Thursday, September 26, 2013

A dimly lit Sri Lankan affair, in a side street beneath the UN


By Jon Snow | Channel 4
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Last night (24), in a dimly lit side street a stone’s throw from the towering UN headquarters here in New York, Britain co-hosted a drinks party with Sri Lanka -  a country led by regime accused of the worst war crimes committed this century. Australia joined the fray to render it a tripartite affair.
Large black shiny cars ferried Sri Lanka’s large UN delegation to the door of an un-extraordinary town house. The hosting of the party was personified by British Foreign Secretary, William Hague; Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister GL Peris and – six days into her job – Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.


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Thursday, September 26, 2013

UN rights chief gives Sri Lanka March ultimatum


Agence France Presse
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United Nations rights chief Navi Pillay on Wednesday warned Sri Lanka to show clear progress towards reining in rights abuses and investigating suspected war crimes by next March, or face an international probe.

Pillay called on Colombo to use the time left before she delivers a widely-anticipated report on the country to the UN Human Rights Council next March "to engage in a credible national process with tangible results, including the successful prosecution of individual perpetrators."


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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Vote reveals Sri Lanka’s unavoidable truth: Other voices must be heard


By Bob Rae | The Globe & Mail
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The results are in for the provincial election in Sri Lanka’s northern most province, the area around Jaffna, and they are clear as a bell: nearly 80 per cent of voters, despite much evidence of harassment, cast their ballots for the Tamil National Alliance.

The TNA has long been a parliamentary voice for Tamil nationalism, with a close, but complex, relationship to the LTTE and the military struggle. When the fighting was on, it was often hard to see much light between the Tigers and the parliamentarians. With the crushing defeat of the LTTE in May of 2009, more Tamil leaders inside Sri Lanka talked publicly of the need to “move on” and “deal with the realities on the ground.”


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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sri Lanka: UN human rights attack raises stakes before summit


By Jason Burke | The Guardian
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The United Nations' most senior human rights official has strongly criticised the Sri Lankan government just months before a controversial Commonwealth summit in the south Asian island nation.

In an oral “update” to the UN human rights council in Geneva, Navi Pillay, the organisation's high commissioner on human rights, criticised the Sri Lankan government's failure to investigate allegations of war crimes against military officers and government officials. She said if significant steps were not taken before her full report was submitted in March, the international community would be forced to launch its own inquiry.


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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sri Lanka army 'harassed Tamil voters', observers say


BBC Asia
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Sri Lanka's military intimidated and harassed voters and opposition candidates during northern regional elections, foreign observers say.

The government and military compromised the environment in which the vote was held, Commonwealth observers said.

But they praised organisers for the conduct of polling, which the Tamil opposition won by a landslide. The military has rejected the allegations.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Sri Lanka Buddhist monks demand halal boycott


AFP
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Sri Lanka's nationalist Buddhist monks and their supporters launched a campaign Sunday to boycott Muslim halal-slaughtered meat amid mounting religious tensions in the ethnically divided nation.

Thousands of men and women led by hundreds of monks of the Bodu Bala Sena, or Buddhist Force, staged a rally outside Colombo to announce the boycott, demanding that shops clear their stocks of halal food by April.


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Monday, February 18, 2013

Britain's arms deals with Sri Lanka revealed


By Ben Quinn | The Guardian
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Small arms weaponry, ammunition and various other military equipment were among millions of pounds' worth of goods exported last year from Britain to Sri Lanka under licences for arms and other closely regulated exports.
Statistics taken from the British government's own database for strategic export controls show items ranging from assault rifles and shotguns through to weapons sights, pistols and ammunition were sold last year to the South Asian nation's government, which has been accused of extensive human rights violations in relation to its treatment of its Tamil minority and the suppression of armed separatists, who have also been acused of abuses.


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Monday, February 18, 2013

Sri Lanka hardline group calls for halal boycott


By Charles Haviland | BBC News
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A new hardline Sinhalese Buddhist group in Sri Lanka has called for the abolition of the Muslim halal system of certifying foods and other goods.
The Bodu Bala Sena, or Buddhist Strength Force, also said foreign propagators of religions should leave the country within a month.

Thousands of supporters of the group attended a rally in a suburb of the capital, Colombo.


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Monday, February 18, 2013

UK still arming the Sri Lankan regime


By Jerome Taylor | The Independent
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Britain claims to have some of the world's most stringent controls when it comes to exporting arms around the world. In many respects, the checks and balances we place on UK-made weaponry are significantly more onerous than those provided by our global competitors. But it doesn't stop British hardware ending up in the hands of some pretty odious regimes. After all, Saudi Arabia remains Britain's most loyal and extravagant arms purchaser to the tune of more than £4billion over the past five years.
 
But no matter how much red tape we put in place to limit who we sell arms to, the simple fact remains that we have no control over how such weaponry will be used once it leaves our hands.


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Monday, February 18, 2013

Anti-Muslim bigotry on the island


By Shaamima | Loonwatch
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The island nation of Sri Lanka celebrated its 65th Independence Day on the 4th of February amidst conflicting emotions. Although no stranger to tourism brochures as the idyllic holiday getaway, this teardrop isle has also had its fair share of the spotlight in making international headlines – there was the incapacitating tsunami of 2004, the 3-decade-long civil war and the war-crime allegations that followed, and more recently the very public (and dubious) impeachment of the country’s chief justice.

There is however, another internal conflict that is yet to reach international waters.

Still reeling from the after effects of a long-standing civil war Sri Lanka seems poised for yet another, this time with another face attributed to the enemy – the minority (9%) Muslim population of the island.


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