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Global Watchdogs Criticise Lanka's Rights Record
Published Date: 21/06/2016 (Tuesday)
"While the governments' assurances on progress have been plentiful, its performance on the ground has been mixed and not befitting expectations outlined in your report and in the resolution as well as those of victims and people on the ground," the letter said. It also noted there have been mixed signals on the governments' commitments made through the October resolution, at the highest level of the government.
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Reclaiming Sinhalese settlement rights in Tamil dominated Jaffna
Published Date: 19/06/2016 (Sunday)
Supported by the Sri Lankan government machinery, Sinhala nationalist outfits and Buddhist monks from Colombo, a group of 57 Sinhalese families from South Lanka have settled in Navatkuli in the Tamil-majority North Lankan district of Jaffna in a determined bid to reclaim their rights there in the teeth of opposition from the Tamil political parties. It was in late 2009, following the end of Eelam War IV, that the then government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa took the decision to aggressively push for Sinhalese resettlement in the North to nullify the Tamil militants’ policy of fashioning a mono-ethnic Northern province as a prelude to the creation of an independent Tamil Eelam.
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The battle in Geneva
Published Date: 19/06/2016 (Sunday)
Against the backdrop of a statement made by former Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa that there's no Tamil problem for a political solution, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), a democratically elected political party called as the 'mirror of Tamil Tigers', and some others seeking a 'balanced' justice for all Sri Lankans killed either by the LTTE or the security forces, the government is in the process of 'narrowing' the 'outsized' United Nations Human Rights Resolution (UNHRR) passed on Sri Lanka.
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Sampur project uncertainty continues
Published Date: 19/06/2016 (Sunday)
The uncertainty over the Sampur thermal power project continues as the NTPC, India’s partner in the coal-fired 500-megawatt (MW) project, is awaiting advice from the Central government on the issue of change of fuel for the proposed plant. The issue has been raised by Sri Lanka, which apparently now favours liquefied natural gas (LNG) as the fuel.
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Mr R. Sampanthan’s Adjournment Motion in Parliament
Published Date: 18/06/2016 (Saturday)
The leader of the TNA, R. Sampanthan, has moved an important motion in Parliament (10 June 2016), on behalf of the Tamil people in the North and the East. Perhaps as he has moved the motion as the Leader of the Opposition, there is much substance and less rhetoric, both in the motion and the speech that he has delivered. I am not saying that the motion or the speech is completely devoid of ‘political rhetoric.’ But the issues that he has highlighted and the facts and information that he has supplied should draw the attention of not only the government, but also the general public at large who are concerned about the unity and reconciliation in the country. Reconciliation along with ‘justice and equality’ are the key notions that he has also highlighted.
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Katchatheevu needs a political settlement’
Published Date: 18/06/2016 (Saturday)
The Katchatheevu row requires only a political settlement, as there is nothing to be sorted out legally between India and Sri Lanka, according to a senior legal expert, Nirmala Chandrahasan. Ms. Chandrahasan, now a consultant to the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) of the Sri Lanka government, told a high-profile seminar on the India-Sri Lanka relationship here on Thursday that the Indian government did not consider Katchatheevu a “disputed territory” and it had recognised the islet as a part of Sri Lanka. As there was no legal dispute on this issue, the question of taking the matter to international courts did not arise.
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China to help developing northern Sri Lanka
Published Date: 18/06/2016 (Saturday)
Chinese Ambassador Yi Xianliang pledged to push forward ties with Sri Lanka by assisting development of the former war zone in the Tamil-dominated north, a Chinese Embassy official said on Friday. During a four-day visit to Northern Province, the ambassador met with Chief Minister Wigneswaran and Northern Governor Reginald Cooray, saying that China stood ready to offer assistance to Sri Lanka and the province.
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Unit of devolution
Published Date: 17/06/2016 (Friday)
The Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reform headed by its Chairman Lal Wijenayake has recommended retaining the Province as the unit of Devolution. The Commission proposes 6 "alternate formulations" based on the Province as the peripheral unit. These formulations vary from retaining the existing 9 Provinces without merger with provision to withdraw devolved power without consent, to merger with minority participation in the Executive and the Legislature and other formulations in between, including the re-demarcation of existing boundaries.
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Former Sri Lanka president urges more development projects with Japan
Published Date: 17/06/2016 (Friday)
Amid a proliferation of development deals in Sri Lanka, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa says his country and Japan could work on more projects together, including hospitals and highways. “I believe that the infrastructure projects are very important for Sri Lanka after the war,” Rajapaksa said during an interview with The Japan Times on Wednesday in Tokyo.
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'New and transformative' phase in India - Sri Lanka relations began with new government – envoy
Published Date: 16/06/2016 (Thursday)
A 'new and transformative phase' in relations between India and Sri Lanka began last year heralding a new beginning after the formation of a new government in Sri Lanka, the Indian envoy said today. Delivering the opening remarks at the panel discussion "India - Sri Lanka Relations in the 21st Century" organized by the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies, Indian High Commissioner to Colombo YK Sinha said bilateral ties have become robust and entered a new phase with highest-level engagements as four high level bilateral visits within 90 days of the formation of a new government last year heralded a new beginning
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Speech by M.A. Sumanthiran – Congressional caucus briefing 14th June 2015
Published Date: 16/06/2016 (Thursday)
Thank you, Mr. Moderator. Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to address all of you in this forum. I have been asked to make a few remarks with regard to Sri Lanka’s progress in this transitional phase. The transition commenced in January last year when there was a change in the office of the President. Just prior to that, most friends of Sri Lanka were gravely concerned that Sri Lanka was going down the precipice, in that it was moving towards an authoritarian regime. The Constitution had been amended; we had an executive presidential system with a two term limit that had been amended to enable the incumbent to run for however many times that he wanted to and there were very serious concerns with regard to democracy deficit and accountability and non-accommodation of dissent and so on.
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Sri Lankan Ambassador to U.S. Speaks on How LankaCorps Can Aid Post-Conflict Reconciliation
Published Date: 16/06/2016 (Thursday)
On May 18, The Asia Foundation held a reception at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington, hosted by Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the U.S., Prasad Kariyawasam, as an opportunity for members of the area’s Sri Lankan diaspora and policy community to learn about the Foundation’s LankaCorps program. Over the past four years, 25 young professionals have served as LankaCorps Fellows, a unique opportunity developed by The Asia Foundation for young people of Sri Lankan heritage to live and work in Sri Lanka and contribute to the dynamic, multi-ethnic nation’s post-war recovery through six-month fellowships. Senior program officer Diana Kelly Alvord spoke to Ambassador Kariyawasam after the event.
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US fears military uprising in Sri Lanka?
Published Date: 15/06/2016 (Wednesday)
Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang has advised the Sri Lanka Government on how to implement proposals of the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC). On China's unqualified support for Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council, which annoys the world human rights lobby, Ambassador Yi Xianliang said that China is against outside interference in domestic affairs. He also advised Sri Lankan leaders to see that the reconciliation mechanisms suggested by the UNHRC do not themselves create new conflicts. He also said, it would be ill-advised to put reconciliation before development because it is only all round equitable development that will prevent social, political and economic conflicts.
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Oral Statement by PasumaiThaayagam on Accountability, Justice and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka 32nd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
Published Date: 14/06/2016 (Tuesday)
Pasumai Thaayagam congratulates and appreciates the UNHRC for a decade of upholding human rights within its member states. We, on behalf of the victims in Sri Lanka also thank the High Commissioner and his office for the excellent work they continue to do, as highlighted in the updates provided yesterday and look forward to the High Commissioner’s oral report later. Weappeal to this Council to continue working towards ensuring the implementation of Resolution 30/1 in full, providing relevant assistance
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Sri Lanka forex reserves drop to new low of US$5.6bn in May
Published Date: 14/06/2016 (Tuesday)
Sri Lanka's gross official forex reserves dropped to a new low of $5.62 billion in May 2015 from Rs6.06 billion in April, a month before the International Monetary Fund approved a new loan to the country's central bank. The $5.6 billion in forex reserves include $1.1 billion borrowed by the monetary authority from the Reserve Bank of India and $310 million borrowed from the IMF under earlier deals.
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Sri Lanka's main Islamic party calls for removal of excess military camps
Published Date: 13/06/2016 (Monday)
Sri Lanka's Islamic political party, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), called for the removal of excess military camps in the former war zones in the north of the country on Monday. SLMC leader and minister in the government, Rauff Hakeem said that his party does not agree with the proposal that the army should be fully withdrawn from the north.
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Sri Lanka reiterates not to allow foreign judges in war probe
Published Date: 13/06/2016 (Monday)
The Sri Lankan government reiterated that it will not agree to have foreign judges in the domestic accountability process over its civil war and only accept technical assistance. Local Government and Provincial Councils Minister Faizer Mustapha said that President Maithripala Sirisena has been very clear that war crimes did not take place in Sri Lanka.
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Time for Democratisation of the State and National Reconciliation – PRC Report
Published Date: 02/06/2016 (Thursday)
The finalized Public Representations Committee report on public submissions to the Constitution submitted to the Prime Minister on 31st May 2016. The report is comprehensive and has 222 pages. It has been released to public in all three offcial languages of Sri Lanka.The full report is attached at the end of this news item. “”We have done our best to reach a wide section of the people within the given time frame. We have gone out of the way to get the views of religious leaders, leaders of political parties, independent commissions, professional organizations, etc. within the available time frame.
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Sri Lanka Ends Rajapaksa-Era Restriction on Citizens in Asylum
Published Date: 01/06/2016 (Wednesday)
Sri Lanka today allowed those who sought asylum abroad due to political persecution back home to obtain a passport and return to the country, ending a Mahinda Rajapaksa-era restriction imposed on them. A foreign ministry statement said that the government was ending the "restrictive practice".
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India, Sri Lanka Officials Yet To Discuss Change Of Fuel In Sampoor Power Plant
Published Date: 01/06/2016 (Wednesday)
Indian and Sri Lankan officials are yet to discuss the conversion of the proposed 500 MW power plant at Sampoor in Eastern Sri Lanka from a coal-based one to one based on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), despite Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assurance to President Maithripala Sirisena in mid-May, that he will ask his officials to talk to their Lankan counterparts about it. Meanwhile work on the coal-based plant has been halted. There have been no moves from either the Indian or the Sri Lankan side to begin discussions on conversion to LNG.
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Norway's Foreign Ministry State Secretary meets Northern Province Governor
Published Date: 01/06/2016 (Wednesday)
Norway’s Foreign Affairs Ministry State Secretary Tore Hattrem, who is on an official visit to Sri Lanka, met Northern Province Governor Reginald Cooray today at the Governor's office for a special discussion. Mr. Hattrem met Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan this morning before leaving for a tour of Jaffna, where he visited the Northern Governor.
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PM announces War Crimes probe will be domestic, no foreign judges
Published Date: 01/06/2016 (Wednesday)
The United National Front Government’s final position on the UN mandated probe on allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka was spelt out on Thursday by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. He told senior Army officers that the judicial mechanism would be made up entirely of Sri Lankan judges, putting to rest months of speculation if foreign judges were to be part of the tribunal. He met some hundred officers including senior Colonels, Brigadiers and Majors General at ‘Temple Trees,’ the Premier’s official residence. These officers serve in different parts of the country, most in military installations in the North and East.
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Canada provides humanitarian support to ongoing relief efforts in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 30/05/2016 (Monday)
The Government of Canada has provided CAD $310,000 (approximately 35 million LKR) in support to humanitarian relief efforts in Sri Lanka in response to the May 2016 flooding and landslides. This funding was disbursed through the Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund (CHAF) and the Emergency Disaster Assistance Fund (EDAF) of Global Affairs Canada and will support those most affected by the unprecedented rainfall and devastating floods in May 2016 which has resulted in tragic loss of life, injuries, missing, displaced and damages. Canadian funding will support up to 62,000 people.
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Sri Lanka says 100 missing in landslides are dead
Published Date: 30/05/2016 (Monday)
Around 100 people still missing following landslides in Sri Lanka last week are believed dead, authorities said Saturday after failing to find signs of life under tonnes of mud. The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said 67 bodies had been recovered from the worst hit central district of Kegalle where 99 people were still listed as missing following the rain-triggered May 17 disaster.
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Steer econ growth to sustain well-being of Asia – President Sirisena calls on G 7
Published Date: 30/05/2016 (Monday)
President Maithripala Sirisena said that Japan’s formal announcement that G7 will explore what is needed to sustain the well-being of Asia to steer economic growth, highlights the relevance of Sri Lanka being here. “It endorses Prime Minister Abe’s reasoning for selecting us.” Addressing the G 7 Outreach Summit today (May 27) in Ise-Shima in Japan, he said that with a revolutionary change of governance, his government has succeeded in creating the path for viable development environment and for reconciliation in a multi-faceted society. Now, the people are free and respect human rights.
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