Sri Lanka's 'experiment in nation-building' failed, Mangala tells Human Rights Council

Sri Lanka's 69-year-long experiment in nation-building is a failed one, the country's foreign affairs minister, Mangala Samaraweera, told the UN Human Rights Council today. "69 long years, we journeyed through pain, violence, loss of life and precious human resources, ruining chances of socio economic progress. This was clearly an experiment in nation building that failed, which is certainly not worth pursuing any further. Therefore we must have the courage to acknowledge that truth, and that era must now end. The Sri Lanka that we seek to build here onwards, should be one where justice...

UN report on minority issues in Sri Lanka concludes release of land is a 'priority'

The report on Sri Lanka by UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Rita Izsák-Ndiaye called for the release of the remaining 6,124 acres of land currently under military occupation in the North as "matter of priority". “As a matter of priority, the Government must continue and step up the release to the civilian populations of the remaining 6,124 acres of the land currently held by the military in the North as well as other lands and coastal areas occupied by the military. A proper mapping exercise of all the lands currently occupied by the military must take place, and lands currently not...

ONUR refutes military's account of Chandrika on sexual violence

The Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) denied the current head of department, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, stated that the sexual exploitation of Tamil women by the army would jeopardise the reconciliation process. Military Spokesperson Brig. Roshan Seneviratne claimed that the “head of an ethnic reconciliation body” said sexual exploitation and abuse of Tamil women by the army in the post-war context would jeopardise the reconciliation process. “ONUR would like to categorically deny that the former president Kumaratunga did not make a statement as...

Mannar IDPs support call for land return in Keppapilavu

Displaced Tamils in Mannar held a demonstration on Monday to show their support for the people of Keppapilavu who are protesting for the return of their land.

President will return land assures TNA Sampanthan

The Sri Lankan president has instructed the army to return lands in Kepapilavu, Puthukkudiyiruppu and Kilinohchi back to the Tamil people, the leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) R Sampanthan said on Monday citing a meeting he had with the president. At a press conference, Mr Sampanthan, flanked by TNA MPs MA Sumanthiran and Selvam Adaikkalanathan, Mr Sampanthan said, "the president clearly told us that he had no objection to the lands being returned to the people in so far us Kepapilavu is concerned." The site has been the focus of a prolonged protest by the land owners who have...

Ranil pledges to bar PCs from discussing separatism

Sri Lanka's prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe pledges this week that he would bar provincial councils from discussion separatism, reported the Daily Mirror . Reiterating that the new constitution would uphold Buddhism's current status, Mr Wickremesinghe said, "the existing system will be used as a frame for devolving power in the new constitution. Some allege that the government is going to introduce federalism, but I aver that no such system will be introduced. The government does not intend to divide the nation."

Sirisena says government won 'international honour' for security forces

The Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena told those attending a military event held in Mannar on Monday that his government had won "international honour" for the country's security forces. Sri Lanka's forces stand accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Tamil people at the end of the armed conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). "After being elected, the current government has taken several steps to provide welfare facilities and grant benefits to the war heroes throughout the last two years. With that the government will not be...

UK condemns attack on church in Sri Lanka

The British government has spoken out against an attack on a church in North West Sri Lanka by a group of Buddhists headed by a monk last month. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Alok Sharma said the UK condemns “all violence against religious minorities, including the attack on a church”. Though over 200 witnesses had named the Buddhist monk and 12 others responsible for the attack, Sri Lankan police released all the accused on bail. “The freedom to practise, change or share your faith or belief without discrimination or violent opposition is a...

Tamil university students protest in support of families of missing

Tamil university students in Kilinochchi joined the ongoing protest by families of the disappeared in a solidarity demonstration on Sunday. The families' protest demanding information and accountability for their missing loved ones has been ongoing for seven days.

Displaced of Vali North demonstrate in support of Mullaitivu land protests

The displaced people of Valikamam North carried out a demonstration on Sunday morning in solidarity with the protesting people of Pilavu and Puthukudiyiruppu.