Sri Lankan minister threatens to attack journalists

Douglas Devananda, a Sri Lankan minister and leader of the paramilitary group, EPDP, threatened physical attacks on journalists, reported Tamilnet. In an article published Thursday, Tamilnet quoted Devananda as saying, “ I told my [paramilitary] boys to beat up these journalists. But, the boys are not paying attention. It seems I have to go in person and do it to make these journalists behave " His remarks were made during a meeting held at the Jaffna District Secretariat to unemployed graduates, when he learned that the Jaffna edition of Thinakkural had exposed the diversion of funds from...

Sri Lankan Major General exposed government's abductions to US - Wikileaks

Prasad Samarasinghe, a Major General in Sri Lanka's army and former military spokesperson to the Sri Lanka High Commission in London informed the US about the Rajapaksa adminstration's use of abductions as "political retribution against those though to be disloyal to the Rajapaksa administration", and the prosecution of scapegoats to "appease the international community", according to a US embassy cable, dated 6th June 2007. Major General Samarasinghe is also the chief signal officer of the army and chief controller at the centre for research and development at Ministry of Defence. He was also the commander for three separate brigades in Jaffna, vanni and Trincomalee, Colonel General Staff, 22 Division Headquarters, Trincomalee, Colonel General Staff, Directorate of Operations, Army Headquarters, Assistant Military Secretary, Army Headquarters and the Centre Commandant, Sri Lanka Signal Corps.

TNA holds talks with US war crimes envoy

Members of the Tamil National Alliance met with US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, Stephen Rapp, who is on a 4-day visit to Sri Lanka. Mr Rapp and TNA leader R. Sampanthan and MP M A Sumanthiran held discussions relating to the issues faced by Tamils on the island. The visit comes as the US is gearing up for the UN Human Rights Session in Geneva later this month. The US is thought to be preparing a resolution against Sri Lanka and is actively engaging with other countries garnering support for it. Senior US officials Robert Blake and Maria Otero are also due to visit Sri Lanka...

South African Tamils demand international investigation

Photograph IOL News Tamils in South Africa staged a protest on 4th February demanding an international investigation into the allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka. The protest, organised by the Tamil Federation of Gauteng (TFG), was held in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg. Nadas Pillay, president of the TFG said, “Today, February 4, 2012, Sri Lanka celebrates Independence Day and projects to the world that it has a stable country with a democracy. But while it looks fine from the outside, within the country it has inequality among its citizens, no freedom of...

Senior US diplomats to visit SL for war crimes talks

The US State Department said on Monday two senior diplomats are due to visit Sri Lanka later this month for talks about war crimes committed during the final months of the military conflict against the LTTE. Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake and Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, Maria Otero are visiting the island from February 12-14. Issues to be discussed with Sri Lankan officials include "peace, accountability and reconciliation processes". The visit comes just before the UN Human Rights Council...

‘Killing Fields’ production team nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

An ITN team have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, for producing Channel 4’s documentary “ Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields ”, a film that revealed the atrocities committed against civilians during the dying weeks of the civil war in 2009. The nomination for the 2012 Nobel Peace prize was put forward by British Member of Parliament Siobhain McDonagh and Australian Senator Lee Rhiannon, after they wrote to the selecting committee on the 1st of February. With graphic evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed against civilians, the documentary was first broadcast in July 2011 clocking over 1 million views in the UK. It has since been screened on national television in Australia, India, Denmark, Norway and Belgium. A follow-up film entitled " War Crimes Unpunished " will reveal more evidence of the atrocities committed during the war and is set to be screened later this year. The letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee details “ timely and ethical journalism ” displayed by the team and states, “At a time when the failure of existing UN institutions is increasingly noted in relation to safeguarding human life and preventing brutal wars, the contribution of a documentary such as ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ in bringing to light not only this failure in the context of the war, but also promoting the need for reviewing and revitalising the UN’s capacity in cases similar to the Sri Lankan war, are immense. " “By bringing to light the breaches of international conventions by the Government of Sri Lanka in a bold manner and by piecing together numerous forms of evidence in a coherent way, the value of independent journalism to the building of a peaceful global order in the century ahead has been amply demonstrated by the ITN team. ” The full letter has been reproduced below.

Tamils on 'walk for justice' meet EU representatives

Photograph walk-for-justice.org/blog/ Tamil activists, on the second day of the 'Walk for Justice' , met with representatives of the European Union and Members of the European Parliament, and urged them to push for an independent, international investigation at the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The EU representatives felt the demands were both "reasonable" and "timely", and pledged to create discussion regarding passing a resolution calling for such an investigation at the EU parliament, said activists. The 'Walk for Justice' activists began their journey Sunday at the...

13th Amendment 'full of flaws' says TNA

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), widely criticised for its perpetual dithering, slammed the 13th Amendment to Sri Lanka's constitution as "full of flaws" on Saturday. The TNA's spokesperson, MP Suresh Premachandran, said, “If the government is genuinely committed to it, there is no need for them to have a dialogue with us. Today, the 13th Amendment is full of flaws . The government can devolve powers to the governors of the provincial councils instead of empowering the boards of ministers. It is a constitutional lacuna,” “ The provincial councils need land, police and fiscal powers. If the...

Expropriation bill ‘biggest issue’ for US projects in Sri Lanka

The Vice President of the International Executive Service Corps stated that the “biggest issue” in providing loans for US enterprises to carry out projects in Sri Lanka, is the much berated expropriation bill. The bill, which allows the government to acquire enterprises and assets deemed to be underperforming, has been criticised by numerous organisations, including Moody’s credit rating agency and the Economist Intelligence Unit. Whilst the International Executive Service Corps (IESC) signed an agreement with the American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka (AmCham SL), Conconi spoke out...

Buddhist Stupas for Army to be built in all provinces

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa laid the foundation for a Buddhist Stupa dedicated to Sri Lankan Army soldiers in Anuradhapura earlier this week, the first of such religious monuments to be built across the country. The Stupa in Anuradhapura will be built from 30 million bricks and 40,000 cement bags, with similar Stupas “giving due recognition to the memory of those War Heroes who defended the country from threat of separation”, being built in each of the provinces of the country. Since May 2009, over 28 statues of the Buddha have also been constructed along the A9 highway, the main...

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