Sri Lanka Timeline - Year 2015
| January 5
The campaign for the upcoming
presidential polls in Sri Lanka ended with sporadic violence having
marred the final day. Three opposition activists were injured
when unidentified gunmen shot and injured them while they were
engaged in putting up a dais for the opposition leader, Maithripala
Sirisena, on the final day of campaigning in the southern town
of Kahawatte in Ratnapura District.
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
called on the Sri Lankan government again to ensure a peaceful
election that is inclusive of minorities. Responding to a media
query on the election violence in the run-up to the election Presidential
election on January 08, Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General,
said the Secretary General's call to the Government to ensure
that the elections are peaceful and that they're inclusive, including
for minorities is much more important now on the backdrop of the
A clash between supporters of
the UPFA and the NDF at Rambukkana in Kegalle District had left
four government supporters injured and one Opposition supporter
injured. The NDF supporter with cut injuries was admitted to the
Kegalle hospital while the four injured UPFA supporters have been
admitted to the Rambukkana hospital. Five persons have been taken
into custody in connection with the incident along with a firearm
they had in their possession, Police said. Three vehicles and
several shops were also attacked.
The CMEV said there had been a rise in major incidents
of election violence between November 20 and January 5 whereas
the number of incidents of election violence seemed to have dropped
when compared to the previous elections. The CMEV Coordinating
Secretary D.M. Dissanayake said it had documented 420 incidents
of election violence with 237 categorised as major incidents while
183 as minor incidents. He said the highest number of major incidents
was reported from Jaffna District with 22 incidents followed by
Badulla, Kurunegala and Kandy with 19, 18 and 17 incidents respectively.
Dissanayake said CMEV had recorded 26 incidents involving firearms
and 03 incidents of petrol bombings. He said CMEV had recorded
132 incidents of gross misuse of State resources for election
purposes with excessive use of State media by the incumbent and
very limited airtime for opposition candidates.
Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu from the CMEV at a media
briefing, said that concerns have been raised that voter intimidation
on election day will lead to a low voter turnout, especially in
the North. Saravanamuttu said that communities and political leaders
have raised concerns about the vote in the north in particular
and about the deployment of security forces that could have an
adverse impact on the voter turnout.
The victim of the shooting incident at an opposition
rally in Kahawatta on January 5, succumbed to his injuries. The
victim, one of the three people, who were shot by the supporters
of the Deputy Minister Premalal Jayasekara, has been treated in
the Intensive care Unit at the Ratnapura Hospital for the past
three days. The other two persons who received gunshot injuries
are still receiving treatment at Ratnapura hospital.
Sri Lanka's Commissioner of Elections Mahinda
Deshapriya said the Police are empowered to use maximum force
if anyone tries anything unlawful at the polling stations during
tomorrow's presidential election. Addressing a media briefing,
the Election Commissioner the Police had been given authority
to use maximum power, even shooting a violator, if any one tries
to intimidate or attempts to obstruct a voter using their right
The Sri Lankan government said the UN recent call
to the government to ensure that the elections are peaceful and
inclusive, is "gratuitous and inappropriate." Issuing a statement,
the External Affairs Ministry said Sri Lanka notes with concern
the recent remarks by the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General
of the UN recalling the Secretary-General's call to the Government
to ensure that the forthcoming Presidential elections are peaceful
and inclusive. "The Spokesperson's comments are gratuitous and
inappropriate," the statement said.
A high voter turnout was reported at the just
concluded 2015 Presidential elections, based on information provided
by returning officers in the Districts. Officials said that Pollonaruwa
recorded 80 percent voter turnout by 4pm as the deadline to cast
votes ended with Nuwara Eliya also recording 80 percent, Anuradhapura
recording 76 percent, Trincomalee 72 percent, Kurunegala 77 percent,
Puttalam 71 percent, Batticaloa 60 percent, Badulla 61 percent,
Matara 73 percent, Kandy 75 percent, Hambantota 70 percent and
Puttalam 70 percent.
The local election monitor, CMEV has received
a report that ruling UPFA Deputy Minister Sarana Gunawardena and
a group of supporters have hit two women in Attanagalle electorate
of Gampaha District. The women were assaulted by the Deputy Minster
and his supporters at around 1.00 pm near the Yatiyana Junior
School polling center. The Deputy Minster and his group of supporters
have been roaming the area in 7 vehicles, the CMEV report says.
Despite hospitals being alert to possible emergencies
during the Presidential polls that lasted from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.,
no incidents were reported. Director of the National Hospital,
Dr. Anil Jasinghe when contacted said that the hospital had not
received any patients with injuries sustained during voting. The
Hospital had functioned normally despite large number of its employees
taking time off to cast their vote.
Sri Lanka's incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa
conceded defeat, said his official media unit, following clear
signs of his opponent Maithripala Sirisena's victory in the presidential
elections. Rajapaksa vacated Temple Trees, his official residence,
following a meeting with Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe,
assuring him of smooth transition. With final result yet to be
declared, Sirisena is expected to be declared winner by around
CMEV has received a report that North Central
Chief Minister S.M. Ranjith and his supporters had assaulted opposition
supporters in Senapura, Mihinthale. The assailants have carried
wooden rods and guns. The victim, Wimalasiri A.H.M. has been admitted
to the Senapura Hospital. No complaint has been lodged. The CMEV
said three explosions have so far been reported on the day of
polls. The first was in Point Pedro reported and a second incident
involved an explosion from Beruwala targeting a house of a Muslim
businessman. No injuries were reported. The third incident is
from Vavuniya where a grenade exploded near the Polling Station
at Nelukkulam Kalaimagal Maha Vidyalaya. No injuries were reported
and the police are investigating. It has been reported in Jaffna
that the members of the government ally, EPDP were intimidating
TNA party members.
The winner of the 2015 Presidential Election Maithripala
Sirisena was sworn in, as the 6th Executive President of Sri Lanka.
Sirisena took oaths as the new President before Supreme Court
Justice K. Sripavan at the Independence Square in Colombo. In
his address to the nation following the swearing-in, the new President
said he has no intention to seek a second term and said Sri Lanka
will have friendly relations with every country. Opposition leader
Ranil Wickramasinghe took oaths as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
before Executive President Maithripala Sirisena at the same venue.
In Kandy District, after the swearing-in ceremony,
the seventh President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena expressed
his gratitude to those who voted for him and he was thankful to
everyone who assisted to hold a peaceful election. He said it
is time for a transformation society - to bring about a humane
society with good governance and respect to law. He also said
that this would be the only time that he would contest the Presidency.
The former LTTE leader Kumaran Pathmanathan alias
KP, who was in Sri Lanka under protective custody, rejected the
reports that he fled the country after the defeat of former President
Mahinda Rajapaksa at last week's elections. Speaking over phone,
from his orphanage at Kilinochchi in the North, the former arms
procurer for the LTTE said he is still there and have no plans
to leave the country.
Marxist party JVP filed a petition in court seeking
the arrest of a former top leader of the LTTE Kumaran Pathmanathan
alias KP. The JVP filed the petition in the Court of Appeals
seeking to arrest KP, who was in protective custody under former
President Mahinda Rajapaksa's Government. JVP parliamentarian
Vijitha Herath said KP has to answer many questions and he needs
to be arrested for his activities. KP was an international arms
smuggler who procured massive loads of weapons worth billions
of dollars for the terrorist organization that ravaged a deadly
war for 30 years. He was involved in arms smuggling operations
across Asia, Canada, US and Europe.
Former Army Commander of Sri Lanka Sarath Fonseka
has been fully pardoned by the President Maithripala Sirisena.
The former Army general who led the decisive war against the LTTE
to end the terrorism in Sri Lanka was stripped off of his ranks
and rights by the previous Government. President's Media Division
said that "Fonseka has been acquitted of all charges filed against
him under the previous Government and has been granted complete
amnesty by President Maithripala Sirisena."It also said that the
President Sirisena pardoned the former General by the powers vested
in him under Article 34 of the Constitution. Accordingly, Fonseka's
rank will be restored and will be entitled to all military and
social privileges without any legal barrier. He will be awarded
back his medals and honors.
| January 23
The Chairman of the PCICMP, Maxwell
Paranagama has sought a time with the President Maithripala Sirisena
to discuss the future proceedings of the Commission. Paranagama
said that the Commission plans on making an interim report on
the inquiries they have currently completed. According to the
Chairman, the Commission is continuing to function without break
amid the election of a new President and currently investigations
into filed reports and received evidence are underway.
The new Sri Lankan Government
has decided to terminate a mandatory military style leadership
training program initiated by the previous Government for school
principals and university entrants. New Education Minister Akila
Viraj Kariyawasam said the Government is ending the program that
was compulsory for the students entering the country's universities
under the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s administration.
Report said that previous Government's mandatory leadership training
program for undergraduates was highly unpopular among the students
and parents, and has been seen by intellectuals as a militarization
of the education sector.
| January 25
The Court of Appeal in Sri Lanka
on January 27 will take up a Writ Application filed by the Marxist
party, JVP seeking an order to arrest and prosecute former LTTE
leader Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP. The petition was
filed in the Court of Appeal on January 19 and has sought Writs
of Mandamus to arrest KP and produce him in Court to investigate
the offences committed by him and to initiate judicial proceedings
against him. The petition demanded the arrest and trial of the
former LTTE leader who is believed to be the head of the international
wing of the terrorist organization. KP is currently operating
a NGO under military protection in the Northern Province.
TNA said that there is no need
to appoint new commissions with regard to the war in Sri Lanka
and the national question. TNA parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran
said that rather than appointing new commissions, it is more important
to enact the recommendations made by the committees that have
been appointed so far. TNA has also said they do not expect a
new PSC to be appointed over the national issue. TNA is also a
stakeholder of the NEC and is engaged in implementing the 100
day programme of the new Government.
| January 27
The Appeal Court of Sri Lanka
issued notice on the Attorney General to appear before the Court
on February 5 in connection with the writ application filed by
the JVP against former LTTE Leader, Kumaran Pathmanathan alias
| January 28
President Maithripala Sirisena
said more attention would be paid to national security and a well-structured
plan would be implemented to ensure national security for the
welfare of the country and the people. The President said that
every effort would be initiated in strengthening the national
security within the democratic framework according to the constitution.
He added that precise understanding of issues that poses in various
faces nationally and internationally has to be addressed in a
constructive manner while formulating appropriate solutions. President
requested the Security Council to submit new proposals and recommendations
in addition to the programme now being implemented on national
security as it the expectation of the government to implement
a programme to strengthen national security locally and internationally.
A Government spokesman, Rajitha
Senaratne said that Sri Lanka is planning an investigation into
accusations of human rights abuses in the final stages of civil
war amid international frustration at the failure to look into
numerous civilian deaths. “We are thinking of having our own inquiry
acceptable to them to the international standards,” Rajitha Senaratne
said in Colombo, referring to the UN. “It will be a new local
inquiry. If we need, we will bring some foreign experts,” he added.
Rajitha Senaratne also said that the new Government was looking
at releasing political prisoners, mainly suspected members of
the defeated LTTE.
The new Government plans to return
private land seized by the military in the civil war-ravaged north
and release several hundred detainees in an apparent move toward
reconciliation with ethnic minority Tamils. Governemnt Spokesman
Rajitha Senaratne said that the Government of new President Maithripala
Sirisena will ease its military presence, and that unlike the
previous administration that was defeated in the January 8 election,
does not believe military action alone can prevent a resurgence
of the rebels. Rajitha Senaratne said, "We don't think you
can stop an LTTE resurrection (just) with an army, so spending
on security will be very moderate."
Rajitha Senaratne said that he
has sought an inquiry into information that former Defense Secretary
Gotabaya Rajapaksa is using two serving army officers to train
400 soldiers to whip up a bogey about an LTTE revival in the run
up to the April parliamentary elections. Senaratne said that this
army unit is being trained by two serving officers, Brig. Harendra
Ranasinghe and Col. Mahinda Ranasinghe of the Army Training School.
According to Senaratne, the idea is to get 400 Tamil speaking
Sinhalese soldiers to go to the North in disguise and provoke
the army. The ensuing clashes would help show people in the Sinhalese-speaking
South, that the LTTE have become active in the Northern Province
and that the Maithripala Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe Government
is unable to tackle it. The LTTE-revival card could help former
President Mahinda Rajapaksa win the elections. Senaratne said
that to ensure national security, the Sirisena regime would rely
on political engagement with the minorities and not on the military.
| January 29
Following the recommendations
of the LLRC, Sri Lanka's new Government at the Independence Day
celebrations this year prepares to expresses sympathy and reach
out to the victims of the country's three-decade long civil war.
Report said that the Cabinet of Ministers has approved a joint
proposal made by the acting Foreign Minister Ajith P. Perera and
the Minister of Home Affairs and Fisheries Joseph Michael Perera
to make a statement on Peace at the 67th Independence Day Celebrations
to be held on February 4. The Ministers, taking into consideration
the LLRC recommendations, have proposed to express sympathy and
cooperation with the war-affected in the country and to pledge
that it will be dedicated in unity to prevent recurrence of such
situations in the country in the future.
| January 30
Sri Lanka appointed Justice K
Sripavan, an ethnic-Tamil, as its new Chief Justice, days after
his predecessor Mohan Peiris was asked to resign following an
uproar in the parliament over allegations he tried to help the
former President retain power illegally. The President’s office
said in a statement that Justice Sripavan took oath as the 44th
Chief Justice before President Maithripala Sirisena.
| January 31
Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith
P Perera said that the new Government has no intention of lifting
the ban imposed on the several Tamil Diaspora groups for their
alleged involvement with the LTTE and over attempts to revive
terrorism in the country. He said that the new Government hopes
to maintain the ban imposed on the organisations that were alleged
to have links with the LTTE. During the previous regime the LTTE
and 15 Tamil Diaspora groups including the TGTE, GTF and BTF were
banned in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka Army said that it has
recently enlisted 34 Tamil youth from war-torn North as tradesman.
Report said that SFHQ-MLT recently enlisted 34 Tamil youth to
the SLAVF from Mullaitivu area in Mullaitivu District of Northern
Sri Lanka's new Government will soon arrest LTTE
leader Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP and the decision
will be available by the end of this week, a reliable source informed.
According to the report the file which contains unpublished details
of secrets revealed by KP is to be presented to the Government
by the intelligence units. During his previous interrogations,
it had been revealed that it was KP who had provided weapons,
aircrafts and other equipment for the LTTE to attack the state
armed forces. According to reports, it has also been revealed
that KP had purchased "Slime" type aircrafts from a Bangladeshi
agrarian company and has brought them from Indonesia to Mullaitivu
in Northern Province.
The JVP has filed a petition at the Court of Appeal
requesting the immediate arrest of KP as well as urging the authorities
to reveal what happened to the immense wealth of the LTTE that
was controlled by KP, under the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime
| February 1
PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that
the new Government will investigate the LTTE activities over the
past few years including its funding and alleged links it had
with the previous Government. He said that the Government wants
to know what happened to the funds of the LTTE. He said “This
is part of our probe on corruption. The former Government always
accused us of having links with the LTTE but it was they who had
links with the Tigers.” He said that investigations will include
obtaining information on the LTTE ships, gold and money yet to
be found even after the war. The Prime Minister said that the
public in the North have said they have evidence to share over
the LTTE and so that evidence will also be obtained. “This is
a large scale investigation,” he added.
Wickremesinghe also said that
when the European court ruled in support of the LTTE the former
Government did not take steps to assist the EU to reverse the
court ruling. He said “We have said we will assist the EU to ensure
the ban on the LTTE in the EU remains”. He also questioned the
previous Government’s failure to handover Kumaran Pathmanathan
alias KP to India. KP is wanted in India over the assassination
of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Minister of State for Plantation
and Industry K. Velayutham said that the election of Maithripala
Sirisena as the Sri Lankan President has offered a hope to the
Tamils in Sri Lanka and they are able to move freely without the
Army’s interruption. After meeting DMK leader M Karunanidhi in
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, he said he had explained the situation
after change in leadership and efforts were on to withdraw the
Army from the Tamil areas and camps. Velayutham said one of the
priorities of the new Government was to rehabilitate the IDPs
and those who were in the camps.
Families of missing and detained persons in war-torn
Northern Sri Lanka staged a protest in Kilinochchi in Kilinochchi
District of Northern Province urging the new Government to establish
the whereabouts of their family members disappeared during and
after the war. Family members of missing Tamil youth, carrying
placards with names and photographs of the missing and detained,
staged a protest in front of the District Secretariat in Kilinochchi.
The Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Kamalesh
Sharma said in Colombo that the Commonwealth is pleased with the
measures the new Government of Sri Lanka is considering to address
the accountability and reconciliation needs and it extended support
for the vital domestic processes. He welcomed the new Government's
intent to establish a credible domestic investigation mechanism
that respects international humanitarian law and assured the practical
Commonwealth support and expertise to implement the necessary
measures including fuller implementation of the recommendations
of the LLRC.
The protesters complained that the new Government
is occupied with changing the governance in the south and neglecting
the pressing issues of Tamil people in the North. They appealed
to the President Maithripala Sirisena to take measures to address
the issue and called authorities to publish the details about
the missing persons and the detainees for the families to know
about them. They also urged the new President to release all Tamil
political prisoners from the prisons if legal action is not resorted
TNA said it will not support a domestic investigation
launched by the new Government over the war between the LTTE and
State SFs that ended in May 2009. TNA parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran,
during discussions with US US Assistant Secretary of State for
South and Central Asian Affairs, Nisha Biswal, has stressed that
an international probe is the only way justice will prevail for
the Tamils who have suffered the war. According to Premachandran,
the TNA had also informed Biswal that the newly elected Government
of President Maithripala Sirisena had not properly addressed the
Tamil issue, especially in areas such as resettlement as lands
occupied by the army in the north continued to remain vacant.
He has added that the Government is slow in releasing the lands
of the Tamil people. However, the TNA has expressed its gratitude
to the Government's effort in implementing the new Government's
100 day programme.
TNA officially participated in a National Independence
Day celebration after several decades. According to reports, main
Tamil political parties had not attended a National Independence
Day celebration since 1972. However, senior TNA Leader, MP R.
Sampanthan and parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran participated in
the 67th Independence Day celebrations held at the Parliament
grounds in Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte in Colombo.
A Sri Lankan Court issued an order preventing
the former LTTE leader Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP
from leaving the country. The Court of Appeal issued the order
barring Pathmanathan from traveling overseas. The Court granted
the motion of order as a sub decision based upon a petition filed
by the Marxist party, JVP. The Court had informed the Department
of Immigration and Emigration asking them not permit Pathmanathan
to leave the country until the end of the trial.
Sri Lankan Government presented the regulation
under the UN Act to locally ratify the ban on al Qaeda as a global
terrorist outfit. The Gazette notification had been signed by
former External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris on December 14, 2014.
According to the regulation, this organisation is continued to
be designated as a terrorist outfit. It is prohibited for any
individual to aid and abet the al Qaeda. The financial intelligence
authorities of Sri Lanka are authorised to seize funds and assets
of this terrorist outfit.
The Cabinet Spokesman, Minister Rajitha Senaratne
said that Cabinet has approved the setting up of a special PTFR
according to a cabinet paper presented by President Maithripala
Sirisena. The Minister said the President has decided to appoint
a special Task Force to cater to the need to build a united and
integrated nation, while healing the wounds of mistrust and social
and cultural stress generated from extended conflicts and violence
between different communities in Sri Lanka. The seven members
Task Force will inquire into issues related to ethnic reconciliation
and suggest remedial measures to bring about ethnic harmony.
The PTFR aims to identify the immediate problems
that required to be solved and recommend solutions in order to
achieve reconciliation and to alleviate the hardships caused to
citizens as a result of the conflict. It would study and make
recommendations with regard to persons under detention as a result
of the conflict, and all other matters relating to rebuilding
harmony and effective reconciliation. Senaratne also said that
according to the IG of Police, there are 275 Tamil prisoners who
have been in jail for long without being charged. The PTFR would
study these cases and determine whether they can be released.
TNA has welcomed the decision to set up the PTFR.
TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said that the Government should see
to it that the steps suggested by the PTFR are implemented and
that the PTFR does not become a devise to delay implementation
of measures already agreed upon.
| February 9
Families of missing persons in
Northern Province held a protest in the Jaffna town in Jaffna
District calling on the new Government to intervene in finding
out the whereabouts of their loved ones who had gone missing during
the civil war. Family members, carrying photographs of their missing
loved ones, held a march before holding a protest outside the
Jaffna District Secretariat in Northern Province. According to
reports, several politicians including representatives from the
TNA have taken part in the demonstration.
| February 10
The NPC adopted a resolution calling
for an international investigation into alleged acts of genocide
committed against the Tamils during the civil war. Northern Province
CM C.V. Wigneswaran presented an amended version of the resolution
calling for an international inquiry on genocide against Tamils
committed by the successive Governments since the country's independence
from the British in 1948. The resolution notes that the obligation
to prevent and punish genocide under the Genocide Convention is
not a matter of political choice or calculation, but one of binding
customary international law. In the resolution, the NPC has urged
the team appointed by the UNHCHR to investigate the war in Sri
Lanka, to comprehensively investigate and report on the charge
of genocide in its submission to the UNHRC in March 2015.
Minister of Housing and Samurdhi,
Sajith Premadasa said in the Parliament that there are illegal
armories in the Hambantota District in Southern Province. He said
that the illegal armories with weapons, ammunition and grenades
have been found in Beliatta and Weeraketiya in Hambantota District.
The Minister informed that a request has been made from the State
Minister of Defense to investigate the illegal armories found
in Hambantota. According to Premadasa, the illegal armories were
being operated by a MP representing the District.
| February 11
Sri Lanka is seeking a delay of
several months in the release of a UN report on the investigation
of alleged war crimes committed during the country's three-decade
long war. Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera during
his visit to Washington said that the new Government is seeking
a delay in releasing the report of the UNHRC mandated investigation
by several months until the Government had time to establish a
mechanism to deal with the issue. Samaraweera said that "Once
the report is finalized, we are hoping they can refer it to our
domestic mechanism for action." "We are hoping they
could hold on to it until our mechanism is in place - maybe August,
you know, or so," he added.
Government has decided to release
lands extending to 1,000 acres in the Northern HSZs in several
stages to civilians. The Cabinet of Ministers has approved the
proposal presented by President Maithripala Sirisena as the Minister
of Defense. As a first step 220 acres of land in the Valalai Grama
Niladhari Division of the Valikamam East Divisional Secretariat
Division is to be released to establish a pilot village for the
resettlement of 1,022 families displaced by the Civil War. Each
family will get 20 perches of land and financial assistance to
construct a house. It has also been proposed to establish a school,
a pre-school, a hospital, religious places of worship, community
centers and build other infrastructure activities. The remaining
780 acres of land will also be used in the future to resettle
the people displaced by the war.
While a large extent of land from
the 11,639 acres were under the control of the SFs during the
period of the war, 6,152 acres in the Palaly area is being maintained
by the SLA and the SLAF as an HSZ. Cabinet has also decided to
release the lands under the control of the SLAF in the Panama
area in the Eastern Province to landless people in the area except
the land in an extent of 25 acres in which buildings are now being
| February 12
US Secretary of State John Kerry
told the visiting Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, Mangala Samaraweera
that the US is excited about the 100-day plan that the new Government
of Sri Lanka has put forward to move the country in a new direction.
Mangala Samaraweera met Secretary of State Kerry at the Department
of State for an hour-long discussion. "This is an exciting
moment for all of us here because Sri Lanka on January 8th had
an historic election in which there has been really a vote for
change, a vote to move Sri Lanka in a new direction, to open up
greater accountability and possibility for the preservation of
human rights, for democracy, for fighting corruption and putting
together a government that will speak for and to the people,"
Secretary Kerry said.
According to a leading survey,
Sri Lanka did not show any improvement in press freedom in 2014
although there were no journalists were killed and ranked among
the 20 worst countries in the world for media expression. The
annual World Press Freedom Index for 2015 compiled by Paris (France)
based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranked Sri Lanka 165th out
of180 countries. Although Sri Lanka's rank did not change from
that of last year score declined from 59.13 in 2014 to 60.28 this
year (2015), 100 being the worst. The RSF in its report said Sri
Lanka's Government attacks the foundations of journalism by systematically
obstructing the activities of NGOs that support the media.
| February 13
President Maithripala Sirisena
told the diplomatic community in Colombo that if “credible and
firm” evidence is found by the proposed inquiry into allegations
that Sri Lankan SFs committed human rights violations during the
fight against the LTTE, action would be taken against the guilty.
The President also invited the UNHCHR to visit Sri Lanka.
Sirisena said the Government needed time to bring about unity
and reconciliation as it had assumed office only a month ago.
Referring to Tamils living in the Northern Province, he said ‘doubts
and mistrust’ between ethnic groups should be removed.
Democratic Party (DP) Western
Provincial Councilor Susil Kindelpitiya handed over information
to the CID regarding 13 alleged disappearances and 'white van'
abductions that had allegedly taken place during the previous
Government. Kindelpitiya said that after Maithripala Sirisena
assumed the office of the President, several families in Colombo
had visited him and expressed their grievances over the alleged
abduction of their family members. In his letter to the Director
of the CID, Kindelpitiya had also requested for investigations
to be carried out based on the recent revelation made by former
Minister Mervyn Silva, alleging that former Defence Secretary
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was the architect of the 'white van' culture
in Sri Lanka.
TNA leader R. Sampanthan said that the UNHRC report
on the probe on alleged violations that had taken place during
the war should be released during the UNHRC sessions in March
as scheduled. Sampanthan noted that the UNHRC probe would have
been completed in an unbiased manner and the report should be
published in March as agreed in 2014.
UNHRC agreed to postpone the release of report
of war crimes committed during civil war by six months. The report
was scheduled to present the investigative report on the investigation
mandated by the UNHRC at its 28th session in Geneva on March 25.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein
recommended delaying publication of the report from March until
the council's 30th session in September as Sri Lanka's Foreign
Minister Mangala Samaraweera during his visit to Washington on
February 11 seek a delay in releasing the report of the investigation
by several months until the Government had time to establish a
mechanism to deal with the issue.
TNA expressed displeasure at the UNHRC decision
to postpone the submission of war report. The TNA continuously
called for the release of the report on the scheduled date on
March 25 while the Government sought support from the international
community to postpone the report. TNA MP Suresh Premachandran
said that the decision to postpone the report will be a setback
to resolve the Tamil issue in the island.
The PCICMP will conduct its next public sittings
to hear cases of missing in Trincomalee District in Eastern Province
from February 28 to March 3. According to report, since the establishment
of the Commission on August 15, 2013 by the former President Mahinda
Rajapaksa, the Commission to date has received in excess of 20,106
complaints inclusive of approximately 5000 complaints from relatives
of missing SFs personnel.
Australian authorities have returned four Sri
Lankan Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lankan authorities in mid-sea.
The Australian Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
Peter Dutton said the Australian and Sri Lankan Governments have
worked together again to disrupt a people smuggling venture. According
to the Minister, a suspected illegal entry vessel (SIEV) carrying
four Sri Lankan nationals was intercepted by BPC North-West of
the Cocos (Keeling) Islands on February 9. The four Sri Lankan
nationals were transferred at sea from a vessel assigned to BPC
to Sri Lankan authorities last Tuesday (February 17), the Australian
Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe ordered the
release of copies of the Indian magazine, Frontline detained at
the Colombo airport by Sri Lanka's Customs Department in January.
The copies were of the special edition of the magazine marking
its 30th year, which republished a 1987 interview with slain LTTE
leader Velupillai Prabakaran, along with other interviews and
articles from its archives. An official statement from the Prime
Minister's office said that the interview with Prabakaran would
not create any threat to national security.
The Attorney General's Department of Sri Lanka
requested more time from the Court of Appeal to decide on former
LTTE Leader Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP. Deputy Solicitor
General Suhada Gamlath informed the Appeal Court that the Attorney
General's Department required more time to decide on the nature
of action to be taken against KP. He made this submission when
a petition filed by the Marxist party JVP seeking KP's arrest
was taken up for hearing. The case has now been put off till February
TNA has alleged that a secret military camp, named
Gota, in the naval base in Trincomalee was in operation and held
700 Tamils and 35 Tamil families. TNA Jaffna District Parliamentarian
Suresh Premachandran had told the BBC Sandeshaya that the
Tamil people are of the belief that there were many more of such
Chief Minister of the NPC C. V. Wigneswaran has
expressed concern over the delay in releasing Tamil political
prisoners by the Sri Lanka Government. Wigneswaran said that he
fears the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has refused to release
prisoners because he does not want to anger the Sinhalese majority
ahead of parliamentary elections. "I'm talking of a history of
not living up to promises in the past. The prime minister wants
to play for time because the elections are coming," he claimed.
Source:Compiled from news reports and