UNP minister extols new budget, downplays defence spending

The current good-governance regime in Sri Lanka will allocate plenty of funds to rehabilitate the North-East, the UNP parliamentarian and State Minister for Women’s and Children’s Affairs, Vijayakala Maheswaran has claimed. Ms Maheswaran criticised the previous regime for overspending on defence and security forces, stating that the current government would be more focused on addressing the needs of the Tamils and Muslims of the North-East, including war widows and the displaced. However the government’s highest allocation in this year’s budget remains for the Ministry of Defence.

Sword attacks on the rise again in Jaffna

Four Tamil men have been hospitalised following a resurgence in sword attacks in Jaffna this week. In one incident on Monday, Srikanthan of Koppay North was pursued from Jaffna Town by assailants on two motorcycles before being attacked just 500 metres from Koppay police station. In another attack on Monday night, a Tamil man was injured at his home in Navaly when the house was broken into and attacked. Two other Tamils were hospitalised in an attack in Gurunagar on Sunday.

Indian national arrested in Vavuniya

An Indian national was arrested by Sri Lankan police in Vavuniya on Tuesday for allegedly over staying his visa. The man, who has not been named was detained by Vavuniya hospital, AdaDerana reported. He will be produced before Vavuniya Magistrate's Court, the paper reported.

Sri Lanka's police chief says NGOs reliant on foreign aid will not be tolerated

Sri Lanka's Inspector General of Police, Pujith Jayasundara warned that the "President and the Prime Minister would not tolerate the NGOs, which are dependent on foreign aid and racketeers who deposit public funds in foreign banks", the Daily Mirror reported. Mr Jayasundara made these remarks whilst speaking at an event in Kurunegala. “The President is a man from the village, a humble person possessing exemplary qualities. He has teamed up with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who is a person well known in international circles. This is a resilient combination, not easily dented,” he was...

Tamil civil society groups call on international community to 're-prioritise accountability and justice' in Sri Lanka

Civil society groups across the North-East highlighted the feature published in the Associated Press last week detailing recent reports of torture and rape of Tamils by Sri Lankan authorities and called on the international community to "re-prioritize accountability and justice for atrocity crimes committed during and after the armed conflict in their engagement with the Government of Sri Lanka." "As a recent report from the Associated Press (AP) citing work from the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) highlights, perpetration of horrific acts of torture and sexual violence against...

Hundreds of Jaffna Uni students march in protest at detention of Tamil political prisoners

Students at the University of Jaffna demonstrated on Monday marching in protest at the ongoing detention of Tamil political prisoners. The march saw hundreds of students holding placards in condemnation at the government's failure to act. The protest is the latest in a series of protest on the issue at the Jaffna University, which was closed a few weeks ago in protest at the detention.

Sri Lanka faces questions over ongoing torture in UPR advance submission

Member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council questioned Sri Lanka on ongoing torture, militarisation and its failure to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act in an advanced submission to the Universal Periodic Review Process. Expressing concern with recent reports of torture Norway, Germany, the US, asked Sri Lanka when the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act will be repealed, and expressed concern at Sri Lanka’s failure to hold security forces and government officials accountable for human rights violations. Noting the lack of accountability for violations of international...

Sri Lankan president - army camps will not be removed from North to affect national security

Sri Lanka’s president Maithripala Sirisena attempted to assure the military that army camps in the North “have not been removed or will not be removed in a way which will weaken the national security or have an impact on the security forces but lands acquitted by the armed forces during the war will be released to people,” Colombo Page reported. Speaking to officers at an event at the army hospital in Narahenpita, Mr Sirisena added, “the government has taken steps to release the lands, which were acquired during the war period for army camps.” “The lands not needed for the three armed forces...

Sumanthiran promises grassroots discussions on interim report on constitution

The spokesperson of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), M A Sumanthiran assured there would be ‘extensive discussions’ at a grassroots level on the interim report by the constitutional steering committee, Ceylon Today reported. His comments followed a meeting in Vavuniya yesterday by ITAK’s Central Committee, which took place amid increasing turmoil within the TNA after one of its constituent parties, EPRLF announced it would contesting the upcoming elections on its own. “The meetings, throughout the Northern and Eastern Provinces between the ITAK members and local bodies, led by the party,...

Sri Lanka's state minister says 'would not allow anyone to threaten national security'

Sri Lanka’s state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene asserted he “would not allow anyone to threaten national security”, Adaderana reported on Monday. "The present government has taken every measure in this regard," Mr Wijewardene said. The comments were made at an event in Gampaha, the paper reported.