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June 23, 2017 [GMT]
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'Bodu Bala Sena, unholy and fake'
[Monday 2013-03-18 19:00]

The Bodu Bala Sena is attempting to portray Haram as Halal and Halal as Haram, Senior lecturer of the Sri Jayawardenapura University, Ven. Dambara Amila Thero says. Speaking yesterday (17) at a meeting aimed for national unity, the Thero likened this situation to a person catching a snake by the tail, instead of by the neck. Noting that the Bodu Bala Sena was unholy and fake, Ven. Dambara Amila Thero said that they would last for another few months only. However, speaking at a Bodu Bala Sena meeting in Kandy yesterday (17), the secretary said that it was wrong to portray the Bodu Bala Sena as an unholy organization.


India must take a historic stance on Tamils issue: Jayalalithaa
[Monday 2013-03-18 19:00]

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Monday joined other political leaders of the State to demand that India take a strong stand in support of the US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka's human rights record in the 22nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council and 'more importantly,' move necessary independent amendments to further strengthen the resolution. In her letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Chief Minister gave a host of specific suggestions in making the text of the resolution stronger. She wanted the operative paragraph 1 of the draft text of the resolution to mention that there should be an unequivocal call for a credible, independent, international mechanism to prosecute 'genocide, war crimes and war criminals' and the accused should stand trial before an international court. 'This process should be completed within a period of six months and the outcome reported for a special discussion in the 25th session of UNHRC in 2014.,' she stated.


Another monk assaulted in ChennaiTop News
[Monday 2013-03-18 19:00]

A Buddhist monk who was among a group of Sri Lankan tourists has been attacked by unidentified persons at the Central Railway Station in Chennai yesterday (17) according to Indian Media reports. The incident occurred when the monk who had travelled on the Tamil Nadu Express from New Delhi to Chennai, had been singled out and beaten up by the unknown persons. Indian Media reports further say that the assaulters had fled the scene following the incident. The monk was later taken to the Police station to be inquired.


Govt engaged with Lanka on fishermen issue: Antony
[Monday 2013-03-18 19:00]

Government has impressed upon the Sri Lankan Navy to act with restraint and not to fire on Indian fishermen sailing along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), Defence Minister AK Antony told Lok Sabha on Monday. In written reply to a question in the House, Antony said, 'Government continues to remain engaged with the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure that fishermen on both sides can continue to pursue their livelihood in a safe, secure and sustainable manner.' Defence Minister AK Antony. PTIThe Defence Minister also said that the government attaches very high priority to welfare, safety and security of Indian fishermen. 'From time to time, there have been reports of attacks and apprehensions on Indian fishermen near IMBL. As soon as reports of attacks on Indian fishermen are received, the government, through diplomatic channels, takes up the matter with the Sri Lankan authorities,' he said.


DMK now threatens to walk out of UPA on Lanka issue
[Sunday 2013-03-17 20:00]

Hardening its stand, key UPA ally DMK today slammed the Centre for its 'lukewarm' response on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue and threatened to walk out of the ruling alliance if it failed to move amendments to the US- sponsored resolution at the UNHRC. 'If our demands are not met, it is doubtful whether our ties with the alliance (UPA) will continue...It won't continue is sure,' DMK President M Karunanidhi told reporters in Chennai even as he shot off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying he felt 'let down' by the goverment on the issue. Karunanidhi's remarks go one step further from his earlier threat to pull out his party nominees from Union Council of Ministers if the Indian government failed to concede his party's demand on certain amendments to the US resolution relating to alleged war crimes and an international probe. Addressing a hurriedly convened press meet in Chennai, the 88-year-old leader said that irrespective of the US accepting India's amendments or not, New Delhi should move them at the UN human rights body.


Sri Lanka's former Army Commander says HRC has called on Elections Commissioner to register party
[Sunday 2013-03-17 20:00]

Former Army Commander of Sri Lanka Sarath Fonseka says the Human Rights Commission (HRC) has called upon the Elections Commissioner to register his party according to the normal procedures. Fonseka had petitioned the HRC claiming there was an unusual delay in registering his party for which documents had first been handed over to the Elections Department in 2010. The former Army Commander has said that he had met the Elections Commissioner following the HRC verdict. According to Fonseka, nominees from his party would contest the forthcoming provincial council elections once the party is registered. Fonseka was elected to parliament following the 2010 general election after he unsuccessfully contested the 2010 Presidential election. However, he lost his parliamentary seat after a court martial found him guilty.


Rehabilitation of ex-LTTE cadres, not highlighted in Geneva
[Sunday 2013-03-17 19:00]

Although several anti-government, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and certain countries supporting the American Resolution spread falsehoods and untruths about the Sri Lankan Government's human rights record at the Geneva Human Rights Conference, no one is aware of the good work the Government is doing to rehabilitate former LTTE cadres and provide a livelihood to them. The Civil Security Department is doing a yeomen service for those affected by terrorism and ill-treated by the LTTE at the Viswamadu Camp. The Commanding Officer of the Viswamadu Civil Security Headquarters, Lt. Col. W.W. Ratnapriya is running this camp with 3,500 ex-LTTE cadres and LTTE sympathisers. This officer has become a role model for all of them by his exemplary character and humanitarian approach. He told the Sunday Observer that he serves the people on the guidance and direction of the Director General of the Civil Security Department Rear Admiral Ananda Pieris.


Will consult allies before U.N. vote on Sri Lanka: Khurshid
[Sunday 2013-03-17 19:00]

The decision on the vote in United Nations Human Rights Council on the resolution against Sri Lanka will be taken after consulting DMK and other allies, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said in New Delhi on Sunday. 'The UPA government will take a decision on the vote against Sri Lanka in the UNHRC, later this month, after a meeting with its allies, particularly DMK,' the Union minister said. But the minister was not too forthcoming on the issue of Italy's refusal to send back the two marines, charged with the murder of two Indian fishermen, saying the case was pending in Supreme Court. 'I would not like to discuss the options we have on the issue. The matter will be heard in Supreme Court on Monday,' Mr. Khurshid told reporters. 'Being the external affairs minister, (I am) expected to talk less,' he said. Attempting to clear the air over the issue of passports and the Haj subsidy, Mr. Khurshid said the subsidy will be given to only those who were going on their first Haj. 'We will ensure that everyone going for Haj gets passports and, if needed, more (passport) counters will be opened,' he said.


Chandrika, Ranil, Somawansa on same platform?
[Sunday 2013-03-17 12:00]

A seminar, 'Unity in Diversity' with the aim of finding solutions to the tensions which have arisen between the Sinhala and Muslim communities will be held at the JAIC Hilton Hotel today (17). Former President Chandrika Kumaratunge, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, the leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe will be among the political leaders who will be present, its organizer former Municipal Member Mr. Azad Sally told 'Mirror'. He said that the aim was to commence a new political dialogue regarding the prevailing situation in the country. Mr. Sally also said that it is hoped to bring together the participants at this seminar towards a broad political front. However, the 'Mirror' learns that there is no strict confirmation of the participation of Chandrika Kumaratunge, Ranil Wickremesinghe and Somawansa Amarasinghe.


Govt Not Committed To Resolve Conflict - Sampanthan
[Sunday 2013-03-17 12:00]

TNA Leader R. Sampanthan says the government seems determined to imprint upon the Tamil community the status of an inferior people. He observed that the government's performance has been under observation by relevant UN agencies and others who have presented resolutions. "The government most regrettably seems to think that by persistently engaging in denials and adopting tactics of delay and evasion it could avoid the fulfillment of its commitments and obligations," Sampanthan noted. Following are excerpts of the interview:


Sri Lankan Muslims concerned of the mass Buddhist rally in Kandy
[Sunday 2013-03-17 11:00]

Sri Lanka's Muslims have expressed over a mass rally that will be held by the Buddhist extremist organization Bodu Bala Sena in Kandy on Sunday (March 17). The rally has raised concerns in Muslim as the organizers have reportedly expressed the notion that the rally will be against Muslims wearing Hijab. Reportedly the Bodu Bala Sena organization is also preparing to make an important revelation on the issue of Halal Certification at the Kandy rally today. Bodu Bala Sena has also protested the compromise reached between Muslim and Buddhist religious leaders to suspend the display of Halal label in the packages. The extremists demand the abolition of the whole Halal process which is considered by Muslims as a part of their religion. According to the 2012 Census Kandy district has 191,199 Sri Lankan Muslims amounting to 14% of the district's population. Around 20,000 Moors and Malays also reside within the municipal limits of Kandy.


Chinese president hints at backing Lanka against UNHRC resolution
[Sunday 2013-03-17 11:00]

Newly-elected Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday offered his support in protecting Sri Lanka's national sovereignty, hinting at Beijing's backing to stave off a US-backed resolution against the country at UN Human Rights Council. Xi told his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahenda Rajapakse over phone that China supports his country's efforts to protect its national sovereignty, and would continue to offer assistance. China backed Sri Lanka when US brought about similar resolution last year over alleged human rights violation during the country's nearly three-decade long civil war. It appears that Beijing may do the same, if comes to voting, continuing its efforts to court Colombo, much to discomfiture of India. During their telephone conversation, Rajapaksa congratulated Xi on his election as Chinese president, and said the two countries are close friends, according to state-run Xinhua news agency reported.


China, Russia commend Lanka; UK, US urge probe
[Saturday 2013-03-16 21:00]

While several countries including China and Russia commended Sri Lanka at yesterday's sessions at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, for the progress it had made but the United Kingdom and the United States called for an immediate independent investigation into alleged war crimes probes and human rights violations. During the review, Oman, Pakistan, Venezuela, Sudan, UAE, Russia, China, and Vietnam commended Sri Lanka for the progress it had made in many aspects of Human Rights and urged the International Community to provide the country with more time and space. Minister Samarasinghe said of the 204 recommendations Sri Lanka had accepted 110 and left 3 for further examination while 91 were rejected. Russia and China speaking during the review commended Sri Lanka for its progressive steps towards development and Human rights.


No entry for Briton with Buddha tattoo
[Saturday 2013-03-16 21:00]

Sri Lanka has denied entry to a British tourist sporting a Buddha tattoo on his arm because he showed disrespect to Buddhism. The unnamed Briton was turned back at Bandaranaike Airport, "When questioned about the tattoo, he spoke very disrespectfully about Buddhism," an immigration official told the Lankadeepa newspaper. "If he expressed such views after entering the country, it would have been a threat to his own safety." An airport official confirmed the report, but declined to give details. Last August, three French tourists were sentenced to six months in jail, suspended for five years, for kissing a Buddha statue in what the authorities considered was a sign of disrespect. In 2010, Sri Lanka prevented US rap star Akon from visiting because one of his music videos featured scantily clad women dancing in front of a Buddha statue.


Sri Lanka says unanimous adoption of periodic review at UNHRC acknowledges progress in human rights
[Saturday 2013-03-16 21:00]

Sri Lanka says the unanimous adoption of the country's periodic review at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Friday was a clear acknowledgement of the post-war progress the country made in human rights. Sri Lankan President's Human Rights Envoy Plantation Industries Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said the unanimous decision taken by the members of the UNHRC session to approve the Universal Periodic Review on Sri Lanka despite many powerful countries speaking against displays that Sri Lanka has achieved a clear progress on protection of human rights. Ahead of a crucial resolution to be moved by the United States next week, the UNHRC Friday adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review on Sri Lanka. At the debate on UPR many countries praised Sri Lanka's efforts to improve its human rights which they said is a reflection of the seriousness of the Sri Lankan government in protecting and promoting human rights of its people.


Government awaits final US draft
[Saturday 2013-03-16 21:00]

The government says it is awaiting the final draft of the US resolution scheduled to be tabled at the UN Human Rights Council. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said that once the final draft is tabled then the other countries will decide on their stand on the vote on the resolution. He also cautioned of attempts to introduce the resolution with a malicious agenda and not over Sri Lanka's human rights record. As a government, Minister Samarasinghe said, Sri Lanka will do whats best for its people when the resolution is tabled. He also said that government was satisfied with the outcome of the adopting of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report on Sri Lanka yesterday. The Minister said that while some countries had raised concerns before the report was adopted, it was still passed unanimously. The 47 member states of the United National Human Rights Council unanimously adopted the report presented by the UPR Working Group.


Poaching: Gotabhaya alleges TN depriving SL fishers their livelihood
[Saturday 2013-03-16 16:00]

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said that a section of the Tamil Nadu fishing fleet had been propagating lies against the navy at the behest of interested parties, while poaching and causing immense damage to fishery resources in the country's northern waters. The Defence Secretary said that much publicised claims of recent attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen were lies timed for the ongoing United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions in Geneva. "They are working overtime to show us in bad light. Ongoing protests in Tamil Nadu are part of their overall strategy," the outspoken official said. "The Tamil Nadu fishing fleet is causing a major nuisance in support of the LTTE rump," Defence Secretary Rajapaksa alleged, while recalling the use of Tamil Nadu trawlers for smuggling of weapons by the LTTE.


Gajendrakumar at UN calls for transitional administration to safeguard Tamil Nation
[Saturday 2013-03-16 15:00]

Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, the president of Tamil National Peoples' Front (TNPF), who addressed the UPR Review session in Geneva on Friday, has called for an internationally supervised transitional administration of the Tamil homeland in the North and East of the island of Sri Lanka. Noting that the genuine grievances and aspirations of Eezham Tamils are reduced to 'mere individual human rights problems' rather than the 'destruction of their Nation', Mr. Gajendrakumar, who represented the NGO, International Education Development (IED), at the UN forum called for independent international investigation on Sri Lanka. In a carefully drafted statement, he further said that the UPR is 'de-Tamilized' to the point that, anyone not fully cognizant of the facts of the 65 year long Tamil-Sinhala conflict would not even know who is to be a party to 'reconciliation.'


Sri Lankan Buddhist priest roughed up in Tamil NaduTop News
[Saturday 2013-03-16 15:00]

As anti-Sri Lankan protests raged in several parts of Tamil Nadu, a Buddhist priest from the island, currently pursuing archaeological studies in Delhi University, was roughed up by some activists of pro-Tamil outfits at the famous Big Temple in Thanjavur on Saturday, police said. The priest was rescued by police, who rushed to the spot on getting information, they said adding 12 persons had been arrested in connection with the incident. The Sri Lankan has come here as part of an 19-member delegation of students for archaeological research at the more than 1000-year old Brahadeeswarar temple, also known as Big Temple. As the students were going around the temple, a group of activists belonging to various outfits including MDMK and Naam Tamizhar Katchi singled out the Sri Lankan, clad in saffron robes, and beat him up, police said.


Govt hasn't responded to warning - Karunanidhi
[Saturday 2013-03-16 15:00]

A day after threatening to pull out of the Centre if it failed to push an amended US resolution against Sri Lanka, key UPA ally DMK today said the party has put 'necessary pressure' on the Indian government and was yet to get a response from it. 'The Centre's response is the time frame. The period till then is the time frame,' DMK chief M Karunanidhi said, when asked whether he had set any time frame to the Centre to respond to its demand. 'We have given necessary pressure,' said Karunanidhi, who yesterday warned that his party's continuance in the Union government would be meaningless, if India failed to act. 'So far, there is no response,' Karunanidhi said, when asked whether there was any response from the Centre on his demand yesterday. To a question on what was his final expectation from the Centre on the issue, he said, 'The Centre should make efforts to incorporate necessary amendments to the US sponsored resolution.'


WikiLeaks: Gota Agreed To Provide US A Copy Of Prabhakaran And Karuna Tape
[Friday 2013-03-15 21:00]

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The cable is classified as 'Confidential' and recounts a meeting the US Embassy had with the Secretary to the Ministry of Difence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. The cable was written on March 14, 2007 by the US Ambassador to Colombo Robert O. Blake. The ambassador Blake wrote; 'PDAS Steven Mann, accompanied by Ambassador and Pol Chief, met Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa on March 8. Gothabaya, noting that an overwhelming majority of Sinhalese Buddhists had voted for Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2005, told us that his brother's popularity among the majority community was still strong. However, Sri Lanka's system of proportional representation in Parliament meant that the President's party would never secure an absolute majority on its own. This, he explained, had made it necessary to create such a big cabinet to satisfy everyone. Mann responded that the President's considerable political skills and his strong support made him the right leader to make progress on a solution to Sri Lanka's ethnic problem. The U.S. hoped that the new power-sharing proposals that emerge form the current consultation process would be of a quality that hadn't been seen before.'


Japan won't go with HR stands of other nations-Akashi
[Friday 2013-03-15 21:00]

Senior Japanese diplomat Yasushi Akashi said that Japan was not ready to go with the human rights stands of other nations, ignoring the objective realities in Sri Lanka. Speaking to media in Tokyo on March 13, the former peace envoy to Sri Lanka said that, 'it is rather unfair for some developed countries, who have much more resources than Sri Lanka, to express impatience with Sri Lanka and its development; but this is not fair and this is not objective.' Akashi also recommend visits to Sri Lanka by all those who feel that Sri Lanka's efforts are insufficient, a statement issued by the Office of the Presidential Spokesman and International Media Adviser said. 'If you visit Sri Lanka you will come to know the heroic efforts of people to rebuild their own country, to rehabilitate, remove mines and last but not the least, to achieve genuine reconciliation among the people.'


War Crimes allegations are untrue- Army Commander
[Friday 2013-03-15 13:00]

All parties who have made allegations, targeting the current UNHRC sessions in Geneva, regarding war crimes and Human Rights violations ahainst the Sri lankan armed forces have not been able to furnish proof to justify their claims, stated the Army Commander, Lt. General Mr. Jagath Jayasuriya. He was addressing the media at a function at the Vjayabahu Regimental HQ in Boyagane yesterday (14). He stated that two military tribunals established to investigate allegations against the armed forces in the Wanni humanitarian operation, have concluded that all such allegations are without foundation. However, the Commander pointed out that if in the future any name of officer is put forward with evidence regarding war crimes, a full investigation will ensue.


Sri Lanka's post-war progress commended
[Friday 2013-03-15 13:00]

President Mahinda Rajapaksa met with members of the Japan-Sri Lanka Parliamentary League last morning as a part of his four-day official visit to Japan. 'We greatly appreciate Japan 's contribution to many different sectors in Sri Lanka,' President Rajapaksa told the parliamentarians. 'In addition to meetings between the leaders of countries, I think people-to-people interactions are also very important,' the President added. Vice President of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and member of the Japanese House of Representatives Masahiko Komura commended Sri Lanka on the developments made since the end of the conflict. 'With the improvement of the security situation, the number of Japanese tourists (to Sri Lanka ) has increased, and I'm very pleased about that,' Komura said.


Sri Lanka asked to speedily release 53 Indian fishermen
[Friday 2013-03-15 13:00]

Sri Lanka has been told to speedily release the 53 Indian fishermen arrested by its navy Wednesday and Thursday, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said. Making a statement in the Rajya Sabha, Khurshid said the government conveyed its view to Sri Lanka's deputy high commissioner after summoning him to the foreign ministry. He said 16 Indian fishermen were caught by the Sri Lankan Navy on 3 March and were released nine days later. 'We were in constant touch with these fishermen to ensure their safety and well being,' he said. He said the Sri Lankan Navy had allegedly fired at Indian fishermen 7 March, injuring one man. 'We lodged strong protest with the Sri Lankan government on the same day. The Sri Lankan Navy denied (firing at the men).'


Govt. too, ready to work with Opposition
[Friday 2013-03-15 13:00]

The government is prepared to work with the government to deal with the issues prevailing in the country, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena says. Noting that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had repeatedly invited the opposition to work together, the minister said that the opposition leader had backed out of an agreement in the past, after initially coming into agreement. The minister was responding to the opposition leader's recent statement that the UNP was willing to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government in order to support the implementation of the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and give its utmost support. Speaking to 'Neth' FM, Minister Abeywardena had stated that the President would consider the offer if the opposition was sincerely prepared to do so. However, when implementing the LLRC recommendations, it could be limited only to the ones that would uphold the identity of the government, the minister added.


Sri Lanka envoy to make a special announcement to the UNHRC today
[Friday 2013-03-15 12:00]

Sri Lanka's Ministry of External Affairs says the President's special Human Rights Envoy Plantation Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe will make a special announcement today at the 22nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. The Council will debate on Sri Lanka's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Friday morning and the state has been allocated 20 minutes to make its presentation. The Minister will describe to the Council the measures Sri Lankan government has taken to protect the human rights of its citizens after the end of the war in 2009 and how the government protected the rights of people during the terrorist war. The Minister is also due to apprise the member states of the Council on the initiatives taken by Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) .


US 'softens' resolution
[Friday 2013-03-15 12:00]

The final amended draft of the US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka, which will be presented in Geneva, indicates several of the resolutions have been 'softened-up' to 'pacify' the Government of Sri Lanka. However, the resolution also calls Sri Lanka for a 'dedicated general debate' at the 25th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The debate will be on the report, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) would be presenting to the Council. The resolution encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations in the OHCHR report. A discussion on 'Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka,' was held by the US Mission at the UN office in Geneva yesterday, before the final draft of the resolution was submitted. Subsequently, strong terms in the resolutions such as 'urges' as 'encourages,' along with 'noting with concern' and 'failure by the Sri Lankan Government' were amended and replaced with the word 'encourages.' However, the resolution, in its entirety, stands by what it had urged the Government of Sri Lanka to work on.

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