Sri Lanka defends stance on torture in letter to New York Times

The Sri Lankan government has defended its 'zero tolerance policy' on torture, following an article by the Associated Press, detailing ongoing torture and rape by Sri Lankan security forces. In a letter to the New York Times, Sri Lanka's Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prasad Kariyawasam, said, “The Government of Sri Lanka strongly condemns any act of torture, and will ensure that allegations of torture committed in the country will be investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The government of Sri Lanka does not condone or tolerate any form of torture and seeks...

UN human rights chief - reports of recent rape and torture in Sri Lanka 'merit closer inspection from our part'

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has highlighted the need for a "much closer inspection" on the part of the UN into reports of rape and torture of Tamil men by Sri Lankan security services since 2016, under the current national unity government. Responding to reports published on Wednesday by the Associated Press detailing rape and torture by security forces from 2016 until July 2017, Mr Zeid said, "while the UN is unable to confirm this until we mount an investigation, clearly the reports are horrifying and merit a much closer inspection from our part, especially if they occurred in 2016 and 2017." The news wire, which based its feature on interviews with 20 Tamil men and a review of 32 medical and psychological reports, noted that the UN Human Rights chief was "aghast at AP's accounts of the 52 tortured men."

Sri Lanka seeks emergency fuel shipment from India amidst crisis

The Indian High Commission in Colombo said New Delhi agreed to provide further fuel to resolve Sri Lanka’s fuel shortage. The announcement came following a teleconference between India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Sri Lanka counterpart Maithripala Sirisena. “In response to Sri Lanka’s request for emergency petrol shipments, PM assured that India will extend all possible assistance,” said the Indian High Commission. Sri Lanka imports all of its fuel, mainly from the UAW, Malaysia and Singapore, reports Reuters.

US praises progress on accountability and justice, pledges navy war ships amidst reports of torture

The Under Secretary of Political Affairs Thomas A Shannon Jr, praised Sri Lanka’s progress on “post-war justice, reconciliation and accountability" and announced plans to provide Sri Lanka’s navy with a second ‘high endurance’ coast guard ship as part of “a tangible symbol” of a “growing partnership” to ensure “regional stability.” Mr Thomas was speaking during a visit to Colombo as part of the second meeting of the US Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue. Speaking on the same day the Financial Times produced an in-depth report on Sri Lanka’s backtracking on commitments to accountability, the state...

US announces fund to promote religious freedom in Sri Lanka, India

The United States Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) this week announced funds of $493,827 to promote religious freedom in Sri Lanka, as well as a further $493,827 for projects in India. On Sri Lanka, the DRL said it was seeking "to ensure that authorities at all levels of government in Sri Lanka effectively implement national laws and policies protecting religious freedom." "While the country’s constitution states “every person is entitled to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, including the freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his...

'Dozens of men describe rape, torture by Sri Lanka government' reports AP

In an article published on Wednesday, the Associated Press detailed ongoing allegations of rape and torture of Tamil men by Sri Lankan security forces that are said to have taken place between 2016 and July this year. Based on the interviews with 20 men and a review of 32 medical and psychological reports, AP noted, "Raped, branded or beaten repeatedly, more than 50 men from the Tamil ethnic minority seeking political asylum in Europe say they were abducted and tortured under Sri Lanka’s current government." See here for full article. Speaking to the news wire, Piers Pigou from the...

Modi visits Karunanidhi in Chennai

The Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi visited the leader of the DMK, Karunanidhi on Monday at his home in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Mr Modi was greeted by Mr Karunanidhi's son and daughter, Stalin and Kalaimozhi. He later tweeted that he had inquired about Mr Karunanidhi's poor health. The premier was visiting the city to speak at the platinum jubilee celebration of the Tamil newspaper, Daily Thanthi.

Indian oil company rejects causing Sri Lanka fuel crisis

The Lank Indian Oil Company (LIOC) on Monday rejected what is described as "mischievous and factually incorrect" reports that it was responsible for the shortage of oil in Sri Lana. "As a reliable distributor of petroleum products in Sri Lanka over many years, LIOC is making all efforts to assist in the early resolution of this problem. However, attempts by some to blame LIOC for causing the shortage are mischievous and factually incorrect, and we categorically reject such allegations," the LIOC was quoted by PTI as saying in a statement "Thus, large shortages across the country can only be...

4 Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by Sri Lankan navy

Four Tamil Nadu fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lankan navy on Tuesday, for allegedly poaching fish off the coast of Neduntheevu, PTI reported. The arrest is the latest in the ongoing issue of Tamil Nadu fishermen being arrested by Sri Lankan navy personnel. Last month the chief minister of Tamil Nadu wrote to the Indian premier, Narendra Modi, urging him to intervene and secure the release of dozens of fishermen currently detained in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan Navy occupation leaves displaced Karainagar residents fearing cancellation of housing scheme

The Sri Lankan Navy's continued occupation of civilian's lands has left residents of a Jaffna village fearing they will lose out on an India-funded housing scheme. Madathu Valavu in Karainagar was formerly a model village housing 44 families, before the homes were destroyed in the war. Following the announcement of Indian government funding to build houses on the island, local authorities informed displaced residents of Madathu Valathu that their village would be receiving the 24 houses allocated to Jaffna district. However the Sri Lankan Navy, which occupies around 126 acres of land under...

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