporations rather than the people of the land.
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On Twelfth Anniversary of Guantánamo Bay, London says “Shut it Down”!
Published Date: 11/01/2014 (Saturday)
More than 250 people from across England joined a demonstration on Saturday 11 January outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square to mark the twelfth anniversary of the opening of the extralegal prison camp at Guantánamo Bay and to call for its closure. After 12 years, 155 prisoners remain held there, almost wholly without charge or trial, and many have been engaged for almost one year in a hunger strike against their ongoing arbitrary detention and conditions of detention. The hunger strike has prompted Obama to remember his broken promise to close the prison in 2009, yet his recent actions remain half-hearted and insincere.
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Historic and unprecedented day of action by solicitors and barristers against further legal aid cuts
Published Date: 09/01/2014 (Thursday)
On 6 January 2014 legal aid solicitors and barristers joined together in an unprecedented and historic show of solidarity against the government’s determination to impose further legal aid cuts. At 9.30 a.m. at Westminster Magistrates’ Court a demonstration was held coordinated by The Justice Alliance, to demonstrate widespread opposition to the proposals. Across the country criminal law barristers refused to attend court until 2:00 p.m. which meant the criminal courts system was effectively stopped. The purpose was not to cause chaos, but to show the government that if they do not re-think their proposals which would likely results in an increase in miscarriages of justice, lawyers were prepared to take action to save the criminal justice system.
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Legal Aid cuts: Where are we now?
Published Date: 04/01/2014 (Saturday)
On 8 April 2013 the UK Government announced a further round of cuts to legal aid in the Transforming Legal Aid consultation. The consultation received around 16,000 responses. A response to the consultation was published on 5 September 2013 and the Government has started to enact secondary legislation to implement the proposals. On 13 December 2013 the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) published its report on “the implications for access to justice of the Government’s proposed legal aid reforms”. Justice Alliance has set the following information out where we are now with the changes.
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IFJ and calls all governments to respect journalists safety and press freedom
Published Date: 31/12/2013 (Tuesday)
IFJ reports 108 killed in 2013 and calls for action for 2014 The international organisation representing journalists, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), has called for all governments to respect journalists¹ safety and press freedom as it published the list of journalists killed in 2013. The National Union of Journalists for the UK and Ireland (NUJ) has denounced the unnecessary deaths of workers in 2013. The union and its global federation continue to campaign for the end of impunity for those who have killed journalists and media workers.
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Sri Lanka Faces New Year Pressure Over Rights
Published Date: 29/12/2013 (Sunday)
When the American Centre in Colombo held a memorial event honouring the late South African President Nelson Mandela, the first few questions at the question and answer session had nothing to do with the great freedom fighter. The questions raised at the meeting Dec. 20 were about how South Africa could assist Sri Lanka set up its own national healing process. During the Commonwealth Heads of State summit (CHOGM) in Colombo in November, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government had approached the African state to explore the possibility of assistance in setting up something akin to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
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Government to change name of “Aanai-iravu” Railway station
Published Date: 29/12/2013 (Sunday)
The Sri Lanka weekly Newspaper Sunday Times reports that the Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena wants to renovate and re-name the “Aanai-iravu” (Elephant Pass) railway Station as “Senahasaka Thotupola” when train services between Kilinochchi and Jaffna are restored. The Annai-iravu Railway Station is at the gateway to the Jaffna Peninsula and was in the heart of the battle between the LTTE and government armed forces, since the beginning of the conflict. It was destroyed along with other railway stations along the Northern line, during the war. With the demolition of the railway station, the rail tracks were also removed.
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BTF calls on the international community to denounce Sri Lanka’s “reconciliation” deception
Published Date: 25/12/2013 (Wednesday)
The war in Sri Lanka came to an end in May 2009. There remain 146,679 people unaccounted for since the end of the war. Mounting evidence points to a need for an international independent investigation into the conduct of the Sri Lankan state during the war. However, calls for accountability by the international community have been met by continuing denials by the Sri Lankan state of any wrongdoing. As the call for an international independent investigation gains momentum the Sri Lankan regime is engaged in a game of deception. As part of this, the regime has recently announced that it seeks the assistance of South Africa to set up a commission modelled on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
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Government will Reject Resolution at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in March 2014.
Published Date: 23/12/2013 (Monday)
The government says it will reject any resolution put forward by Britain on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in March 2014. There were reports that the British government was looking at co-sponsoring a resolution on Sri Lanka at the March UN Human Rights Council session. The UK Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire said in the House of Commons debate on Tuesday, 17th that the British government has been regularly discussing with Lanka on accountabilityissues. Such discussions also include a range of other EU, Commonwealth and international partners.
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New mass grave found in Mannar in the Tamil homeland
Published Date: 23/12/2013 (Monday)
An unmarked mass grave has been found in Sri Lanka\'s former war zone in the Tamil homeland. There was no immediate indication who the victims were or how and when they had died. However, it is the first time that evidence of a mass grave has emerged in the former war zone since the war ended in June 2009. On Friday, 20 December, workers of the National Water Supply and Drainage Board found skeletal remains when they were digging to lay new water pipes in the coastal district of Mannar in the northern province.
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Religious Persecution: Matara Lakshmi Temple under attack
Published Date: 17/12/2013 (Tuesday)
The Hindu devotees who came to attend Lakshmi pooja at the Sivasubramaniam Temple at Katargamam temple were obstructed in entering the temple yesterday. They were forced to perform their religious observances and to carry out their pooja on the main road. Reports emerging from local sources say that the temple administration was under threat and the temple was under attacks during the recent past.
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