GSK has 'increased investment' in Sri Lanka

Global pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has invested $11m in expanding its Sri Lankan operations. The investment will be welcomed by the government and its struggling economy. Sri Lanka is facing difficulties in financing the upkeep of its military, proportionally one of the largest in the world. A significant part of its national budget is dedicated to the defence ministry, headed by war crimes accused Gothabaya Rajapakse. In a media statement, T. S. Dayanand, Managing Director of GSK Consumer Healthcare said, “Over the years, we have consistently invested in the Sri Lankan business...

Greens challenge Carr on Sri Lanka visit

Australian Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon has criticised Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s decision to strengthen the country’s strengthening of military and intelligence co-operation with Sri Lanka amid increasing reports of human rights abuses. In a statement released on Monday, Senator Rhiannon said, "I urge Minister Carr to acquaint himself with reports out of Sri Lanka that on 12 December, 17 Tamil women were admitted to a hospital in Northern Sri Lanka. There is concern that these women had been sexually abused and brutalised by the Sri Lankan military” "I have been contacted by a number of Tamils living in Australia who are very distressed about these latest developments.” "Australia's standing as a country committed to promoting peace and protecting human rights is at risk if Minister Carr seeks to strengthen military ties while turning a blind eye to ongoing abuses in Sri Lanka". See her full statement here . Her statement follows on from Australia Greens Leader Christine Milne urging Carr last week to hold Sri lanka to account for alleged human rights abuses. She stated, "Submissions to the UN Human Rights Council from international and Sri Lankan human rights organisations have documented the continued extrajudicial killings by military operatives, suspicious deaths in police custody, disappearances by paramilitary groups, white van abductions, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, arbitrary arrests and detention of alleged members of armed groups, their family members and colleagues, as well as outspoken critics and perceived political opponents of the Government, including journalists. "It is time for the Government to explain how our diplomats in Geneva can condemn human rights abuses in Sri Lanka, while our bureaucrats in Canberra can send asylum seekers back to this very violence and persecution they are fleeing."

Singapore refuses access to Australian doctor

Dr. Brian Senewiratne, a Sinhalese activist who has voiced for the Tamil rights in Sri Lanka was refused access into Singapore on Saturday. According to the Bangkok Post , Dr. Senewiratne was scheduled to give a speech in Johor Bahru in Malaysia about the political nature in Sri Lanka and the factors that’s contributing to the rise in Sri Lankan asylum seekers. Salem-news reported that, Dr. Senewiratne was held in a small cell for more than five hours before he was sent back to Australia. Dr. Senewiratne told Salem-news, “If an Australian citizen is barred from talking to people in Malaysia...

Floods submerge parts of Batticaloa

Photograph Tamilwin Heavy rain has left parts of Batticaloa district submerged in flood water , with more rain expected over the next 24 hours. One hundred fifty-four villages in the district are reported to be affected, including: Sithandi, Vantharumoolai, Aiyankeni, Thalavai, Eravur, Kommathurai, Murakoddanchenai, Thevapuram, Koppaveli, Iralakkulam, Periyavaddavaan, Poolakkaadu, Pondukalchenai, Ilakku, Santhiveli, Kiraan, Villages on Badulla Road, Mayilavaddavaan, Veppavadduvaan, Senkaladi. Sri Lanka's Meterological Department warned: “People should be careful about possible floods,...

World Bank data shows over 100,000 Tamils went missing in war's final months

Leaked population data from the World Bank, indicates that over 100,000 Tamils remain unaccounted for after the final months of Sri Lanka's military onslaught, writes the former BBC journalist, Frances Harrison in the Huffington Post. Citing World Bank spreadsheets, Harrison states that 101,748 people, or roughly 28,899 households are missing from Mullaitivu District , and asserts that " an international investigation is required to establish the truth about what may be one of the least reported but worst atrocities of recent decades - both in terms of the speed and the scale of the killing." See here for full article in Huffington Post. Extract reproducted below: "The leaked World Bank spreadsheets broken down by village for the north of the island estimate numbers of returnees to the former conflict area in mid 2010. The Bank also cites Statistical Handbook Numbers for population in 2007 - before the fighting intensified. The two sets of data reveal 101,748 people missing from Mullaitivu District - the area that bore the brunt of the final fighting. This is the equivalent of 28,899 households. This number has been confirmed to me by the World Bank , though they add "other interpretations about the population data that are not included in the document can not be attributed to the World Bank".

SL Army in Jaffna hold medical clinic for civilians

The Sri Lankan Army’s 552 Division recently facilitated a medical camp for Tamil civilians in the town of Iyakkachchi, near Elephant Pass in Jaffna, says a report on the defence ministry’s website. The ministry claims over 900 Tamil civilians took part in the event, with the army transporting people to the school where the clinic was held . See here for full report on the defence ministry’s homepage.

Australia assures support for Sri Lanka hosting CHOGM

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has pledged support for Sri Lanka to host 2013 Commonwealth heads of Government Meeting, whilst visiting the country. Speaking alongside Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs G L Peiris, Carr said , “Australia will be at the Commonwealth Summit next year and will provide Sri Lanka with the technical assistance necessary for a successful summit.” When questioned about Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s boycott call over Sri Lanka’s human rights situation, Carr responded, “There needs to be engagement with Sri Lanka by way of the Lessons Learnt and...

Australia plans to boost SL spy operations

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has announced plans for Australia to help expand Sri Lanka’s spy network, as part of efforts to stem the flow of asylum seekers to the country. Carr announced that Australia would be providing extra surveillance equipment to Sri Lanka as well as hosting training programs on maritime surveillance for the Sri Lankan Navy. Speaking in Colombo he said , ‘‘We’re setting a clear agenda for intelligence sharing, naval co-operation and helping rebuild Sri Lanka - all designed to reduce people smuggling.”’ Carr also announced a $700,000 advertising campaign planned...

China blocks loan, demands insurance payment from Sri Lanka

China has blocked a loan of over $69m, saying it will only release the funds once Sri Lanka pays fees to China’s state-run insurance company, reported The Sunday Times . Beijing is blocking the payments, demanding that 7% of the loan should be paid to the insurer Sinosure, although Sri Lanka has offered sovereign guarantees . The loan was offered by the state-run Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) to fund 90% of a hydro power project in the south of Sri Lanka. The power plant will be built by China National Electric Equipment Corporation (CNEEC), another Chinese state owned...

Chief of the Indian Army to visit Sri Lanka

The Chief of the Indian Army, General Bikram Singh will visit Sri Lanka this week, with the intent of discussing ways to strengthen their bilateral defence ties. Despite strong opposition from Tamil Nadu political parties regarding Indian co-operation with Sri Lankan defence forces, the Indian Army chief will be looking to find ways to enhance the Sri Lankan Army’s training, military and hardware capabilities. General Singh is set to visit the newly established Sri Lankan army headquarters in the northern provinces. The 3-day visit is scheduled to start on December 18, and will include...

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