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Sri Lankan opposition to foreign judges worries US; UK stresses devolution
Published Date: 24/03/2017 (Friday)
At the on-going session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) at Geneva on Wednesday, the US expressed concern over the Sri Lankan government’s statements against having foreign judges in the judicial mechanism it is to set up to try war crimes cases. But the UK laid stress on the importance of devolving power to the Tamils to bring about post-war reconciliation. William J. Mozdzierz, the US representative said that the government’s statements against international participation in any future Sri Lankan judicial mechanism “raise understandable concerns among victims and families about the integrity of any judicial process.”
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Tax on Palmyrah industry hits Northerners hard
Published Date: 23/03/2017 (Thursday)
The President of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Youth Front Shantha Bandara has pointed out that the northerners engaged in Palmyrah liquor production have been badly affected due to the tax imposed by government on the industry. Bandara was speaking at a press conference held at the SLFP Head Quarters in Colombo on Tuesday (21).
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Tamils Lived in N/E before Buddhistic Era - Wigneswaran
Published Date: 23/03/2017 (Thursday)
Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran responded to Dr. Sooriya Gunasekara, Chairman of a registered political party called \"Sinhaladipa Jathika Peramuna\" who called the CM for a debate, on his interview that appeared in Ceylon Today of 19 February. Dr. Gunasekara, a retired civil servant, requested the CM to come for a debate on the topic, and the CM responded, \"I am always available for talks. In fact I like to talk to the most diehard Sinhala chauvinists.\"
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Constitution making: JO boycotts Steering Committee meeting
Published Date: 22/03/2017 (Wednesday)
The Constituent Assembly Steering Committee responsible for preparing a draft constitutional proposal met, for the first time, without a single MP from the Joint Opposition (JO) yesterday with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe presiding. An MP who attended the meeting told The Island that yesterday’s meeting of the committee had been held after a lapse of several months and though it was expected to meet regularly to steer the process of constitutional reform, assisted by the six Sub-Committees appointed to deliberate and report on specified subject areas relevant to the Constitution.
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Speech by Dr. ANBUMANI RAMADOSS MP at the 34th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council - March 22, 2017, Geneva
Published Date: 22/03/2017 (Wednesday)
I’m Dr.Anbumani Ramadoss, Member of Parliament and former Indian Health Minister. I come here on behalf of 78 million Tamil people in India. The Tamils in Sri Lanka has been subjected to constant racial abuses, ethnic cleansing and structural genocide since its independence, which culminated in the killings of more than 1,00,000 Tamils in 2009 by the Sri Lankan Government forces. Even after 8 years Justice has not yet reached the victims.
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Sri Lankan Government Fails on Promises of Resettlement, Demilitarization, and Reconciliation
Published Date: 22/03/2017 (Wednesday)
As the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) meets to discuss transitional justice and human rights in post-war Sri Lanka, a new report from the Oakland Institute, Justice Denied, exposes the many issues that continue to plague land release and resettlement in the country, and the failure of the Sri Lankan government to fulfill its international commitments to transitional justice. The Sri Lankan military continues to occupy large quantities of land; land released by the government is often of poor quality, hindering the ability of many to rebuild their livelihoods; there is a vast and unmet need for housing and infrastructure for those displaced during the civil war; and ever-changing timelines for resettlement have bred mistrust in the government. Although the war ended in 2009, the country’s military budget has more than doubled since then, raising serious doubt about the government’s intent to demilitarize the North and East.
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Human Rights Council 34th Session Item 2: Oral presentation of the High Commissioner’s Report on Sri Lanka Statement by Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Published Date: 22/03/2017 (Wednesday)
I thank you for this opportunity to discuss the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, and to present my report pursuant to Council resolution 30/1. The report acknowledges some positive advances on human rights and constitutional reform. I welcome the constructive engagement of the Government with my Office. We have continued to provide technical assistance through our presence in Sri Lanka, complemented by frequent expert missions and support by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund.
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Thirteen-A Is Still A Good Start…
Published Date: 21/03/2017 (Tuesday)
It may sound a preposterous proposition, especially when Sri Lanka wants to believe that it’s at a breakthrough-point on a new Constitution and thus a new, negotiated settlement to the decades-old ethnic issue. Yet, the fact remains, the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, facilitated by the larger Indian neighbour, is a good document to begin with. It’s another matter whether contemporary Sri Lanka, post-war, wants to begin implementing 13-A in all earnestness for now, and go along amending its provisions one way or the other, as it went along. The alternative, which is more doable and acceptable to all domestic stake-holders, would be to use 13-A as a base document for taking up fresh negotiations, within and outside Parliament, which is also functioning as the Constituent Assembly.
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Sri Lanka's war survivors hope new law will unlock state land holdings
Published Date: 21/03/2017 (Tuesday)
For almost two decades, Sivaraja Sivakumar has lived on a plot of land in the north of Sri Lanka - but he has no idea who owns it. The 43-year-old father of two from Sri Lanka's Tamil minority says he prays every day that he is the rightful owner, but cannot be sure. "I have no deed that says I am the owner, I have never had such a deed," he said.
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Target hate speech and hate crimes, Zeid urges States
Published Date: 21/03/2017 (Tuesday)
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an annual reminder to us all to do more to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, hate speech and hate crimes. But 21 March needs to be more than a reminder. People of African descent continue to be victims of racist hate crimes and racism in all areas of life. Anti-Semitism continues to rear its ugly head from the US to Europe to the Middle East and beyond. Muslim women wearing headscarves face increasing verbal, and even physical, abuse in a number of countries. In Latin America, indigenous peoples continue to endure stigmatization, including in the media.
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Switzerland Urged to Exercise Universal Jurissdiction to Arrest Visiting Ex Sri Lankan Admiral for War Crimes: TGTE
Published Date: 21/03/2017 (Tuesday)
Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE), have urged the Government of Switzerland to exercise Universal Jurisdiction to arrest visiting Sri Lanka’s retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara for War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity committed against Tamils during his time as Rear Admiral of the Sri Lankan Navy. It is not clear whether Sri Lankan Government will step in to protect retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara under diplomatic cover, since he belongs to the opposition political party led by former President Mahinda Rajapakse.
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‘We will not join the ICC; we will not include foreign judges’: PM
Published Date: 21/03/2017 (Tuesday)
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his response to a special statement by Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) leader MP Dinesh Gunawardena in Parliament today, said Sri Lanka would not join the International Criminal Court (ICC), or include foreign judges in Sri Lanka’s judicial mechanism. “We will not join the ICC,” the Prime Minister said. “It is against the policy of the whole of South Asia”. “We will not include foreign judges in the judicial process,” he said emphatically, giving as proof of his intent a statement made earlier this month in which he pointed out that the inclusion of foreign judges in Sri Lanka’s judicial process was not feasible.
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Chinese Defense Minister called on President
Published Date: 20/03/2017 (Monday)
The Minister of Defense and State Councilor of the People’s Republic of China General Chang Wanquan who is on a official visit to Sri Lanka called on President Maithripala Sirisena today (March 20) at the official residence of the President. The President who recalled the long term relationship between Sri Lanka and China thanked for the support given by China for the independence and national security of Sri Lanka.
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Gota, Navi Pillay clash over clash over
Published Date: 19/03/2017 (Sunday)
I STILL believe he’s alive,” says Tharsini Santhirabose with a glazed, fixed smile. She last saw her husband, a fellow guerrilla for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, in the final days of the civil war that ended with the Tigers’ obliteration in 2009. Up to 40,000 civilians were killed, according to the UN, along with most of the remnants of the 10,000-strong separatist army and perhaps 5,000 hangers-on. The chances that Ms Santhirabose’s husband will reappear are virtually nil. No one knows precisely how many died or disappeared in the war. A fervently Tamil-nationalist Catholic bishop claims that, after the 26 years of fighting, 147,000 people, civilians and fighters, remain unaccounted for.
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NGOs screen controversial Sri Lankan civil war documentary
Published Date: 18/03/2017 (Saturday)
Several NGOs co-organised a screening of a controversial documentary on the Sri Lankan civil war last night, ahead of the sentencing of Lena Hendry who was found guilty of screening the same four years ago. However, the difference was that last night’s screening was done via online streaming, and not with any other form of media, such as film reel, videotape or DVD. A spokesman for one of the NGOs said the screening last night did not break any censorship laws in the country because it was streamed online.
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Thousands of victims of Sri Lanka’s civil war remain unaccounted for
Published Date: 17/03/2017 (Friday)
“I STILL believe he’s alive,” says Tharsini Santhirabose with a glazed, fixed smile. She last saw her husband, a fellow guerrilla for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, in the final days of the civil war that ended with the Tigers’ obliteration in 2009. Up to 40,000 civilians were killed, according to the UN, along with most of the remnants of the 10,000-strong separatist army and perhaps 5,000 hangers-on. The chances that Ms Santhirabose’s husband will reappear are virtually nil.
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UK Visas & Immigration: Changes to Immigration Rules
Published Date: 16/03/2017 (Thursday)
Today, 16 March, the Home Office has laid before Parliament a package of changes to the Immigration Rules. These changes mainly affect applications using Certificates of Sponsorship assigned by sponsors on or after 6 April 2017, the main changes are outlined below. Overseas criminal record certificates We are extending the requirement to provide a criminal record certificate to Tier 2 (General) applicants coming to work in the education, health and social care sectors and to their adult dependents.
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Most Sought Service Provider Vests another 33 New Houses for Displaced Jaffna People
Published Date: 16/03/2017 (Thursday)
The newly constructed 33 Houses with a value of Rs. 33 million was ceremonially handed over to the displace families of Welfare Centers in Jaffna Peninsula by Major General Mahesh Senanayaka, Commander Security Force (Jaffna) - SF (J) and Mr. Nagalingham Vethanayahan, District Secretary, Jaffna on 10th March 2017at "Nallinakkapuram" Community Hall. Under the Phase - II, a total number of 33 most deserving displaced families, still languishing in 30 relief, welfare centers across the peninsula was selected to issue of ownership certificates and keys on the guidelines given by the District Secretariat, Jaffna.
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It’s Govt.’s weakness: Gota
Published Date: 15/03/2017 (Wednesday)
Former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday said it was the weakness of the government to keep thrusting itself upon the UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka when the US, which co-sponsored the resolution, had detached itself from it. Mr. Rajapaksa said the government should utilize the opportunities in the international arena especially the change of administration in the US.
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Prez urged to examine Geneva process afresh to avert catastrophe
Published Date: 15/03/2017 (Wednesday)
The Federation of National Organizations (FNO) wants the government to commission an ‘official assessment’ on OISL (OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka) in the wake of both President Maithripala Sirisena and Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe ruling out foreign judges in the proposed judicial mechanism in line with Geneva Resolution 30/1. Attorney-at-law Dharshan Weerasekera on behalf of the FNO has produced a comprehensive report titled ‘A factual appraisal of the OISL report: A rebuttal to the allegations against the armed forces’ in the absence of such an official initiative.
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Govt speaks with fork tongues on Geneva resolution - GL
Published Date: 15/03/2017 (Wednesday)
Former External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said yesterday that statements by President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera on bringing foreign judges to conduct international war crimes probe here were contradictory to each other. Addressing the media at Vajirashrama temple in Punchi Borella, Prof. Peiris said President Maithripala Sirisena had declared on several occasions that his government would not allow foreign judges for the war crimes probe and vowed to protect war heroes.
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Security Forces in Sri Lanka Continue to Operate With Impunity’ - Yasmin Sooka
Published Date: 15/03/2017 (Wednesday)
Yasmin Louise Sooka, the Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights in South Africa and the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) spoke to ‘The Wire’ about Sri Lanka’s transitional justice process, the sequencing of judicial mechanisms for the same and the role other countries can play. Yasmin Sooka is regarded as a leading human rights lawyer, activist and an international expert in the fields of transitional justice, gender and international war crimes. She previously served on the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka.
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EU asks for ‘concrete’ HR progress ahead of GSP+
Published Date: 15/03/2017 (Wednesday)
The European Union has underscored the importance of the Sri Lankan Government achieving “prompt and concrete” progress on human rights ahead of the decision on GSP+ expected in May, the EU said in a statement yesterday. Both sides released a joint press statement following the meeting of the Working Group on Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights under the European Union-Sri Lanka Joint Commission, which kicked off on Monday.
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TGTE’s Response to Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s Address to the 34th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, Geneva
Published Date: 15/03/2017 (Wednesday)
The TGTE’s response to the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister’s address to the 34th Session of the HRC states that the reason for the failure of the nation building acknowledged by the Foreign Minister was the rigid ethnocratic nature of the Sri Lanka state. The Response cites the failure of previous accords between the Tamils and successive Sri Lankan Governments and the opposition to or non-implementation of various commissions to inhibit impunity of the Sri Lankan armed forces as examples of this truism.
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Actions by armed forces during periods of armed conflict, within the meaning of international humanitarian law, may constitute ‘terrorist acts’
Published Date: 14/03/2017 (Tuesday)
According to the Netherlands authorities, A, B, C and D were involved in collecting funds for the ‘Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’ (‘the LTTE’), an entity which fought a civil war against the Sri Lankan Government with a view to creating an independent State for the Tamil people in the north and east of Sri Lanka and which has been categorised as a ‘terrorist’ organisation by the EU for approximately 10 years. Pursuant to a piece of Netherlands legislation implementing Resolution 1373 (2001) of the United Nations Security Council, the Netherlands authorities placed A, B, C and D among the persons subject to restrictive measures with a view to combating terrorism. As a result of that designation, their financial resources were frozen. In that context, the Netherlands authorities concluded that the LTTE was a terrorist group. That conclusion took into account an implementing regulation of the Council of the European Union of 2010, which maintained the LTTE on a list of groups involved in terrorist activities and subject to restrictive measures.1
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