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June 26, 2017 [GMT]
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Human Rights Watch asks Sri Lanka to adopt Task Force justice proposals
[Wednesday 2017-01-11 18:00]

The New York-based global human rights organization, Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the Sri Lankan government to adopt recommendations of the Consultation Task Force on including foreign judges in a domestic mechanism on accountability as stated in the consensus resolution the country sponsored with the United Nations Human Right Council. Sri Lanka's government should promptly implement recommendations on transitional justice proposed by the Consultation Task Force (CTF) in a report released on January 3, 2017, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.

The New York-based global human rights organization, Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the Sri Lankan government to adopt recommendations of the Consultation Task Force on including foreign judges in a domestic mechanism on accountability as stated in the consensus resolution the country sponsored with the United Nations Human Right Council. Sri Lanka's government should promptly implement recommendations on transitional justice proposed by the Consultation Task Force (CTF) in a report released on January 3, 2017, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.

  

The report reflects the first broad survey of Sri Lankan citizens on their aspirations for truth and justice, as called for by the October 2015 resolution of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Key among the task force's recommendations is the creation of a war crimes court comprised of both international and national judges and other officials, with no time limit on its jurisdiction.

"The task force report is remarkably comprehensive and clear in setting out the concerns and needs expressed by Sri Lankans across all communities on the transitional justice process," said Brad Adams, Asia director. "The government should now own the report's recommendations and set out a framework for putting them into action, in line with its pledges at the Human Rights Council." The Consultation Task Force appointed by the Prime Minister in February 2016 received 7,306 submissions on disappearances from the Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, and other communities, as well as the security services during the course of their hearings. The CTF which concluded its consultations in August 2016 reported that there had been no government interference or attempts to impede their work, and that the report reflected the views of all 11 members.

In a news conference held after the report's release, CTF members noted that concerns about justice and accountability were raised both in the country's north and south by many in all communities. The new government undertook a more conciliatory approach to domestic and international efforts to address the wartime accountability, and in October 2015 agreed at the UN Human Rights Council to establish at least four mechanisms on transitional justice, of which the consultations were part, the HRW said. Sri Lanka is on the March 2017 agenda of the Human Rights Council, where High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein is expected to report on Sri Lanka's compliance with the resolution. This will include the government's willingness to promptly implement the CTF report recommendations. However, the HRW said the immediate response by senior officials has been disappointing.

Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapaksha and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne both separately ruled out the participation of foreign nationals on the special court, while Finance Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that President Maithripala Sirisena rejected the inclusion of foreign judges and would not allow the government to prosecute "war heroes."

The cabinet spokesperson, Minister Senaratne claimed that Al Hussein had agreed that there should be no foreign involvement in the court during a previous meeting - a claim that Al Hussein himself immediately rejected, according to the Human Rights Watch. HRW pointed out that the report recommendations also contain important confidence-building measures that the government could adopt immediately. These include a robust victim-witness protection law, meaningful outreach by the government across all communities, symbolic gestures to allow public grieving and memorialization, and a minority rights commission.

"The Sri Lankan government took the bold step of agreeing to a multi-ethnic task force for broad consultations on transitional justice," Adams said. "Now that the task force has listened to the country, it's crucial that the government doesn't drop its key recommendations. The government should recognize that its commitments were not only to concerned governments in Geneva, but to its own citizens seeking justice and reconciliation after a terrible war."

  
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TNA agrees ‘unitary state’ will be clearly defined
[Sunday 2017-06-25 19:00]

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[Sunday 2017-06-25 19:00]

The World Bank (WB) has warned the government that the US$ 100 million loan facility in the pipeline for release in September will be suspended unless the Audit Bill is tabled without further delay in Parliament and approved by it. Well-informed sources told this paper that this had come up at talks between officials of the World Bank, Finance Ministry and officials of the Auditor General's Department on 16 June.



Former ISI chief pledges support to Rajapaksa
[Sunday 2017-06-25 19:00]

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[Sunday 2017-06-25 19:00]

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[Sunday 2017-06-25 18:00]

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[Sunday 2017-06-25 18:00]

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Government urged to establish Office on Missing Persons
[Saturday 2017-06-24 16:00]

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[Saturday 2017-06-24 16:00]

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Democratic government cannot keep mum at a time a minor extremist group has taken people hostage - Sri Lanka FM
[Saturday 2017-06-24 16:00]

Sri Lanka's Foreign Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake says that a people's government cannot keep mum at a time when a minor extremist group has challenged democracy by taking people hostage in this country.The Minister points out that any person or group irrespective of their status should be brought to book if they are covering up in existing democratic rights and are engaged in illegal activities. Foreign Minister Karunanayake also said that police should be more efficient to take action against such persons and groups as they are trying to embarrass the government by creating instability in the society.



New Sri Lanka Police Media Spokesperson appointed
[Saturday 2017-06-24 16:00]

Superintendent of Police (SP) and Attorney-at-Law Ruwan Gunasekara has been appointed as the new Police Media Spokesman. He succeeds Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Priyatha Jayakody, who has stepped down due to health reasons. SP Gunasekara also served as the Police Media spokesman on a previous occasion.



Sri Lankan Navy, Air Force officers train on Indian Navy Dornier craft
[Saturday 2017-06-24 16:00]

Two Dornier Aircraft belonging to the Indian Navy have arrived in Sri Lanka, on 19th June to provide training to a group of Sri Lanka Navy and Air Force personnel. The training exercise was carried out in the West and Southwest Coast of the Sri Lankan Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) from 19th to 22nd June. Seven Air Observer officers from the Sri Lanka Navy and Air Navigators from Sri Lanka Air Force took part in the training exercise on the Dornier Aircraft.



LG election by September?
[Saturday 2017-06-24 16:00]

Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Faiszer Musthapha has assured to hold the local government (LG) elections by September this year, Joint Opposition Convener and MP Prasanna Ranatunga said yesterday. A group of JO MPs, LG members and provincial councilors led by MP Ranatunga met Minister Musthapha at his Ministry in Colombo yesterday. The JO group along with supporters staged a protest outside the Ministry prior to the meeting with the Minister. MP Ranatunga said the Minister seemed interested in holding the election but it was the government which is postponing the election.



Tamil group calls for international judges in Sri Lanka’s transitional justice system
[Friday 2017-06-23 18:00]

A leading Tamil diaspora group has demanded the participation of international judges in Sri Lanka’s transitional justice processes in the wake of a UN report that was critical of country’s judicial system. Monica Pinto, the former UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers was on a mission to Sri Lanka from April 29 to May 7, 2016. Her report was tabled by the current Rapporteur, Diego Garcia-Sayan at the 35th session of the UN Human Rights Council last week.



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[Friday 2017-06-23 18:00]

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U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka visits Eastern Province
[Friday 2017-06-23 18:00]

United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap visited the Eastern Province this week to commemorate a milestone in U.S.-supported demining efforts and to attend the groundbreaking ceremony at a school to construct facilities to help communities displaced by natural disasters. During the visit, Ambassador Keshap also met leaders and activists working on post-conflict reconciliation and accountability issues.



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[Friday 2017-06-23 18:00]

Retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara yesterday handed over a petition to UNHRC President Joaquin Alexander Maza Martelli requesting that action be taken against Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein and Special Rapporteur Monica Pinto for forcing Sri Lanka towards Constitutional Reform, basing their reports on false information and bias.



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[Friday 2017-06-23 18:00]

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Sri Lanka Navy arrests 17 Indian fishermen for poaching in island waters
[Friday 2017-06-23 18:00]

Sri Lanka Navy on Thursday has arrested 17 fishermen from India's Tamil Nadu state for allegedly crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and fishing in Sri Lankan waters. The Navy Media Unit said Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Coast Guard patrol craft arrested 17 Indian fishermen in two steel hull bottom trawlers in the northern territorial waters off Nagar Kovil Thursday evening.



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[Thursday 2017-06-22 17:00]

Leader of Sri Lanka's Opposition, and the Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ravi Karunanayake wednesday (June 21) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At the conclusion of the one hour discussion, the Opposition Leader told the media that several important matters which would help the country in its march forward were discussed during the meeting.



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[Thursday 2017-06-22 17:00]

Robert Pious, convicted for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi has petitioned the Tamil Nadu government seeking mercy killing. In a three-page petition, Pious has asked the government to euthanize him instead of letting him spend the rest of his life in prison. Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi "In 2014, then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa had attempted to get us released but now I understand that the government would want me to spend the rest of my life in prison.


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