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Sri Lanka Timeline - Year 2016

Date

Incidents

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.

February 9

Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe appointed Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka to Parliament as a MP for a seat vacated by the death of an incumbent.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein issuing a media statement in Colombo said "I, for my part, will do all in my power to help that come about, and will continue to offer the services of my Office to accompany Sri Lanka through this very difficult process."

February 10

14 ex-LTTE cadres, arrested on charges of criminal activities and later granted bail, refused to undergo a period of rehabilitation when the case was taken up by the Colombo Additional Magistrate.

HRW in a statement criticized the appointment of former Army Commander and Democratic Party leader Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka as a MP.

UN Special Rapporteur on Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence Pablo de Greiff said that Sri Lanka should not be hasty in trying to meet its commitments to the UNHRC in regard to issues of transitional justice.

TID informed Colombo Chief Magistrate's Court that it will take measures against former LTTE detainees who are refusing to undergo rehabilitation.

February 12

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe speaking to reporters said that that the Government was not averse to international participation in the accountability mechanisms.

ICRC, during a meeting with the officials from various Ministries' offered to work with the Government in assisting the families of the missing persons with a view to addressing their grievances and needs in a meaningful manner.

February 15

The mandate of the PCICMP headed by former High Court Judge Maxwell Paranagama had been extended by three more months with affect from February 15.

EU Foreign Affairs Council said that it will closely follow Sri Lanka's efforts in addressing human rights issues and in establishing a credible process of transitional justice, accountability and reconciliation.

February 17

Mullaitivu Magistrate M.S.M. Samzudeen ordered the Commander of the 58 Division of the Army to submit to the court before April 19 a list of LTTE surrenders' to the security forces during the final stage of the war in the Wattuwakkal area in Mullaitivu District.

February 18

Ramanathan Indrarajah, a councilor of NPC for the Vavuniya District was attacked by unidentified assailants while he was returning home by a motor bicycle after visiting the house of a 13-year-old girl, who had died recently in Vavuniya District.

February 20

According to a study of the World Bank, regions with highest rate of poverty in Sri Lanka are areas inhabited by Tamils. The regions come under the Districts of Mannar, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi in the Northern Province Batticaloa in the East Province Badulla District in Uva Province and Nuwara Eliya in Central Province.

February 22 Naval troops attached to SLNS Gajaba of the North Central Naval Command arrested two persons while transporting 500 sticks of gelignite weighing 50 kilograms in the Wahamalgollewa area of Madawachchiya District in the North Central Province.
February 23

16 Tamil prisoners detained under the PTA for allegedly having links with the LTTE have restarted hunger strike in Colombo demanding their early release as they have been held for a long time without being charged.

General Secretary of the TULF V. Anandasangaree urged President Maithripala Sirisena to grant an amnesty to the Tamil prisoners held under the PTA utilizing such a provision in the 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord.

February 24

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera during the UNDP 50th Anniversary Ministerial meeting held at New York elaborated on the Government's post-conflict peace building mechanisms and the challenges in Sri Lanka's current peace building environment to the key donor countries.

Amnesty International in its 2015-2016 annual assessment of human rights around the world said that although new Government has brought constitutional reforms and promises of improved human rights protection many human rights challenges remain.

Former senior LTTE leader Emil Kanthan, wanted in connection with attempted murder of former Minister Douglas Devananda, was not present in a Colombo Court although his counsel undertook to facilitate his surrender before Courts at the previous hearing.

State Counsel Ms. Nayomi Wickremasekara who appeared for the Attorney General's Department informed a Colombo Court that she needs one week's time to seek the Attorney General's advice regarding warrant and red notice issued on former senior LTTE leader Emil Kanthan.

February 25

Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera while delivering a speech at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington DC said that Sri Lanka is totally committed to implement the UN Resolution to address the accountability during the last phase of the war.

February 26

In a joint statement issued by the Sri Lanka and US after the first annual US-Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue held in Washington, D.C., US has urged the Sri Lankan Government to return remaining lands to rightful owners swiftly.

February 27

In a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena, the General Secretary of the TULF V. Anandasangaree urged the President to immediately release two fasting Tamil prisoners who were arrested under the PTA in 2009 and jailed since then, as their condition has become grave.

February 28

Northern Province CM C.V. Wigneswaran sought India's intervention to set up a federal Government system in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

March 2

Sri Lanka became the 163rd State Party to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention or Ottawa Convention at the First International Pledging Conference for the Implementation of the Convention held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

The Law Commission Department submitted the amended Prevention of Terrorism Draft Bill with human rights safeguards to the three relevant Ministers.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera in his address at the meeting of the Governing Council of Community of Democracies in Geneva said that the Government was in the process of repealing the PTA and introducing a new counter-terrorism legislation that is in line with contemporary international practices.

March 4

The Government of Japan decided to provide a total sum of USD 1,238,003 as grant aid to two projects for humanitarian demining in Northern Sri Lanka under its Grant Assistance for GGP.

During a meeting between Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Swiss Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, Switzerland has affirmed its continued support to Sri Lanka for reconciliation and reforms and desire to strengthen bilateral relations.

VTA inaugurated its latest Vocational Training Center in Kaithady town of Jaffna District. The VTA Kaithady center is among 14 planned satellite centers that will support the Sri Lankan - German Training Institute (SLGTI).

March 6

Alarmed by the rising underworld activities in capital Colombo and other areas, President Maithripala Sirisena ordered the Police and security forces to take stern actions under a joint plan to control the underworld crimes which are raising their heads recently in the country.

March 7

TPA has proposed the setting up of a non-territorial council with legislative powers to fulfill the aspirations of the Tamil people living outside the North and the East Provinces.

March 8

Leader of Opposition R. Sampanthan slammed the Government over continuing detention of people booked under the PTA even after it committing itself at the UNHRC in 2015 to review and repeal the law.

Norway's former special peace envoy Erik Solheim participating in a panel discussion on the newly-launched book 'To End a Civil War: Norway's Peace Engagement in Sri Lanka' said that this is the best opportunity to bring about a lasting solution to the country's ethnic question.

March 9

Parliament without a vote approved the proposal to change the Parliament to a CA which will consist of all MPs.

March 10

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein presenting his annual report to the 31st session of UNHRC in Geneva said that Sri Lanka must promptly investigate and adequately address past human rights violations to prevent any recurrence of conflicts.

Minister Sarath Fonseka, the war time commander of the Sri Lanka Army said in Parliament that an international probe should be conducted as stipulated in the Geneva resolution.

March 11

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that work on drafting the new Constitution would begin in May after the report of the PRCCR will be handed over in April.

March 12 President Maithripala Sirisena handed over 701 acres of land to 700 original land-owners during a ceremony held at Nadeshvar College in Jaffna District.
March 14

Government Information Department said that Government will commence the next phase of the resettlement of IDPs in the Eastern Province from Sampur on April 1.

March 15

UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon addressing an event organized by the OHCHR on the UNHRC's 10th Anniversary said "The Council's work on Burundi, Guinea, South Sudan, Sri Lanka and Syria has helped the international community to respond to human rights emergencies and work towards accountability."

March 16

Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms, appointed by the Prime Minister, opened online submissions in order to seek the views of stakeholders, experts and the general public on the design of the reconciliation mechanisms at www.scrm.gov.lk.

March 17

Former Army Commander and Minister of Regional Development Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka addressing a media briefing in Colombo requested President Maithripala Sirisena to release the LTTE cadre imprisoned in connection with the suicide bomb attack on him at the Army Headquarters in 2006.

March 18

President Maithripala Sirisena while addressing the inauguration of the National Law Conference in Colombo reaffirmed that there was no need for international judges for investigations into human rights violations allegedly committed by Government troops and the LTTE.

March 20

The former female political wing leader of LTTE, Subramaniam Sivathai compiling her experiences with the LTTE during the war into a book released in Kilinochchi District has offered a critical view on the terrorist organization and Tamil Society.

March 21

President Maithripala Sirisena addressing the 32nd Provincial Chief Minister's Conference in Hikkaduwa town in Galle District said that he supports devolution of power through the new Constitution to provinces within a united Sri Lanka to develop the country.

UN Secretary General's Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq reiterated the requirement of a credible investigation into the alleged human rights violations and war crimes committed by the LTTE and the Sri Lankan security forces.

March 23

Former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been summoned to appear in the Special High Court in Colombo to testify against LTTE suspects on May 3.

March 24

TNA during the Northern Provincial Council sessions expressed opposition to housing project the "reconciliation village" the North.

President Maithripala Sirisena will declare open a Village of Reconciliation at Sathwirugama, a housing project built by the Army at Kok-Eliya area in Vavuniya District on April 3.

Ex-President and National Unity and Reconciliation Office Chairperson Chandrika Kumaratunga said that discussing the circumstances that led to the violence that took place in the North as well as what took place during the war was essential if we are to move forward with the reconciliation process.

March 25

Navy handed over 177-acres of land previously occupied by a naval base in Sampur town of Trincomalee District to the legitimate owners.

House Leader Lakshman Kiriella said that Parliament will meet on April 5 for the first time as the CA to appoint committees to work on the Constitution-making process.

March 26

Minister of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Gayantha Karunathilaka travelled from the South to Jaffna with a delegation to show solidarity with the journalists of the North and build a bridge of goodwill and national reconciliation.

A study commissioned by the Colombo-based ICES said that there are no Islamist jihadist groups in Sri Lanka.

March 28

US Ambassador Atul Keshap speaking at a reception held on board the US Naval Ship USS Blue Ridge in Colombo Port on a goodwill mission on appreciated the vision of Sri Lankan people for peace, reconciliation, unity and democracy.

March 29

Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe addressing a Seminar on Constitutionalism held for the Members of Parliament at the Water's Edge in Colombo said that the Government hopes to adopt the new Constitution before the 70th Anniversary celebrations of the Parliament in 2017.

March 30

Police recovered a haul of explosives and suicide kit from a residence within the Chavakachcheri Police area of Jaffna District. The recovery include suicide jacket, four claymore mines, three parcels containing around 12kg of TNT, 2 packets of 9mm ammo (100 bullets) and 2 battery packs used to detonate the claymore mines. The explosives are believed to have been hidden by the LTTE during the war period.

Police recovered another stocks of explosives and weapons at a location in Mannar District. Small bombs and a RPG launcher were discovered from an abandoned well. The explosives are believed to have been hidden by the LTTE during the war period.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera addressing a meeting of the collective of the families of missing persons in Akkaraipattu in Ampara District said that the Government will ratify the United Nations Convention on Enforced Disappearances when the Parliament endorses it within the next few months.

March 31

Defense Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said that the discovery of haul of arms at two locations in the North will not adversely affect the demilitarization of former war zones.

April 2

Commissioner for Missing persons Maxwell Paranagama while replying to questions by the media at the conclusion of the inquiries of the Commission held at Vavuniya District said that EPDP, PLOTE and EPRLF were answerable for missing persons during LTTE war.

Pathmanabha led-ERPLF decided to drop the words "Eelam" and "Liberation" from its name in Jaffna District. Sources said that the name change had become necessary in view of the radically changed scenario following the 2009 military defeat of LTTE.

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran in an interview at his residence in Colombo blaming the Government for adopting a dominating, domineering and hegemonic attitude towards the Northern Province, reiterated his call for a federal structure.

President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe pledged to build a country devoid of extremism and terrorism for the younger generation.

April 5

Parliament appointed members to committees at the first sitting of CA. Seven Deputy Chairmen were elected to preside over the CA meetings in the absence of the Chairman. A Steering Committee consisting of 21 members were appointed and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was unanimously appointed as the Chairman of the Steering Committee.

Minister of Law and Order Sagala Ratnayake told the Parliament that the Government has taken measures not to allow any room to form extremist Muslim organizations in the country.

Northern Province Health Minister Dr. P. Sathyalingam said that Police reports and health records show that the use of drugs in North is rapidly rising. Deaths of relatives, disappearances and missing, hopelessness, family problems and economic difficulties are the main reasons for people to resort to drugs, the Provincial Health Minister said.

April 6

Chairman of Northern Province Council Secretariat Kandiya Sivagnanam speaking at an occasion in Jaffna District said that LTTE will never raise its head again in the North without its slain leader V. Prabhakaran.

April 7

President Maithripala Sirisena speaking to a delegation of German South Asia Parliamentary Group at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo said that Sri Lanka is totally committed to safeguarding national security as well as regional security.

April 8

NPC Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran presenting a Resolution on the Constitutional Reforms to the NPC has proposed to set up two States in the country, one by merging the Northern and Eastern Provinces and the other by merging the seven other Provinces.

April 10

Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs D. M Swaminathan in a statement said that NPC has become a "no action - talk only" scenario depriving the legitimate basic needs of the Tamil Community.

April 11

TNA members of the NPC launched a protest demanding to halt the transfer of lands to SFs in Jaffna District. The protesters claimed that the military is attempting to take over land in Jaffna, Manippai and Kulawadi and demanded to halt ongoing land surveys.

April 12

Defense Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said that the SFs will not take back the lands in the North as some groups have alleged.

April 14

The 2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices published by the U.S. Department of State said that widespread impunity continued in 2015 for the crimes committed during the armed conflict and other crimes committed following the end of the conflict.

April 16

Opposition Leader and TNA leader R. Sampanthan while participating in a discussion in Jaffna District expressed hope that the proposed new Constitution would allow the merger of North and East and a federal rule to distribute power to provinces within a unitary state.

April 17

PRCCR chaired by Lal Wijenayake proposed to set up 10 Sub-Committees consisting of Member of Parliaments to deliberate on specific areas relating to the new Constitution.

April 19

Police arrested Stanly Kennedy (29), a former cadre of LTTE wanted in connection with four murders in Galle District. Police recovered a foreign manufactured 9 mm pistol and a magazine with eight ammunitions.

Opposition Leader and TNA leader R. Sampanthan raised serious concerns about the Government's housing project for war-torn North and East with regard to irregularities in the tender process, the cost of the houses and the durability of the pre-fabricated houses as well as the environmental unsuitability of the proposed steel houses.

April 20

National Organizer of JHU Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said that the true intention of the NPC was to pave the way for a Tamil State under the guise of a Federal State.

CPA in a report "Dynamics of Sinhala Buddhist Ethno-Nationalism in Post-War Sri Lanka" said that seven years after the end of the war Sri Lanka continues to remain a deeply divided society.

April 22

General Secretary of SLFP Minister Duminda Dissanayake at a media briefing held at the SLFP headquarters warned that stern action would be taken after the May Day rally against those who breach party discipline.

April 23

President Maithripala Sirisena said that the SLFP should be restructured as a clean political party and that there would be many obstacles during the said restructuring process.

Joint Opposition said that it would commence its May Day procession from Shalika Grounds in Narahenpita as planned despite the cancellation of the reservation of the Ground.

NPC passed a Bill with a majority vote to establish the Northern and Eastern Provinces into one federal ruling system.

April 24

Opposition parties said that the Government must act on a bill passed by TNA-controlled NPC calling for a merger of the North and East into one Tamil speaking federal unit.

Former Batticaloa LTTE leader Ram was arrested by the TID in Batticaloa District. Police said the former LTTE member, who was rehabilitated and reintegrated into society, is been questioned by the TID.

April 25

NPC Chairperson C.V.K. Sivagnanam said that the demand for federalism should not be misinterpreted as separatism.

HRW while commending the Government of Sri Lanka on its efforts to build trust among communities urged Government to publicly state plans for implementation of UN resolution.

April 26

TID arrested a former LTTE leader in Jaffna District. The suspect had been identified as Sivamoorthi Kanapathipillai alias Nagulan who had been a 'commander' of the Charles Anthony Brigade, an elite brigade of the LTTE during its heyday.

April 27

President Maithripala Sirisena at a meeting with newspaper editors and media heads said that the Government is setting up an accountability mechanism for alleged war crimes and human rights violations during the final phase of the war.

TNA called for a probe on the alleged illegal occupation of civilian lands by the military in the Northern Province.

Malaysian authorities deported a Sri Lankan national for allegedly having links to the terror group IS. The 42-year-old Sri Lankan was arrested on April 22 for issuing death threats against the Sri Lankan President and Prime Minister via Facebook.

April 28

Defense Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said that former LTTE leaders were arrested in relation to discovery of a stock of explosives and a suicide jacket in the North.

NPC proposed a separate administrative unit called 'Upcountry Regional Council' for Tamils living in the central part of the country.

Minister of Ports and Shipping Arjuna Ranatunga speaking at an event held in Kandy District said that the Joint Opposition is attempting to destroy the SLFP.

Media Secretary of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Nimal Bopage notified the media that it was unlawful and unethical to use the term "Joint Opposition" to describe a certain number of parliamentarians from the Government, working with other opposition parliamentarians.

April 29

Northern Province CM C.V. Wignewaran said that the recent resolution adopted to propose a federal system was not aimed at dividing the country but to unite it.

Two UN Special Rapporteurs, Monica Pnto and Juan E Mendez, arrived in Sri Lanka on the invitation of the Government. Both will visit the island from April 29 to May 7, 2016.

May 1

SC issued notice for Northern Province Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran and three others to appear in the Court over a petition filed against a resolution passed by the NPC on April 28 calling for a federal solution and merger of the North and East.

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne while speaking at the May Day rally organized by National Movement for Democracy at Hyde Park ground in Colombo said that the current Government will not collapse despite attempts by the Mahinda Rajapaksa faction to bring it down.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa while speaking at the May Day rally of the Joint Opposition at Kirulapone Lalith Athulathmudali Stadium said that they are never ready to stop the struggle they have launched against the government as the government is the common enemy.

May 2

TID of Police arrested another rehabilitated leader of the LTTE in Kaththankudi of Batticaloa District on suspicion of regrouping.

May 3

Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan called on the Government to take all steps necessary to investigate the killings of journalists and bring the perpetrators of those crimes to justice.

May 4

Veerasingham Anandasangaree, the leader of the TULF held discussions with other Tamil political leaders to form the new political alliance due to TNA not addressing the needs of the people.

May 5

President Maithripala Sirisena launched national program to enlighten the school children on the national reconciliation process.

May 7

UN HR Expert Juan E. Mendez said that torture still continues in Sri Lanka. He heard between 16,000 and 22,000 people had gone missing during the conflict and its immediate aftermath.

May 8

Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan called on the Tamil Diaspora to take part in the development of North and East. He said the Tamil Diaspora can invest in development activities, open factories and contribute to employment opportunities for the youth.

May 10

Two UN experts, who visited Sri Lanka on a week-long mission urged the Government to establish democratic institutions in line with international human rights standards.

May 12 State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardene at a media briefing in Colombo said that this year giving priority to reconciliation efforts will mark the end of the LTTE war with a cultural show instead of a military parade.
May 18

President Maithripala Sirisena speaking at the national ceremony to commemorate war heroes, held at the War Hero Monument in the Parliament premises in Colombo said that the Government is committed to strengthen the national reconciliation in order to prevent another war.

May 25

Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera in a statement in Parliament said that Government will set up a new Office of Missing Persons to help families of missing persons across Sri Lanka to discover the fate of their missing family members.

May 27

Consultations Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms appointed by the Prime Minister extended its deadline for the public to make submissions to June 24.

HRW said "At the UNHRC in Geneva last year, the government agreed to hold nationwide public consultations on all transitional justice mechanisms. However, on May 24, Sri Lanka's cabinet approved the new Office of Missing Persons without talking with the families who have long waited for justice."

May 28

HRCSL issued directives to be followed by designated officials arresting persons under the PTA to ensure the fundamental rights of persons arrested or detained are respected and protected, and such persons are treated humanely.

May 30

President Maithripala Sirisena during a special meeting held at the President's Office on the resettlement of displaced people in North and East advised the relevant officials to finish the process of identifying lands for the resettlement of the displaced people in the North by June 3.

June 1

Two LTTE suspects were arrested over the seizure of several caps bearing the LTTE logo in Vavuniya District. The arrestees are Mahadevan and Devadasan.

National Peace Council in a press release said that credibility of transitional justice mechanisms is essential and has called for a credible mechanism to probe the fate of the 20,000 persons who went missing during the ethnic conflict.

June 2

US Country Report on Terrorism said that Sri Lanka's focus on LTTE resurgence diverted attention from emerging threats such as reports of Sri joining the ISIL.

June 6 Two British officials Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Simon McDonald and Permanent Under-Secretary at the UK Department for International Development Mark Lowcock hold discussion with PM Ranil Wickremesighe and the Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan on reconciliation and human rights in Colombo.
June 7 Cabinet of Ministers approved a draft legislation enabling the issuance of Certificates of Absence for the thousands of people missing in the war.
June 8

Chief Minister of Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran appealed to Tamil school students to learn Sinhalese so that they do not lose job opportunities both in Sinhalese-speaking South and the Tamil-speaking North.

2016 Global Peace Index released said that Sri Lanka has become more peaceful and ranked higher as the country saw strong gains in both internal and external peace.

June 10

The High Commission of India signed agreements to award work to four agencies to implement the housing project in the Central and Uva Provinces. The project envisages construction of 4000 houses through an innovative community-driven model involving the EWHCS and beneficiaries.

Chief Minister of Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran during a meeting with the British High Commissioner in Colombo James Dauris said that he is slowly losing confidence in the Government as he is yet to receive a response from the Government to the proposals he presented including a proposal to endorse a federal system for the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

June 12

President Maithripala Sirisena speaking at a special event in the Vavuniya District said that the Government is ready to hear the voice of the people and protect the rights of people living in the Northern Province.

ITJP in a survey undertaken found that many former cadres of LTTE, now on exile in Europe, are willing to participate in the proposed transitional justice mechanisms in Sri Lanka on alleged violations of human rights during the final phase of the civil war, if their safety and anonymity are guaranteed.

President Maithripala Sirisena in an exclusive interview in Colombo reiterated his stance that there will be no foreign judges in the domestic mechanism which is to be established to probe the alleged war crimes and human right violations during the three-decade long conflict with LTTE.

June 13

HRW urged Sri Lankan Government to abide by the directives issued by the HRCSL on arrests and detention under the PTA and take measures to revoke the draconian Act.

June 14

ICRC in a report said "We support vulnerable households in the north and east of the country to start a small business of their choice through our Micro Economic Initiatives program, which is carried out in line with the Sri Lankan government''s community empowerment program."

June 17

Air Force personnel uncovered a buried stock of LTTE weapons from the Palamppidi area of Madu in Mannar District. The weapons were buried in a bunker LTTE maintained during the war and the area is now overgrown with forest.

HRCSL released its proposals on constitutional reforms to the public. The Commission presented its proposals on constitutional reform to the Prime Minister, the Speaker and the Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reform.

June 19

President Maithripala Sirisena issued new directives to the Police and SF personnel to follow when arresting and detaining persons under the PTA not to physically harass, torture or humiliate suspects in a disrespectful manner.

June 21

Chief Minister of Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran responding to reporters in Jaffna District said that TNA strongly opposes domestic mechanism to probe the war crime allegations.

Eastern Province Governor Austin Fernando said that Government has decided to set up Office of Missing Persons which will take over the functions of the Commission on Missing Persons.

June 22

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne at the Cabinet briefing at the Government Information Department rejected the allegations that Army used cluster bombs during the final phases of the LTTE war.

In an open letter to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad al Hussain, signed by FORUM-ASIA, Franciscans International, HRW, ICJ, IMADR and the ISHR, urged the UN rights chief to clearly identify in his oral report to the ongoing HRC session the areas, where there is no progress made in the implementation of the UN resolution on Sri Lanka adopted in October 2015.

London-based Tamil Diaspora group GTF in a press release urged International Community to exert pressure on Sri Lanka to ensure full implementation of UNHRC resolution.

June 24

Minister of National Dialogue Mano Ganesan said that over 400 Tamils will be joining the Police after the completion of training in August to be posted in North and East.

June 25

Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice, a global non-partisan movement, urged the Army to release the records of the people surrendered to the security forces at the end of the LTTE war in 2009.

HRCSL welcomed the directives issued by President Maithripala Sirisena on June 19 to the Police and security forces to follow when arresting and detaining persons suspected of terrorism related offences.

June 26

Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi speaking at a ceremony to release a land area in Jaffna District said that all the lands in the North held by Security Forces except the strategically important ones will be returned.

Verité Research, a Colombo-based research organization said that Tamil press has lost faith in the UNHRC commitment to rendering justice.

June 27

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said that steps taken by Sri Lanka encouraging but transformative process will take time.

June 28

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein in an annual report said that Sri Lanka must rein in its military forces, prosecute war crimes committed during the long civil war with LTTE rebels and win the confidence of the Tamil minority.

June 29

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein presented an oral on Sri Lanka to the ongoing 32nd session of the UNHRC in Geneva. The High Commissioner said he is concerned that the Government has not moved fast enough with tangible measures.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera delivering a statement to the ongoing 32 nd Session of the UNHRC in Geneva said that Sri Lanka since January 2015 has taken 'giant leaps' to achieve reconciliation although they may seem like 'baby steps' for some.

Norway in a statement to the 32nd session of UNHRC in Geneva called on the Sri Lankan Government to adhere to the UN resolution and include international judges and lawyers in the recommended judicial mechanism to investigate the allegations of war crimes.

June 30

President Maithripala Sirisena joined the public march organized by the HRCSL launching its Anti-Torture Campaign to eradicate torture, especially under police custody.

July 1

TNA issuing a statement on the oral update of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Human Rights Council on the implementation of the Resolution on Sri Lanka said that justice for crimes committed in the past by both the military forces and the LTTE is a necessary precondition to achieve meaningful reconciliation.

July 4

Former interpreter for the LTTE George Master who surrendered to the Army on April 22, 2009, during the final stage of the war was released from the magisterial inquiry.

July 6

Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that Government is planning to finalize the judicial mechanisms to probe war abuses by 2017.

PCICMP Chairman Justice Maxwell Paranagama said the compilation of the final interim report has been commenced and it would be handed over to the President on July 15.

July 7

Joint Opposition appointed a shadow cabinet of 50 Ministers, led by ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs.

54 journalists visiting at the invitation of Southern journalists on a reconciliation tour met with President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Parliamentary Complex and expressed their gratitude to the President and the Prime Minister to the peaceful environment prevailing in the North.

July 8

President Maithripala Sirisena speaking at a ceremony at the Panadura town in Kalutara District reiterated that he will not allow any foreign court, judge or organization interfere into the internal administration and judiciary in the country in future as well.

July 10

Commander Security Force Jaffna - SF (J) Major General Mahesh Senanayake said that there has not been any reduction in the number of camps or the troops and the Army Camps are maintained in the required locations for the safety of the public.

Northern Province has stressed federalism as a solution to devolve power in Sri Lanka. The view of the Northern Province was presented to the 21-member Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly which comprises representatives from various parties with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the chairperson.

July 12

UN asked Sri Lanka to follow its agreements with the international community to ensure accountability for the human rights abuses during the decades-long armed conflict.

July 13

A TNA delegation consisting of party and Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan, MP M.A. Sumanthiran and few other senior leaders met with the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal and US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski in Colombo. During the meeting, the delegation expressed concerns over release of Tamil political prisoners and lands in the conflict-affected North still occupied by the Sri Lankan military.

July 16 Six Sinhala students were injured when a group of Tamil students opposed a traditional Kandyan dance presented by the Sinhala students to welcome the freshmen to the campus escalated into a physical assault at the University of Jaffna in the Northern Province.
July 17 TNA appealed to all students of the Jaffna University not to permit any recurrence of clashes or similar incidents that will hinder genuine reconciliation amongst communities in the country.
July 19 A team of Ministers visited the restive campus of the Jaffna University to assess the situation following a clash between two groups of students on July 16.
July 20

Switzerland's AG indicted 13 LTTE supporters for providing financial support via a sophisticated microcredit system reportedly raising around $15.2 million.

President Maithripala Sirisena said that all educational institutions, including universities and vocational training centers should act as reconciliation centers and reconciliation should be included as a subject in the school curriculum.

Governor of Northern Province Reginald Cooray said that the recent clash between two groups of students at the University of Jaffna has stirred up both North and South and some extremist groups are attempting to inflame situation instead of calming it.

July 21

Cabinet approved SLR 971 million to immediately resettle the families of the IDP. At present, 971 families reside in 31 welfare centers, out of which 641 families are individuals without land.

July 22

Sri Lanka invited the Diaspora groups, including Tamils, to make submissions for advancing the task of reconciliation following the country's three-decade-long civil war that ended in 2009.

July 23

A high-level delegation of defence officials including the Secretary of Defence Karunasena Hettiarachchi and Commander of Army Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva visited and evaluated the status quo of the Army-released civilian lands in Jaffna and the progress of the ongoing house construction projects of the Army for accelerated resettlement of the displaced persons.

July 26

ICRC in a 34-page report released asked Sri Lanka to clarify the fate and whereabouts of 16,000 missing persons including over 5,100 SF personnel missing in Action.

August 7

CM of Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran addressing the Tamil Peoples' Council in Jaffna District said that accountability for the war crimes committed in the last phase of LTTE war must be established before the Government formulates a new constitution.

Wigneswaran also urged re-merger of the Northern and Eastern provinces as they were the cultural homelands of the Tamils.

August 8

Muslim civil society in Eastern Province stressed that North and East should not be merged when devolving power to the provinces under a new constitution.

August 9

NPC unanimously adopted a proposal to inquire into reports of suspicious deaths of ex-LTTE cadres who had undergone rehabilitation.

August 10

Co-Cabinet spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne at the weekly Cabinet press briefing said that the Government will launch an investigation into the allegation that the rehabilitated LTTE cadres are mysteriously dying due to being poisoned while they were under Government custody undergoing rehabilitation.

August 11

Parliament passed the OMP Bill with amendments. The passage of the bill allows the Government to set up an OMP to help several thousands of families of missing persons across Sri Lanka to discover the fate of their loved ones and the circumstances under which they went missing.

August 13

President Maithripala Sirisena said that the Government's move to set up the OMP is to ascertain the fate of the thousands of civilians and SFs members went missing during the war.

August 14

PCICMP handed over its report to the Presidential Secretariat. Since its establishment on August 15, 2013, the Commission had received 16,213 complaints from civilians and another 5,000 complaints from relatives of missing security forces personnel. During its term in office, they toured eight Districts in the North and South and investigated statements from several officials, of which, 6400 were chosen to be reviewed. 19,000 statements were recorded from civilians. While 4800 cases were deemed false, 5400 entries were regarding missing members of the security forces.

Northern Province Health Minister Dr. P. Sathiyalingam said that Health Ministry commenced medicals ascertain whether there is a truth to the allegation that the Government has poisoned the rehabilitated ex-LTTE cadres during the government's rehabilitation program conducted at the army camps.

August 16

The Consultations Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms appointed by the Prime Minister on January 26, 2016, has released an Interim Report OMP Bill and Issues Concerning the Missing, the Disappeared and the Surrendered.

August 17

People staged a protest demanding an OMP in the Northern Province. Residents of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu Districts staged the protest saying that setting up the OMP in Colombo will not be any benefit to the people in the North and demanded the Government to set up the OMP in Kilinochchi or Mullaitivu.

State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene dismissed the Tamil politicians' allegations of poisoning ex-LTTE while undergoing rehabilitation at Government camps.

August 18

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe explaining the importance of establishing the OMP said that OMP's purpose is to seek the truth not retribution.

August 19

An official of the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs said that the IDPs currently living in the welfare camps will be resettled in permanent houses soon.

August 21

Ministry of Defense dismissed a report published on the Sunday Divaina newspaper that the Government has decided to withdraw 64 army camps stationed in the Eastern Province. It said that there were 162 army camps in the East at the beginning of 2016 and it has been decided to reduce the number to 98 by 31 August. The report added that 30 camps have already been removed.

TNA Provincial Councillor M. K. Shivajilingam said that US Embassy in Colombo had rejected Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Vigneswaran's request to conduct medical checks to verify whether ex-LTTE carders in custody were allegedly injected with a poisonous drug.

Source:Compiled from news reports and are provisional.

 

 

 

 

 
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