Peiris 'summons' British High Commissioner - The Island

The pro-government newspaper, The Island, reported on Monday, that the external affairs minister, G.L. Peiris "summoned" the British High Commissioner John Rankin, to "protest against the UK envoy contradicting President Mahinda Rajapaksa's Victory Day speech". The newspaper added, "Ministry sources told The Island that Prof. Peiris had expressed displeasure over Rankin disputing President Rajapaksa’s claim of scaling down of the military presence and the non-involvement of the military in civil administration in the Northern Province." See article here . On Saturday, Rankin criticised the on...

World Bank lending to Sri Lanka set to double

The World Bank will lend more than twice as much to Sri Lanka over the next 12 months from July, reports Bloomberg . Sri Lanka will receive $500 million during that period. Bloomberg reports that currently, Sri Lanka borrows $200 million annually under concessionary terms. Earlier this year, the former deputy governor of Sri Lanka's Central Bank, W. A. Wijewardena, warned that the economy was heading for trouble despite an official predicted growth forecast of 7.2%. The AFP news agency wrote at the time, "Sri Lankan economist and former central bank deputy governor W. A. Wijewardena believes...

Gotabaya talks strategy

The Sri Lankan defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has denied allegations of human rights abuses, refused to devolve police powers, justified increased militarisation and stated that the North of the island should not be viewed as a predominantly Tamil area, in interviews to both the BBC and Sunday Leader. When asked by the BBC about the North being a mostly Tamil area of the island, the defence secretary replied, " Why should be that? Why should be that? If you are a Sri Lankan citizen you must be able to go and buy the properties from anywhere." Slamming reports of abductions and disappearances as “wrong allegations” , the defence secretary accused BBC’s Charles Haviland of reading “some website, no?” When Haviland responded that “They’re not wrong allegations, because I’ve met the victims”, Rajapaksa replied, “Don’t get angry! Usually I get angry, so you don’t get angry. Ok don’t get angry. I am the secretary of defence, I have investigated this. You don’t take the words from these people, take the word from me. Further stating Sri Lanka had defeated terrorists, Rajapaksa went on to say, "All this we have stopped... but you don't talk about that. You are supporting the terrorist cause!" See the full report from the BBC here . Being interviewed by the Sunday Leader , Gotabaya Rajapaksa also talked about the possibility of Tamil militancy and refused to answer any questions on released former army commander Sarath Fonseka, and when questioned responded, “I don’t know. You have to ask the President. I am not interested! I have not known any of these things. I have a lot of work to do… you can see I am not sleeping…" “I don’t know … I don’t know! I don’t want to comment! I will stop the interview if you continue with this!”

Major Tamil party calls for North-East merger

The largest party in the Tamil National Alliance, the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi, has called for the merging of the Northern and Eastern provinces into one administrative unit at its annual General Council meeting. The meeting, held ahead of Sunday’s 14th annual convention, also resolved to call for an end to state-sponsored colonisation schemes, equal rights for the Tamil people and for progress in resettlement and development, in both the North and East. A leaked cable from the US embassy revealed that international diplomats were unhappy with a 2006 decision by the Sri Lankan Supreme...

Just one story…

The Sunday Times has reported on the plight of a 16-year old child, born to a widowed mother who was repeatedly raped as she was forced into sexual slavery in a holiday resort in the South of the island. The girl was trafficked from Batticaloa after a smuggler promised to send her abroad, but instead she was sent to a holiday resort in Hikkaduwa, where she was repeatedly raped by a tourist. Chief Inspector Sumith Gunaratne commented that the ‘modus operandi’ of the agent of the prostitution racket was to search the North and East for war-orphaned minors, in order to force them into the sex-...

Son of Indian consulate officer abducted in Jaffna

The son of the cultural officer of the Indian Consulate in Jaffna was abducted by unidentified men on Friday afternoon, before being released the next day. According to Ceylon Today , officer S Prabhakaran’s 14-year old son was on his way back from St. John’s College in Jaffna and was waiting at the Jaffna bus stand when abductors approached him. "The abductor who came on a motor bike had later fled to Kilinochchi via Pooneryn, along with the boy,” he said. The boy was held for a night in Killinochchi before being released near the Nallur temple on Sunday, after the Police and Army were...

Protest over Rajapaksa’s visit to the UK

British Tamils held a demonstration outside the residence of the British Prime Minister, to protest against the forthcoming visit by Sri Lankan president, Mahinda Rajapaksa. Rajapaksa was invited to take part in the Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations. The Tamil Coordinating Committee – UK handed a petition to officials at No 10 Downing Street, calling on the British Government to withdraw the invitation extended to Rajapakse. The TCC-UK petition questioned the UK’s commitment to human rights. “Given that the UK is privy to several reports by reputable human rights groups on the nature and...

Monks protest against mosque in Colombo

Buddhists monks have again led another protest, demanding the demolition of a mosque in Colombo, stating that the building is there illegally. Leading a group of around 250 people, monks marched through Dehiwala claiming that the mosque has been constructed illegally, and that goats were being reared and sacrificed in the premises. The claims have been disputed by a mosque trustee board member Hizni Mohammed who stated, “It is not an illegal construction. We have accurate deeds and the building has been there for so many years,” The Mayor of Dehiwala-Mount Lavina Dhanasiri Amaratunge however...

UK High Commissioner criticises military presence in the Northeast

The British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, John Rankin, has criticised the large military presence in the Northeast of Sri Lanka. In a video message, answering questions about last month’s report on human rights , Mr Rankin said Sri Lanka has serious human rights issues that need to be addressed. He questioned the need for maintaining such a huge military contingent in the Northeast and called for the number to be scaled down to make it resemble the number of soldiers in other parts of the island. Mr Rankin also pointed out that any accusations of breach of international humanitarian law by...

Benin, India and Spain in Sri Lanka UPR troika

The troika tasked with serving as rapporteurs for Sri Lanka’s Universal Periodic Review, consists of Benin, India and Spain. Sri Lanka’s review is due to start in November this year. The UPR process examines the human rights situation of each member state of the UN every four years. The UPR provides the opportunity for each country to present the progress it has made since its last review, but also allows other stakeholders, such as human rights organisation and other countries, to submit information detailing lack of progress or continuing abuses. The review is conducted by the 47 members of...

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