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March 25, 2017 [GMT]
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More Countries Support Resolution On Sri Lanka
[Sunday 2017-03-19 17:00]

More countries extended support to the resolution on Sri Lanka submitted to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) last week, strengthening Sri Lanka’s request for more time to address the issue on accountability over the war.
Titled “Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka” the draft text of the resolution had, as its main sponsors, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America.

More countries extended support to the resolution on Sri Lanka submitted to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) last week, strengthening Sri Lanka’s request for more time to address the issue on accountability over the war. Titled “Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka” the draft text of the resolution had, as its main sponsors, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America.

  

By Thursday Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, Japan and Norway extended support to the draft text. Sri Lanka is a co-sponsor of the resolution. The follow-up draft resolution on Sri Lanka was submitted to the UNHRC before the deadline for submissions ended last week The deadline for submission of draft resolutions for the ongoing 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council was Thursday 16 March and the deadline for amendments after submission is March 21.

The resolution calls on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to assess progress on the implementation of its recommendations and other relevant processes related to reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka, and to present a written update to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-seventh session, and a comprehensive report followed by discussion on the implementation of resolution 30/1 at its fortieth session.

The resolution also “Takes Note with Appreciation the comprehensive report presented by the United Nations High Commissioner to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-fourth session, as requested by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 30/1, and requests the Government of Sri Lanka to fully implement the measures identified in Human Rights Council resolution 30/1 that are outstanding.” It also requests the Office of the High Commissioner and relevant special procedure mandate holders, in consultation with and with the concurrence of the Government of Sri Lanka, to strengthen their advice and technical assistance on the promotion and protection of human rights and truth, justice, reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka. The United States had last week invited like-minded UN members to demonstrate support for reconciliation and peace in Sri Lanka by adding their names to the list of cosponsors of a resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC.

Acting US State Department Spokesperson Mark C. Toner said at the UN Human Rights Council the United States and other members of the Friends of Sri Lanka Core Group tabled a draft resolution last week on promoting reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in Sri Lanka that reflects our enduring commitment to lasting peace and justice for all the people of Sri Lanka. The United States worked in close consultation with the United Kingdom, Montenegro, and Macedonia, and in partnership with the Government of Sri Lanka, to draft the resolution. “We look forward to the adoption of the text, which will support reconciliation and justice in Sri Lanka, help ensure a non-recurrence of conflict, and strengthen democratic governance and freedoms for all Sri Lankans,” he said.

Toner said the United States is pleased that Sri Lanka has agreed once again to co-sponsor the resolution, and invites like-minded UN members to demonstrate support for reconciliation and peace in Sri Lanka by adding their names to the list of cosponsors. He also said the United States applauds the administration of President Maithripala Sirisena for its continuing efforts to promote reconciliation.

  
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Rajinikanth cancels Sri Lanka visit after protests from Tamil groups
[Saturday 2017-03-25 17:00]

Following protest from the pro-Tamil groups like Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), superstar Rajinikanth has decided not to participate in the Jaffna event, which is scheduled on April 9. Trade analyst Ramesh Bala shared Rajinikanth's letter on Twitter. In the letter, Rajini says, "I will not participate in the event, although I disagree with the reasons stated by Thirumavalavan and Vaiko."



Sri Lanka thanks co-sponsors of resolution adopted at UNHRC
[Saturday 2017-03-25 17:00]

The Government of Sri Lanka extends its appreciation to all the countries that extended support to Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Council for the adoption of Resolution A/HRC/34/1 titled ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’, by consensus.



TNA welcomes UNHRC resolution
[Saturday 2017-03-25 17:00]

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) today welcomed the adoption of UNHRC resolution 34/L 1 which reaffirms the full implementation of resolution 30/1 of 2015, promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka. The TNA said in a statement that it welcomed the fact that resolution 34/L 1, gives specific time frames for the Government of Sri Lanka and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to report on the successful implementation of the 30/1 resolution at the 37th and 40th UNHRC sessions respectively in 2018 and 2019.



Data on ethnic riots of 1983 hard to come by; Govt
[Saturday 2017-03-25 17:00]

It was revealed that data on ethnic riots that took place in July/August 1983 was currently not available in most police divisions in the country. This was revealed in Parliament by Chief Government Whip Gayantha Karunatilake in response to an oral question raised by joint opposition MP Udaya Gammanpila, yesterday.



All forest reserves in Wilpattu North merged into one
[Saturday 2017-03-25 17:00]

All the forest reserves belonging to the Department of Forest Conservation, located in the northern part of Wilpattu National Park, have been declared as a single forest reserve. Accordingly, Mavillu, Weppal, Karadikkudi, Marichchakatti, Withthikulam and Periyamuruppu have been combined in terms of the Forest conservation Ordinance and President Maithripala Sirisena signed the Gazette Notification today during his visit to Moscow. The President has advised to take necessary steps to preserve the adjoining forest reserves as well.



Rathupaswela tragedy: Three Army personnel arrested
[Saturday 2017-03-25 17:00]

Three Army personnel were arrested today by the CID in connection with the shooting incident at Rathupaswala in Weliweriya on August 1, 2013. The investigations have been resumed under the unity government three years after the incident. Among those arrested are: staff sergeant Sirisena, corporals Lalithge and Tillekaratne. They were asked to report to the CID to record a statement this morning and were subsequently arrested. Police said they were produced in Court and remanded till April 3 by acting Gampah Magistrate Wasantha Gunasekera.



Human Rights Council gives Sri Lanka two more years
[Friday 2017-03-24 19:00]

The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on Sri Lanka for the fifth time yesterday, but the Government will claim a diplomatic victory after it won a two-year extended timeline to establish mechanisms that will deliver justice to thousands of victims and reconcile a country torn apart by a civil war that spanned three decades.



Wigneswaran tells Malik to withdraw Army from North
[Friday 2017-03-24 18:00]

Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran today told International Trade Minister Malik Samarwickrama the Army must be withdrawn from the North and replaced by an enhanced efficient Police force. Wigneswaran said that during the past eight years there has not been any activity in the Northern Province which connotes a return to the war days.



SL ‘war crimes’ have caused pain and anguish for India: Sushma
[Friday 2017-03-24 18:00]

The Government of India felt anguish and pain over the Sri Lankan military’s alleged war crimes against unarmed Tamils in the 2009 war, said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in an unusually strong observation on the Sri Lanka’s human rights record.



Due to Tamil Separatism: Nearly 25,363 tri forces, civil defence forces members killed during 1972 to 2009
[Friday 2017-03-24 18:00]

Chief Government Whip and Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Minister Gayantha Karunathillake said that 25,363 members of the tri forces and civil defence force had been killed during 1972 to 2009 period due to the issue of Tamil Separatism. He said that due to the same issue 38,675 members of the same forces have been rendered disable.



UK calls for meaningful devolution in Sri Lanka
[Friday 2017-03-24 18:00]

The British Government today encouraged Sri Lanka to deliver meaningful devolution through constitutional reform, establish credible transitional justice mechanisms, return all remaining military-held private land and replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act with human rights compliant legislation.A statement by the British High Commission in Colombo said that the UK welcomes the co-sponsorship of the new UN Human Rights Council resolution by the Government of Sri Lanka, which reaffirms commitments made in resolution 30/1 in October 2015, for the next two years.



Chagie’s visa application under consideration – AHC
[Friday 2017-03-24 18:00]

The Australian High Commission yesterday said that no final decision had been taken in respect of Maj. Gen. Chagie Gallage’s visa application. Veteran Gajaba Regiment officer is Director General of Infantry. The Australian High Commission was responding to The island query whether any other Sri Lakan military officer had been denied visa over unsubstantiated war crimes allegations.



Vital for Sri Lanka to send message that 'impunity is no longer tolerated' underlines UN rights chief
[Thursday 2017-03-23 17:00]

Presenting an oral update on the rights situation in Sri Lanka, the top United Nations human rights official today said that a general lack of trust in the impartiality of the justice system in the country regarding past violations and continuing “unwillingness or inability” to address impunity reinforces the need for international participation in a judicial mechanism.



Chagie denied Australian visa over ‘war crimes’ allegations
[Thursday 2017-03-23 17:00]

Australia has deprived Maj. Gen. Chagie Gallage of an opportunity to visit his brother, an Australian citizen on the basis of unsubstantiated war crimes allegations against the Sri Lanka Army (SLA). Australia has found fault with Gallage for being in command of the 59 Division from May 7, 2009 to July 20, 2009. In response to inquiries made by Gallage, the Australian High Commission has stated that troops under his command certainly committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.



UK commends measures taken by Lanka
[Thursday 2017-03-23 17:00]

The United Kingdom during the Interactive Dialogue on Sri Lanka at the 34th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council yesterday said it commends several steps taken by the Government of Sri Lanka since January 2015 to improve the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.



US tell UNHRC much remains to be done in Sri Lanka
[Thursday 2017-03-23 17:00]

The United States told the UN Human Rights Council today much remains to be done in Sri Lanka despite the progress seen so far. William J. Mozdzierz, speaking on behalf of the US Government, told the UNHRC today that the United States appreciates the Government of Sri Lanka’s cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and relevant special procedure mandate holders.



War crimes: Zeid calls for 'foreign judges' but Sri Lanka says it will avail of 'foreign expertise'
[Thursday 2017-03-23 17:00]

Prince Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on Wednesday, that Sri Lanka must appoint foreign judges to thejudicial mechanism it is to set up to try war crimes cases. But the Sri Lankan Representative, Deputy Foreign Minister Dr.Harsha de Silva, avoided using the term “foreign judges” in his reply, and instead said that Sri Lanka will take “foreign expertise and assistance.”



Russia, SL discuss delivery contract of warship
[Thursday 2017-03-23 17:00]

Russia and Sri Lanka are in discussions over a contract on the delivery of Gepard 3.9-class frigates to Colombo, the deputy director of Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) told Sputnik. An export version of Gepard-class Project 1166.1 frigates, Gepard 3.9 may be used in wartime to resist the engagement of enemy aircraft, ships and submarines; conduct escort missions; carry out of patrol duties; and provide fire support to landing missions and mine-laying.



Lanka’s resolution to be taken up for further consideration on March 23
[Wednesday 2017-03-22 18:00]

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) does not anticipate there being any amendments to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution on Sri Lanka. The resolution, which has already been tabled, will be taken up for further consideration on March 23. Tomorrow, the UNHRC will consider the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the promotion of reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in Sri Lanka. This will be the first complete evaluation of the country’s progress in improving its human rights record since Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, visited the country in February 2016.



JVP asks govt not to renew one sided agreement with US
[Wednesday 2017-03-22 18:00]

Renewal of Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) between the US and Sri Lanka would be detrimental to the national security interests of the country and other nations in the region as well, the JVP said in parliament yesterday. Making a special statement JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that the purpose of the ACSA was to provide assistance by the US and Sri Lanka to each other in military operations. "It is a two-way agreement. But we are not a country which would take our armies around the world. Finally, the ACSA would serve only for the benefit of the US. This agreement will compel us to forego our obligations to others in the region."


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