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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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VIOLENT PREVENTION OF PUBLIC PROTEST VITIATES GOVERNMENT’S COMMITMENT TO BASIC RIGHTS – NPC, Sri Lanka
Published Date: 17/12/2013 (Tuesday)
The National Peace Council (NPC) in its media release today condemn the attack on peaceful protest by families of missing persons in Trincomalee in the Eastern province for violating the rights to peaceful assembly and to freedom of expression. “On International Human Rights Day, December 10, a public protest by families of missing persons in Trincomalee was attacked by goons while the large contingent of police present at the scene remained inactive. They carried photographs and posters about their missing loved ones and demanded that the government should take steps to provide information about their whereabouts. Civil Society and democratically elected representatives of the people also participated in the protest.
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Indian fishermen launch indefinite strike
Published Date: 17/12/2013 (Tuesday)
Fishermen of Nagapattinam taluk on Sunday launched an indefinite strike demanding the release of fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy. About 700 fibre boats of Nagapattinam taluk did not venture out. Last week, 111 fishermen from Nagapattinam and 8 from Jagadapattinam were arrested for allegedly fishing in the territorial waters of Sri Lanka. Twenty-three boats, including eight, from Jagadapattinam were seized.
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Only 517 punished in 2,420 child abuse cases – Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem
Published Date: 17/12/2013 (Tuesday)
Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem today stated that special courts will be established soon and steps would be taken to expedite trials to hear cases pertaining to incidents of child molestations and child abuse in the country. He stated that they will comprise Magistrate’s Courts and High Courts and that this will help to expedite trials on child abuse and molestation cases.
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Book Launch: A Fleeting Moment in My Country”, by Dr Malathy
Published Date: 16/12/2013 (Monday)
Hosted by the Tamil Information Centre, a cross section of Tamil diaspora gathered in East London to celebrate a book launch of a participant and observer of the Tamil de-facto state up to its end in 2009. Entitled “A Fleeting moment in my country” by Dr Malathy, the book describes what life was like on the ground inside Tamil-controlled territory just before the end. The author presently lives in New Zealand, holds a Ph.D. in computer science, and has written extensively on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. The book describes her experiences of four years in Sri Lanka, in the Vanni District under the control of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE), from 2005 till 2009.
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Showcause notice issued over Eelam memorial
Published Date: 16/12/2013 (Monday)
Tamil Nationalist Movement leader P Nedumaran has moved the Madras high court challenging the validity of a local body’s show-cause notice saying that a memorial built in memory of Mullivaikkal victims in Sri Lanka had been constructed in deviation of approved plan. A division bench of Justice Satish Kumar Agnihotri and Justice K K Sasidharan, before which the petition of the 81-year-old leader came up for admission on Monday, adjourned it to Tuesday for further hearing.
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Tamil refugees arrive in India by illegal boat service
Published Date: 16/12/2013 (Monday)
Tamil Nadu Police have arrested a Tamil refugee from Sri Lanka for questioning, who arrived in Rameswaram illegally on Sunday by boat. According to police sources they have launched a massive hunt launched for other refugees who have arrived in the same boat. DSP Vijayakumar said the refugees had arrived at Arichalmunai near Dhanushkodi from Sri Lanka and police with the help of the Coast Guard managed to nab a person, Santhan, who confessed that he had come along with some others by paying Rs one lakh as ferry charge.
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Reconciliation: From Invoking to Understanding
Published Date: 16/12/2013 (Monday)
The International Centre for Ethnic Studies has launched its research paper on the theme of Post War Reconciliation titled, ‛A History of Tamil Diaspora Politics in Canada: Organisational Dynamics and Negotiated Order, 1978-2013' by Amarnath Amarasingam. This paper sets out to examine Sri Lankan Tamil diasporic mobilization in Canada in its various organisational forms, from the late 1970s to the present. Even as there is much talk about the Canadian Tamil diaspora, the largest population of Sri Lankan Tamils outside of Sri Lanka itself, there is, maybe quite surprisingly, very little actually written about organisational dynamics in the community.
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Former Indian Foreign Secretary says India must respect Tamils
Published Date: 15/12/2013 (Sunday)
India should ensure that the self-respect of the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka is not eroded, former Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Menon Rao has said. She said this while delivering the 22nd Sree Chithira Tirunal memorial lecture on ‘India in a tough neighbourhood’ at Thiruvananthapuram, The Hindu newspaper reported today. Rao, who was also once the Indian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, said that the end of civil war had provided a historic opportunity for reconciliation in Sri Lanka.
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Costly Dams Hold Neither Water Nor Power – Pearl Thevanayagam
Published Date: 14/12/2013 (Saturday)
Camelia Nathaniel has re-opened the can of worms afflicting our country’s foolhardy dam projects. While Chogm and war crimes hit the headlines in the last few weeks she wrote an investigative story on the Samanalawewa Dam in the Sunday Leader recently which was obfuscated by politicians and their shenanigans. Her reporting is a matter of fact and no fluff journalism. “Dam in Danger” she wrote did not attract the attention it deserved although it is of national importance and a serious cause for our environmental concern.
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PC Governor May be an expert on Extra-Judicial Killings, Not on the Constitution: TNA MP Sumanthiran hits back
Published Date: 13/12/2013 (Friday)
The Tamil National Alliance today came out all guns blazing against the Northern Province’s Military Governor G.A. Chandrasiri in Parliament, saying that while he may have expertise in extra-judicial killings, he was certainly no expert on constitutional affairs. The onslaught by TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran came after Chandrasiri accused the TNA run Northern Provincial Council of violating the constitution for attempting to set up departments of transport and housing, in the lead story of the Daily News yesterday.
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BHC Colombo Announces Changes to UK Visa application Rules
Published Date: 12/12/2013 (Thursday)
British High Commission in Colombo (BHC-Colombo) announced that all visa applicants will have to pay their visa fees online in US dollars via Visa or Master Card debit or credit cards or e-wallet (skrill) from Monday, 16 December 2013. As is the current practice, Applicants are required to complete their applications, online as usual with printed copies submitted to the Visa Application Centre in Colombo, along with biometric data.
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All Ceylon Hindu Congress Condemn the attack on Hindu temple
Published Date: 12/12/2013 (Thursday)
President Kandiah Neelakandan and General Secretary M. Karhiragamanthan of the All Ceylon Hindu Congress (Federation of Hindu Religious Associations and Hindu Temples in Sri Lanka) have expressed shock and disappointment saying that 150 year old statue of Shri Muthumariamanan which was in Shri Murugan Kovil in Udunuwara in Hali Ela Badulla District had been damaged by undesirable criminal elements.
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NPC passes resolution to oust Northern Governor
Published Date: 11/12/2013 (Wednesday)
The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) at its second session since the formation of the newly elected Provincial Council has unanimously passed a resolution yesterday, urging President Mahinda Rajapaksa to remove Retired Maj. Gen. G.A. Chandrasiri from the post of Northern Governor, and appoint a new Governor with no military background to the post.
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"Constructing a development based strategy for durable solutions for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sri Lanka in the aftermath of conflict is now essential," UN rights expert says.
Published Date: 11/12/2013 (Wednesday)
"After having made impressive strides in rebuilding infrastructure destroyed during the conflict, post conflict reconstruction in Sri Lanka should also focus on addressing durable solutions for all IDPs and those who have returned to their areas of origin on a comprehensive basis," the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of IDPs, Chaloka Beyani, said at the end of his visit to Sri Lanka from 2 to 6 December 2013.
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SRI LANKA: 'We must put a Stop to Torture' says Eran Wickramaratne, MP
Published Date: 10/12/2013 (Tuesday)
The following is a translation of a statement made by Eran Wickramaratne, MP, in Parliament on December 3, 2013. Today, I am going to take the opportunity of the short time accorded to me, to speak on the protection of the lives of those who are being arrested by the police. We all know of the incident in Kamburupitiya, involving the murder of a police officer and his wife. Three suspects were arrested in connection with this crime.
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Sri Lanka’s Catholic Church warns of foreign intervention in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 09/12/2013 (Monday)
Sri Lnaka's Catholic church today warned the government of foreign interventions unless it worked towards reconciliation and addressed allegations of war crimes during the three-decade conflict with Tamil rebels. Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the main ethnic Tamil party to thrash out a political settlement or risk an international investigation.
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British Upper Tribunal finds Sri Lankan Authorities involved in ‘Widespread’ and ‘Systematic’ attacks on Tamils
Published Date: 08/12/2013 (Sunday)
In a significant development the British judiciary has upheld that Sri Lankan authorities have been involved in “a widespread and systematic attack” against the Tamil population “as a part of the government’s strategy”, amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity, in the North-East Sri Lanka. The UK’s Upper Tribunal, the Immigration and Asylum Chamber’s judges Lane and Pitt, a couple of weeks ago have made these finding while determining an asylum appeal of an anonymity direction protected appellant, a Sri Lankan Police Officer, who has been named as “Mr. AS”
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Human Rights Defenders harassed and intimidated by pro-government supporters and Police
Published Date: 06/12/2013 (Friday)
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 called for urgent intervention to protect the rights of human rights defenders and Ms Nimalka Fernando, attorney-at-law, women’s rights activist and President of the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) in Sri Lanka, who has been subjected to smear campaigns by pro-government supporters.
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Sri Lanka Police to deploy Tamil Police officers to North and East
Published Date: 05/12/2013 (Thursday)
Police Media Spokesperson SSP Ajith Rohana said 900 Tamil police officers and 1,500 Sinhala police officers fluent in Tamil have been deployed to police stations in the Northern and Eastern provinces to help Tamil speaking people to record their statements in Tamil and avoid delays in carrying out services, because of language barriers.
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