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EU to grant GSP plus
Published Date: 21/09/2015 (Monday)
The European Union Ambassador to Sri Lanka Mr. David Daly attending the 23rf Export Awards ceremony of the Sri Lankan National Chamber of Exporters (NCE) announced that the new government’s policies on improving human rights, good governance and strengthening democratic institutions is very encouraging to grant GSP plus and lift fish export ban to EU countries. Mr.Daly said that the EU would consider the Sri Lanka’s request seriously, as there was a huge evaluation process to take the final decision to grant both GSP plus and remove the fish export ban to the EU.
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UN defends 'silence on genocide' in Sri Lanka war crimes report
Published Date: 21/09/2015 (Monday)
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has defended the findings of its report on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, which drew criticism from several quarters for its “silence” on genocide in the island nation. Responding to a question sent by The Hindu in this regard, Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the High Commissioner, stated via email: “This [the U.N. report] does not preclude such a finding [that genocide was committed] being made as a result of further criminal investigations, including by the hybrid court that we recommend.”
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Bridge will make SL another Indian State: Gammanpila
Published Date: 21/09/2015 (Monday)
Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) General Secretary and MP Udaya Gammanpila today criticised the move by India to create a bridge connecting Sri Lanka and charged the link would only work in favour of India ultimately making Sri Lanka another State of India. He said India had requested a loan of USD 5.2 billion from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the project but not once mentioned that Sri Lanka too have to share when paying the loan.
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TNA calls for ‘reasonable, durable’ political solution
Published Date: 19/09/2015 (Saturday)
The Leader of Opposition in Parliament and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) chief, R. Sampanthan, has said the Tamil question should be resolved “on the basis of what is happening in Geneva”. In his reaction to the publication of a report by the U.N. on human rights violations in Sri Lanka, Mr. Sampanthan told The Hindu: “On the basis of genuine reconciliation, there must be a just, reasonable, durable and workable political solution.”
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US draft resolution on Lanka echoes Zeids’s call for international judges
Published Date: 19/09/2015 (Saturday)
The first draft of the US resolution on Sri Lanka calls on the Government to involve “international investigators, prosecutors and judges” in the judicial mechanism to probe and prosecute allegations that war crimes were committed during the last years of the war. The recommendation for international judges and prosecutors signals that the US and other member states drafting the resolution have accepted the declaration by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein that Sri Lanka’s criminal justice system is not capable of dealing with the seriousness of the crimes a report by his office believes were committed during the war.
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Lankan War Crimes:'You don't ask the accused what kind of trial he would like', Callum Macrae
Published Date: 19/09/2015 (Saturday)
In an interview to TNM, 'No Fire Zone' producer and journalist Callum Macrae says change in government has meant little for Tamils Days after the United Nations Human Rights Council released its report on the human rights violations and war crimes during the 2009 Sri Lankan civil war, there has been increasing pressure from the international community to set up an independent international court to look into the crimes and bring its perpetrators to justice. One of the most vocal activists for an independent judicial enquiry into war crimes is film-maker and journalist Callum Macrae, who has exposed the severity and brutality of the war crimes through his documentaries Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields and No Fire Zone.
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UN secretary welcomes UNHRC report on Sri Lanka
Published Date: 19/09/2015 (Saturday)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the Report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka. In a statement on Thursday, Secretary -General's spokesperson said: "He hopes that its important recommendations will help support the effort of the people and the Government of Sri Lanka to carve a durable path toward long-lasting peace and stability and respect for human rights, through a genuine and credible process of accountability and reconciliation that meets international standards. The victims of all communities, their families and the Sri Lankan nation itself demand no less than a full and proper reckoning."
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Statement on the UN Sri Lanka Investigation Report
Published Date: 18/09/2015 (Friday)
The release on 16 September of the long-awaited report by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on its Sri Lanka investigation (OISL) is a dramatic advance that can help the country respond to its painful legacy of war. The report is a compelling examination of the abuses committed by all sides during the lengthy civil conflict and the steps required to pursue justice, accountability and reconciliation as part of democratic recovery. The UN Human Rights Council (HRC), which mandated the report, should demonstrate the same leadership by endorsing and supporting its conclusions and recommendations at the present session
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ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF THE HYBRID SPECIAL COURTS
Published Date: 18/09/2015 (Friday)
The process leading to the establishment of the hybrid special domestic international courts in Sri Lanka, while somewhat improvised, nonetheless reveals a few potentially enduring positive attributes of this newly emerging form of accountability. Of course, the success of any effort to confront past atrocities through criminal trials, will depend on the particular social, political, and cultural context. The need for such an effort to confront the past, and the role it might play in establishing peace and democratic institutions of governance likewise varies considerably depending on the unique circumstances.
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Statement by Sri Lankan Civil Society members on OHCHR reports on Sri Lanka
Published Date: 18/09/2015 (Friday)
We the undersigned Sri Lankan civil society activists and organisations welcome the report of the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka, and the report of the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL). We fully endorse and call for the immediate implementation of the OISL’s recommendations to the GoSL, the UN system and the Member States of the UNHRC.
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Moving towards accountability
Published Date: 18/09/2015 (Friday)
Accountability for past excesses is not easily achieved in post-conflict societies, but its need and relevance cannot be brushed aside. Fostering peace and reconciliation among formerly feuding sections of society, and finding constitutional solutions to core political issues are often the final objectives. However, transformative and substantive justice requires establishing the truth about past crimes perpetrated as part of a deliberate policy. The human rights investigation report on Sri Lanka, submitted to the UN Human Rights Council by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, seeks to address the crucial question of accountability in the island nation for the “horrific crimes” committed by all parties to the conflict that ended in 2009.
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Nationwide Campaign to counter threats to National Interests.
Published Date: 18/09/2015 (Friday)
Over sixty organisations is expected to meet this morning in Colombo to launch a nationwide campaign to counter what they call new threats to national interests. The organisations would meet at the Sri Sambuddhaloka Vihara in Colombo Fort to unveil a five-point plan to devise a national political agenda for that purpose, Member of the Chairmen Board of the newly formed Jathika Ekamuthuwa
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The Liberal Party of Canada welcomes UN report on Sri Lanka
Published Date: 17/09/2015 (Thursday)
Today, the Liberal Party of Canada welcomed the Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka released in Geneva yesterday. The UN report is the result of 6 years of intense work by victims groups, Non-Governmental Organizations and the United Nations Human Rights Council.
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India, Sri Lanka ink civil nuclear pact, agree to expand defence ties
Published Date: 16/09/2015 (Wednesday)
Taking the ties to a new level, India and Sri Lanka today inked a civil nuclear pact besides deciding to expand defence and security cooperation. This was announced after the talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena during which both the leaders expressed commitment to find a solution to the emotive fishermen issue by adopting a constructive and humanitarian approach.
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Critical Moment In Geneva - But Will the Tamils See Justice?
Published Date: 16/09/2015 (Wednesday)
In the closing stages of Sri Lanka's 26 year civil war in 2009, government forces closed in on the beleaguered Tamil Tigers and encouraged Tamil civilians to seek refuge in "no fire zones". These no-fire zones were then systematically shelled by the army. Thousands of Tamil civilians died. Between 1956 and 2001, it is alleged that the Tamil population suffered over one hundred massacres. Other communities have also suffered as a result of the Tigers, as well as at the hands of the state. I heard horrendous stories from Tamil constituents of the violence that took place in Sri Lanka. It was these haunting experiences that were relayed to David Cameron when he visited Jaffna in 2013.
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UN urges creation of special court in Sri Lanka after new report confirms ‘horrific’ abuses
Published Date: 16/09/2015 (Wednesday)
A new report released today by the United Nations human rights office has identified patterns of grave violations in Sri Lanka between 2002 and 2011, and recommends the establishment of a hybrid special court to ensure that justice is served. “Our investigation has laid bare the horrific level of violations and abuses that occurred in Sri Lanka, including indiscriminate shelling, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, harrowing accounts of torture and sexual violence, recruitment of children and other grave crimes,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a news release.
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Sri Lanka Official on Reconciliation
Published Date: 16/09/2015 (Wednesday)
A particularly shocking finding, the United Nations report says, was “the extent to which sexual violence was committed against detainees, often extremely brutally, by the Sri Lankan security forces” during and after the conflict, with men and women victimized. Torture by the security forces was widespread, systematic and premeditated, particularly in the aftermath of the conflict, the report says, describing centers equipped with metal bars for beating, barrels of water for waterboarding and pulleys for suspending victims.
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Tamil Nadu assembly for international probe on alleged war crimes in Northern Lanka
Published Date: 16/09/2015 (Wednesday)
A day after India and Sri Lanka decided to renew efforts to address the vexed ethnic issue in the island nation, Tamil Nadu today stepped up pressure on the Modi government for an international probe against alleged human rights violations and war crimes committed in 2009 in Northern Sri Lanka. In a resolution adopted in the Assembly, the Jayalalithaa government sought diplomatic efforts by India to change any possible pro-Lanka stand adopted by the US in a UN rights body.
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Westminster Hall Debate – Tamil People’s Rights in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 15/09/2015 (Tuesday)
The Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office speaking at the Westminster Hall Debate on Tamil People’s Rights in Sri Lanka . I congratulate my Honourable Friend, the Member for Kingston and Surbiton, on securing this debate. And I commend the valuable work he has already done in the short time since his election, to raise the important issue of Tamil rights.
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Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein’s speech at the UN HCHR
Published Date: 14/09/2015 (Monday)
Speaking at the Oprning session of the Human Rights Council today, UN Hign Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra.ad Al Hussein said, Six years ago, we were confronted with serious violations and loss of civilian life in the last months of Sri Lanka's long civil war. This Council has been deeply engaged with the need for accountability, as a necessary step towards reconciliation in that country.
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Palestine flag to fly at UN headquarters after majority vote
Published Date: 11/09/2015 (Friday)
Palestine’s flag will fly at UN headquarters after the general assembly overwhelmingly approved a Palestinian resolution, infuriating Israel with a move that Palestinians described as a step toward UN membership. There were 119 votes in favor out of 193 UN members. The US and Israel were among eight countries that voted against the Palestinian-drafted resolution, which says the flags of non-member observer states such as Palestine shall be raised at the New York headquarters.
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Coalition for the ICC: Call on Sri Lanka to join the ICC
Published Date: 11/09/2015 (Friday)
With its new leaders promising to put Sri Lanka on a path towards reform and reconciliation, justice for grave crimes must not be neglected. By joining the ICC, Sri Lanka can signal to its citizens and the international community that it is ready to break away from impunity and its violent past. Add your voice now. Six years after the end of its 26-year long civil war, victims of grave crimes from all sides are still awaiting justice. The Sri Lankan government must no longer turn its back on its responsibility to protect its citizens.
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New short film, Sri Lanka: The search for Justice launched
Published Date: 10/09/2015 (Thursday)
The team behind the controversial Emmy-nominated feature documentary No Fire Zone – credited with playing a key role in convincing the international community to take action over the Sri Lankan massacres of 2009, in which tens of thousands of Tamil civilians died – have today launched a new short film, Sri Lanka: The Search For Justice. The hard-hitting half-hour long video coincides with the long anticipated publication of the international war crimes investigation into the massacres, ordered by the United Nations Human Rights Council 18 months ago in Geneva. It will be made live to an international public today – initially in English and Spanish, with translations in Tamil, Sinhala, French and Hindi to follow online in the next few days.
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India: New Killing of ‘Right-to-Information’ Activist Investigate Attacks; Increase Transparency in Public Institutions
Published Date: 10/09/2015 (Thursday)
Indian authorities should promptly and thoroughly investigate threats and attacks on so-called right-to-information activists, Human Rights Watch said today. The killing of a right-to-information activist in Bihar state in August 2015 highlights the risks to people requesting information from the authorities, as provided by law. Since India’s Right to Information (RTI) Act was enacted in 2005, at least 45 right-to-information users and activists have been killed and over 250 assaulted, harassed, or threatened, according to local groups. Police often fail to investigate the attacks, under pressure from politicians and contractors with vested interests in keeping the information from becoming public.
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Sri Lanka's historic election that voters lost
Published Date: 10/09/2015 (Thursday)
The naming of deputy ministers of the new government has kept pace with the record-setting cabinet and confirmed that voters were the clear losers at the August 17 parliamentary election. The business community had high hopes of seeing Harsha de Silva and Eran Wickremaratne getting key positions where their knowledge on monetary and fiscal matters could have been fully utilised.
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