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July 23, 2017 [GMT]
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UK insists on credible war crimes probe
[Sunday 2017-03-19 17:00]

While the government says that there are variations to the manner in which allegations of war crimes against the security forces and the LTTE could be investigated, the United Kingdom yesterday emphasized the importance of independent and impartial institutions to ensure credibility of the process.

While the government says that there are variations to the manner in which allegations of war crimes against the security forces and the LTTE could be investigated, the United Kingdom yesterday emphasized the importance of independent and impartial institutions to ensure credibility of the process.

  

Asked as to what the United Kingdoms’s (UK) position was in the light of recent statements by leading figures in the Sri Lankan government ruling out the establishment of a Hybrid Court and how it would set about implementing the October 2015 United Nations Human Rights Council(UNHRC) Resolution 30/1, titled "Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka", a spokesperson for the British High Commission in Colombo, told the "Sunday Island" that the UK remained committed to seeing Resolution 30/1 implemented in full through the establishment of a credible judicial mechanism.

"The UNHRC Resolution welcomed the proposal of the Government of Sri Lanka to establish a judicial mechanism to investigate allegations of abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law. It affirmed the importance of independent and impartial institutions to the credibility of the mechanism and in this regard highlighted the importance of the participation of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers and authorized prosecutors and investigators", she said.

Asked if the U.K was satisfied with implementation of Resolution 30/1, which the U.S , U.K ,Yugoslav , Macedonia and Montenegro sponsored, along with co-sponsors Sri Lanka and 25 other countries, the spokesperson observed that welcome improvements had been made to the human rights situation since January 2015 but much remained to be done. "The UK will continue to support and encourage the Sri Lankan government to fully deliver the commitments it made," she said.

She recalled that in November 2015, the UK had committed £6.6 million over three years to support the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration’s ambitious reform agenda. That included work on police reform and training, defence engagement, supporting the UN’s work on reconciliation and peace building, inter-religious dialogue and mediation, capacity building on anti-bribery and the fight against corruption and de-mining in the northern province. Emphasizing the need for equitable and just governance for all Lankans, the spokesperson noted that the UK and wider international community were supporting the government’s efforts to implement its commitments on reconciliation, accountability, human rights and a political settlement to the national question.

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said in Colombo on Thursday that the UNHRC’s call for Commonwealth or other foreign judges to be included in a Hybrid Court was a recommendation and should not interpreted to mean insistence. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein himself had admitted that there could be variations on how Resolution 30/1 would be implemented, he said. The establishment of an Hybrid Court, Samaraweera observed would involve constitutional changes which will not be feasible in the current context.

He said that the government had requested the UNHRC for two more years to implement its recommendations.

  
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TNA complains to visiting UN Under Secretary General
[Saturday 2017-07-22 17:00]

A Tamil National Alliance delegation led by R. Sampanthan yesterday complained to visiting UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffery Feltman about a series of issues they had with the state at the world body’s office in Colombo.



UK Report Expresses Concern Over Intercommunal Tension In Sri Lanka
[Saturday 2017-07-22 17:00]

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s annual human rights report recognises and welcomes improvements in the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, while also emphasising the need for further progress. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) made public its annual Human Rights Report for 2016 on Thursday (July 20). Sri Lanka is one of 30 ‘Human Rights Priority Countries’ (HRPCs), countries with which the UK looks for positive engagement that contributes to addressing human rights concerns, the British High Commission said.



CC to recommend officials to the OMP
[Saturday 2017-07-22 17:00]

With the Office of Missing Persons Act becoming operational, the Constitutional Council (CC) chaired by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya will meet next week to discuss the appointment of officials to this office, an official said. The Act became operational after President Maithripala Sirisena placed his signature for the gazette notice.



SLFP ministers ready to leave govt to meet President next week
[Saturday 2017-07-22 17:00]

The SLFP ministers who have indicated their desire to leave the government were scheduled to meet President Maithripala Sirisena next week, a deputy Minister of the group of disgruntled ministers told The Island yesterday. The Deputy Minister said that their group would intimate to the President their intention of functioning as SLFP members in the Opposition and their move was in no way intended to topple the government.



Sri Lanka Navy arrests eight Indian fishermen for poaching in Sri Lankan waters
[Saturday 2017-07-22 17:00]

Sri Lanka Navy Friday arrested eight fishermen from Tamil Nadu for allegedly breaching the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and poaching in Sri Lankan waters. Naval personnel on a Fast Attack Craft belonging to the Northern Naval Command arrested the eight fishermen in a fishing trawler illegally fishing in Sri Lankan territorial waters about 15 Nm north of Point Pedro on Friday (July 21).



New Chief of Staff Appointed
[Saturday 2017-07-22 17:00]

Major General K. A. D Amal Karunasekara has been appointed as the new Chief of Staff of the Army. He is currently serving as the Commandant at Defence Services Command and Staff College, Sapugaskanda.



Guterres offers support to Office of Missing Persons
[Friday 2017-07-21 18:00]

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has commended the Government of Sri Lanka for establishing the Office of Missing Persons (OMP). Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General said that establishing the OMP is a significant milestone for all Sri Lankans still searching for the truth about their missing loved ones. Haq quoted Guterres as saying the United Nations stands ready to support the process and that the Secretary-General looks forward to the OMP becoming operational as soon as possible, starting with the appointment of the independent commissioners.



FCO announces SL as one of 30 ‘Human Rights Priority Countries’
[Friday 2017-07-21 18:00]

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in its annual Human Rights Report for 2016 announced that Sri Lanka was one of 30 ‘Human Rights Priority Countries’ (HRPCs), countries with which the UK looks for positive engagement that contributes to addressing human rights concerns.



Japanese Govt. grants US$ 611,710 for demining Northern Province
[Friday 2017-07-21 18:00]

The Japanese Government has decided to provide a grant of US$ 611,710 to Mines Advisory Group (MAG) for humanitarian demining in Northern Sri Lanka, Japanese Ambassador Kenichi Suganuma said. The grant contract was signed between Japanese Ambassador Kenichi Suganum and MAG Technical Operations Manager Rownan Fernandes at the Embassy of Japan in Colombo yesterday.



No need of divisive constitution: Sampanthan
[Friday 2017-07-21 18:00]

Opposition Leader R Sampanthan yesterday said they did not want a Constitution that would create divisions in the country. He said they need a Constitution that was aimed at addressing the root cause of the national question and would bring a resolution to the same.



US terrorism report says Sri Lanka on alert against ISIS
[Friday 2017-07-21 18:00]

A US terrorism report says Sri Lankan security forces and intelligence agencies were on full alert against the possibility of ISIS or its affiliates emerging in the country. The annual Country Reports on Terrorism 2016 said that in January last year, then Defense Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi noted reports of approximately 36 Sri Lankans who traveled to Syria, with some joining ISIS, but he asserted ISIS and other terrorist groups were not physically present in Sri Lanka.



Govt. will lose two thirds majority in 2 weeks- JO
[Friday 2017-07-21 18:00]

Joint Opposition National Organizer and MP Dullas Alahapperuma today requested the UPFA and SLFP ministers in the government to withdraw from their portfolios as this is a UNP regime, while claiming that government will lose its two third majority of the parliament within two weeks.



Visiting FM says Jaffna holds special significance to Singapore
[Thursday 2017-07-20 18:00]

Singapore Foreign Minister Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan after visiting Jaffna and meeting with the Northern Provincial officials today said Jaffna holds special significance for Singapore given the strong cultural and people-to-people ties between the two sides. He said the relationship has evolved from the early days of government administrators to present day institutions such as the Singapore Ceylon Tamils' Association.



SriLankan Airlines to commence Melbourne flights from October
[Thursday 2017-07-20 18:00]

Foreign Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake yesterday said SriLankan Airlines would commence its operations to Melbourne with effect from October. The minister was addressing a press briefing after meeting with Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop at his Ministry. Bishop’s visit to Sri Lanka coincided with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Australia.



US may deny resettlement of hundreds of Tamils on Nauru, Manus amid anti-terror laws
[Thursday 2017-07-20 18:00]

There are roughly 240 Tamils on Nauru and Manus Island, from where America has agreed to take up to 1,250 refugees. Earlier this year, US President Donald Trump described the agreement as a "dumb deal", and his administration said it would only honour it to maintain a strong relationship with Australia and then only on condition refugees satisfied strict checks.



PM meets UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs
[Thursday 2017-07-20 18:00]

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe met with UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman earlier today at the Temple Trees. Premier Wickremesinghe previously held discussions with Jeffrey Feltman at the United Nations Ocean Summit on June 5 in USA on Sri Lanka’s constitutional reforms and factors affecting reconciliations.



Sri Lanka govt not to clash with UN on human rights: Minister
[Thursday 2017-07-20 18:00]

Unlike the previous Rajapaksa regime, the current Sri Lankan government will not follow the policy of confrontation with the UN over the human rights violations committed during the three-decade long civil war, government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said today. Senaratne, who is also the Health Minister, was responding after Minister of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe severely criticised the conclusions made by United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Ben Emmerson at the end of his four-day visit last week.



Use of drones for filming to be regulated
[Thursday 2017-07-20 18:00]

The Civil Aviation Authority will take steps to regulate and standardize the use of drones for video filming, said Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva. He was addressing a workshop organized by the Civil Aviation Authority at its auditorium in Hunupitiya, Colombo recently.



UN Chief’s political officer discusses progress in Sri Lanka Top News
[Wednesday 2017-07-19 19:00]

UN Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, began a visit to Sri Lanka today to take stock of the progress in the country. The UN office in Colombo said that from 19-21 July, Feltman will be in Sri Lanka to follow-up on his 2015 visit, to take stock of progress in the country and engage national stakeholders on the peacebuilding process.



Government says no issue with Emmerson meeting detainees
[Wednesday 2017-07-19 19:00]

The Government says it has no issue with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Ben Emmerson meeting Tamil political prisoners arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) during his recent visit to Sri Lanka.


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