4500 Sri Lanka military personnel attend lecture on compassion at Palaly base

Sri Lankan military forces attended a lecture on 'compassion' which took place at the Palaly army camp on Thursday.

Joint opposition - budget 'panders to IMF'

Sri Lanka's joint opposition criticised the government's 2018 budget which was detailed on Friday, stating that it "panders" to International Monetary Fund. The MP Bandula Gunawardene said the "budget was sure to fail as in it the government was trying to increase foreign investments by relaxing laws for foreigners and imposing excessive taxes on the people." "[The] budget panders to the IMF's whims and fancies", the Daily Mirror quoted the Joint Opposition as saying. “This is a more liberal budget which would not offer any benefits to the people,” Mr Gunawardene said. “According to the...

Murdered TNA MP Raviraj remembered in Jaffna

The TNA MP Raviraj was remembered in Jaffna on Friday, on the 11th anniversary of his assassination.

Freedom From Torture urges OHCHR to launch investigation into Sri Lanka torture evidence

Freedom From Torture called on the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to launch an immediate investigation of evidence of ongoing torture in Sri Lanka on Thursday. In a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner Zeid Al Hussein the London based rights organisation said, “Our evidence is consistent with the recent press reports and suggests that torture remains deeply ingrained in the military, police and intelligence sectors in peacetime Sri Lanka and that those at risk include Tamils with real of perceived association with the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Tamil...

'Reconciliation and national unity' essential says Mangala detailing 2018 budget

The Sri Lankan minister of finance, Mangala Samaraweera told parliament as he detailed the government's 2018 budget yesterday, that it would include a number of measures to ensure "reconciliation and national unity". The 2018 budget speech includes a number of pledges including that the Office of Missing Persons would be fully operationally from 2018 with Rs 1400 million allocated towards this. "If Sri Lanka is to achieve its goal of becoming an advanced economy, it is essential that we build our future plans on a strong foundation of democracy and reconciliation. We must ensure that the...

CPJ expresses concern over blocking of news site by Sri Lanka

The Asia desk of the Committee to Protect Journalists Asia on Friday expressed concern over the blockage of the news website, Lanka-e-News, by the Sri Lankan authorities this week. "CPJ is concerned about reports that news site Lanka E News has been blocked in #SriLanka because of its critical reporting. This is a press freedom violation and access to the website should be restored immediately," CPJ Asia tweeted . The move came just a day after the website published a story detailed allegations of corruption by the president's office.

PEARL criticises premature praise of Sri Lanka in light of ongoing torture revelations

The Washington-based advocacy group PEARL has criticised premature international praise and engagement of Sri Lanka, in a statement condemning the current government’s torture of Tamils revealed in a report by the Associated Press. “Despite evidence of ongoing torture and continued impunity for atrocity crimes, Western nations are pursuing friendlier relations with the Sri Lankan state,” the organisation said. PEARL, which has frequently questioned US engagement policy with Sri Lanka, particularly military-to-military, further pointed out, “just this week the second Sri Lanka-U.S. Partnership...

Sri Lankan president assures troops of no war tribunals

The Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena on Thursday once again reassured troops that he would not allow them to be tried before a war crimes tribunal, Colombo Gazette reported. “As long as I remain the head of the country, I assure you that none of you would be allowed to testify before any war tribunals. Instead, such errant Army personnel, if any, can be produced before Courts and tried according to the existing law of the country," Mr Sirisena said. His comments come a day after the Associated Press published an extensive report of ongoing allegations of rape and torture committed by...

UN 'taking into account' reports of recent rape and torture in vetting Sri Lankan peacekeepers

The spokesperson for the UN Secretary General, Stéphane Dujarric said staff would be "taking into account" a report published by the Associated Press yesterday of recent rape and torture of Tamils by Sri Lankan security forces when assessing troops to serve as UN peacekeepers. Asked by the Inner City Press what the UN's reaction was to the AP report and how the UN ensures that troops who have engaged in torture are not deployed as peacekeepers, Mr Dujarric said, "As a matter of course, there is screening done in partnership with DPKO [Department of Peacekeeping Operations] and DFS [Department...

Sri Lankan government blocks critical news site

The Sri Lankan government has blocked access to a news site that has been critical of it previously, AFP reported. Access to the London based site, Lanka-e-news, from Sri Lanka was blocked on Thursday. The move comes just a day after the website published a story alleging corruption within the president's office regarding the purchase of state vehicles. "We do not expect this type of behaviour from a government which came to power in January 2015 promising media freedom," the Working Journalists Association of Sri Lanka was quoted by AFP as saying in a statement. The news wire reported, "A...

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