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UN urges creation of special court in Sri Lanka after new report confirms ‘horrific’ abuses
Published Date: 16/09/2015 (Wednesday)
A new report released today by the United Nations human rights office has identified patterns of grave violations in Sri Lanka between 2002 and 2011, and recommends the establishment of a hybrid special court to ensure that justice is served. “Our investigation has laid bare the horrific level of violations and abuses that occurred in Sri Lanka, including indiscriminate shelling, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, harrowing accounts of torture and sexual violence, recruitment of children and other grave crimes,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a news release.
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Sri Lanka Official on Reconciliation
Published Date: 16/09/2015 (Wednesday)
A particularly shocking finding, the United Nations report says, was “the extent to which sexual violence was committed against detainees, often extremely brutally, by the Sri Lankan security forces” during and after the conflict, with men and women victimized. Torture by the security forces was widespread, systematic and premeditated, particularly in the aftermath of the conflict, the report says, describing centers equipped with metal bars for beating, barrels of water for waterboarding and pulleys for suspending victims.
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Tamil Nadu assembly for international probe on alleged war crimes in Northern Lanka
Published Date: 16/09/2015 (Wednesday)
A day after India and Sri Lanka decided to renew efforts to address the vexed ethnic issue in the island nation, Tamil Nadu today stepped up pressure on the Modi government for an international probe against alleged human rights violations and war crimes committed in 2009 in Northern Sri Lanka. In a resolution adopted in the Assembly, the Jayalalithaa government sought diplomatic efforts by India to change any possible pro-Lanka stand adopted by the US in a UN rights body.
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Westminster Hall Debate – Tamil People’s Rights in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 15/09/2015 (Tuesday)
The Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office speaking at the Westminster Hall Debate on Tamil People’s Rights in Sri Lanka . I congratulate my Honourable Friend, the Member for Kingston and Surbiton, on securing this debate. And I commend the valuable work he has already done in the short time since his election, to raise the important issue of Tamil rights.
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Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein’s speech at the UN HCHR
Published Date: 14/09/2015 (Monday)
Speaking at the Oprning session of the Human Rights Council today, UN Hign Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra.ad Al Hussein said, Six years ago, we were confronted with serious violations and loss of civilian life in the last months of Sri Lanka's long civil war. This Council has been deeply engaged with the need for accountability, as a necessary step towards reconciliation in that country.
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Palestine flag to fly at UN headquarters after majority vote
Published Date: 11/09/2015 (Friday)
Palestine’s flag will fly at UN headquarters after the general assembly overwhelmingly approved a Palestinian resolution, infuriating Israel with a move that Palestinians described as a step toward UN membership. There were 119 votes in favor out of 193 UN members. The US and Israel were among eight countries that voted against the Palestinian-drafted resolution, which says the flags of non-member observer states such as Palestine shall be raised at the New York headquarters.
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Coalition for the ICC: Call on Sri Lanka to join the ICC
Published Date: 11/09/2015 (Friday)
With its new leaders promising to put Sri Lanka on a path towards reform and reconciliation, justice for grave crimes must not be neglected. By joining the ICC, Sri Lanka can signal to its citizens and the international community that it is ready to break away from impunity and its violent past. Add your voice now. Six years after the end of its 26-year long civil war, victims of grave crimes from all sides are still awaiting justice. The Sri Lankan government must no longer turn its back on its responsibility to protect its citizens.
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New short film, Sri Lanka: The search for Justice launched
Published Date: 10/09/2015 (Thursday)
The team behind the controversial Emmy-nominated feature documentary No Fire Zone – credited with playing a key role in convincing the international community to take action over the Sri Lankan massacres of 2009, in which tens of thousands of Tamil civilians died – have today launched a new short film, Sri Lanka: The Search For Justice. The hard-hitting half-hour long video coincides with the long anticipated publication of the international war crimes investigation into the massacres, ordered by the United Nations Human Rights Council 18 months ago in Geneva. It will be made live to an international public today – initially in English and Spanish, with translations in Tamil, Sinhala, French and Hindi to follow online in the next few days.
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India: New Killing of ‘Right-to-Information’ Activist Investigate Attacks; Increase Transparency in Public Institutions
Published Date: 10/09/2015 (Thursday)
Indian authorities should promptly and thoroughly investigate threats and attacks on so-called right-to-information activists, Human Rights Watch said today. The killing of a right-to-information activist in Bihar state in August 2015 highlights the risks to people requesting information from the authorities, as provided by law. Since India’s Right to Information (RTI) Act was enacted in 2005, at least 45 right-to-information users and activists have been killed and over 250 assaulted, harassed, or threatened, according to local groups. Police often fail to investigate the attacks, under pressure from politicians and contractors with vested interests in keeping the information from becoming public.
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Sri Lanka's historic election that voters lost
Published Date: 10/09/2015 (Thursday)
The naming of deputy ministers of the new government has kept pace with the record-setting cabinet and confirmed that voters were the clear losers at the August 17 parliamentary election. The business community had high hopes of seeing Harsha de Silva and Eran Wickremaratne getting key positions where their knowledge on monetary and fiscal matters could have been fully utilised.
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Amb. Stephen Rapp on Sri Lanka’s War Crimes Investigation
Published Date: 10/09/2015 (Thursday)
At the end of August, the United States announced that it would support Sri Lanka’s plan for investigating alleged war crimes that occurred during the final years of the country’s long-running civil war, which ended in 2009. This announcement signaled a shift in position for the State Department, which had long insisted on an international investigation. But, in the coming weeks at the UN Human Rights Council’s next session, the US will offer a resolution supporting Colombo’s proposed process for investigating and prosecuting potential war crimes.
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Sri Lanka’s ‘Accountability’ Dilemma
Published Date: 10/09/2015 (Thursday)
With the opening of the U.N. Human Rights Council’s 30th session just days away, many Sri Lanka watchers are waiting to see how Colombo deals with the release of a major U.N. report focused on wartime abuses in Sri Lanka and its plans for handling “accountability” issues domestically. What will Colombo’s accountability mechanism actually look like? And is it actually possible for such a mechanism to work properly? What role, if any, will international actors play in such a process?
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PM calls for progress reports on major crimes during Rajapakse time
Published Date: 08/09/2015 (Tuesday)
Sri Lanka's Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has called on officials to provide progress reports on the investigations on several high profile murders and disappearances that were committed during the previous president Mahinda Rajapaksa's tenure. The Prime Minister has asked for reports on the progress of cases including the murders of former Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga, former Tamil MP Nadarajah Raviraj, the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda and the death of national rugby player Wasim Thajudeen.
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TNA will not attend Geneva UNHRC session
Published Date: 08/09/2015 (Tuesday)
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) spokesperson and MP M.A. Sumanthiran said today that TNA had not decided to send a party delegation to attend the forth coming United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions. However, he said some members might go in their individual capacities. Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP, was in Geneva lobbying at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for release of the UN’s investigative report on allegations of war crimes committed in the last phase of the 2006-2009 Eelam War IV in North Sri Lanka.
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Vanni 2002 – 2006; What I Owe the People of the Vanni
Published Date: 08/09/2015 (Tuesday)
It was February 2002 when I returned to Sri Lanka from the US, scarcely a month after the announcement of the Ceasefire Agreement that ended hostilities, following the 20 year old civil war. Now, for the first time the marvel of peace among our people was a real possibility. Like many other Tamils of my generation who were nurtured on the premise of achieving our rights via peaceful and non-violent means, I was able to leave the country at the onset of the civil war when it became evident that violent means had hijacked all peaceful methods of non-violent agitation and activism for our rights.
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Prabhakaran's reluctance to embrace federalism and lack of bipartisan spirit of SLFP and UNP: Two difficulties encountered by Norway - Erik Solheim
Published Date: 07/09/2015 (Monday)
From 2000 to 2005, Mr. Erik Solheim was the Chief Negotiator for the peace process between the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and now-defunct militant organisation, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). This peace process led to the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) in February 2002 which continued with six rounds of direct peace talks during 2002 to 2003, and what is known as the Oslo Declaration on a Federal State in Sri Lanka.
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The Left takes a back seat in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 05/09/2015 (Saturday)
The first sitting of Sri Lanka’s new parliament took place this week amidst some uncertainty. Following the United National Party (UNP) election victory, negotiations continue on the formation of a national government, with a number of MPs from the opposition Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) expected to be given ministerial portfolios. The new cabinet is yet to be announced. One thing that’s clear is that the Left will no longer wield much clout. Earlier, though few in number the leftist MPs held important positions.
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Why small states matter in international politics: The case of Sri Lanka
Published Date: 04/09/2015 (Friday)
Sri Lanka occupied little thought throughout the West for much of the period since independence in 1948. In the last few years, however, Sri Lanka began to feature as a country of strategic relevance to great powers, particularly China and the United States. Sitting at the center of the Indian Ocean, halfway between China and the key energy resources in the Middle East, Beijing has sought to influence politics on the island. But it has suffered blows this year, with Mahinda Rajapaksa (friendly to Chinese interests) losing the presidency in January and his party losing in recent parliamentary elections to the center-right United National Party. Now, pro-Western Ranil Wickramasinghe holds the position of prime minister.
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TNA agrees to give post of Chief Opposition Whip to JVP
Published Date: 04/09/2015 (Friday)
It was reported that the TNA has agreed to give the post of Chief Opposition Whip in Parliament to JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake. When the post of the Opposition Leader was obtained by a party usually the post of Chief Opposition Whip, too, went to the same party. Yet, the TNA had decided to hand that opportunity over to the JVP, TNA parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran said.
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India’s Stand on Death Penalty and Torture is a Self-goal in Fighting Terror
Published Date: 04/09/2015 (Friday)
The Law Commission’s recent report recommending the abolition of the death penalty except for cases related to terror and ‘waging war’ ignores a critical fact – that to fight terror, it might be more practical to do away with the death penalty. The Law Commission was responding to a Supreme Court suggestion in the case of Santosh Kumar Satishbhushan Bariyar vs Maharashtra and Shankar Kisanrao Khade vs Maharashtra, that it revisit the issue of death penalty in India to “allow for an up-to-date and informed discussion and debate on the subject.”
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Syrian Children … The Drowned Dream Syrian Children’s Death Toll during 2015
Published Date: 04/09/2015 (Friday)
Syrian Network for Human Rights has documented the killing of 2236 children by the main conflict parties in Syria since 1 January 2015 and up till 31 August 2015.
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Vantharumoolai Refugee Camp Disappearances: 20 years of waiting
Published Date: 03/09/2015 (Thursday)
Many may not know that, when 5th September 2015 dawns, it will be 25 years of waiting for 158 families, who ‘lost’ a member or two on that day of 5th September 1990 from the VANTHARUMOOLAI REFUGEE CAMP at EASTERN UNIVERSITY. They did not go missing as usual, where no one knew where they went. In this case these 158 were ‘handed over’/ ‘taken over’ by the Sri Lankan Military in front of a population of nearly 40,000 people. They were forced into buses and were driven away in the direction of Valaichenai. This was the last time anyone saw any of them, to date.
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Culture of excessive number of ministers must end - TNA Leader Sampanthan
Published Date: 03/09/2015 (Thursday)
Sri Lanka’s new Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan today said that while a national government in the present context in the country may be a national need, it would have been better if the two parties would have been able to come together without an increase in the number of ministries. The Speaker Karu Jayasuriya today recognized the TNA Parliamentary Group Leader as the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament.
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Experience of Dr Nagalingam Ethirveerasingam from North of Sri Lanka
Published Date: 03/09/2015 (Thursday)
I just returned from the North after 8 months. The miitarization of the North is pervasive. The Navy occupies the Islands' coastal areas appropriating many water front areas and controlling the sea. Poonakary is filled with army and Navy. From Poonakary to Mannar road, which I have traveled back and fourth five times, every three or four miles are fortified entrance to the inside in to the forest and in some places to the coast. The A9 and the side roads to east and west and the Jaffna coastal areas and Mannar coastal areas are filled with all three armed forces.
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The inevitability of the banana republic
Published Date: 01/09/2015 (Tuesday)
Sri Lanka has been a ‘banana republic,’ for quite some time, and clearly so throughout the oligarchy of the Rajapaksas. Formally, a banana republic is “a small country that is economically dependent on a single export commodity, such as bananas, and is typically governed by a dictator or the armed forces.”). But in our case, the fate of the citizenry is far worse than in most other banana republics. In Sri Lanka, all wisdom, action, dreams, hallucinations and the making of unmitigated profit came from the first family and then from its acolytes. They were essentially the centre of our universe as well as the structure that kept this universe in place in a very specific way
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