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March 25, 2017 [GMT]
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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Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran today told International Trade Minister Malik Samarwickrama the Army must be withdrawn from the North and replaced by an enhanced efficient Police force.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."



Former MP Sarath Weerasekera never sought meeting with UNHRC Chief
[Wednesday 2017-03-22 18:00]

Former Parliamentarian Rear Admiral (Retd.) Sarath Weerasekera or any of his representatives has not sought any meeting with the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner’s Office, informed sources from Geneva confirmed.



President leaves for Russia
[Wednesday 2017-03-22 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena left for Russia this morning on an official invitation made by the Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Media Division said. They said this official invitation which received for Sri Lankan Head of State to visit Russia after 44 years and today’s visit would be the first official visit to Russia by a Sri Lankan leader since 1974, when Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike visited Moscow. During the visit, President Sirisena is scheduled to sign several bilateral agreements in the areas of economics, trade, tourism, science and technology sector, cultural and education cooperation, which brings many developmental benefits to Sri Lanka, the media Division said.



Wimal on hunger strike
[Wednesday 2017-03-22 18:00]

NFF Leader MP Wimal Weerawansa has commenced a hunger strike this morning at the Magazine Prison, Prisons Spokesperson Thushara Upuldeniya said. It was reported that MP Weerawansa had rejected to have his breakfast. The National Freedom Front (NFF) said MP Weerawansa had commenced a hunger strike against the political revenge of the government. “He has taken this step as a personal decision. He has also informed Speaker Karu Jayasuriya about his decision. At present, he is on a hunger strike at the prison cell. Perhaps, he would continue it,” the NFF said. Earlier, MP Weerawnsa was arrested and remanded for allegedly misusing 40 state vehicles belonging to the state engineering corporation causing a loss of Rs. 90 million.



Maj. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake appointed Army Chief of staff
[Wednesday 2017-03-22 18:00]

Major General Mahesh Senanayake has been appointed as the Army Chief of staff by President Maithripala Sirisena today, Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said.



Wrong to give Lanka more time on accountability: Wigneswaran
[Tuesday 2017-03-21 17:00]

It was not right to give Sri Lanka more time to address the issue of accountability over the alleged war crimes committed during the civil war, Northern Province Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran said today. The Sri Lankan government has sought two more years from the UN Human Rights Council to deliver on the accountability mechanism. Wigneswaran said "the UN must see first what good the government has done so far". "Without doing that and granting time for some political reason does not see correct to me," the Tamil leader said.



President Sirisena to undertake official visit to Russia
[Tuesday 2017-03-21 17:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena will undertake an official visit to Russia from 22-24 March on the invitation of President Vladimir Putin. The visit will be the first official visit to Russia by a Sri Lankan leader since 1974, when Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike visited Moscow. The visit takes place as both countries celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between them.


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