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At UNHRC, states call for timetable from Lanka on establishing reconciliation mechanisms
Published Date: 09/03/2017 (Thursday)
The Sri Lanka resolution at the 34th Session of the UN Human Rights Council should contain a timeframe for implementation of transitional justice commitments the country had made in 2015, several member states said, when the first informal session on the draft resolution to promote reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka got underway in Geneva yesterday. During the informal session on the ‘zero draft’ of the resolution, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravintha Aryasinha officially announced that the Government would co-sponsor the resolution led by the US at the current session of the Human Rights Council.
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Speaking Frankly About Sri Lanka and Accountability
Published Date: 09/03/2017 (Thursday)
Sri Lanka’s compliance with an October 2015 UN Human Rights Council resolution is being hotly debated at the Council’s 34th session, which began in late February and will run through March 24. At this point, it looks as though another resolution on Sri Lanka will be passed later this month and that the Sri Lankan government will support such an initiative. While some people appear to be in favor of another resolution on Sri Lanka, others (for various reasons) are not. For example, some have argued that what’s really needed now is for the UN Security Council to refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
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Vaiko writes to PM on Sri Lanka issue
Published Date: 08/03/2017 (Wednesday)
MDMK general secretary Vaiko on Monday urged the Indian government to change its position in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in favour of an independent international investigation into the alleged genocide of Tamils by the Sri Lankan armed forces in 2009. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said that in the ongoing session of the UNHRC in Geneva, the Indian government should not continue the wrong stance taken by the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. “India should not support Sri Lanka on any account. A stand in favour of Sri Lanka would cause unbearable agony to the
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Restoring GSP+ trade concession to Sri Lanka indirectly confirmed.
Published Date: 07/03/2017 (Tuesday)
Nikos Zaimis, Adviser to the European Commission, Directorate General for Trade in Brussels, Belgium has indirectly confirmed that the GSP + trade concessions will be reinstated to Sri Lanka in few months time. He has said that “The restoration of the GSP+ trade concession by the European Union will increase Sri Lanka’s competitiveness in export markets and send a signal to international investors that the country is worth investing in but requires support from the business community to ensure promised reforms are implemented”.
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“Rolling Over” of UNHRC resolution is not a good option for Sri Lanka
Published Date: 07/03/2017 (Tuesday)
The 47-member Human Rights Council (HRC) has a mandate to hold no fewer than three regular sessions a year, for a total of at least ten weeks. These sessions take place in March (four weeks), June (three weeks) and September (three weeks). Further, if one third of the Member States requests, HRC could decide to hold a special session at any time, to address human rights violations and emergencies. That was how the 11th Special Session of the HRC was convened to consider the situation in Sri Lanka in 2009, a week after the conflict came to an end.
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Sri Lanka torture victims call for international war inquiry
Published Date: 07/03/2017 (Tuesday)
Two Sri Lankan Tamils tell DW how they were rounded up after the civil war ended, and tortured. They hope to pressure the government to bring in foreign judges to investigate war crimes allegations. 34-year-old Mayairan, from Sri Lanka's north-eastern district of Mullaitivu was studying in Malaysia when his country's 26-year-long civil war ended in May 2009.
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Our ‘reconciliation’ score-card in Geneva
Published Date: 05/03/2017 (Sunday)
Even as Sri Lanka’s human rights condition is being assessed at the annual United Nations Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva, Switzerland, the President and the Prime Minister have made public statements rejecting the formal role of foreign judges on the benches of Sri Lankan courts. Both, the timing of the statements vis-à-vis Geneva and, the fact that both top national leaders have simultaneously made such a pronouncement is of great significance. The President’s statement has a nationalist element that, perhaps, befits the role of the head of state and first citizen of the country. The Prime Minister, as head of government, naturally presents a technical rationale that addresses the institutional mechanics of the issue.
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Sri Lanka Offers The First Battle Ground For A Neo-Cold War?
Published Date: 05/03/2017 (Sunday)
In diplomatic terms, if not militarily, the incumbent Government seems to have developed a knack for running with the hare and hunting with the hound. Rather, it wants to please every nation and seek to benefit from all of them, purportedly without hurting itself. But the history of the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM), which is what the nation seems, wanting to restate in a new geo-strategic environment, has only hurt those that used to be on the wall all the time, not helped them in anyway.
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Zeid chides Lanka on ‘slow progress’and lack of commitment on war crimes court
Published Date: 04/03/2017 (Saturday)
Sri Lanka has shown little commitment to setting up a special judicial mechanism to prosecute alleged war crimes, the United Nations said in a new report released in Geneva yesterday that criticises the Government for its “slow pace of progress” on post-war reconciliation and justice. In a hard-hitting report to the 34th Session of the UN Human Rights Council currently meeting in Geneva, UN Human Rights Chief ZeidRa’ad Al Hussein said the Government had prioritised only truth and reparations aspects of the transitional justice process it committed to in the 2015 resolution.
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TNA Statement on UNKRC report
Published Date: 04/03/2017 (Saturday)
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) welcomes the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the implementation of the 2015 Human Rights Council resolution, and its recommendations. While the report acknowledges some areas of progress, such as discussions on constitutional reform, it is critical of the government’s failure to deliver with respect to a number of critical issues. The TNA shares the concerns of the Report that confidence building measures such as land releases, release of prisoners, repeal of the PTA, reform of the Victim and Witness Protection Authority and ending military involvement in commercial and civilian activities have not been pursued satisfactorily. In fact, the failure of the government on these issues are steadily eroding the trust of our people.
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SLFP sees conspiracy to split up party
Published Date: 03/03/2017 (Friday)
The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) yesterday accused unnamed members of colluding with the rival UNP in an attempt to break up the party. Speaking to journalists at the weekly SLFP press briefing in Colombo, Minister and UPFA Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera said that the party was aware of “certain agreements” that have been reached with the objective of helping the UNP form its own Government.
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Tamil protests to reclaim land persist in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 03/03/2017 (Friday)
“When I lie down here at night, I imagine being under the roof of my home,” says Singarathinam Sellamma, 83, seated among a small group of people outside the divisional secretariat in Puthukkudiyiruppu here. For about 25 days now, representatives of 49 families have been taking turns and fasting at the entrance of the government’s administrative unit in the small town, staying put under a roadside shelter. Their demand is simple – they want to return to their homes across the road, located on the 19 acres of land that the military has occupied since 2009. Hundreds of families like theirs were displaced in the final phase of the war.
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Sri Lanka Dodges Questions on Women’s Rights at UN Committee
Published Date: 03/03/2017 (Friday)
If there were any doubt where women’s issues rank in the Sri Lanka government’s list of priorities, it was laid to rest last week in Geneva. When the Sri Lanka delegation appeared before the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) on February 22, it should have been well-prepared for the occasion. It was the country’s eighth periodic review, and the questions that the committee would raise were no mystery – the CEDAW Committee and Sri Lankan civil society groups have had steady dialogue with the government over their concerns.
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Lanka to co-sponsor UN resolution
Published Date: 03/03/2017 (Friday)
Sri Lanka will co-sponsor a resolution led by the US and the core group at the 34th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, the Government confirmed in Geneva yesterday. Secretary General of the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms Mano Tittawela told Daily FT in Geneva that the Government would submit a resolution together with the US, UK and Montenegro that it hopes would provide more time for implementation of UNHRC resolution 30/1 which was adopted by the Council in October 2015.
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Linguistic slights spur ethnic division in Sri Lanka Monoglot officials are impeding post-war reconciliation
Published Date: 03/03/2017 (Friday)
From its gleaming new headquarters, Jaffna’s police force serves around 100,000 people. The vast majority of the local population are Tamils or Tamil-speaking Muslims; fewer than 50 locals are members of Sri Lanka’s biggest ethnic group, the Sinhalese. But the vast majority of the city’s 532 police officers are Sinhalese; only 43 are Tamil, and very few of the rest speak the Tamil language well. This is not just an affront to Tamils, whose complaints about discrimination lay at the root of a 26-year civil war that ended in 2009. It is also a practical problem. Sripathmananda Bramendra came to the new headquarters one day in December to obtain the paperwork needed to replace a lost licence-plate.
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Tamils hold protest in Lanka as UNHRC begins session
Published Date: 02/03/2017 (Thursday)
Hundreds of Tamil people, mostly relatives of those who disappeared during Sri Lankas civil war, today held protest outside the missions of India, the US, UK and EU here as the UN Human Rights Council session began in Geneva. The protesters held placards which said India please help in demilitarisation (in the north) and India stop betraying Tamils.
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Labour Party urges UK Government to ensure Sri Lanka is held to account by United Nations institutions
Published Date: 02/03/2017 (Thursday)
‘It cannot be right that the Sri Lankan government is allowed to investigate itself’ – UK’s Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Senior Labour Party MPs, including leading members of the Labour Shadow Cabinet, have called on the UK Government to ensure that Sri Lanka honours the promises it made - in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution 30/1 - to address the legacy of the country’s armed conflict. The Government of Sri Lanka’s commitments to achieving justice, accountability and reconciliation, under resolution 30/1, will be assessed by the UNHRC at its current 34th Session in Geneva, Switzerland
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Minister says govt. has made far-reaching gains in two years
Published Date: 02/03/2017 (Thursday)
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera says the delay on the part of the Sri Lankan government in moving ahead with reconciliatory efforts are due to “extremist forces”, who were creating road blocks for narrow political gains. Speaking at the 34th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Minister said: “While stubbornly refusing to acknowledge any of the far-reaching gains we have made in the last two years, they argue that we have either done too much or too little.”
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Sri Lanka Tamils agree to more time over war probe
Published Date: 02/03/2017 (Thursday)
Sri Lanka's main Tamil party Wednesday accused Colombo of failing to comply with a UN Human Rights Council resolution, but said they were willing to give more time for war crimes investigations. The main Tamil party said President Maithripala Sirisena who secured 18 months more from the UN rights body after coming to power in January 2015 has done little to address war-crimes. Sirisena's administration agreed with a resolution which, among other things, called for special war crime tribunals and reparations for victims of an offensive that crushed separatist Tamil rebels by May 2009.
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Trying To Understand Keppapilavu: Resistance, Solidarities & Politics
Published Date: 01/03/2017 (Wednesday)
For the past twenty-eight days, Tamil people of Keppapilavu and Puthukkudiyiruppu in Mullaitivu district including women and children have been protesting against the authoritarian occupation of their homelands by the Sri Lankan military and Air Force. These people who were displaced during the civil war wish to go back to their homes and lands. To return to and resettle in places where they had been living for decades is not just these people’s wish but it is their right too. The state and the military cannot encroach on this right and deny the people their homes, lands and the environment that had been an integral part of their lives prior to their displacement. Eighty-four families, of which thirty are women-headed, have been denied entry into their lands in Keppapilavu by the military.
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UK getting ready to set cut-off date for EU citizens
Published Date: 01/03/2017 (Wednesday)
One of the most contentious issues in the debate around the post-Brexit immigration system has been the cut-off date for the free movement of EU citizens into the UK. Many had hoped that EU citizens would enjoy free movement including visa free travel and no work restrictions until the UK formally leaves the EU in 2019. However, the headlines over the weekend revealed that the government is more likely to set the deadline for when the EU citizens will no longer have an automatic right to stay in the UK permanently on the date of triggering of Article 50, which is expected in mid-March
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Renowned International Law Experts Recommend International Criminal Court (ICC), if Sri Lanka continues to Fail to Act
Published Date: 01/03/2017 (Wednesday)
In a Press Conference held in Geneva within hours of Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Smaraweera’s address to the UN Human Rights Council, a group of well renowned international Law experts recommended Sri Lanka be referred International Criminal Court (ICC), ”if Sri Lanka continues in bad faith and/or fail to take significant steps towards implementing the word and spirit of the UN Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1, including establishing a hybrid war crimes court with the participation of international judges and prosecutors.” The group Monitoring and Accountability Panel (MAP), was established to monitor Sri Lanka’s compliance to the UN Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1, which Sri Lanka itself co-sponsored.
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The unity of the Tamil leadership needed to fulfil political aspirations of Tamils – S. Jaishankar
Published Date: 01/03/2017 (Wednesday)
Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar has requested the Tamil National Alliance to strengthen its unity before finding solutions for the Tamil political issues. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) representatives led by R. Sampanthan met Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar who was on a two-day visit to Colombo at the Indian High Commission last Sunday (19). Jaishankar’s meeting with the Tamil National Alliance took place in the backdrop of TNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran’s return from Geneva where the United Nations Human Rights Commission officials were urged by Sumanthiran not to allow the Sri Lankan Government to make alterations to the UNHRC resolution which was co-sponsored by Sri Lanka in 2015.
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Justice for North and East
Published Date: 28/02/2017 (Tuesday)
There is at present an acute shortage of Tamil-speaking High Court Judges in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. In a statement issued by the President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), President’s Counsel Geoffrey Alagaratnam in relation to the recent appointment of High Court Judge, R. Kannan and the private bar’s role in it, Alagaratnam said that the representations made especially by lawyers practising in the Eastern Province, over a period of one year, had been made at the meetings of the BASL’s Bar Council and Executive Committee.
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What will be India’s next big step on SL?
Published Date: 28/02/2017 (Tuesday)
Amidst continuous agitations over the continuity of the Malabe private medical college, SAITM, President Maithripala Sirisena last week said he would take a decision on the issue regarding the private universities in the country, including the SAITM for the best interests and the productivity of the country. He said this during a meeting with the SAITM Parents' Association and Dr. Neville Fernando, regarding the prevailing issues on private universities in the country at the President's Official Residence.
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