13 Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by Sri Lankan navy, new CM urges Modi to ensure release

The chief minister of Tamil Nadu urged the Indian prime minister to secure the release of 13 fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan navy this week. The fishermen from Rameswaram, Nagapattinam and Pamban were arrested on Wednesday evening, The Hindu reported. In a letter to Mr Modi, Tamil Nadu's current chief minister, Edappadi K. Palanisamy called on the Indian premier to secure the release of not only the recently arrested fishermen but all 53 fishermen currently detained as well as 123 impounded fishing boats.

Mixed emotions as Pilakudiyirippu released

The lands of some Pilavu villagers who had been protesting for all of February were released on Wednesday. Although the release was cause for jubilant scenes for some, there was also widespread anger as only sections of the lands were returned, with some protestors, including permit holders, being told they couldn't access their lands. The remaining lands were released later in the evening. The homecomings were bittersweet, as villagers found that homes, buildings and wells had been entirely destroyed, so the released lands will not be immediately habitable. Further, locals of the...

Sri Lanka’s current legal framework perpetuates risk of torture - UN Special Rapporteur presents findings

The current legal framework in Sri Lanka perpetuates the risk of torture, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture told the human rights council in an interactive dialogue on Thursday. Presenting the findings of his predecessor Juan Mendez, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment, Nils Melzer said: “My predecessor also conducted a visit to Sri Lanka, jointly with the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers. The report found that while the practice of torture was less prevalent, and the methods used were less severe, than...

UN human rights chief's report says Sri Lanka's progress inadequate, reiterates hybrid court

The measures taken by Sri Lanka since October 2015 have been inadequate to ensure real progress a report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released on Friday in Geneva concluded, reiterating the need for a hybrid court with international judges and lawyers. Assessing the progress made by Sri Lanka in implementing resolution 30/1 which it co-sponsored at the Human Rights Council the report urged "stronger, tangible results need to be forthcoming without further delay to prevent any further dissipation of hardearned trust." Welcoming the Sri Lankan...

Harsha assures Sri Lankan country not under foreign obligation for GSP+

The deputy minister of foreign affairs Harsha De Silva this week sought to allay ongoing rumours that Sri Lanka had agreed to a number of reforms in order to regain GSP+ by reiterating that the country was "under no obligation to any foreign body". “Sri Lanka will do what we have undertaken to do and we re doing what we are doing for ourselves,” Mr De Silva was quoted by Economy Next as saying. “We’re under no obligation to any foreign body. We are only under obligation to the people of this country and what we are doing is for the people of this country." “Be under no illusion we’re forced...

British shadow foreign secretary calls on UK to lead action on Sri Lanka

The Labour party's shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry on Thursday called on the UK government to take a “strong stance at the UNHRC” and “to take further steps to hold Sri Lanka to account by pushing for a follow-up to Resolution 30/1” at the UN Human Rights Council this month. In a letter to the current foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, Ms Thornberry criticised the government of Sri Lanka on its failure to “to establish a mechanism for investigating, prosecuting, and punishing allegations of war crimes”, as well on its failure to “uphold some of the most basic standards of human...

TNA calls on Sri Lanka to fulfill promises

The Tamil National Alliance this week highlighted the Sri Lanka's lack of progess on key commitments made to the UN Human Rights Council and called on the government to ensure its promises were kept. Speaking in journalists in Colombo Wednesday, the TNA spokesperson, MA Sumanthiran said his party was willing to give the government more time however only if this included a timetable and a process of monitoring to ensure adherence. Pointing to the commitments made in the 2015 UNHRC resolution co-sponsored by Sri Lanka, Mr Sumanthiran was quoted by AP as saying, “Sri Lanka has not accomplished...

US-trained Sri Lankan battalion holds military ceremony on land taken from Tamils

The Sri Lankan Navy saw the passing out of its first ever batch of Marine Corps this week, following training from the United States military, at a navy base on land taken from Tamils. At a military ceremony held at the navy’s North Western Command Headquarters in Mannar, Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena oversaw the passing out of 164 Marines, including 6 officers and 158 sailors. The Sri Lankan navy base at Mullikulam was set up in September 2007, after Tamil villagers were evicted from their land by the military. They have not yet been allowed to return and instead the base was the...

Human rights council catalysed progress in Sri Lanka says USA

The Un Human Rights Council catalysed progress in Sri Lanka the US said on Wednesday. Speaking at the council’s 34th regular session in Geneva, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of the United States, Erin Barclay said: “When the council functions properly, it has the ability to remind states of their commitments and obligations. It can hold countries accountable for the same.” “When the council works as it should its successes are victories for human rights.” “For example, HRC action catalysed progress for reform and provided technical assistance to improve accountability for past...

Sri Lanka must deliver on commitments - British MPs debate

Sri Lanka's President Sirisena "made a commitment to the UN on behalf of his country and he must now deliver it", no matter the domestic political situation, British MP, James Berry said during a parliamentary debate.

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