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September 21, 2017 [GMT]
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India to vote against Sri Lanka on war crimes in UNHRC
[Monday 2013-02-25 13:00]

India will vote in support of a US-backed resolution against Sri Lanka proposed to be moved before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva next month, Union minister in the Prime Minister's Office ( PMO) V Narayansamy said on Sunday. Talking to reporters, he said that PM Manmohan Singh has promised to support the resolution against Sri Lanka on war crimes and human rights violations at the UNHRC meeting. Narayanasamy said he along with MPs from Tamil Nadu recently called on the Prime Minister and asked him to extend support to the US-sponsored resolution for holding Sri Lanka responsible for war crimes and to vote against the island nation. The sentiments of Tamil people are running high after pictures of slain LTTE leader Prabakaran and his son Balachandran were released in the media recently, Narayanasamy said. India was one of the 24 countries that voted against Sri Lanka on human rights violations at the UNHRC meet in March last year. "We called on the Prime Minister and insisted that he support the resolution against Sri Lanka on war crimes. He promised to do so," Narayanasamy said.

TNA to head to Geneva
[Sunday 2013-02-24 15:00]

A four-member Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentary delegation will leave for UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions in Geneva, to brief the representatives of the member countries, who will be dealing with the US resolution on Sri Lanka. TNA Spokesperson and Jaffna District Parliamentarian, Suresh K. Premachandran told Ceylon Today the Alliance took the decision to be present in Geneva and to meet the UNHRC representatives on the sidelines of the UNHRC sessions at the parliamentary group meeting of the Alliance, presided over by Leader R. Sampanthan in Colombo on Friday. Premachandran said: 'The TNA parliamentary delegation has already sent the letters to the member countries on the meetings the TNA intends to have with them during the Geneva sessions. 'At the UNHRC sessions last year, the TNA kept itself away from being present in Geneva and its stance was made clear to the member countries through the letters sent to them.

Sri Lankan delegation to meet Navaneetham Pillay
[Sunday 2013-02-24 15:00]

President Mahinda Rajapaksa's Special envoy on Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe and the Sri Lankan delegation will meet the UN's High Commissioner Navaneetham Pillay on the sidelines of the Human Rights Council's 22nd regular sessions scheduled to begin next week. Authoritative sources said Ms Pillay had made a request to meet the Sri Lankan delegation and the team will update her on the overall progress and the most recent developments on the resettlement, reconciliation and development fronts. A Ministry spokesperson on Friday confirmed that Minister Samarasinghe was appointed by President Rajapaksa on Wednesday to lead the Sri Lankan delegation to Geneva. He will be accompanied by two officials from the External Affairs Ministry and six officials of the Attorney General's Department. The AG's Department team comprises five Deputy Solicitor Generals and a Senior State Counsel.

LTTE rump drumming-up as UNHRC meeting approaches
[Sunday 2013-02-24 15:00]

Jaffna Security Forces Commander Maj. Gen. Mahinda Hathurusinghe yesterday alleged that the LTTE rump, some members of the international community and as well as a section of the media had stepped up their campaign in the run-up to the forthcoming United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions in Geneva. Hathurusinghe said that the presence of troops in the Jaffna peninsula, particularly the deployment in the Palaly-Kankesanthurai sector had now become a rallying point for those wanting to cause communal tensions in the region. The Jaffna Commander was speaking to The Sunday Island shortly after Indian High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha unveiled a monument for Indian para commandos killed during an abortive raid on the Jaffna University on the night of Oct 11/12 1987 at the onset of IPKF operations in the Jaffna peninsula. High Commissioner Kantha was accompanied by his wife. The monument erected within the Palaly air base is the first of its kind built in memory of IPKF personnel attached to a particular unit, in this instance 10th Para Commando. At the conclusion of the formal ceremony, the Indian High Commissioner told the Jaffna press that the monument honored 13 personnel killed during the raid.

Attack on journalist: Police release sketches of suspectsTop News
[Sunday 2013-02-24 11:00]

Police headquarters on Saturday released to the media a sketched images of two suspects wanted in connection with the attack on the Sunday Leader journalist Faraz Shauketaly. Issuing a statement the Police said based on the description provided by Shauketaly, the artist of the crime division had drawn a picture supposedly fitting the description given of suspects. The Police also requested the public to provide any information regarding these suspects by calling the following phone Nos. 011-2662323 and 011-2738088.

Shauketaly was shot by unidentified armed men in Mt Lavinia on February 16 and he is still being treated for the injuries he sustained during the attack.

Indian High Commissioner pays tribute to IPKF memorial in Sri LankaTop News
[Sunday 2013-02-24 11:00]

The High Commissioner of India, Ashok K. Kantha Saturday paid tribute to the IPKF Memorial located at Palaly in Sri Lanka's Northern Province city of Jaffna. The High Commissioner accompanied by his wife Mrs. Sharmila Kantha is on a two-day visit to the Northern Province on February 23 and 24. Upon his arrival in Jaffna Kantha placed a wreath at the IPKF Memorial in Palaly. Consul General of India in Jaffna V. Mahalingam and Defence Adviser at High Commission of India in Colombo Captain Sumeet Kapoor also laid wreaths. Senior officers from the Sri Lankan Army also participated in the ceremony and Security Forces Commander, Jaffna Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe also laid a wreath at the Memorial. The IPKF Memorial at Palaly is in memory of the soldiers of the 10 Para Regiment of Indian Army who lost their lives during the IPKF (Indian Peace Keeping Force) operation in Northern Province between 1987 and 1989.

Karunanidhi slams Pranab
[Sunday 2013-02-24 11:00]

DMK president M. Karunanidhi, an ally of the Congress-led UPA at the Centre, on Saturday criticised the reference made by the President in his address to Parliament on improving ties with Sri Lanka. 'When the entire world has taken note of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's dictatorial policies and condemned him as an international war criminal, I am not able to understand why the President in his address should talk about improving the country's relationship with Sri Lanka. When will India understand the man who sports a smiling face but harbours a heart full of poisonous vengeance?' he said in statement. Mr Karunanidhi said though the situation in Sri Lanka had reached such a pass that Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was 'shedding crocodile tears', President Pranab Mukherjee was trying to paper over the real problems faced by Tamils in the country.

UN urged to conduct inquiries into mass grave in Sri Lanka's Central Province
[Sunday 2013-02-24 11:00]

The United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearances has been urged to conduct a thorough inquiry into the mass grave unearthed recently in Matale, a town in Sri Lanka's Central Province. The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), an independent regional non-governmental organization in a written statement suggested the United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearances to study the situation and conduct inquiries into to the remains of the 200 or more persons found in the grave in Matale. According to the Consultant Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) of Matale Dr. Ajith Jayasena, skeletal remains of 154 people were found during excavations carried out from the 26th of November until the 12th of this month at the grave site in the premises of the Matale Hospital. Sri Lankan authorities say that the excavations have been completed and some preliminary tests have been conducted on the remains but the systematic forensic investigations of the remains to identify the era of the dead and their identities are still ongoing.

Eight injured after bus topples
[Sunday 2013-02-24 10:00]

Eight persons were injured and hospitalized after a private bus veered off the road and toppled in front of the Nagamaduwa Wewa in Wanathawilluwa last night. Police said the accident had occurred at around 8.20pm yesterday and that the injured, including the driver and conductor of the bus, were admitted to the Wanathawilluwa Hospital. However, they were later transferred to Puttalam Hospital for further treatment.

No compromise on more powers for Sri Lankan Tamils - Indian PM
[Saturday 2013-02-23 21:00]

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday reportedly stressed that there would be no compromise on Colombo's promise to implement the 13th Amendment of the Sri Lankan Constitution which provides more powers to Tamil areas in Sri Lanka's Northern and Eastern provinces. Dr. Singh thus assured a delegation of Congress MPs from Tamil Nadu in Parliament House on Friday. According to Congress Lok Sabha member from Cuddalore K.S. Alagiri, who was present at the meeting, the PM even quoted Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa as saying that his country would even implement '13 plus' (more than what was there in the amendment) for the welfare of Tamils. The 13th Amendment, prepared on the basis of the 1987 agreement signed by Rajiv Gandhi and J.R. Jayawardene (Indo-Sri Lanka Accord), devolves as many as 37 powers to the island nation's Northern and Eastern provinces. Largely drawing on the Indian federal set-up, it has three lists which detailed power-sharing between Colombo and the provinces. Broadly, it provided for a merger of and certain financial provisions of the two provinces. The provinces would have an elected council, a Chief Minister and Ministers.

Gota wants referendum for 13 Amendment
[Saturday 2013-02-23 21:00]

The Secretary to the Ministry of Defense Mr. Gotabhaya Rjapaksa has said that a referrundum be held on whether the 13th Amendment to the Constitution should be implemented or not. He has said that it is an accepted tradition in a democratic country to respect the opinion of the people and hence a referrundum should be held to find out whether the 13th Amendment should be implemented as it is or powers under which should be reduced or increased. He has stressed that if a referrundum in this connection is held the political parties and organizations could present their opinion to the people and it would provide the opportunity to find out the stand of the people. However, the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has emphasized that Sri Lanka government has promised to strengthen the 13th Amendment and nothing in the Amendment could be waived. The Indian Prime Minister has made this observation when he met a group of Tamil Nadu parliamentarians in New Delhi yesterday (22).

Report on SL handed over to BanTop News
[Saturday 2013-02-23 18:00]

An observation project report on Sri Lanka was handed over to UN Chief Ban Ki-moon at the UN Headquarters, New York on Friday, the Inner City Press reported, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Palitha Kohona and four other Permanent Representatives including Japan's Permanent Representative Tsuneo Nishida, who led the observation visit to Sri Lanka last December, have handed over the report. During the handing over event, Nishida told Ban that 'Sri Lanka is an important country' and 'this morning we would like to present our report,' the media report stated.

Meanwhile, in response to a question, the UN has said:

'The Secretary-General today (Friday) met with H.E. Mr. Tsuneo Nishida, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, together with other representatives (Bangladesh, Nigeria, Romania, Sri Lanka and Columbia University) who participated in a Observation Project visit to Sri Lanka in December 2012.

Sri Lankan ministers fail to provide answers to legislators' queries
[Saturday 2013-02-23 18:00]

Speaker of Sri Lanka parliament Chamal Rajapaksa said in parliament yesterday that efforts will be taken to provide answers to the legislators' questions to the ministers in a timely fashion. The Speaker made this promise Friday (22) in response to an appeal from the United National Party (UNP) Kurunegala district MP Dayasiri Jayasekara in parliament. MP Jayasekara pointed out to the House that although he had raised 11 questions this week from the Ministers, none of them had been answered. The Speaker promised to discuss the matter at the meeting of the party leaders and to provide a fair solution.

When the no fire zone became a killing field
[Saturday 2013-02-23 12:00]

A week before its official launch in the Geneva Human Rights Film Festival, the capital on Friday caught a 20-minute preview of the film 'No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka,' which included footage of the alleged cold-blooded killing of LTTE chief V. Prabakaran's minor son. 'It was a culmination of three years of journalistic investigation on war crimes and crimes against humanity,' said director Callum Macrae in a recorded message from London, adding that he hoped the film would lead to informed debate about the issue in the United Nations. 'Sri Lanka has demonstrated that it is unwilling and incapable of conducting an investigation. If the world betrays the Tamils again, they will take justice into their own hands.' The film, which contains deeply disturbing evidence, powerful eyewitness testimony and personal stories of survival in a war zone, also has a former U.N. staffer, Peter Mckay, publicly speaking about his experience of being trapped in a war zone for two weeks and witnessing first-hand the shelling of the no fire zone.

Fuel prices hiked at midnight
[Saturday 2013-02-23 12:00]

Sri Lanka's state-owned petroleum authority, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has raised fuel prices with effect from midnight yesterday (22). The price of 90-octane petrol, 95-octane petrol and Super Diesel has been increased by Rs. 3 while Auto Diesel price has been increased by Rs.6 per lite. Accordingly, the price of a liter of 90-octane will be Rs. 162 and 95-octane Rs.170. A liter of Diesel will cost Rs.121 and Super Diesel Rs. 145 from today. The price of kerosene has been increased from Rs.111 to Rs.115, the CPC said.

UNHCR commends Sri Lanka Navy for quick respons
[Saturday 2013-02-23 12:00]

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on Friday commended the Sri Lankan navy for its 'quick action' in rescuing a group of Myanmar nationals around 250 miles off the island's east coast and providing immediate medical attention. 'UNHCR is greatly saddened by this latest terrible ordeal, and commends the quick action of the Sri Lankan navy in rescuing this group and providing immediate medical attention,' the agency's spokesman, Andrej Mahecic said. He added that the agency is ready to support the Sri Lankan authorities in assisting any among them who are in need of international protection. The Burma asylum seekers say they floated for 25 days at sea and 97 people died of starvation after Thailand's navy intercepted them and forcibly removed their boat's engine. The Thai navy has denied the allegation.

Sri Lankan media ignores Indian reactions
[Friday 2013-02-22 23:00]

The Defence Ministry website hosted an Information Department release refuting the story. Sri Lankan media largely ignored the sensation created in India and elsewhere in the world, after the publication of new pictures which suggested that Tamil Tiger chief V. Prabakaran's youngest son, Balachandran, was captured by the Sri Lankan forces ahead of being shot dead.

"Why is the United States taking the lead in bullying a small country like Sri Lanka; when Sri Lanka has gone through a terrible conflict?
[Friday 2013-02-22 22:00]

The United States should not bully a small country like Sri Lanka, considering the difficulties it has had to face during a 30 year conflict, a member of the US House of Representatives who is visiting Sri Lanka, said yesterday. "Why is the United States taking the lead in bullying a small country like Sri Lanka; when Sri Lanka has gone through a terrible conflict? Should we be looking at other countries when our own situation is yet to be cleared, for example even with Vietnam," Eni Fa'aua'a Hunkin Faleomavaega, Jr., a non-voting delegate to the United States House of Representatives from American Samoa, speaking to a group of journalists said last evening.

Without truth, there can be no justice or peace:
[Friday 2013-02-22 19:00]

Callum Macrae's documentary No Fire Zone: Sri Lanka's Killing Fields is making waves, showing war crimes during the LTTE-government conflict. Speaking with Manoj Ramachandran for Times of India, Macrae discussed his views on the Sri Lankan government, why accountability is crucial - and how India can help:

Why is your film significant?

Jayalalithaa demands economic sanctions on SL
[Friday 2013-02-22 19:00]

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram today blasted the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's Government over the "inhuman act" of alleged cold-blooded killing of slain LTTE Chief Velupillai Prabhakaran's 12-year-old son Balachandran. Balachandran's killing is a "war crime of grave nature and unforgivable," she told reporters in Chennai. "He was just a child who had not committed any crime. He was killed in cold blood as he was the son of Prabhakaran. It is an evidence of many such killings and reveals the mindset of the present Government in Sri Lanka," she declared.

Balachandran died through exchange of fire - Sri Lanka tells India
[Friday 2013-02-22 12:00]

It has been confirmed that the 12 year old young son of LTTE leader Prabhakaran, Balachandran has died through exchange of fire between the Sri Lankan and terrorist forces. The Sri Lankan High Commissioner in India Mr. Prasad Kariyawasam has said that therefore, there is no need for an international investigation as it is being demanded some groups. The High Commissioner has emphasized that photographs being released alleging that Prabhakaran's son Balachandran was killed by the Sri Lankan security forces is only a propaganda act the pro-LTTE elements. High Commissioner Mr. Kariyawasam has also stated that the Indian Tamil leaders should visit Sri Lanka to find out by themselves the progress achieved by Sri Lanka in the post war period. He has said that there is no Elam concept in Sri Lanka and it is only confined to Tamil Nadu.

'Probe sexual violence against Tamils in Sri Lanka'
[Friday 2013-02-22 12:00]

The Human Rights Watch (HRW), a global human rights organisation, has sought an international investigation into reports of sexual violence, rape, third degree torture against Tamil women and men carried out by the Sri Lankan security forces to get confessions from those suspected to have links with the then Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The HRW, which has prepared a 140-page report, 'We Will Teach You a Lesson': Sexual Violence against Tamils by Sri Lankan Security Forces,' which is to be released on Monday, provides detailed accounts of 75 cases of alleged rape and sexual abuse that occurred from 2006 to 2012 in both official and secret detention centres throughout Sri Lanka. While widespread rape in custody occurred during the armed conflict (with LTTE) that ended in May 2009, 'HRW found that politically motivated sexual violence by the military and police continues to the present.' HRW Asia Director Brad Adams claimed: 'The Sri Lankan security forces have committed untold numbers of rapes of Tamil men and women in custody. These are not just wartime atrocities but continue to the present, putting every Tamil man/woman arrested for suspected LTTE involvement at serious risk.'

Gota rubbishes Channel 4 photos
[Friday 2013-02-22 12:00]

Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday rejecting the photographs displayed by Channel 4 television station of UK which is alleged to be of Prabhakaran's youngest son Balachandran, questioned as to how Channel 4 could say that he is in a bunker with the military by only looking at the pictures which do not indicate anything related to the military. 'They always cut and put these pictures which they have being doing for quite sometime. Who took these pictures? They never talk about the children killed by the LTTE and also about child soldiers who were trained to go on suicide missions as well as to munch a cyanide capsule,' he charged. When questioned whether the Military had any information about the deaths of Prabhakaran's family, he said that himself, the President and Sarath Fonseka were informed of such, only when those who were in the field had found their bodies.

India distressed over Balachandran photographs Top News
[Thursday 2013-02-21 16:00]

Indian Tamil political parties have reacted angrily over the photographs released by media showing Prabhakaran's youngest son Balachandran in custody prior to he had been murdered by shooting. The ruling party of Tamil Nadu and the Tamil Nadu alliance partner of the Indian government yesterday unanimously demanded that India should impose economic sanctions against Sri Lanka. The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jeyalalitha Jeyaram told the media yesterday that at the forthcoming UN Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva, India together with the United States should take action against Sri Lanka. She said this is a child of 12 years old and he has not done any mistake. The only reason for his murder is that he was the son of Prabhakaran. It cannot be approved under any circumstances. The murder of 12 years old Balachandran is a war crime. The government of Sri Lanka should answer for this. This evidence and the evidence presented by Tamil parties clearly show the attitude and the mental position of the government of Sri Lanka.

President's special human rights envoy not part of Sri Lankan delegation to UNHRC
[Thursday 2013-02-21 16:00]

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's special human rights envoy, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe is not part of the government's delegation to the 22nd session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva. Samarasinghe has led the government delegation at the high level sessions of the UNHRC for the past few years. The government is to be represented by a delegation of senior officials of External Affairs Ministry and the Attorney General's Department and headed by Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to Geneva, Ravinatha Aryasinha. Samarasinghe has confirmed to the local media that he would not be part of the government delegation to the UNHRC sessions. According to the External Affairs Ministry, government ministers were unlikely to be included in the delegation to the UNHRC sessions scheduled to be held from February 25 - March 22 in Geneva.

Do some members of Prabha's family alive?
[Thursday 2013-02-21 15:00]

Although the dead bodies of the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and his elder Charles Anthony were found other members of his family were never under the custody of the Army. This has been stated by the Army spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya yesterday (20). Army spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya has stated this to the Sri Lanka News website expressing opinion about protest being created in international level following the release of photographs showing the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran's young son Balachandran was under Army custody before he had been shot and killed. The Army spokesman also said that the Army came forward to look after safely the parents of Prabhakan who were found staying in a relief camp after crossing over the government controlled area.

Sri Lanka major opposition party bars 28 representatives from entering party headquarters
[Thursday 2013-02-21 15:00]

Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) has banned 28 people's representatives entrance to party headquarters Sirikotha. The banned UNP members include MPs Palitha Range Bandara, Palitha Thewarapperuma and Ashoka Abeysinghe. Provincial Councilors Shiral Lakthilaka and Maithri Gunarathne are also among the party members banned from entering the UNP headquarters. The others who lost the access to Sirikotha include members of the Pradeshiya Sabhas. Of them, 11 are group leaders of the local government authorities. UNP sources say that the party Administrative Director P.B. Medagedara has informed the party's decision in writing to the private security company that is in charge of security at the UNP headquarters. The banned members will have to obtain permission from the party secretary to enter the premises, according to the letter.

Russian support to strengthen security and economy
[Thursday 2013-02-21 15:00]

Russia will stand by Sri Lanka to help strengthen its security and economy for the success its march towards becoming the wonder of Asia. The new Russian Ambassador Alexsender A Karchava gave this assurance when he called on Prime Minister D M Jayaratne at his official 'Visumpaya' residence for discussions yesterday. The Ambassador said Russia would supply Sri Lanka with Technical and Security equipment valued at Rs 300 million under an MoU signed between the two countries recently. This would include three helicopters and other equipment. He said that even though Russia was not a permanent member of the UNHCR it would act as an intermediary to eliminate pressure exerted on Sri Lanka and defeat resolutions brought against it by Western nation. The Russian Ambassador said he had also exchanged views with Sri Lanka's political authorities, External Affairs Minister and Presidential permanent representative on Human Rights in this regard and these discussions have been highly successful.

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