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Sri Lanka foreign reserves at USD5.3 billion by end June: Central Bank
Published Date: 08/07/2016 (Friday)
Sri Lanka’s official reserves were 5.27 billion US dollars at the end of June, down from 5.64 billion US dollars end of May, latest Central Bank data showed. Foreign currency reserves were 4.25 billion dollars, and reserves in Gold were 0.94 billion dollars
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USTPAC Welcomes High Commissioner Zeid's Call for Sustained International Engagement on Sri Lanka
Published Date: 30/06/2016 (Thursday)
United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) member states responded yesterday in Geneva to High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein's midterm report on the government of Sri Lanka's implementation of Resolution 30/1. USTPAC welcomes High Commissioner Zeid's report and statements from member states and other countries for more concerted government action.
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TGTE’s alternatives to pressuring Colombo from Geneva
Published Date: 30/06/2016 (Thursday)
As Sri Lanka keeps buying time and hoodwinking the international community, the frustrated Tamils are looking for alternatives. The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam,{TGTE} one of the largest and democratically elected outfits of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora is engaging experts to deal with the Sri Lankan Government. One of the most well attended side events was organized by the TGTE at the UN-HRC in Geneva on 22 June, themed: "Is Sri Lanka living up to its commitment to the UNHRC?".
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Monitoring Accountability Panel (MAP) Presentation at UN Human Rights Council
Published Date: 27/06/2016 (Monday)
On 22 June 2016, during the 32nd regular session of the UN Human Rights Council, legal experts from the Monitoring Accountability Panel (“MAP”) gave their assessment of the Sri Lankan Government’s transitional justice programme to date. The panel discussion was chaired by eminent jurist, Geoffrey Robertson QC, and included a detailed assessment by US lawyer, Ms Heather Ryan.
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Recapturing the democratic space
Published Date: 27/06/2016 (Monday)
Last week, a very senior foreign official, who had previously served as his country’s top most diplomat in Lanka, during the height of the war, told in Jaffna that according to him 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, characterized it as such and expressed hope during the election campaign last year that by the end of this year a political solution would have signed! Ranil signed a peace agreement with Prabhakaran a decade ago. Then SLFP President allowed the PM Ranil to make such an agreement. Hence it was a moment all bourgeois liberals got together to find a solution by negotiation with Tamil nationality. TNA too supported the action of Ranil. We lost that opportunity because of the activities of chauvinists led by Mahinda and Weerawansa.
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The Chairman of the Presidential Commission to investigate into complaints regarding Missing Persons, Maxwell Paranagama has requested to extend the term of office of the Commission for a period of one year. Chairman Paranagama said that if the mandate of the commission was extended, accurate information regarding missing persons could be sought.
Published Date: 24/06/2016 (Friday)
The Chairman of the Presidential Commission to investigate into complaints regarding Missing Persons, Maxwell Paranagama has requested to extend the term of office of the Commission for a period of one year. Chairman Paranagama said that if the mandate of the commission was extended, accurate information regarding missing persons could be sought. The current mandate of the Paranagama Commission is due to end on the 15th of July 2016. According to Maxwell Paranagama, the commission had investigated complaints regarding missing persons during the period so far.
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Governmental Apathy, Continued Surveillance Inhibit Rehabilitation of LTTE Cadre
Published Date: 24/06/2016 (Friday)
Former cadre of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who had surrendered to the Sri Lankan army and undergone a year’s ‘rehabilitation’ in special camps, are manifestly eager to get back to normal life, forgetting their past. But lack of active interest on the part of the political leadership; the bureaucracy’s apathy; and above all, the Security Forces’ continued lack of faith in them; are preventing their return to normalcy. State actions ensure that eminently forgettable memories of the conflict are kept alive even though the war ended seven years ago.
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Children of a Lesser God: Trafficking Soars in India
Published Date: 24/06/2016 (Friday)
Children from rural areas and disempowered homes are ideal targets for trafficking in India and elsewhere. Sunita Pal, a frail 17-year-old, lies in a tiny bed in the women’s ward of New Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. Her face and head swathed in bandages, with only a bruised eye and swollen lips visible, the girl recounts her ordeal to a TV channel propped up by a pillow. She talks of her employers beating her with a stick every day, depriving her of food and threatening to kill her if she dared report her misery to anybody.
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An Evening in Jaffna with Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne, MP
Published Date: 23/06/2016 (Thursday)
It was a treat to hear Dr. Wickramaratne at the Jaffna Managers' Forum on 12 June, 2016. He was there with his LSSP cohorts (the majority group of the LSSP, he carefully stated several times) to explain where things are with the Constitution. Chairman Northern Provincial Council C. V. K. Sivagnanam in his welcome address gave the Tamil nationalist expectation – not asking for confederation or separation but for power sharing with the North-East through restoring the lost rights of the Tamils which they exercised through the Kingdom of Jaffna (the largest in the island when the Portuguese arrived, he said, quoting K.M. de Silva), the state as the unit of power sharing, and a minimal role for the governor as the representative of the centre.
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No response from govt. on ‘cluster bombs’ report
Published Date: 22/06/2016 (Wednesday)
The Sri Lankan government has not come out with any categorical response to the latest news report on the use of cluster bombs in the final stages of the civil war. Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said he does not wish to comment on the report while the Director General (Government Information) Ranga Kalansooriya said the report is being studied.
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Global Watchdogs Criticise Lanka's Rights Record
Published Date: 21/06/2016 (Tuesday)
"While the governments' assurances on progress have been plentiful, its performance on the ground has been mixed and not befitting expectations outlined in your report and in the resolution as well as those of victims and people on the ground," the letter said. It also noted there have been mixed signals on the governments' commitments made through the October resolution, at the highest level of the government.
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Reclaiming Sinhalese settlement rights in Tamil dominated Jaffna
Published Date: 19/06/2016 (Sunday)
Supported by the Sri Lankan government machinery, Sinhala nationalist outfits and Buddhist monks from Colombo, a group of 57 Sinhalese families from South Lanka have settled in Navatkuli in the Tamil-majority North Lankan district of Jaffna in a determined bid to reclaim their rights there in the teeth of opposition from the Tamil political parties. It was in late 2009, following the end of Eelam War IV, that the then government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa took the decision to aggressively push for Sinhalese resettlement in the North to nullify the Tamil militants’ policy of fashioning a mono-ethnic Northern province as a prelude to the creation of an independent Tamil Eelam.
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The battle in Geneva
Published Date: 19/06/2016 (Sunday)
Against the backdrop of a statement made by former Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa that there's no Tamil problem for a political solution, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), a democratically elected political party called as the 'mirror of Tamil Tigers', and some others seeking a 'balanced' justice for all Sri Lankans killed either by the LTTE or the security forces, the government is in the process of 'narrowing' the 'outsized' United Nations Human Rights Resolution (UNHRR) passed on Sri Lanka.
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Sampur project uncertainty continues
Published Date: 19/06/2016 (Sunday)
The uncertainty over the Sampur thermal power project continues as the NTPC, India’s partner in the coal-fired 500-megawatt (MW) project, is awaiting advice from the Central government on the issue of change of fuel for the proposed plant. The issue has been raised by Sri Lanka, which apparently now favours liquefied natural gas (LNG) as the fuel.
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Mr R. Sampanthan’s Adjournment Motion in Parliament
Published Date: 18/06/2016 (Saturday)
The leader of the TNA, R. Sampanthan, has moved an important motion in Parliament (10 June 2016), on behalf of the Tamil people in the North and the East. Perhaps as he has moved the motion as the Leader of the Opposition, there is much substance and less rhetoric, both in the motion and the speech that he has delivered. I am not saying that the motion or the speech is completely devoid of ‘political rhetoric.’ But the issues that he has highlighted and the facts and information that he has supplied should draw the attention of not only the government, but also the general public at large who are concerned about the unity and reconciliation in the country. Reconciliation along with ‘justice and equality’ are the key notions that he has also highlighted.
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Katchatheevu needs a political settlement’
Published Date: 18/06/2016 (Saturday)
The Katchatheevu row requires only a political settlement, as there is nothing to be sorted out legally between India and Sri Lanka, according to a senior legal expert, Nirmala Chandrahasan. Ms. Chandrahasan, now a consultant to the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) of the Sri Lanka government, told a high-profile seminar on the India-Sri Lanka relationship here on Thursday that the Indian government did not consider Katchatheevu a “disputed territory” and it had recognised the islet as a part of Sri Lanka. As there was no legal dispute on this issue, the question of taking the matter to international courts did not arise.
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China to help developing northern Sri Lanka
Published Date: 18/06/2016 (Saturday)
Chinese Ambassador Yi Xianliang pledged to push forward ties with Sri Lanka by assisting development of the former war zone in the Tamil-dominated north, a Chinese Embassy official said on Friday. During a four-day visit to Northern Province, the ambassador met with Chief Minister Wigneswaran and Northern Governor Reginald Cooray, saying that China stood ready to offer assistance to Sri Lanka and the province.
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Unit of devolution
Published Date: 17/06/2016 (Friday)
The Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reform headed by its Chairman Lal Wijenayake has recommended retaining the Province as the unit of Devolution. The Commission proposes 6 "alternate formulations" based on the Province as the peripheral unit. These formulations vary from retaining the existing 9 Provinces without merger with provision to withdraw devolved power without consent, to merger with minority participation in the Executive and the Legislature and other formulations in between, including the re-demarcation of existing boundaries.
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Former Sri Lanka president urges more development projects with Japan
Published Date: 17/06/2016 (Friday)
Amid a proliferation of development deals in Sri Lanka, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa says his country and Japan could work on more projects together, including hospitals and highways. “I believe that the infrastructure projects are very important for Sri Lanka after the war,” Rajapaksa said during an interview with The Japan Times on Wednesday in Tokyo.
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'New and transformative' phase in India - Sri Lanka relations began with new government – envoy
Published Date: 16/06/2016 (Thursday)
A 'new and transformative phase' in relations between India and Sri Lanka began last year heralding a new beginning after the formation of a new government in Sri Lanka, the Indian envoy said today. Delivering the opening remarks at the panel discussion "India - Sri Lanka Relations in the 21st Century" organized by the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies, Indian High Commissioner to Colombo YK Sinha said bilateral ties have become robust and entered a new phase with highest-level engagements as four high level bilateral visits within 90 days of the formation of a new government last year heralded a new beginning
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Speech by M.A. Sumanthiran – Congressional caucus briefing 14th June 2015
Published Date: 16/06/2016 (Thursday)
Thank you, Mr. Moderator. Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to address all of you in this forum. I have been asked to make a few remarks with regard to Sri Lanka’s progress in this transitional phase. The transition commenced in January last year when there was a change in the office of the President. Just prior to that, most friends of Sri Lanka were gravely concerned that Sri Lanka was going down the precipice, in that it was moving towards an authoritarian regime. The Constitution had been amended; we had an executive presidential system with a two term limit that had been amended to enable the incumbent to run for however many times that he wanted to and there were very serious concerns with regard to democracy deficit and accountability and non-accommodation of dissent and so on.
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Sri Lankan Ambassador to U.S. Speaks on How LankaCorps Can Aid Post-Conflict Reconciliation
Published Date: 16/06/2016 (Thursday)
On May 18, The Asia Foundation held a reception at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington, hosted by Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the U.S., Prasad Kariyawasam, as an opportunity for members of the area’s Sri Lankan diaspora and policy community to learn about the Foundation’s LankaCorps program. Over the past four years, 25 young professionals have served as LankaCorps Fellows, a unique opportunity developed by The Asia Foundation for young people of Sri Lankan heritage to live and work in Sri Lanka and contribute to the dynamic, multi-ethnic nation’s post-war recovery through six-month fellowships. Senior program officer Diana Kelly Alvord spoke to Ambassador Kariyawasam after the event.
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US fears military uprising in Sri Lanka?
Published Date: 15/06/2016 (Wednesday)
Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang has advised the Sri Lanka Government on how to implement proposals of the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC). On China's unqualified support for Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council, which annoys the world human rights lobby, Ambassador Yi Xianliang said that China is against outside interference in domestic affairs. He also advised Sri Lankan leaders to see that the reconciliation mechanisms suggested by the UNHRC do not themselves create new conflicts. He also said, it would be ill-advised to put reconciliation before development because it is only all round equitable development that will prevent social, political and economic conflicts.
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Oral Statement by PasumaiThaayagam on Accountability, Justice and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka 32nd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
Published Date: 14/06/2016 (Tuesday)
Pasumai Thaayagam congratulates and appreciates the UNHRC for a decade of upholding human rights within its member states. We, on behalf of the victims in Sri Lanka also thank the High Commissioner and his office for the excellent work they continue to do, as highlighted in the updates provided yesterday and look forward to the High Commissioner’s oral report later. Weappeal to this Council to continue working towards ensuring the implementation of Resolution 30/1 in full, providing relevant assistance
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Sri Lanka forex reserves drop to new low of US$5.6bn in May
Published Date: 14/06/2016 (Tuesday)
Sri Lanka's gross official forex reserves dropped to a new low of $5.62 billion in May 2015 from Rs6.06 billion in April, a month before the International Monetary Fund approved a new loan to the country's central bank. The $5.6 billion in forex reserves include $1.1 billion borrowed by the monetary authority from the Reserve Bank of India and $310 million borrowed from the IMF under earlier deals.
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