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Tamil refugees look to return to Sri Lanka after regime change India, Sri Lanka have much to hash out before mass repatriation can begin
Published Date: 05/02/2015 (Thursday)
Subbiah Rajendran's eyes lit up as he spoke about the prospect of returning to his native Kilinochchi in Sri Lanka, which he left at the height of the civil war. For the past 25 years, this 53-year old has been leading a refugee's life in India. “We are hopeful of a better life after decades of suffering,” said Rajendran, who along with hundreds of others lives in Gummidipoondi refugee camp near Chennai, India.
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CIVIL SOCIETY STATEMENT ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Published Date: 04/02/2015 (Wednesday)
We, the undersigned conveners on behalf of civil society organizations and individuals who have focused on human rights protection through the dark and dangerous days of the Rajapaksa regime, welcome the victory of Mr. Maithripala Sirisena in the 08th January 2015 Presidential Election and the formation of a new government. We look forward to a positive and constructive association with the new government to ensure an end to the culture of impunity which defined the Rakapaksa regime’s record on human rights, and to a new era of robust human rights protection in Sri Lanka with due respect for the rule of law, accountability and the national and international obligations the Government of Sri Lanka is bound by.
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Opening up? Sri Lanka's new government confronts legacy of war
Published Date: 03/02/2015 (Tuesday)
Sri Lanka’s new government says it will address outstanding concerns relating to the civil war that ended in May 2009, including allegations of human rights abuses, missing persons and political prisoners. The new administration, which came to power last month, appears to be willing to tackle sensitive issues that were effectively taboo under the previous administration. But activists warn only swift, decisive, action can reverse the legacy of pre-existing draconian measures.
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Australian activists halt asylum seeker deportation
Published Date: 03/02/2015 (Tuesday)
A Tamil asylum seeker’s eviction to Sri Lanka was halted by activists in Melbourne on Monday amid fears that his return could endanger his life. Three airline passengers refused to sit down on the plane until the man in question, Puvaneethan, was allowed to disembark. They had been representing the activist group Refugee Action Collective.
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Rehabilitating Displaced Tamils
Published Date: 02/02/2015 (Monday)
How long may we stay in another man’s land?” sang Kashi Ananthan, well-known Sri Lankan Tamil poet, in a poem which began with the words, “The parrot and the woodpecker may return to their nests without hindrance, but we the Tamil refugees may not”. Seven years have passed since the end of the Fourth Eelam War. President Mahinda Rajapaksa claimed that normalcy has returned to the Tamil areas; demining has been completed; internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been rehabilitated; but the return of the refugees from Tamil Nadu proceeded at a snail’s pace. According to statistics made available by the UNHCR office in Chennai, from 2008 to December 2014, only 7,008 refugees belonging 2,256 families have returned to Sri Lanka.
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The Government removed barriers for CJ Shirani's come back - BASL says
Published Date: 28/01/2015 (Wednesday)
The 43rd Chief Justice of Sri Lanka Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake arrived in Hulftsdorp a short while ago and is currently in the Supreme Court complex. The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) President Upul Jayasuriya states that Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake who assumed duties today will retire tomorrow. The BASL has stated that the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) has removed the barriers for CJ Shinari Bandaranaike to assume her duties once again for one day.
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My husband was arrested for investigating First Lady: ex-DIG’s wife
Published Date: 26/01/2015 (Monday)
Former DIG Vass Gunawardena’s wife, Shyamali Priyadarshani Perera, today alleged that her husband was arrested under “false charges” due to him spearheading an investigation into a conspiracy to sell 100kg of gold belonging to the treasury and its direct links to the former First lady. Speaking to reporters after filing a complaint with the Bribery Commission this morning, she said that her husband had received information through the army intelligence unit regarding an attempt to illegally sell 100 kilograms of gold, worth around Rs 500 million, belonging to the state treasury.
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Sri Lanka to probe hidden foreign assets after Rajapaksa defeat
Published Date: 22/01/2015 (Thursday)
Sri Lanka's new government is to investigate "black money" transferred overseas by powerful figures in the administration of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, a cabinet spokesman said today. The move came a day after the government of President Maithripala Sirisena, who defeated Rajapaksa in an election on Jan. 8, said it would investigate all financial deals sealed by Rajapaksa and his brothers during his term.
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Being a New Sri Lanka “Insignificant” Individuals and a New Sri Lanka
Published Date: 21/01/2015 (Wednesday)
A New Sri Lanka? Maithripala Sirisena is the President of Sri Lanka. What was unthinkable two months ago is news today. There is hope today that we can emerge from the lawlessness, corruption, nepotism and racism that we are sunk in. That we can become the plural, vibrant, democratic country we ought to be. Of course Sri Lanka’s problems are still around. Today, Sri Lanka is not ruled by law – it is ruled by connections and political influence.
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Sri Lankan election won by the people, not by “RAW”
Published Date: 19/01/2015 (Monday)
Sri Lanka’s election was won by its people, the country’s new Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said in a sharp response to a Reuters report that the R&AW station chief in Colombo had been “expelled” for helping the Opposition to victory in the island nation. “There is no substance in the report at all,” Mr. Samaraweera, who held talks with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj, told The Hindu on Sunday evening, echoing the sentiments expressed by the External Affairs Ministry in Delhi. It is the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister’s first visit abroad.
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Sri Lanka reviews China projects
Published Date: 19/01/2015 (Monday)
On Friday, Sri Lanka's new government said it would review a $1.5 billion port deal with China Communication Construction Co Ltd over concerns about the Chinese company getting land on a freehold basis in a high-security zone. This port project had been of particular concern for India, the destination for the majority of the transshipment cargo through Colombo. India was furious with the last government after it allowed to a submarine to dock there twice.
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Sri Lanka scraps travel restrictions
Published Date: 18/01/2015 (Sunday)
Sri Lanka has lifted a ban on foreign travelers visiting the former war zone in the north of the country, its defence ministry said on Friday, as the new government promotes reconciliation with ethnic minority Tamils after a 26-year war. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government imposed a travel ban on Oct. 15, weeks after the United Nations began a probe into alleged war crimes in the final phase of the civil war between the army and Tamil Tiger separatist rebels, which ended in 2009.
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ICC opens investigation into Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Published Date: 17/01/2015 (Saturday)
Palestinians warm themselves by a fire as they sit in a makeshift shelter outside their house, which witnesses said was destroyed by Israeli shelling during a 50-day war last summer, on a stormy day in the east of Gaza City January 8, 2015. The International Criminal Court opened an inquiry into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories, thrusting it into one of the world's most chronic, heated conflicts and opening a path to possible charges against Israelis or Palestinians.
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Mahinda Rajapkse's Defeat-A lessons to Politician, by Dr C P Thiagarajah
Published Date: 15/01/2015 (Thursday)
Mahinda Rajapkse’s defeat in the 8 Jan 2015 polls came as a surprise to Rajapkse family. It simultaneously alerted political circles the need to be democratic and humble in politics. Mahinda Rajapakse(MR)gave a manipulated form of democracy to SriLanka that encouraged Sinhala hegemony in all walks of live be it political, administrative or judicial. MR and his coterie were caught unawares with their pants down during their electioneering campaigns. Though they sensed that the fight would be tough after the challenger Maitripala Sirisena(MS) was snatched out of MR cabinet by Madame Chandrika Bandaranayke (CB) to contest him.
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President Maithripala Sirisena’s Thai Pongol Day message
Published Date: 15/01/2015 (Thursday)
Sri Lanka’s Hindus join their fellow Tamil religionists in most countries of the world today to celebrate Thai Pongal the traditional Thanksgiving and Harvest festival of that religious calendar. It is the tradition at this festival to offer thanks to Surya - the Sun God, for the blessings received for a successful harvest. The Pongal or the boiling of milk and rice is another important aspect of the festival which is also referred to as the Surya Mangalyam or the Festival of the Sun God, for all blessings received for success in agriculture and all aspects of livelihood.
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Pope urges respect for human rights on Sri Lanka trip
Published Date: 15/01/2015 (Thursday)
Pope Francis urged respect for human rights as he began a two-nation Asia tour in a windswept Sri Lanka Tuesday, bearing a message of peace and reconciliation after a decades-long civil war. His visit, days after the election of a new president, Mr Maithiripala Sirisena is focused on unity in a country struggling to heal the wounds of a 37-year armed conflict between the government troops and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fighting for a separate Tamil state in the northeast of the island..
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Mahinda Rajapaksa accused of "conspiracy"
Published Date: 15/01/2015 (Thursday)
Sri Lanka's new government yesterday (14 Jan.) asked the police to investigate what it called a "diabolical conspiracy" by former president Mahinda Rajapaksa to hold on to power even after he was defeated in an election last week. Rajapaksa has denied the allegations against him. His allies say they have been subjected to threats since the election and they have asked for government protection.
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Geoffrey Alagaratnam heads BASL
Published Date: 15/01/2015 (Thursday)
President’s Counsel Geoffrey Alagaratnam was yesterday (14. Jan.) elected to the post of President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) for the years of 2015-2016. Mr. Alagaratnam is a former lecturer and Honours Graduate of the Faculty of Law of the University of Colombo. He has over 30 years of legal experience. He was appointed as a President’s Counsel in 2005 and headed the Alumni Association of the Faculty of Law of the University of Colombo during 2010-2012.
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A message from an ordinary Sri Lankan Tamil
Published Date: 15/01/2015 (Thursday)
In the last few days, especially after the election result day there are two common opinions spreading across among my Facebook friends circle. One is largely from Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa's supporters, who now think Sri Lankan Tamils and Sri Lankan Muslims have voted out their favorite leader and LTTE has just realised its dream. Even Mr Rajapaksa echoed the same sentiment. While it may be true that the overwhelming votes of Tamil speaking people ousted Mr Rajapaksa from the top seat, one shouldn't forget that Tamil speaking people still didn't choose to boycott the election like they did in 2005 (following the instruction from LTTE), but voted for another Sri Lankan Sinhalese person Mr Sirisena.
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Hold the Champagne in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 13/01/2015 (Tuesday)
Sri Lanka held a relatively peaceful presidential election on Jan. 8, followed by a stunningly smooth transfer of power. While some reports allege that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa attempted to cling to power by staging a coup, the police and Army refused to back his defeated regime. That elections in Sri Lanka ushered in a democratic transition with little bloodshed is cause enough for celebration. But it’s too early to party. The real challenges for democracy — setting up inclusive, transparent institutions and dealing with issues of peace and reconciliation following Sri Lanka’s decades-long civil war — are only just beginning.
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Sri Lanka: Democracy in Politics by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam - Jaffna
Published Date: 13/01/2015 (Tuesday)
My most recent experience in relation to Democracy in Politics has been through the Sri Lankan 2015 Presidential Elections and its driving forces. I believe that Sri Lanka confirmed its transition from autocracy to democracy through the 2015 Presidential elections. Most of us do not personally know either candidate - Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa or Mr. Maithripala Sirisena. We hear about them through their speeches and other reports.
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Sri Lanka’s peaceful transition welcomed by the international community
Published Date: 13/01/2015 (Tuesday)
Rating Agencies and political analysts say, Sri Lanka’s peaceful transition late last week from President Mahinda Rajapaksa to his rival Maithripala Sirisena is a positive step for the country. The presidential election was an opportunistic ploy that backfired badly for Rajapaksa. Hoping to secure a third term in power, he scrapped the presidential term limit and called an election two years early, confident his popularity was high enough to guarantee him an easy victory. Instead, voters warmed to his opponent, Maithripala Sirisena, who promised to rein in presidential power.
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The Forgotten Majority – The Way Forward
Published Date: 12/01/2015 (Monday)
The euphoria of victory has engulfed us all. Many will want to take credit for their role in the final outcome. Was it the political coup spearheaded by the former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremasinghe in getting Mr Maithripala Sirisena to defect that changed the tide? Was it the minority Tamil and Muslim voters who braved physical and other forms of threats to vote overwhelmingly for the opposition? Was it the integrity and courage displayed by the Election Commissioner and his staff together with the IGP N.K. Illangakoon and the police that helped to ensure that the mandate of the people is heard and respected? No doubt, the answer is all of the above and all of these must share some of the credit.
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Pope Arrives in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 12/01/2015 (Monday)
Pope Francis arrives in Sri Lanka today for a visit expected to add to a new harmonious atmosphere in the Buddhist-majority nation that last week elected a government promising increased respect for long-suffering religious minorities. The visit to Sri Lanka is the first leg of a Jan. 12-19 tour that also takes in the Philippines and is the Pope's second Asian excursion, part of his outreach aimed at shoring-up the Church's presence in developing nations.
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Sri Lanka's new president welcomes dissidents home
Published Date: 10/01/2015 (Saturday)
New President Maithripala Sirisena is reported to have invited exiled dissidents back to Sri Lanka and promised to end censorship Saturday as he began to turn the page on the authoritarian rule of his toppled predecessor. A day after his victory over Mahinda Rajapakse, Sirisena began assembling a cabinet to deliver his pledges to repair the war-scarred nation's diplomatic standing and implement a raft of reforms.
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