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Sri Lanka Timeline - Year 2016



January 1

The Indian Housing Project, under which 46,000 houses are to be constructed or repaired in Sri Lanka's Northern and Eastern Provinces and 4,000 houses constructed in the Central and Uva Provinces, is nearing completion in Northern and Eastern Provinces.

TNA leader R. Sampanthan in his New Year message said "As a country, we have the enormous task of achieving a meaningful solution to the national question, beneficial development and lasting peace and reconciliation. It is through solidarity that we can build a prosperous country while acknowledging the ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious and other unique features of each community."

January 3

President Maithripala Sirisena in an interview has promised to provide land to settle as many as 100,000 war victims displaced by the three-decade long war within six months.

MP Suresh Premachandran, an activist the TPC, said that TPC will propose a solution to the ethnic conflict in the North before the end of January. He said the proposal will be presented to the residents of the North and East for feedback.

President Maithripala Sirisena in an interview said that Government would not act in haste for setting up a special court on allegations of violations of human rights in the last stages of the civil war.

January 4

Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said that 36 Sri Lankans have gone to Syria with some of them having joined the ISIS.

January 6

Ministry of Defense said that the security forces and intelligence agencies were on full alert on the possibility of any groups having links with the IS or emergence of IS in the country.

January 8

President Maithripala Sirisena pardoned former LTTE cadre Sivaraja Jenivan alias Mohommadu Sulthan Cader Mohideen who tried to assassinate him in 2006.

January 9

Army Commander Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva speaking to media in Kandy city of Kandy District said that there is no room for terrorism to raise its head once again in the country.

PM Ranil Wickremesinghe presented in Parliament a resolution for the appointment of the Constitutional Assembly for formulating a new Constitution for Sri Lanka.

President Maithripala Sirisena while addressing the Parliament stressed that the country's Constitution needs to be changed to suit the present era for the development of the country.

January 10

Senior Minister and Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella at a media briefing said that the Government is looking towards compiling a Constitution with a basic structure that cannot be changed forever.

January 11

Minister Susil Premajayantha at a media conference at the SLFP office said that the nine-point amendment presented by them on the resolution to convert Parliament into a Constitutional Assembly was accepted by the UNP and the resolution was likely to be passed in Parliament on January 12.

January 12

Deputy Minister of Public Enterprise Development Eran Wickramaratne briefing a media conference held at UNP headquarters at Sirikotha in Colombo said that all political parties can contribute to prepare new constitution.

January 14

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in an informal briefing to the General Assembly in New York highlighted Sri Lanka's smooth power transfer following the 2015 presidential elections as a triumph in 2015.

January 15

Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe while addressing the Thai Pongal National Ceremony held in the Weerasingham Hall in Jaffna District said that the Government is in the process of creating a mechanism to implement the proposals in the UN resolution to establish true reconciliation in the country.

January 17

Intelligence agencies are on high alert on the possibility of local groups having links with the extremist group ISIS.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe making a statement on the proposed Constitution said that the new Constitution in the making will not change the unitary nature of the country and the country will not be divided as some have alleged.

CPRC appointed by Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe to seek public opinion on the proposed constitutional reforms will begin their first session in Colombo from January 18.

January 18

German national Yogendran G. (53) accused of raising funds from 2007-2009 for the LTTE in and around Hamburg City in northern Germany went on trial. Prosecutors in the Hamburg court said that the man raised more than 81,000 Euros for combat and terrorist activities including suicide attacks by the LTTE in its campaign for a separate Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka.

President Maithripala Sirisena participating at the Thai Pongal ceremony held in the Hindu College in Kalutara District sought the contribution of religious leaders to the Government's program to build peace and brotherhood.

January 20

Cabinet at its weekly meeting approved amending the 1979 Code of Criminal Procedure Act to recognize the right of suspects arrested by the Police for legal counsel.

President Maithripala Sirisena at a special discussion held at the Presidential Secretariat instructed the relevant officials to complete the resettlement of 44,015 remaining IDPs in the Northern Province within six months.

January 21

President Maithripala Sirisena in a BBC interview said "Foreign judges and prosecutors should not be involved in an investigation into allegations of war crimes. I believe in the judicial system and other relevant authorities in this regard. I will never agree to international involvement in this matter. We have more than enough specialists, experts and knowledgeable people in our country to solve our internal issues."

January 24

President Maithripala Sirisena speaking at an event at Puthukkudiyiruppu town in the Mullaitivu District promised to resolve unemployment issue in the North. He added that many local and foreign investors have come up with investment plans for the North to help resolve the burning issue of unemployment among the youth in the North.

January 25

HRW called on the Sri Lankan Government to fulfill its commitments to the UNHRC by ensuring that foreign judges and prosecutors play a significant role in the mandated accountability mechanism for wartime abuses.

GTF, the London-based Tamil Diaspora organization expressed deep concern over the comments made by the Sri Lankan President regarding International Involvement on Accountability Mechanism.

January 28

Cabinet spokesperson, Minister Rajitha Senaratne at the weekly media briefing in Colombo assured that the domestic mechanism to be instituted to investigate the alleged war crimes committed during the ethnic conflict will meet international standards.

HRW World Report 2016 said that although elections in Sri Lanka in January 2015 brought about momentous changes after nearly a decade of increasingly autocratic rule, the Government is yet to take significant measures to end the impunity for security force abuse, including Police use of torture.

January 29

UN Secretary?General Ban Ki-moon expressed hope that Sri Lankan Government will abide by the commitment it made to the UNHRC when it co-sponsored the UN resolution.

January 30

President Maithripala Sirisena in an interview with the Al Jazeera news agency said that there were no allegations of war crimes at the UNHRC in Geneva, only allegations of human rights violations.

February 1

The Colombo Special High Court removed the arrest warrant issued on former LTTE leader Emil Kanthan after his lawyers informed the court that he is prepared to return to the island in two weeks and surrender to the Police.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe while addressing the Commonwealth Parliamentarians' Association Regional Seminar for Members of Parliament in Colombo said that the Government will not deviate from the Geneva resolution on reconciliation and accountability in any way.

February 2

A German Court convicted Sri Lankan-born German national Yogendran G. (53) for raising funds in Germany from 2007-2009 for the LTTE. The Court found that the man raised more than 81,000 Euros for the LTTE.

February 4

Addressing the Nation on the occasion of the 68th anniversary of Independence Day at the Galle city of Galle District, President Maithripala Sirisena said that the biggest challenge faces today is to build harmony through a process of reconciliation bringing about co-existence and national understanding.

February 5

During the ninth India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission, co-chaired by Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Sri Lankan counterpart Mangala Samaraweera, India has signed agreements in Colombo to build a hospital in Eastern Province and renovate schools in the Northern Province.

February 7

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, who was touring Jaffna District, said that the charges leveled LTTE prisoners should be resolved through the court and it is a responsibility of the Sri Lankan Government.

Government has taken measures to appoint an 11-member Special Task Force to obtain public views on the Geneva proposals. Attorney-at-law and human rights activist Manouri Muttetuwegama has been appointed as the Chairman of the Sepcial Task Force and Executive Director of Center for Policy Alternatives, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu is the Secretary of the Special Task Force.

Source:Compiled from news reports and are provisional.





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