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March 26, 2017 [GMT]
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UK parliament debates Sri Lanka's progress in fulfilling promises made for transitional justice, human rights
[Wednesday 2017-03-01 18:00]

The British parliament today debated the human rights in Sri Lanka and the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council Tuesday, as Sri Lanka's Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera in Geneva apprised the Council of the progress the country has made in fulfilling the key promises made by the Government in 2015 to address accountability, human rights protections and reconciliation.


Health Minister orders transfer of prison doctors for favoring remanded politicians
[Wednesday 2017-03-01 18:00]

Sri Lanka's Minister of health Dr. Rajitha Senaratne has ordered the immediate transfer of all doctors at the Prison Hospital. The Health Minister said the transfer was ordered as there was an allegation that a doctor at the hospital is involved in having some politicians arrested on various charges, transferred to the prison hospital.An order has been given earlier to transfer the doctor but the doctor is still at the prison hospital. As a result the Health Minister ordered all doctors at the hospital to be transferred and replaced with new doctors.


Trump administration takes note of UNHRC action on Sri Lanka
[Wednesday 2017-03-01 18:00]

The Trump administration today slammed the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) over the manner in which it deals with some countries and also took note of the action taken by the UNHRC on Sri Lanka. US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Erin Barclay said that action by the Council catalyzed progress for reform and provided technical assistance to improve accountability for past violations in Sri Lanka. She said that when the Council functions properly, it has the ability to remind states of their commitments and obligations and can hold countries accountable for the same.


Suspect arrested over shooting of official in Batticaloa
[Wednesday 2017-03-01 18:00]

A suspect was arrested today over the shooting incident targeting an official in Batticaloa recently. The police said the suspect was arrested over the incident where the Batticaloa District Land Reforms Commission Director was shot at. Further investigations are underway.


UK says give Sri Lanka time to fully implement resolution
[Wednesday 2017-03-01 18:00]

The British Government told the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) today to give Sri Lanka time to fully implement the October 2015 resolution. British Minister for Asia and the Pacific at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Alok Sharma, told the Council during the high-level segment he welcomes Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s constructive engagement at the UNHRC. “We must give Sri Lanka time to fully implement the October 2015 resolution and post-conflict measures required to embed stability, reconciliation and justice,” he said.


More Air Force lands to be released today
[Wednesday 2017-03-01 18:00]

Forty two acres in the Keppapilau and Pilakkuduirappu areas occupied by Sri Lanka Air Force will be released today. Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister D. M. Swaminathan yesterday said he discussed this issue with the President on February 14 after civilians in the Keppapilau area started a protest demanding the release of their lands. Minister Swaminathan said the President agreed to release the lands .


Urge not to give more time for GOSL
[Tuesday 2017-02-28 18:00]

Eight Parliamentarians of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) have written to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) chief requesting him not to give more time to the Sri Lankan Government to address the accountability issue. The TNA in the letter has said that already the UNHRC has given the government ample time to address the accountability issue and has added that giving more time will set a bad precedent. The letter has been signed by TNA Parliamentarians S. Sritharan, S.Yogeswaran, C. Nirmalan, S. Adaikalanadan, K. Kodishwaram, S. Siddharathan, S. Viyalendran and S. Anandan.However, TNA leader R. Sampanthan and eight other MPs have not signed the letter.


Mullaitivu protesters to get back land
[Tuesday 2017-02-28 18:00]

Opposition Leader, TNA head R. Sampanthan, yesterday said the Government had given a guarantee that protesters demanding their land in Keppapilavu and Mullaitivu would be given access to it within the next few days, following discussions held with the President and the Commanders of the Army and Air Force. Sampanthan and two other TNA Members of Parliament yesterday met President Maithripala Sirisena to explore solutions to the demands of private owners of land, which is currently being held by the armed forces.


Truth-Seeking Commission legislation in two months: Mangala
[Tuesday 2017-02-28 18:00]

Addressing the 34th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera said today the government expects to present the draft legislation on the Truth-Seeking Commission to the Cabinet within the next two months. The minister said the government’s resolve to bring justice to the victims of human rights violations remains firm. He said the public consultations carried out by the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms were another important undertaking which was successfully concluded.


Sampanthan meets French Parliamentary delegation
[Tuesday 2017-02-28 18:00]

The Leader of the Opposition and the Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian R Sampanthan today met with a delegation of Senators from France at the Opposition Leader’s Office in the Parliamentary Complex. Issuing a statement, the TNA said Opposition Leader Sampanthan briefed the delegation on the formulation of the constitution, stating that the new Constitution should possess features that will provide more powers to Provincial Councils concerning matters of socio-economic development.


Mangala meets UN Secretary-General
[Tuesday 2017-02-28 18:00]

UN Secretary-General António Guterres yesterday said the UN is ready to assist Sri Lanka to implement reforms. The Secretary General hailed the government’s endevour to strengthen democracy and human rights. The Secretary General gave his assurance when he met Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera in Geneva yesterday. Picture shows UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres with Minister Mangala Samaraweera.


Priyasath Dep new CJ?
[Tuesday 2017-02-28 18:00]

The Constitutional Council is said to have recommended Supreme Court Judge Priyasath Dep, PC to be the new Chief Justice to President Maithripala Sirisena. The recommendation was made after deliberations by the council yesterday. The other consideration was Supreme Court Judge K.T. Chithrasiri, PC. President Sirisena is scheduled to make the final decision and announce the appointment today. Dep is regarded as the senior most judge in the Supreme Court, hence the recommendation. Incumbent Chief Justice K. Sripavan will retire from service today upon reaching the age of 65.


UNHRC 34 opens, Zeid’s annual report notes Sri Lanka
[Monday 2017-02-27 17:00]

The 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council opened in Geneva today with UN Secretary General António Guterres and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein calling on the Council to ensure the rights of all communities are protected around the world. The session will see Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein submit a report on Sri Lanka and a discussion also taking place on the progress made so far on addressing the issue of accountability during the war.


Wiggy enters hospital
[Monday 2017-02-27 17:00]

Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran was admitted to a private hospital in Colombo yesterday following a brief illness, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Suresh Premachandran said. Wigneswaran was initially admitted to the Jaffna Hospital and later transferred to a hospital in Colombo, he said. "He was hospitalized due to some health issues, but he will be alright," Premachandran added. Last year Wigneswaran had skipped many events and had even postponed meetings with President Maithripala Sirisena owing to poor health.


Prison bus shot at, 'Samayan' and six others killed Top News
[Monday 2017-02-27 17:00]

At least seven persons including a prominent underworld figure Aruna Udayashantha alias Samayan and two prison officers were killed when a prison bus was shot at in Kalutara today morning. Police said that an unidentified group of gunmen had opened fire at the bus while it was carrying Prisoners from Kalutara Prison to Kaduwela Magistrate courts. The incident had happened at Ethanamadala, Jawatte road in Kalutara. One prison officer had died on admission to the Kaluthara Base Hospital and another died on admission to the National Hospital Colombo.


Sri Lanka Foreign Minister to address UNHRC on Tuesday
[Monday 2017-02-27 17:00]

Sri Lanka's delegation to the 34th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) arrived in Geneva on Sunday. The five-member Sri Lankan delegation is led by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and include Parliamentarian Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne, and other senior officials. Foreign Minister Samaraweera will address the high-level segment of the 34th session on Tuesday, 28 February at 10 am local time.


Army intelligence had special unit to crackdown on journalists
[Monday 2017-02-27 17:00]

The CID has uncovered evidence that points to the existence of a unit in the Army intelligence to crackdown on journalists. In the course of its investigations into the assault on journalist Keith Noyarh, police found that this unit’s job had been to go after journalists who reported on military operations in the north, east and the south.


Cabinet reshuffle imminent
[Monday 2017-02-27 17:00]

A Cabinet reshuffle is imminent after the scheduled visit of International Monetary Fund (IMF) Chief Christine Lagarde next month, a highly placed Government source said. IMF Managing Director Lagarde is expected in the country early March and the Sri Lankan Government will present her a proposal for economic development. The Cabinet reshuffle will take place after her visit, sources said.


Mangala to urge 24-month extension
[Sunday 2017-02-26 17:00]

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and National List MP Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne will leave for Geneva today (26), to urge the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to give Sri Lanka an extension of a further 18 to 24 months to implement the co-sponsored resolution. They will also call for financial support for the processes of this implementation.


India not interested in economic pacts with Sri Lanka
[Sunday 2017-02-26 17:00]

India would rather strike joint venture deals than entering into economic partnership agreements with Sri Lanka, says Indian foreign secretary S. Jaishankar. Jaishankar stressed this stance by his government, when he met top government officials during his two-day visit to the island, reports say. He has shown interest in reaching a joint venture agreement on the Colombo port eastern terminal project. The Indian foreign secretary inquired about the situation after a dispute has arisen over awarding tenders for this project. Also, he has discussed a liquid gas power plant and several other projects.


No word yet on next CJ
[Sunday 2017-02-26 17:00]

With Chief Justice K. Sripavan due to retire on Tuesday, February 28, there was no immediate word in Hulftsdorp circles on who will succeed him to head Sri Lanka’s judicial system. In terms of seniority, Justice Priyasath Dep heads the list, with Justice Eva Wanasundera second in line, legal sources said. President Maithripala Sirisena will decide on the appointment of a new CJ under powers vested in him in the Constitution. The Supreme Court will have a ceremonial farewell on February 28 to the outgoing CJ.


Singapore says personal security not needed for Rajapaksa
[Sunday 2017-02-26 17:00]

The telephone calls from Singapore appeared urgent. Unable to reach Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, this was why Udith Lokubandara MP, who serves as Personal Assistant to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, left hurried messages at his office to call back. Not sure what the issue was, Minister Samaraweera telephoned. Mr. Lokubandara, a UPFA (Mahinda faction) MP for Badulla District, handed over the telephone to the former President Rajapaksa, who was undergoing a medical check-up at a hospital in Singapore.


NO ROOM FOR FOREIGN JUDGES SAYS PRESIDENT SIRISENA
[Sunday 2017-02-26 17:00]

President Maitripala Sirisena yesterday reiterated that he has put an end to the arguments and discussions over the issue of bringing foreign judges for the proposed judicial mechanism to investigate the allegations of war crime and human rights violations by convincing the international authorities and its leaders that such process is not needed in Sri Lanka.


Gota Denies Involvement In Noyahr’s Abduction
[Sunday 2017-02-26 17:00]

Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa denied any involvement in the abduction and assault of Keith Noyahr. Rajapaksa told The Sunday Leader that he had regular meetings with intelligence officers when he was the Defence Secretary to prevent LTTE infiltration in Colombo. Rajapaksa said that during the war he had meetings with intelligence officers every Tuesday.


No interference by China in Lanka’s internal affairs, Sampanthan tells visiting US congressional delegation
[Saturday 2017-02-25 18:00]

Opposition and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R. Sampanthan observed yesterday that China did not interfere in the internal affairs of the country whereas India continued to demonstrate interest in the Constitutional Reforms in Sri Lanka, He made this observation when a team from the TNA met a visiting bi-partisan American Congressional delegation at the Galle Face Hotel yesterday morning.


Britain’s Labour Party to extend support for Sri Lankan Tamils
[Saturday 2017-02-25 18:00]

Britain’s Labour Party is to reaffirm its strongest possible support for the Tamil people at a Parliamentary event next week. Leading figures from the UK Labour Party, including party leader, Jeremy Corbyn MP, the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell MP, and the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry MP – will be attending a Tamils for Labour event next week to express their solidarity with the Tamil people, both in the UK and in Sri Lanka.


Human Rights Watch calls on UNHRC for a follow-up resolution on Sri Lanka
[Saturday 2017-02-25 18:00]

The global rights organization, Human Rights Watch (HRW) today called on the United Nations Human Right Council (UNHRC) member states to bring a credible follow-up resolution to the consensus resolution 30/1 adopted by the UNHRC in October 2015. In a letter addresses to the Permanent Representatives of Member and Observer States of the UN Human Rights Council, the HRW listed a number of key elements that should be included in a follow-up resolution on Sri Lanka.


Centre must have power to dissolve PCs
[Saturday 2017-02-25 18:00]

The Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly has agreed that the Centre must have the power to dissolve the Provincial Councils or take over their powers, Constitutional Lawyer and UNP MP Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne said. He was speaking at the Adjournment Debate in Parliament on Wednesday. “We have now proposed to include a Clause in the new Constitution to enable the Centre to dissolve or take over the powers of any Provincial Council if it acts against the unity, territorial integrity and independence of the country,” Dr. Wickramaratne said.

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