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Sri Lanka Timeline - Year 2015

Date

Incidents

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 election violence.

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.

January 6

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.

January 7

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 to vote.

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.

January 8

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.

January 9

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 4,00,000 votes.

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.

January 11

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.

January 19

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.

January 21

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 KP.

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 Province.

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.

February 2

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.

February 3

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 against them.

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.

February 4

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.

February 5

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 constructed.

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.

February 15

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.

February 16

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.

February 17

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 Minister said.

February 18

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.

February 19

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 26.

February 20

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 camps.

February 21

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.

February 22

Member of NPC M. K. Sivajilingam has reportedly written to UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein saying the Tamils see the delay to release the report based on the probe on the war in Sri Lanka as a failure of the UN system to protect and listen to the victims of mass atrocities. Sivajilingam has said the Tamil people hoped that the UN system will not victimize the Tamils once again by delaying or denying them full and complete justice. "The Tamil people are highly disappointed and dismayed by your announcement on February 16, to delay the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) Report until September 2015. The Tamil people had been anxiously waiting with high hopes for the release of the Report, but this unexpected delay has caused serious concerns to the victimized Tamil population, and we strongly believe justice delayed is justice denied," Sivajilingam has stated in his letter.

February 24

Thousands of Tamils in Jaffna city in the Northern Province staged a massive protest against the UNHRC's decision to defer the report of the UN investigation on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka during the war. Thousands of students of the University of Jaffna along with the residents staged a protest march from the University. At the end of the protest march, the president of Jaffna University Teachers Association, A Rasakumaran handed over an appeal on behalf of the organizers of the protest to Mannar Bishop Rayappu Joseph requesting him to hand it over to the relevant UN agencies. The appeal, addressed to the UNHCHR Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, requested the UN official to have the findings of the investigations published as scheduled. The appeal stressed that the Tamils in the North have no faith in any domestic mechanism that the current government may establish to investigate the injustices caused upon them by previous governments and another domestic mechanism will only waste time.

A Colombo Court has ordered Balendran Jeyakumari, who has been searching and campaigning for the release of her son, to continue to be held in detention custody till March 10, as per the request made by the TID. Jeyakumari, who was arrested on March 13 2014 on suspicion of harbouring former rebel cadres at her home in Kilinochchi in Northern Province, was transferred to the Welikada prison only last week, where she was allowed to meet briefly her 13-year old daughter Vibushika, who is also in the protective custody in Kilinochchi. According to the published report, her son, Balendran Mahindan was alive and was going through the government's "rehabilitation program" at an unknown 'rehabilitation' centre. Several local and international human right organisations have campaigned for her early release.

February 25

The UK based Amnesty International (AI) organization has noted that several human rights violations have taken place in Sri Lanka last year (2014). The organization in its annual report has called on the new Sri Lankan Government to take measures to address those violations. AI said that Sri Lanka faced a catalogue of endemic human rights issues in 2014. "Unlawful detentions and torture by SFs were carried out with impunity as the authorities continued to rely on the Prevention of Terrorism Act to arrest and detain suspects without charge or trial. Human rights defenders and family members of people subjected to enforced disappearance were threatened and arrested, and fatal attacks on religious minorities went unpunished," the AI report said. Political violence and intimidation - mainly against political opposition supporters and civil society activists - were reported in the run-up to the snap presidential election called for January 2015, it noted. It also said that UN-led investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during the conflict raised hopes for victims waiting for truth and justice, but this will require the full cooperation of the new Sri Lankan Government.

The UNHRC defended its move to defer the release of a report into alleged war crimes committed during Sri Lanka's civil war saying that it was a "very rational" decision taken in a "relatively unique" case. The new President of the UNHRC Joachim Rücker said that the decision to defer the release of the report on the human rights violations in Sri Lanka by six months to September was "very rational".

February 26

The AG of Sri Lanka requested six months to present a comprehensive report to the Court of Appeal on former LTTE leader and arms procurer Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP. According to the Attorney General's Department, the 193 incidents mentioned in the petition against KP have to be examined properly and time was required for the matter. The Court of Appeal at the last hearing directed the Attorney General's Department to inform of its proposed action on KP at today's hearing. However, the Department has now sought more time.

February 27

Newly appointed Commander of the SLA, Lieutenant General Chrishantha De Silva, during a visit to Kandy in Central Province has assured that national security will be given highest priority and will not be compromised at any cost. He said the Army will maintain security even in the north. "I will give the highest priority to National Security. The army has a responsibility towards the National Security of the country," De Silva said. The Army Commander said that discipline of the army will also be given priority. However, he added that there is confidence that Sri Lankan soldiers will not violate the code of conduct in the army.

February 28

TNA has expressed the party's lack of faith in a domestic probe into issues related to the war crimes. TNA leaders met with UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, who is currently in Sri Lanka, and discussed several issues including the proposed domestic investigation on the war promised by the new Government. TNA Spokesperson MP Suresh Premachandran said that the TNA had informed Feltman that the party did not have faith in a domestic probe. Feltman however had told the TNA that the Government had given an assurance that the domestic probe will meet international standards. He had informed the TNA that the UN is willing to work with the new Government on the investigation and other issues.

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of Sri Lanka, Ajith P. Perera said the domestic investigation into some of the allegations over the war will not be completed by September, 2015. The Deputy Minister said that it will be difficult to complete the legal process before the September sessions of the UNHRC as only the structure and laws will be in place before September. The UNHRC has agreed to defer a report on Sri Lanka which was to be submitted to the Council during this month's (March) session to September.

Although there was no violence and there is an apparent reduction of threats against journalists in Sri Lanka after the January 8, 2014 election, significant challenges to press freedom are still remaining in Sri Lanka, an international media organization said. The international media mission, which represents the IFJ, the International Press Institute and International Freedom of Expression Exchange, said the continued surveillance of journalists and media organizations in the north of Sri Lanka must cease. The mission said all journalists acknowledged there have been no cases of over violence since the January 8 elections and that there has been an apparent reduction in threats, but significant challenges to press freedom are remaining. These challenges include the self-censorship due to uncertainty about the political future of the country; restrictions on access to information; and continued surveillance and monitoring of journalists.

March 1

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the accusations that Tamil youth were being held in secret detention camps were baseless. Wickremesinghe emphasised that all those who had been taken into custody were being held in legally run facilities and, therefore, all detainees could be accounted for. He said instructions had been given for preparing a full list of persons in custody in a bid to dispel fears expressed in some quarters as regards secret detention camps. According to the report, the Prime Minister didn't mince his words when he declared that those missing but not listed among those in government custody had either perished during the conflict or were now living overseas. Authoritative sources said that Sri Lanka's efforts to track down missing persons living overseas hadn't been successful due to Western countries' refusal to cooperate. Sources said that a joint effort was needed to establish the whereabouts of those who had assumed new identities and citizenship in other countries.

March 2

Police have questioned several Sri Lanka Navy personnel of an investigation unit of the Navy on disappearances of children. The Police Media Spokesperson SSP Ajith Rohana said that statements have been recorded from seven Navy personnel regarding the disappearance of 10 children during the 2008-2009 period. In 2010 the CID had commenced investigations into complaints received over the disappearance of some youth and their parents between the period of 2007 and 2009 in Colombo and in Trincomalee. Rohana said the CID has interrogated the officer in charge of the investigation unit of the Sri Lankan Navy, Commander D. K. P. Dassanayake, who was also the former Navy spokesman, in this connection. It has also been revealed that the officials of the investigative unit had taken ransoms in large measure from the parents of the children. The activities of the infamous unit were reported to have centered on Trincomalee and Fort.

Police arrested a former leader of the LTTE Sea Tiger Women's Wing, identified as Murugesu Jayaganesh Pakeerathy alias Murugesu Bairahi alias Burugesu Pahiradiat at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo while she was about to leave for France. Police Spokesperson SSP Ajith Rohana said that the TID of the Police had launched investigations over reports that Murugesu Bairahi had arrived in Sri Lanka. The 41 year old former Sea Tiger was arrested by the TID when she was preparing to leave the country and is currently held on detention for 72 hours. Police informed that Murugesu Bairahi headed the women's wing of the LTTE Sea Tigers from 1997-2000 and that she had fled to France in 2005. Police further said the investigations had revealed that she had returned to Sri Lanka last month and was staying in Parathion in the North. The suspect has been produced at the Colombo Magistrate Court.

March 3

Government has assured an international media delegation visiting the country that the long-awaited Freedom of Information bill would be tabled this month and passed in parliament before the upcoming general election. The International Media Solidarity Delegation during its five-day visit to the island called on the Sri Lankan government to ensure that critical media reform measures are made permanent and media freedom to be an absolute priority of the new administration. The Government has also assured the delegation a commitment to tackle impunity for crimes against journalists, which according to the journalists, is a long-running and festering blight on Sri Lanka's reputation globally. Government representatives have said that they had already requested the IG of Police, N.K. Ilangakoon to carry out thorough investigations into journalist killings, with priority given to the 2009 murder of Lasantha Wickrematunga and the 2010 disappearance of Prageeth Eknaligoda.

South Africa had told the former Sri Lankan Government that the LTTE was not operating in South Africa as was alleged at the time, Al Jazeera said quoting a secret cable. According to the report the previous Sri Lankan Government was told quite plainly that, at least in the case of South Africa, the LTTE posed no threat at all, according to a secret intelligence agency cable (PDF) obtained by Al Jazeera's investigative unit. In the cable, dated June 9, 2010, South Africa's State Security Agency (SSA) replied to a request for information about several cases of purported LTTE activity in South Africa, from a suspected "military training camp" held in May 2010 to suspicions that local Tamil organizations were raising money for the LTTE and allegations that the LTTE was in contact with former members of the South African military. In every case, South African intelligence concluded that there was no sign of LTTE activity or support in the country. "The LTTE does not have any offices or known representatives in South Africa," the cable states. However, Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry did not respond to multiple requests for comment from Al Jazeera, by phone and by email, about the cable and the statements made subsequently by government officials. The office of Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that the new minister had not been briefed on the issue and could not comment.

March 5

In an interview ahead of Indian PM Narendra Modi's visit to Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe said that Indian politicians might have developed "amnesia" over the fact that India had assisted former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the LTTE war of 2009. Lankan Prime Minister said "Without the help of India, President Rajapaksa could not have wiped out the LTTE. He got that help and he agreed to give concessions even beyond the 13th amendment ... But he did not do so ....". Asked specifically about the UPA's denials of help to Sri Lanka, especially because of opposition from its alliance partner the DMK, he said, "Amnesia, you know is very common among politicians."

Wickramasinghe accused the TNA Government in the Northern Province and Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran of being "irresponsible" in passing a resolution for an international genocide investigation to look into allegations dating back to the 1970s. The Prime Minister said that in that case, not only would the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE had to be charged with killings, but so would the IPKF that went in to assist in the late 1980s. He said "Casualties took place under the Sri Lankan SFs, the IPKF and also by the LTTE ... But to say that it was only the Government of Sri Lanka is wrong."

The UNHCHR Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein urged the Sri Lankan Government to design mechanisms that will work to address the human rights issues and not repeat the failures of the past. Delivering the Opening Statement at the 28th Session of UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland, the High Commissioner said the Member States were due to consider his report on the implementation of UNHRC resolution 25/1 on accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, including the findings of the comprehensive investigation mandated by the Council at this session. The High Commissioner said he will present the report on the UN mandated investigation into the alleged human rights violations by Sri Lanka during the war at the 30th Session of UNHRC in September.

March 6

Sri Lankan authorities have extended the detention of a former Sea Tiger Women's Wing leader of the LTTE arrested earlier this week. Police on March 2 arrested the former LTTE leader Murugesu Jayaganesh Pakeerathy at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo while she was about to leave for France with her eight-year-old daughter, a French national. The authorities initially detained her for 72-hours pending investigations by the Unit TID and the detention has been extended to 90 days under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. SSP Ajith Rohana said "We have now got a detention order under the Prevention of Terrorism Act which means we can hold her for a period of 90 days." "We are hopeful of completing investigations very soon," he added.

March 9

The GTF has requested the British Government to persuade the new Sri Lankan administration to lift the ban on Tamil Diaspora groups imposed by the previous Government.  The GTF is among those groups included in the list of proscribed organisations. GTF President Reverend Father S. J. Emmanuel has requested the ruling coalition’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Philip Hammond, MP, to take up the issue with the visiting Sri Lankan delegation led by President Maithripala Sirisena. The President and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera are scheduled to meet British PM David Cameron on March 10. GTF spokesperson Suren Surendiran confirmed their request to the British Government. Surendiran said that they strongly believed that the gazette notification bearing the number 1854/41, dated March 21, 2014 should be repealed.

Filmmaker Callum Macrae who exposed Sri Lanka's war crimes and took the famous picture of LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran's son eating a snack just before he was shot dead will release a new Sinhala version of his award winning documentary "No Fire Zone" in the premises of the House of Commons (UK). According to report, Britain's relation with Sri Lanka may soon sour over the film. The launch will be attended by director Callum Macrae and will have the presence of British MPs - Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh, Conservative MP Lee Scott and others from Parliament. The documentary was nominated for the prestigious Emmy award. The meeting will also be addressed by exiled Sinhalese writer Bashana Abeywardane. The release of the version will coincide with the visit of the new Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena to the UK and will take place a day before he is due to have dinner with the Queen.

A group of pro- LTTE British Tamils gathered at Westminster Abbey in London to protest the new Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena's participation in the Commonwealth Day celebrations held in London. According to the report, upon seeing the protesters, President Sirisena, who is the current Chair-In-Office of the Commonwealth, alighted from his official motorcade and greeted the protesters waving at them. The protest against the visiting President was organized by the British Tamils Forum (BTF). The President was attending the Commonwealth Day service held at Westminster Abbey. The event was attended by the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and representatives of Commonwealth Nations.

March 10

A Sri Lankan court released the Tamil woman activist, Balendran Jeyakumari who has been held in detention for nearly a year for allegedly harbouring a LTTE fugitive. Acting Police Media Spokesperson, ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said Colombo Magistrate Court released Jeyakumari on conditional bail after spending nearly a year in the Boossa detention camp. However, the Additional Magistrate has banned her from leaving the country as part of the bail conditions given to her by the Court. She is also required to report to police station closest to her residence every month, ASP Gunasekara said. The court also released six other activists along with Jeyakumari. Jeyakumari along with her 13-year-old daughter was arrested on March 13, 2014 in Kilinochchi for allegedly sheltering an LTTE cadre, named Gopi, who shot a Police inspector in Kilinochchi during an arrest.

Housing and Samurdhi Minister Sajith Premadasa said that TNA Parliamentarians do not stand for a separate state and their purpose is to ensure fair and equal treatment for Tamils. Minister Premadasa said some politicians make allegations against the TNA claiming that they supported President Maithripala Sirisena during the Presidential election to divide the country. This is a political lie used to mislead voters, he said. The Minister said that “LTTE activists in London protest against TNA MPs Sampanthan and Sumanthiran by burning their effigies. Even TNA MPs have accepted the unitary nature of the state” "If Sampanthan and Sumanthiran wished to see a separate State and supported Maithripala Sirisena to fulfill this purpose, it is a big question for us as to why LTTE supporters in the UK are protesting against them? The cat is out of the bag and the truth is revealed. The TNA MPs do not demand for a separate state. They only want equal treatment for Tamils," said the minister.

TNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran claimed that there are about 300 political prisoners in Sri Lanka. Sumanthiran was addressing the press following his meeting with Solicitor General Suhada Gamlath on the issue of LTTE detainees. However, Solicitor General Gamlath discounted this claim stating that it is unfair to claim that those who were taken into custody under the Prevention of Terrorism Act or under the Public Security Ordinance as political prisoners. He emphasized those arrests were made within a structured legal frame work and hence there are no political prisoners in the country.

Sumanthiran said that the law has taken a different course for those who helped the LTTE by providing them with food and water, and they are still in detention though 11,900 detainees have already been rehabilitated. According to Sumanthiran, the group under custody could be divided as (1) those against whom no legal action has been instituted (2) those whose legal battle is completed and (3) those against whom legal action continues."The Committee to be appointed by the Solicitor General will conduct its first meeting on March 16," sources said.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman who visited Sri Lanka from February 28 to March 3, expressed confidence over Sri Lanka's efforts towards reconciliation and cooperation. UN Political chief said that following presidential elections in January, a historic opportunity has now presented itself for Sri Lanka to set up a domestic process that is credible, accountable and up to par with international norms and standards for the benefit of the country's people, with the help of the wider international community. "The meetings and talks with the Government of Sri Lanka are so different than they used to be, so that leads us to greater expectations. There was suffering across all Sri Lanka, every community suffered and accountability must address the grievances in the North, but also allow that all [people] in Sri Lanka feel like all their concerns are being addressed," he said.

March 11

The CID of Sri Lankan Police, as directed by the IGP on the order of the Mount Lavinia Magistrate, will soon begin investigations into the murder of journalist Lasantha Wickrematunga. Police Spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said that preliminary investigations into the assassination of Wickrematunga were carried out by the Mirihana Police and later by the TID. As ordered by the IGP the CID has already sought the extracts related to their investigations from the Mirihana Police Station and the TID and CID would start its investigation after analysing these investigations, the spokesman said. Lasantha Wickrematunga, the chief editor of Sunday Leader, was assassinated on January 8, 2009 by four assailants who stopped him on his way to his office on Attidiya-Mt. Lavinia road, in a suburb of Colombo and opened fire at him.

March 12

President Maithripala Sirisena said that Sri Lanka does not want "any outsiders" in its domestic inquiry into alleged atrocities committed against the Tamil Tigers during the last stages of the country's civil war. "We are ready to get advice and their opinions for the inquiry, but I don't think we need any outsiders because we have all the sources for this," Sirisena said. This implies the UN investigators will not be able to participate in the domestic inquiry that the new government plans to set up within a month into the alleged war crimes committed during the nearly three decade-long military operations that crushed the LTTE in 2009.

Sirisena also said he hopes to set up a special investigative commission within a month to inquire into the alleged war crimes committed during the last phase of the country's civil war. President Sirisena said an investigative commission will be appointed legally and it will be tasked with identifying what needs to be done to probe the alleged violations. If the commission found anyone guilty of committing war crimes they will be punished according to the country's law, Mr. Sirisena said.

British writer-filmmaker Callum Macrae has urged Indian PM Narendra Modi to "show courage and commitment" in pushing Sri Lanka to address war crimes ahead of his visit to Colombo. Macrae said "(The Sri Lankan Government should) allow a genuinely independent international process of justice - something which can command support and trust of all communities of Sri Lanka." The filmmaker, who took the picture showing LTTE 'chief' Velupillai Prabhakaran's son eating a snack before he was shot dead and helped expose war crimes, said he wants to persuade Modi to intervene. Macrae recently released a Sinhala version of his award winning documentary, 'No Fire Zone' that has been nominated for the Emmy Award. India has refused visa to Macrae and certification for his film for screening, explaining in part it might "strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka". Macrae called New Delhi's attitude a cause of concern. "The refusing of a certificate on the openly political grounds...was a shameful episode - as was, quite frankly, the refusal to grant me visa,'' he said.  "Now that both the Government in Sri Lanka and the Government in India have changed, I hope that the certification will be granted and that when I re-apply for a visa, it too will be granted.''

March 13

A Sri Lankan court released a former leader of the LTTE Sea Tiger women's wing on conational bail when she was produced in court. Police spokesman, ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said Colombo Additional Magistrate Aruni Attigala released the former LTTE leader Murugesu Jayaganesh Pakeerathy on a personal bail of LKR 200,000. The suspected LTTE leader was ordered to hand over her passport to the court and appear before a Police Station once a week.

Indian PM Narendra Modi, who arrived in Sri Lanka, urged the Sri Lankan Government to ensure early and full implementation of the 13th Amendment and to go beyond that when finding a political solution. "We believe that early and full implementation of the 13th Amendment and going beyond it would contribute to this process," the Indian Prime Minister said at the Presidential Secretariat in the presence of the heads of the Sri Lankan Government.

Narendra Modi paid homage to the fallen soldiers of the IPKF in Colombo. He laid a wreath at the base of the tall column on which was inscribed the names of all the 1,500 Indian soldiers who were killed in the operations against the LTTE between 1987 and 1990.

March 14

Former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga in an International Conference on Education in Dubai said that the whole country does not want an international probe into the alleged war crimes committed during the 26-year long war with the LTTE terrorists. Kumaratunga has said that both the Sri Lankan people and its politicians found the calls for a UN-led international investigation "insulting" by implying that the country could not carry out its own. She said that Sri Lanka is united against an international investigation into alleged war crimes.

The PCICMP is to hand in an interim report regarding the missing persons' cases to the President Maithripala Sirisena on March 18, the Secretary to the Commission, H. W. Gunadasa has said.  According to the official, the report has already been finalized and it will be handed to the President on March 18. The Commission has recorded statements from witnesses regarding 303 cases of disappearance during the first week of this month. The Commission has received 471 complaints. Since the Establishment of the Commission on August 15, 2013, the Commission up to date has received in excess of 20,106 complaints inclusive of approximately 5,000 complaints from relatives of missing SFs personnel.

The arrest at the Colombo Airport last week of a former woman ‘Sea Tiger’, Murugesu Jayaganesh Pakeerathy has exposed new global LTTE financing networks with continued links in Sri Lanka. The husband of Murugesu Jayaganesh Pakeerathy lives in France and is identified as the main financial controller of the LTTE’s Diaspora-based global finance networks. The husband, Subramaniam Jayaganesh, is suspected to be still maintaining close ties with the former Tiger leader and key ‘banker’ Kumaran Pathmanathan alias ‘KP’ who was the LTTE’s main global funds coordinator. ‘KP’ currently lives in Sri Lanka following his arrest in Malaysia and controversial ‘rehabilitation’ by the previous regime despite many serious charges relating to terrorism arraigned against him. The sources said that the TID, which is currently questioning Murugesu found these international financial linkages. This has prompted a fresh probe into possible international LTTE financing networks that may still be linked with Colombo, Police sources said.

The court case against former LTTE leader Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP, arising out of a petition filed by the JVP, will be taken up by Court of Appeal this week.  At the last hearing, Justice Vijitha Malalagoda, asked for more information about KP’s global links.

March 16

PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that livelihood development programs should be implemented for the rehabilitated cadres of LTTE, in order to secure their economic environment. Following a special discussion headed by the PM held at the Temple Trees in Colombo, the PM appointed a committee to explore and initiate programmes to create employment for the ex LTTE cadres. The committee comprises the officials of the Bureau of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation. According to the Bureau of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation report Sri Lanka has almost completed the rehabilitation of nearly 12,000 former cadres of LTTE. Currently, 49 hardcore LTTE cadres remain in detention centers.

March 17

Visiting Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation, Federal Councilor Didier Burkhalter told the Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo that Switzerland is willing to open a new chapter in bilateral relations with Sri Lanka and ready to extend its full support for a national reconciliation programme. Burkhalter said that the Swiss Government is very happy with the measures taken by Sri Lankan Government so far to build up national reconciliation and empower democracy in Sri Lanka. Burkhalter also met TNA seniors R. Sampathan, and MP M.A. Sumanthiran and discussed the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka.

In a major reconciliatory move, President Maithripala Sirisena will be sending a circular to all institutions saying that there is no bar on singing the Lankan national anthem in Tamil language. He will thus be lifting an unofficial ban existing since 2010, when President Mahinda Rajapaksa let it be known that Government will frown on singing the anthem in Tamil. Schools and other institutions, which were using the Tamil version of "Sri Lanka Matha, Apa Sri Lanka" since 1951, stopped doing so. Sirisena announced his decision to lift the language bar when the leader of the DPF, Mano Ganeshan, raised the issue at the NEC meeting. "The President said that he would send a circular saying that there is no ban on singing the national anthem in Tamil. He also said that he would have the matter cleared by the National Security Council," Ganeshan said.

March 18

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera while presenting amendments to strengthen the laws to combat terrorist financing and money laundering combat in the Parliament said that the Government will review the proscription of 16 Tamil Diaspora organizations and over 400 individuals by the previous Government. Minister Samaraweera said that the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa Government banned Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora groups and individuals under the UNSC resolution 1373 for their alleged links to LTTE. He said the Government took that measure to "build up the hysteria about the LTTE regrouping" in the run up to the presidential election. Minister said "However, most of the organisations listed may have merely been vocal proponents of Tamil rights. There was hardly any tangible evidence to link them to the LTTE. Some of the individuals listed had even been dead for some time." "Reviewing this list of individuals and entities is an important exercise at this juncture when the Government of President Maithripala Sirisena is seriously committed to expedite the reconciliation process," the Minister pointed out.

Government has started a fresh probe in to the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda. Minister of Mass Media and Parliamentary Affairs Gayantha Karunathilaka has made this observation in parliament in response to an oral question posed by Kurunegala District in North Western Province Parliamentarian Shantha Bandara. Eknaligoda who supported the common opposition presidential candidate General (Retired) Sarath Fonseka at the 2010 Presidential elections disappeared in the evening of January 24, 2010, just 36 hours before the elections. Karunathilaka added that the government has also taken steps to formulate a welfare plan to support Eknaligoda's family and the education of his two children.

March 22

New Government conferred the country's highest military rank of Field Marshal to former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka, who was jailed on alleged treason charges by the previous Government of Mahinda Rajapaksa, for "achieving the victory over terrorism". President Maithripala Sirisena promoted the former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka to the rank of Field Marshal at a special function held at the Defence Ministry ground in Colombo. Fonseka, who is credited with leading the Sri Lankan Army to secure victory against the LTTE and eliminating the terrorist group, will be the first ever Field Marshal in Sri Lankan military history. He led the final phase of the war against terrorist group LTTE culminating in the total elimination of the terrorist group and three-decade long terrorism.

The PCICMP has decided to indefinitely postpone the handing in its interim report to the President Maithripala Sirisena. The report has already been finalized and it was to be handed to the President on March 18. However, the Chairman of the Commission Justice Maxwell Paranagama said that the presenting of the report to the President will be postponed indefinitely. As the President is busy with enormous amount of duties, the Commission has decided to postpone its meeting with the President.

The official said that the PCICMP report will be handed over to President Sirisena before the publication of the report of UN OHGHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) into alleged war crimes. It will be up to the President to decide whether to submit the report to the UNHRC, or to act according to a domestic legal framework, he added.

March 23

The New Government started handing the thousands of acres of land in the Northern Province taken by the SFs during the civil war back to the original owners. President Maithripala Sirisena, at a ceremony held at the Walalai area in Jaffna, released 425 acres of land previously situated in Jaffna high security zone to the original owners. At the event, the President symbolically presented the ownership certificates to the rightful owners of the land. President said his Government is dedicated to building peace and co-existence among all communities; eliminating fear and mistrust and will take every measure to resolve their burning grievances.

A large number of Tamils held demonstrations in the North and Eastern provinces, demanding an international probe into the alleged human rights violations during the last phase of war with the LTTE. Rejecting President Maithripala Sirisena Government's proposed domestic investigation rather than an international probe into the human rights violations, Tamils including activists of TNPF, held protest in eight Northern and Eastern Districts.

March 26

PM Ranil Wickremesinghe announced that the former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga has been appointed to lead a special Presidential Task Force to identify urgent reconciliation needs of the minority Tamil community. PM Wickremasinghe at a special meeting with the heads of government and private sector media institutes at the Temple Trees said that a Secretariat on National Harmony has been declared open under the leadership of the former president Mrs. Kumaratunga. "We are focused in achieving communal and religious harmony," Wickremesinghe said. Wickremasinghe added that the major task entrusted to the PTFR is to preserve the diversity of all ethnic groups. The PTFR would identify urgent reconciliation needs of the communities that require immediate solutions and would consider proposals from the public on the issues.

March 27

PM Ranil Wickremesinghe embarked on a tour in the Tamil dominated Northern Province in a bid to strengthen Government's efforts to bring about the reconciliation among the communities. The PM participated in a special meeting held with the Jaffna District parliamentary members and local Government representatives at the Jaffna District Secretariat to review the progress of the government's 100-day program implemented in the Northern Province. PM, while addressing the meeting, said the Government will provide long term solutions to address the problems faced by the people in the District who have been affected by the war and assured to take measures to uplift their economy along with the development of infrastructure facilities. Wickremesinghe also visited Point Pedro and Kilinochchi in the Northern Province, and talked to former combatants of the LTTE, war widows, civil society representatives, and parliamentarians.

The Kilinochchi Magistrate's Court in Kilinochchi District in Northern Province ordered the immediate release of Balendran Vibushika, the daughter of Tamil activist Balendran Jeyakumari, who was transferred to probationary custody in a children's home in Kilinochchi after her mother was arrested in March 2014, from probation. Balendran Jeyakumari, along with her then 13-year-old daughter, Vibushika, was arrested on March 13, 2014 in Kilinochchi for allegedly sheltering a LTTE cadre, named Gopi, who shot a Police Inspector in Kilinochchi during an arrest. Her daughter was handed over to Child Protection Services while the mother was sent to Boossa detention camp in Galle in Southern Province. Jeyakumari, who was detained for nearly a year without being charged, was released on conditional bail on March 10. Following Jeyakumari's release on bail, the Kilinochchi Magistrate's Court ordered the authorities to hand over Vibushika to her mother's custody.

March 28

PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the EU has responded positively to the quest made by him to extend the ban on, LTTE. The PM made this announcement when he met with the members of the three Armed Forces and Police at the Defence Headquarters at Palaly at Jaffna in Northern Province. Accordingly, the EU will further extend the ban on LTTE, the PM said. Wickremesinghe assured the SFs that his Government will not leave any room to sacrifice lives of armed forces and general public due to wrong decisions taken by the politicians.

Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Ajith P Perera said that the EU had re-imposed the ban on the LTTE due to the positive diplomatic intervention of the Government. However, the EU has not officially announced the decision to extend the ban.

March 30

Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith P Perera warned that there is a real danger that the LTTE could regroup and wage another war for an independent Tamil homeland, six years after they were militarily defeated. Perera said that "Their front organisations operate businesses abroad, they run petrol stations, supermarkets and have shipping companies." "Even though they have been defeated on the ground, there is a real danger of their trying to regroup," he said. His comments came after the Sri Lankan Government pushed the EU to again blacklist the LTTE.

Sri Lankan Government said that a final decision has not yet been taken on lifting the ban on some diaspora groups or individuals listed by the former Government. Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith P Perera said that the issue is sensitive and needs to be dealt with carefully and will also need the support of Parliament.

The CID of Sri Lanka has arrested three former Navy personnel and detained them in connection with the killing of TNA MP Nadarajah Raviraj and a Policeman providing security to him in 2006. The parliamentarian was shot dead by gunmen riding a motorbike in Colombo in Western Province on November 10, 2006. His bodyguard, Police Constable Lakshman Lokuwella attached to the Jaffna Police Station, was also killed in the shooting. The Spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said the three security personnel including two officers are being interrogated under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and they will also be questioned over several disappearances during that time. The new government of President Maithripala Sirisena has promised accountability for wartime abuses. Raviraj was outspoken on greater self-rule for minority ethnic Tamils and explained the Tamil perspective of the conflict in Sinhala, the language of the majority. A former mayor of Jaffna and a lawyer by profession, Raviraj openly spoke out against the conflict between the military and LTTE in the country's north and east.

Dismissing much-touted allegations that thousands had been still held on terrorism charges, Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said that there were only 210 persons in custody. The Minister stressed that nine held on terrorism charges had been given bail. According to the minister, 134 persons had been remanded had 60 were under investigation and 25 held under Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). Of the total number, nine have been released on bail.

March 31

The newly-appointed Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Krishantha de Silva said that Sri Lanka Army has not withdrawn the troops or camps in the North. The Army Commander has stressed that safeguarding territorial sovereignty was of paramount importance and assured to take all measures to prevent the resurgence of militancy in the North. The Commander added that the President, who is Commander-In-Chief, and he, himself are committed to achieving national security. He assured that no military camps have been withdrawn to release land to the original owners in the North and East. Speaking of the reports that the LTTE is trying to make a comeback, the Army Commander said the SFs are extremely alert and watching the situation "very carefully". "There will be zero tolerance of any acts of terror," he emphasized.

Three Sri Lankan Navy personnel, including two officers, have been arrested by the Police under the anti-terrorism Act for the alleged murder of a popular Tamil lawmaker in 2006 that had been blamed on the LTTE. Police spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said that the three men are suspected in the killing of Nadaraja Raviraj, who was shot dead in his car in November 2006 during the country's civil war. A former mayor of Jaffna and a lawyer by profession, Raviraj openly spoke out against the conflict between the military and LTTE in the country's North and East. The Government of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa blamed the killing on the now-defeated LTTE, but Raviraj's supporters suspected a Government hand.

April 1

The visiting UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Pablo de Greiff met with the Chief Minister of the Northern Province C. V. Wigneswaran. Reports said that Mr. de Greiff, who arrived in Sri Lanka on March 29, for a six-day visit on the invitation of the Sri Lankan Government, has held closed-door discussions with the Chief Minister on the current situation in the region. The UN official has reportedly requested not to disclose the discussions to the media. However, Tamil media reports said the Chief Minister has handed over the recently adopted NPC resolution on Tamil genocide to the Special Rapporteur. The resolution adopted by the NPC in February 2015 calls for an international investigation into alleged acts of genocide committed against the Tamils during the war.

April 2

Sri Lanka did not seize the opportunities that existed in 2009 after ending the war to bring the country together and has a chance now to achieve reconciliation, justice and true peace, said the US official Tom Malinowski. However, the process will require, in part, "looking backward, to acknowledge the suffering of the innocent and account for the wrongdoing of the guilty, on every side," Tom Malinowski, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor said assuring the support of the US for the process. "The US will continue to encourage that process, because experience has taught us that no society can move forward by burying the past. But our greatest hope is that you will keep moving forward," he remarked.

President Maithripala Sirisena chaired a special discussion on the identification and allocation of lands to resettle the IDPs of Mannar in Mannar District of Northern Province. The discussion, held at the President's Secretariat, especially centered on identifying suitable land to distribute to the displaced families in the Mannar District. The President advised to use the lands that are under the District Secretary's purview, while emphasizing to pay special attention to protect the thick forest cover in the area. The President pointed out the need to distributing lands without causing any discrimination to any ethnic group. According to the latest figures, 1,734 families in the Mannar District have requested for land, where 902 of them have been recommended as suitable to receive land.

April 3

The new Government has started a comprehensive investigation to determine whether arms and ammunition recovered from the LTTE were provided to terrorist organizations by the previous Government. The Cabinet Spokesperson and the Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine Rajitha Senaratne said that the Government will probe whether the recovered LTTE arms have been provided to the Ukrainian rebels and the Islamic terrorist organization Boko Haram in Nigeria. He said the previous Government has provided arms to a security institution which was allegedly involved in arms deals with a number of countries including Nigeria and the Government has received reports that the organization had exchanged arms in mid sea. The Minister said that the Government has suspicions as to whether they sold the LTTE weapons since the relevant officials in the Government have denied ever selling any state weapons. "The Government does not have a complete report about the weapons found from the LTTE during the last few day of war on terrorism," he said.

April 4

Three Army personnel including a Captain received injuries when they attempted to diffuse a landmine buried by the LTTE during war time in Wilasikulam forest area in Madhu Police Division in Mannar District of Northern Province. According to the Police, a Captain of the Engineering Corps, a Corporal and a Soldier who received injuries have been admitted to Vavuniya Hospital. It has been revealed that the landmine exploded due to a delay which occurred during bomb disposal.

Sri Lankan Army Headquarters said that the troops on their search and clear operations in the general areas of Kombavil, Puthukkudiyrippu, Ampakamam, Piramanthalaru and Kalkudah in Northern Province recovered six hand grenades, one 81 mm mortar bomb, one Arul bomb, one RPG bomb, one 40 mm grenade launcher bomb and one IED. The Army also said that the de-mining groups had recovered one hundred anti-personnel mines from Mahamailankulam, Kaddiadampan, 14th Mile Post and Pumalanathan in Northern Province. The arms that had been buried there by the LTTE during war time were detected by employees of a NGO and they alerted the SFs.

April 5

The Government will setup a national welfare centre in the country's war-ravaged North to uplift Tamil families headed by women or the victims of the nearly three decades-long civil war in the country, said PM Ranil Wickremesinghe's office. The national centre will be located in Kilinochchi in Northern Province, the former LTTE administrative centre, PM's office said in a statement. The decision was taken following a request made by the Northern people to set up the centre in Kilinochchi where most women had lost their husbands in the conflict. "It is a well known fact that most suffered persons due to a war are women and children. In the north alone there are nearly 50,000 families that are headed by women. They are made destitute due to their inability to provide food, accommodation and educational needs to their children," the statement said.

Based on a UN report on women-headed households, Wickremesinghe has appointed a committee to look at ways to uplift social and economic conditions of women-headed households. Since coming into power, the new Government has taken significant steps to bring normalcy in the North. The Government has returned some military-acquired land to original Tamil owners. A travel restriction for foreigners travelling to the North imposed by the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa regime has also been lifted. According to UN estimates, up to 40,000 Tamil civilians were killed by SFs during former president Mahinda Rajapaksa's regime that brought an end to the nearly three decades-long war in the country with the defeat of the LTTE in 2009.

April 10

The Army released 570 acres of land from High Security Zones in Jaffna District to the District Secretary for Jaffna for distribution among rightful owners. The Army in a statement said "Under today's phase, 397 acres from Kankasanthurai South and 173 acres from Valali in the Valikamam sector of Jaffna District have now been released to the District Secretariat, thus completing the extent of 1000 acres assured by the Government."

April 13

The IFJ along with the FMM condemned the arrest of a Tamil journalist in the Northern Province by the Sri Lankan Police on April 8 in Jaffna. IFJ in a statement accused the Sri Lankan Police in Jaffna of intimidating Tamil journalists.

April 14

The UNHRC listed certain urgent tasks for the Sri Lankan Government to do, so that charges of human rights abuses and war crimes are meaningfully addressed. Pablo de Greiff, UNHRC Special Rapporteur for Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence has said in his report that Sri Lanka should take "immediate action" to clarify the fate of the disappeared; refrain from arbitrary detentions; address land issues; and put an immediate end to continuing forms of harassment, violence and unjustified surveillance of civil society and war victims, in particular women in the Eastern and Northern Provinces. "These cast a serious doubt on current efforts," he said.

April 15

India's Central intelligence agencies have launched a major investigation into a "specific tip-off" that Naxals were now getting sophisticated weapons through the sea route from Sri Lanka. Top Indian intelligence sources claimed that they had received information some time back that Naxals were routing arms and ammunition through the sea route through an arms cartel which was suspected to be earlier providing weapons to the LTTE as well. It is suspected that the weapons are coming through Sri Lanka using the sea route, sources added. Report said that the intelligence officials are worried about this new "supply route" being used by the Naxals to procure sophisticated weapons, including the AK-series rifles, landmines, grenade launchers, communication equipment and even NVDs.

TNA has called on the Government to immediately intervene and halt disruptions to journalists in the Northern Province. TNA MP S. Shritharan has written a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena calling on him to intervene and probe the alleged intimidation faced by journalists in the North by groups claiming to be from the military. In one instance, three journalists were threatened by persons reportedly from the military after they had covered a public protest in Nallur in Jaffna District to demand clean drinking water.

The wife of missing Sri Lankan journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda, Sandya Eknaligoda said that she is not satisfied with the fresh probe that was launched by the new Government in to her husband's disappearance that took place in 2010. Sandya has said that though the Government had previously promised to hand over the investigations to the CID, she has so far not been informed of any progress regarding the ongoing investigations. "However I still have hope that the Government would find out what happened to Prageeth before the end of this year," Sandya has further said.

April 16

Refugees including Sri Lankan Tamils, rejected by Australia will soon fly from the Pacific atoll of Nauru to be resettled in Cambodia, the ABC said quoting the Australian Government.

April 18

TNA MP M A Sumanthiran said that the TNA has no allegiance to the LTTE as it is not in favour of terrorism. He said that "We do not have any allegiance to the LTTE nor are we committed to their ideology. We stand up for the rights of the Tamil people but we are not in favour of terrorism nor do we encourage it and everyone knows this." He also dismissed concerns over resurgence of the LTTE, saying it is an effort by political parties to create fear among the people.

April 22

The Governor of the Eastern Province Austin Fernando vehemently rejected the allegations that the lands in Sampur in Trincomalee District have been given to the LTTE terrorists. The Governor pointed out that handing over the lands to their original owners will never harm the security of the naval bases or naval jetty in Trincomalee. He said there is no truth in the speculation spread by some social media that the naval base in Sampur has been removed. The Government has taken measures to develop the Sampur navy training camp as a fully fledged navy training institute.

April 23

President Maithripala Sirisena defended the new Government's policy of returning private land, once used by the SFs, to legitimate owners, especially in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, where Tamils and Muslims are present substantially. Sirisena, while addressing the nation through the electronic media, said "the 30 year conflict" (with the LTTE) should not raise its head again. "We have to ensure amity among all communities." He said that a section of the media has been spreading falsehoods such as: the military has been removed from the North; their numbers have been reduced; that lands in Sampur had been given to LTTE terrorists; and that the Tamil and Muslim minorities have been given more rights than the Sinhalese. "These stories are being spread by extreme communalists. Please do not spread these false messages to the world," he urged.

April 26

Sixty percent of the people who had appeared before the PCICMP, blamed the LTTE for the disappearance of their kith and kin, PCICMP Chairman, Retired Justice Maxwell Paranagama, said. He said that "Thirty percent of the complaints were against the Sri Lankan SFs, 10 percent against the other (non-LTTE) Tamil militant groups, and 5 percent were against unidentified elements." A total of 2500 people from the Northern and Eastern Provinces had appeared before the commission. There were 16,000 complaints from civilians and 5600 from the SFs. Paranagama added that "However, the blame figures varied from district to district. In Kilinochchi, 85 percent of those who deposed blamed the LTTE. In Mullaitivu, 80 percent blamed the LTTE. In Jaffna, people blamed the LTTE and the SFs equally (50:50). In the Eastern Province most of the complaints were against the SFs. The Karuna group (a breakaway group of the LTTE), was also blamed to an extent in the East." Some of the cases have been referred for action and some for further investigations, he said.

The Commission has submitted its interim report to President Maithripala Sirisena. The Government has asked the panel to continue its work as it is also investigating allegations of war crimes.

April 30

Five Dutch nationals of Sri Lankan origin have been jailed for between nineteen months and six years three months for raising money for LTTE. The appeal court ruled the five, who range in age from 43 to 60, were members of the LTTE and had raised money for the terror group between 2003 and 2010. The charges involved threatening people who refused to make donations and organizing illegal lotteries, the court said.

May 2

TNA called for a special arrangement to ensure that Tamil speaking people would retain the same number of seats regardless of drastic drop in the number of electors over the years due to them fleeing the country or moving to Districts outside the Northern Province. TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said that their support for the proposed 20 Amendment to the Constitution would entirely depend on guarantee that the existing 160 electorates would remain intact. The MP insisted that the electoral reforms couldn't be finalized at the expense of Tamil speaking people. The MP insisted that the SLFP's push for an agreement on electoral reforms wasn't realistic therefore those spearheading talks on the 20 Amendment should be mindful of their concerns.

May 4

Chairman of the PCICMP, retired High Court Judge Maxwell Paranagama said that four teams will be appointed to the PCICMP to conduct investigations into future deliberations. He said the appointments were in accordance with the recommendations made in the interim report that was submitted to the President Maithripala Sirisena. These four teams will investigate about 16,000 complaints, according to the Chairman.

May 7

Sri Lanka's new Government said that a domestic mechanism will be in place by September to probe into the alleged human rights violations during the final stages of decades-long war with the LTTE. Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that the domestic mechanism with foreign technical expertise to probe into the allegations of war crimes will be in place when next UNHRC session will meet in Geneva in September.

The Governor of Eastern Province, Austin Fernando has strongly refuted criticism made in certain quarters about the Colombo's decision to resettle IDPs, mostly Tamils, in Sampur town in Trincomalee District. According to the Governor, critics of the Government sought to portray the move as one being carried out at the behest of Indian Government or as "sell out to the LTTE" or "politically motivated."

May 8

State Minister of Defence Dinendra Ruwan Wijewardene said that the language barrier between the Sinhala and Tamil communities was one of the reasons for the prolonged ethnic conflict that had plagued the nation for three decades and some extremist forces within these communities took it to their advantage and as a result the nation lost many invaluable lives and resources.

Two pro-LTTE Conservative candidates, MPS in the last Parliament, Lee Scott and Nick De Bois, were routed in May 7 British elections. According to the political observers, their failure to win their constituencies is considered a big blow to LTTE propaganda in the UK. Amal Abeyawardene of the CFSL said that the outcome of the British election is good news for Sri Lanka.

The IFJ in its latest report said that Sri Lanka along with India, Pakistan and Afghanistan is among the 'worst offenders' in the region in protecting journalists in 2014-15. The report also advocated a strong need for a campaign to end impunity to ensure that those who abduct, attack or kill journalists were brought to justice. "While Sri Lanka did not experience any journalist deaths in the past year, several had close shaves. Even six years after the end of the war, the media in the Northern and Eastern Province of the island continue to face attacks and harassment," the IFJ report said.

Smaller political parties in Sri Lanka, which represents minority communities, have expressed their opposition to the proposed 20th amendment to the constitution which incorporates reforms to the electoral system. "We are opposed to the move of bringing electoral reforms as an urgent bill. We are for reforming the system but we want the next election to be held under the existing system of proportional representation," said Mano Ganesan, a leader of a Tamil political party.

May 9

TNA Leader R. Sampanthan said that the Tamil people should be given a suitable political solution soon. Sampanthan further said that “They (Tamils) should also be given equal rights and Tamil people had complete confidence in present President Maithripala Sirisena.” Sampanthan said "President Sirisena should convince his electorate that Tamils in the North should be given their lands. We have never asked to divide the country. We have very clearly said that a political solution should be formulated through a local process”.

May 12

Some TNA members of the NPC announced that the period May 13 to 19 would be marked as ‘Tamil Genocide Week’ and began commemorating the dead with a function in Mullavaikkal in Mullaitivu District where the final battle was fought in 2009. The military defeated the LTTE on May 19 (2009) - which is marked and celebrated as Victory Day in the country.

TNA NPC member M.K. Sivajilingam said “We lit lamps and offered floral tributes at a small function in Mullavaikkal in Mullaitivu District. This week we will have commemorations throughout the North. We requested the party hierarchy to hold the main function on May 19.” He also said that he was backed by a few other members of the TNA in this exercise. However, it is learnt that the TNA, as a party, has not organised any such commemoration.

May 13

Government warned that any attempt to commemorate LTTE on the sixth anniversary of the end of the three-decade long civil war will not be condoned.  Senior Minister Karu Jayasuriya said that "Anyone trying to commemorate the LTTE which was a terror group will not be approved by the government. There are elements who want to misuse the new democratic freedom in the country to show that terrorism could rise its head again."

According to the authorities, over 40 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees from various camps in Tamil Nadu, India voluntarily left for Sri Lanka from Chennai and Tiruchirappalli with the assistance of UNHCR.

Minister for Resettlement, Reconstruction and Hindu Religious Affairs, D.M. Swaminathan said that only 35 percent of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in Tamil Nadu (India) are willing to return to Sri Lanka. Swaminathan, who received 65 Tamil refugees on their arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, said that of most of about 100,000 refugees in Tamil Nadu had got jobs there, married had children. "Not all of them will come here. It is all rubbish", he said.

Emphasizing that his Government would welcome all those refugees who were willing to return, Minister Swaminathan noted that some of the returnees had Indian passports and they can come back to Sri Lanka under the dual citizenship system.

May 14

Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne announced that the day, May 19 which was celebrated as “Victory Day” by the Government of Mahinda Rajapaksa to mark the LTTE’s defeat, will from this year onwards be observed as “Remembrance Day” to recall the sacrifices of all those who had fought in the Eelam War-IV to maintain the unity and integrity of Sri Lanka irrespective of their ethnicity. He also added that it would be a day that culminated the end of separatism.

In a bid to take this message of unity to the interior of the island, the function this year will be held, not in Colombo, but at Matara in the Southern Province.  However, as in the past, there will be a military parade at which President Maithripala Sirisena will take the salute.

The TNA leader M.A. Sumanthiran said that “TNA, even in 2010, a year after the end of the War, had called upon people to remember the dead without any reference to the LTTE or religion. Its point was there should be “no sense of triumphalism” but a “feeling of regret and sadness”.

Member of the NPC and former MP M.K. Shivajilingam said that as part of the “genocidal week,” beginning on May 12, he took part in functions in Mullivaikkal, Trincomalee and Point Pedro in the last three days to pay homage to all those who died in the War”  “The dead included those who belonged to the LTTE,” said Shivajilingam, who is the national organiser of the TELO, now a political party.

Sri Lankan Government reiterated that Sri Lanka has not faced pressure from the Tamil diaspora after the January 8, 2015 Presidential elections. Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said that earlier there were reports of the diaspora staging protests in foreign countries against Sri Lanka. However, as the country prepares to commemorate six years since the end of the war, Senaratne noted that the diaspora has gone silent since the Government is addressing the concerns of the Tamils.

Minister also invited NPC to attend the “Remembrance Day” functions which will be held next week in Southern Province. “We are inviting all. We’ll see whether they are coming,” Rajitha Senaratne said.

According to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Government is planning to set up a commission to probe the killing and disappearances of media persons in the past. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, during a recent discussion he had with media personnel and other stakeholders, said that it was decided that such a commission should be established in consultation and concurrence with media groups, civil society organizations and other relevant partners. The PM noted that the harassment and intimidation on media institutions and journalists which prevailed in the past have stopped under the 'good governance' established since President Maithripala Sirisena assumed office.

May 16

On the request of Mullaitivu Police, the Mullaitivu Magistrate Court issued an order banning people from holding any LTTE commemoration events or remembrance events in the Mullaitivu Police Division in Mullaitivu District of Northern Province for 14 days starting from May 18. Police have sought the court order after learning that TNPF was planning to hold an LTTE-remembrance event at Mullivaikal in Mullaitivu District on May 18.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who hopes to romp back to power in the coming parliamentary elections on a Sinhalese-nationalist wave, decided to celebrate May 18, the day on which LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was killed, as “War Heroes’ Day”. Rajapaksa’s rally to be held at Viharamahadevi Park in Colombo is significant in the context of President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to observe May 19 as “Remembrance Day” to honor all Lankans, soldiers and civilians, irrespective of ethnicity, who had sacrificed their life or limb for the sake of the unity and integrity of the country.

May 17

Despite the ban on pro-LTTE commemorations in Mullaitivu District, the TNA - controlled NPC intends to have a function in the North on May 18 to pay to tribute to those who lost their lives, party officials said. TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said that the NCP organized event was originally to be conducted in Mullivaikkal, the area where the last battle was fought between the LTTE and the SFs on May 18, 2009 ending three decades of war. The venue had to be changed following the court order that banned any form of LTTE commemoration in the area, he added. He also criticised the Government for not allowing such functions.

The Council of Tamil Civil Society Organisations has made an open request to Tamils to attend Remembrance Day functions in their respective areas without keeping away and to perform poojas in all Hindu temples for the souls of their departed loved ones. It also requested to pay floral tributes and light lamps in schools, government departments and offices in the North and East and to get the permission of their respective Provincial Council administrations to hold remembrance in a similar manner.

A London-based Tamil diaspora group, GTF hailed Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena as an "emerging patriot and statesman" by "word and example". GTF President Father S.J. Emmanuel in his message to mark May 18, the day Sri Lankan SFs ended the LTTE terrorism six years ago said that President Maithripala Sirisena, by word and example, is appealing to all to put the country and the people before political parties and seek a peaceful coexistence of all peoples.

May 18

Despite the court order banning pro-LTTE commemorations, Tamils including some of the TNA leaders and civilians, for the first time since the end of the Eelam War-IV six years ago, openly paid tribute to the thousands of dead in the final stages of the war in Mullaitivu District. TNA members of the NPC and local leaders, under heavy surveillance, lit oil lamps and offered flowers at a makeshift memorial in Mullivaikkal village.

In a function organized at the Mullivaikkal beach in Mullaitivu District, Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran urged that the Sri Lankan Government and international community to take a decision on the Tamil question. He said, "This in turn could usher in peace and dignity among various communities in Sri Lanka.". "The environment is now much more positive. Without delay, we must work towards the all important goal of maximum devolution for the Tamil speaking people," he added.

The IFJ and its several affiliates have called for more dialogue and discussion on improving working conditions for journalists in Sri Lanka if the country is to rebuild a strong, robust and professional media industry in the country. In a statement, the media organizations highlighting some of the obstacles preventing journalists from joining and being active in unions said further support was needed for journalists in exile trying to return. The media group also asked the Government to create an independent Commission of Inquiry with a mandate and adequate powers to investigate past killings and disappearances of media workers, threats and attacks on journalists and media outlets and to ensure prosecution of those responsible and pay compensation to the victims and their families.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, while attending a commemoration accused the Sirisena Government of forgetting the troops who were responsible for the crushing the LTTE's 30-year campaign. "Please take revenge from me, put me in jail, but do not forget the heroic forces," Rajapaksa told the gathering.

The ITJP Sri Lanka, headed by South African human rights activist Yasmin Sooka, asked the Sri Lankan Government to give information about the whereabouts of 110 LTTE leaders who had surrendered to the Sri Lankan military in full public view on May 18, 2009. "The failure on the part of the authorities to carry out a proper investigation into their subsequent disappearance is a further injustice as well as a personal tragedy", an ITJP press release said.

May 19

President Maithripala Sirisena, while addressing the 'War Hero's Day' celebrations at the coastal town of Matara in Southern Province said that achieving national reconciliation with the minority Tamil community is a priority for the new Sri Lankan Government and winning hearts and minds is more important than reconstructing war-devastated buildings. Attending the celebrations as the country marked the 6th anniversary of the end of the conflict with the LTTE that killed over 40,000 persons, Sirisena said that "National reconciliation build on mutual trust, confidence and respect of all communities is my government's policy."

Sirisena pledged the Government's support for the military. "I have the fullest confidence in you (the troops) to safeguard the security of our motherland," he said, accusing his rivals of spreading "false propaganda" against the Government. He also assured that he would not allow the LTTE to raise its head again.

PM Ranil Wickremesinghe praised the efforts of the country's soldiers for defeating the armed movement, the LTTE, stating that "war heroes who eliminated terrorism that engulfed our country for a longtime laid the basic foundation to build national unity and harmony". While speaking at a commemoration function, recently renamed as 'Armed Forces Day' in Matara in Southern Province, the PM said "We should remember with gratitude and respect our men and women who laid their lives in combating terrorism, peace keeping and humanitarian operations across the world and the ones who became disabled while doing their duty diligently."

May 20

State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardena strongly rejected the allegation made by the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and opposition MPs who had stated that the LTTE flag was hoisted in parts of the Northern Province on May 18 when Sri Lanka commemorated the sixth year of defeating LTTE terrorism. The Minister said that "Report received from intelligence agencies state no such incident being staged in the Northern or Eastern Provinces. These rumors are spread by certain persons with vested interests, media sources and social web sites to achieve their own political agendas."

Sri Lanka's Supreme Court has lifted the stay on the transfer of 818 acres of land in Sampur area in Eastern Province to the displaced Tamils after the displaced appealed to the court to return the land. Earlier, TNA parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran submitted an intervention to the Supreme Court demanding return of appropriated lands to listed individuals from Sampur. The bench, headed by Chief Justice S Sripavan accepted the plea of the counsel for the displaced families that the Government had consistently held that the lands seized by the military in 2006-07 during the height of war in the Eastern Province would be returned to the displaced Tamils of the area.

May 23

Sri Lankan Police arrested two persons for allegedly printing and dealing FICN in Sri Lanka. Police said that the two from the Colombo suburbs of Ja-Ela and Wattala were found to be exchanging FICNs with genuine notes. Police have recovered 25 FICNs of INR 1,000 denomination from the first person and another 156 fake notes of INR 1,000 denomination from the second person.

May 24

President Maithripala Sirisena said that Sri Lankan Government plans to devise a comprehensive national security plan covering all aspects of necessary areas of security in the country. During an observation visit to the SFHQ-E in Welikanda in Polonnaruwa District in North Central Province, the President said that national security plan has already been taken up in the National Security Council and will be finalized shortly with the support of tri-services after consultations.

May 26

Sri Lanka's wartime Army chief, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said that his conscience is clear and he would welcome a war crimes investigation to prove his innocence. While accepting that some crimes occurred during the war, Fonseka insists that these were acts of individual offenders, and not systematic. "The army as a whole, I can give the assurance that we never committed war crimes," he said. "There were no rapes, no torture during my command during the war. I know there have been a couple of allegations. But there should not be reason to try to declare war against the media or against the international community. We can clarify it," he added.

According to an Indonesian Police chief, Australian customs have turned back 65 people, including 54 Sri Lankan Tamils, after their boat reached Australian waters. The 65 persons, 54 from Sri Lanka, 10 from Bangladesh and one from Myanmar, who reportedly claimed to be asylum seekers, are in detention on the Indonesian island of Rote. According to report, they had started out from Pelabuhan Ratu in West Java on May 24 and were intercepted by Australian customs two days later.

May 28

Despite Maithripala Sirisena Government's repeated assertions of attaching priority to ethnic reconciliation in the country, the regime has been found to be "reluctant" in demilitiarising the Northern and Eastern Provinces where Tamils live in large numbers, according to a study conducted by US based policy think tank, Oakland Institute. According to the Institute, the study was carried out during the period of January 2014-April 2015 "with the knowledge but not the cooperation of the Sri Lankan government." As part of the study, the organisation has prepared two reports. The study criticized the four-month-old Government for operating with the "old mindset" in security related matters. The report said that the Government has also not proposed a timeline or monitoring mechanism to ensure the release of Tamil political prisoners or return of lands to original owners in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

May 29

President Maithripala Sirisena said that he has already instructed the relevant authorities to reopen files relating to the abductions and assassinations of journalists during the past few years. The President, while handing over a cash grant to Sandiya Ekneligoda, wife of missing journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda at the Sri Lanka Bar Association Auditorium in Colombo, said that "Impartial, methodical and justifiable investigations will be carried out in to the abductions of journalists, since the government strongly believes that the rule of law should be protected. Accordingly, investigations will be carried out promptly and recommenced into all suppressed misconducts." Sirisena added that the Government has clearly understood that it is duty bound to establish justice for the victimized journalists.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa expressed fears about the possibility of a revival of the defunct terrorist organization, LTTE, in the country. While speaking to media in Anuradhapura in North Central Province, he said that "I have a suspicion that we may return to see terrorism. We don't want to see that happening we want everyone to live in peace and harmony." Rajapaksa also accused President Maithripala Sirisena of relaxing security in the North to cater to the demand of the Tamils in the Northern Province to demilitarize the former conflict-affected areas. Report also adds that according to political observers, raising fears of an LTTE revival could help the former President, who plans to contest parliamentary polls to make a political comeback, to win the elections. Rajapaksa loyalists in the former ruling party, UPFA are leading the campaign to get him appointed as the Prime Minister.

Sri Lankan Government has assured that it will never allow the terrorist group to revive in the country and condemned those trying to raise fears for political mileage.

May 30

TNA parliamentarian, M. A. Sumanthiran has said that discussions are underway with the Sri Lankan Government authorities to get 278 Tamil political prisoners released. According to Sumanthiran, the TNA is in discussions with the Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe on the procedural methods and the priority categories of prisoners to be released. He said that many prisoners have not been served any indictments but arrested on mere suspicion, while many others have been arrested for minor offences.

June 1

The Britain- based Tamil group, British Tamil Forum has sought India's help for Tamils based in Northern Sri Lanka in improving their lives through a host of measures. Representatives of the British Tamil Forum, which claims to represent nearly 4,00,000 from the community living in the UK, met officials of the Indian High Commission in London last week and sought positive measures for the Tamils who are "first Sri Lankan but do have an affinity to India"."The meeting went very well and whilst the Indian government will be keen to help in partnership with the Sri Lankan government for all such positive efforts, the point was made and unanimously applauded that peaceful and diplomatic avenues only remain our work-ethic base," said Anil Bhanot, managing director of Hindu Council UK - the charity which facilitated the meeting.

Report said that some of the suggested measures included psychological and psychiatric help for the Tamils in the region, particularly women, apparently affected during the nearly three decade-long brutal war against the LTTE, besides setting up of Indian education institutions branches. They also included a bridge between Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and a northern Sri Lankan port for easier movement of goods and services and people with the appropriate controls; and a ferry service, which existed before the war, should be resumed.

Around 2,175 internally displaced Tamil families in Jaffna and Trincomalee Districts will receive a financial assistance of LKR 38,000 per family for resettlement with the Cabinet of the Sri Lankan Government sanctioning LKR 160 million.  According to the report, 204 families in Sampur in Trincomalee District of the Eastern Province, and 1,971 families in Jaffna of the Northern Province will get the assistance initially. Of the amount of assistance, LKR 25,000 is set apart for resettlement allowance and the remaining LKR 13,000 for purposes such as clearing land and purchase of tools.

Three minor Tamil political parties in Sri Lanka have decided to join hands to form a new political front, saying that the TNA only represents the Tamils in the Northern and Eastern part of the country. Mano Ganesan, the leader of the Democratic People's Front (DPF), a minority party for the Tamils in Western Province has said two other political parties, the National Union of Workers (NUW) and Up Country People's Front (UCPF), which represent estate Tamils in central hill plantations, are to join his party to form the new political front.

June 2

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran charged that narcotic drugs had been introduced in the Province in a systematic manner with the intention of preventing a Tamil youth-resurgence. Speaking at a function in Jaffna, the Chief Minister said some of the state officials and ministers had the opinion previously that Tamil youths should not be get together as idea of rebelling could arise in them. He also said that Northern youth had put pressure on previous Governments by taking up arms and the previous Governments had to incur a large expenditure with foreign aid to put an end to the armed conflict.

The US said that President Maithripala Sirisena had moved Sri Lanka away from divisive politics and crony capitalism toward a new path of reconciliation. The Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of US Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, Richard E. Hoagland said that “Democratic elections have brought about a sea-change in US- Sri Lanka relationship, where the new President has moved the country away from divisive politics and crony capitalism toward a new path of reconciliation and inclusive development.”

According to a recent survey conducted by CPA, though the Sri Lankan Government is giving emphasis on reconciliation process, the country’s four major ethnic groups; Sinhalese, Tamils, upcountry Tamils and Muslims remain divided on issues concerning the topic. Of four questions raised during the survey, the question that continues to see perceptible division between the Sinhalese and the Tamils is about the work done by the Government to address the root causes of the ethnic conflict. Thirty five per cent of Sinhalese respondents are of the view that the Government has done a lot whereas 39.9 per cent of Tamils (Sri Lankan Tamils) and 33.3 per cent of the upcountry Tamils (Indian Tamils) feel that nothing has been done. However, 6.3 per cent of the Muslims hold the view that large sections of the Tamils have benefitted, 62.9 per cent of the Muslim respondents have said “the government has done a little but not enough.” Among the Sinhalese respondents, 3.1 per cent have said the Government has done nothing and 38.2 per cent feel that “the government has done a little but not enough.”

June 3

Ahead of the forthcoming Parliamentary elections, a new political formation, Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) was formally launched to highlight issues and problems of Indian Tamils in Sri Lanka. The TPA comprises Democratic People’s Front (DPF) of Mano Ganesan; Up Country People’s Front (UCPF) of V. S. Radhakrishnan and the National Union of Workers (NUW) of Palany Thigambaram. The three leaders asserted that the Alliance was formed not meant for the polls but out of the realization that a “unified and cohesive force” would ensure the accomplishment of more concessions and rights for the Indian Tamils.

According to report, UK immigration officials have detained Janahan Sivanathan, a 22-year-old Tamil asylum seeker from Sri Lanka, at the Morton Hall detention centre in Lincolnshire while the Government tries to deport him. Supporters said that Janahan was “horrendously tortured” as a school student during the war in Sri Lanka, after he was rounded up and held captive for ten days. They said that his medical case history shows he suffered serious torture and is at high risk of suicide.

June 4

The newly formed alliance of three minor Tamil political parties in Sri Lanka, TPA has decided to support the government party, UNP. TPA has also decided to contest the elections under the elephant symbol of the UNP.

TPA has elected a working committee to carry out its policies and plan of action. Mano Ganesan will be the President of the TPA working committee while Palani Digambaram and Radhakrishnan will be Deputy Presidents.

A statue resembling slain LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran installed in a private temple at Therkku Poigainallur village near Velankanni in Nagapattinam District in Tamil Nadu (India) has caused a flutter in the locality. The statue resembling Prabakaran in camouflage uniform with a horse in the background was installed on the campus of the Periyachi Amman Temple built in the village. Police sources said that no case has been registered so far in this connection.

June 5

Soldiers of Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) those who paid sacrifice during their mission in Sri Lanka between July 1987 and March 1990 were remembered in a ceremony organized at the newly erected IPKF cenotaph in Palaly in Jaffna in Northern Province. The IPKF memorial remembers 33 Indian soldiers who laid their lives for sake of the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.

June 6

Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Mahishini Colonne said that a final decision on an independent mechanism to address issues of missing persons and alleged violations of human rights and humanitarian law will be taken after discussions with all concerned, including civil society and victims. All international partners, including the UNHCHR Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, appreciate that, for any mechanism to succeed, all those concerned must be consulted, said Mahishini Colonne, who also heads the Foreign Ministry’s UN Division. She said such mechanisms must be evolved through mindful and careful deliberation as opposed to being rushed. She added that the lack of “mindful and careful deliberation” was the reason for the failure of many past mechanisms.

In an interview, NPC member Ananthy Sasistharan, wife of a senior functionary of the LTTE claimed that her husband, Sasistharan alias Elilan surrendered to the Sri Lankan forces on the advice of Indian MP, Kanimozhi belonging to DMK. Ananthy said that “it was after his conversation with Ms. Kanimozhi in Mullivaikkal at about 8 p.m. on May 16, 2009, my husband chose to surrender himself to the forces. This is not the first time that I am saying this. So far, there has been no response from the other side.  It is time Karunanidhi Ayya and Ms. Kanimozhi break their silence and tell the world who were all behind the entire episode.” When asked if her husband had any other option, she said, “He might have taken cyanide pills as he had two.” However, she said she was not aware of the instructions of the LTTE to its members in such an eventuality.

According to a local media report, the current Sri Lankan Government is reviewing the ban on some Tamil Diaspora groups and individuals. Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Mahishini Colonne said that the former Government gazetted the listing of the groups and individuals but the new Government said there was a requirement to review the ban in order to take the reconciliation process forward. Colonne said that under the UN obligations an annual review of individuals and entities listed under the UNSC Resolution 1373, is essential and the review process is underway by a Committee.

The statue of slain LTTE leader Veluppillai Prabakaran at a private temple at Therkku Poigainallur village near Velankanni in Nagapattinam District in Tamil Nadu (India) was removed. There were literally no symptoms of the statue being installed on the premises of Sevugaraya Ayyanar and Periyachi Amman temple, which was consecrated on June 4. Police, Revenue and Intelligence officials conducted an enquiry in the village and questioned a group of organisers, who were involved in the construction and consecration of the temple. When the implications of installing a statue of leader of a banned organisation was explained to them, they agreed to remove it, Police sources said.

The Velankanni Police (Tamil Nadu) has registered a case in connection with the installation of the statue. Police sources said a case was booked under Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) on a complainant preferred by Saminathan, Village Administrative Officer of South Poigainallur in Nagapattinam District.

June 7

DMK MP Kanimozhi dismissed as “completely baseless” the claim of Ananthy Sasistharan that her husband, who was a senior functionary of the LTTE, surrendered to the Sri Lankan forces on her (Kanimozhi's) advice. “I am not an authority to ask someone to surrender either on behalf of the Indian Government or the Sri Lankan Government. I do not know who is behind this story,” Kanimozhi said.

JVP leader, K.D. Lalkantha visited the Sampur area in the Trincomalee District in Eastern Province on a fact finding mission. Lalkantha said that the visit was aimed at inspecting the plight of the IDPs yet to be resettled in Sampur and the obstruction posed by the proposed coal power plant. He explained that the people possess the right to return to their original lands in Sampur and that authorities should be mindful of the environment and health hazards posed by the proposed plant.

June 8

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Vigneswaran said that the people in the North would be happy if the Armed Forces were withdrawn from the Province. He has attributed this sentiment to several allegations leveled against the Army. According to the Chief Minister, there had not been problem about the use of heroin in the Province before 2009 during the reign of the terrorist group LTTE.

Sri Lankan Government held talks with Tamil Diaspora groups in London, discussing at length needs of those displaced during the war against the LTTE. Welcoming the move, TNA said in a statement that Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera was also present during the dialogue. “The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) continued their informal dialogue over the last two days in London with various stakeholders to enhance confidence building measures between all communities within and outside Sri Lanka,” TNA statement said. It said the need for constructive engagement by the Sri Lankan Diaspora was discussed, including the needs of IDPs.

June 10

Sri Lankan Government welcomed the contribution of Sri Lankan Diaspora, irrespective of ethnicity or religion, to support the country in its reconciliation efforts as well as capacity building and welfare of the people. Referring to the recent meetings the Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera had with the Tamil Diaspora community in London (UK), the spokesperson of the Foreign Affairs Ministry Mahishini Colonne said that the LLRC made several recommendations in their report pertaining to the important requirement for Sri Lanka to engage with the Sri Lankan Diaspora to achieve meaningful and lasting reconciliation in the country.

Emphasizing that the Sri Lanka Police continue to maintain security in Jaffna, the Sri Lanka Army affirmed that there is no military administration whatsoever in the Northern Provincial capital, Jaffna. SFs Commander in Jaffna Major General Nandana Udawatta said that the military is not involved in civilian administration and there was no security threat to the Jaffna peninsula after the Presidential Election held on January 8, 2015. He denied the reports that extra troops had been sent to Jaffna following the recent incident of rape and murder of school girl Sivaloganathan Vithiya, which triggered violence in the area.

The controversial documentary on Sri Lanka's war against LTTE terrorists, 'No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka' has reportedly been screened in the Irish Parliament. According to foreign media reports, Member of Irish Parliament Paul Murphy has hosted the event with the attendance of Irish MPs, the film's director Callum Macrae, exiled Sri Lankan journalist Bashana Abeywardena and investigative reporter on Sri Lanka Phil Miller. Murphy had described the film, which has been shown in the European Parliament recently as a "powerful indictment of the massacre of the Tamils in Sri Lanka at the end of the war."

However, Sri Lanka has strongly rejected Macrae's documentary on alleged humanitarian law violations saying that the film contained no facts but "concocted lies, half-truths and speculations" put together to embarrass the country.

June 11

Minister of Power and Energy and JHU General Secretary Champika Ranawaka said that the cabinet paper submitted to grant Government compensation for injured LTTE terrorists had to be withdrawn after he protested against it. Minister Ranawaka said “Some ministers submitted a cabinet paper proposing that the injured LTTE terrorists should be compensated by the government. I strongly objected it and it had to be withdrawn.”

Champika Ranawaka also said that JHU was strongly opposed to hosting a festival of Diaspora as claimed by the Foreign Affairs Ministry and that hosting such a discussion would instigate racisms and terrorism. “There has been no discussion within the government about this. We do not think hosting such a discussion with organizations banned by the defense ministry through a gazette notification would ensure peace in the country. It is an instigation of terrorism,” Ranawaka said.

June 12

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera told the Parliament that the once anti-Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora is likely to issue a statement renouncing violence and separatism. Samaraweera said "As a result of our discussions (in London last weekend), and our efforts, it is most likely that the Diaspora groups which were previously hostile to Sri Lanka, would issue a declaration renouncing violence and commit themselves to working towards a united, undivided Sri Lanka." Samaraweera was giving a detailed answer to the Leader of the Opposition, Nimal Siripala de Silva, who had asked a number of questions pertaining to the meeting with the GTF and a few Western peaceniks. Samaraweera denied that the issue of lifting the ban on the LTTE was discussed. He also denied that there was any discussion on "war crimes" and the proposed domestic mechanism to investigate charges of war crimes.

Sri Lankan Cabinet of Ministers during a special meeting convened approved a new electoral system proposed for the 20th Amendment that increased the number of parliamentary seats to 237 from the current 225. Under the new system, 145 Parliamentarians will be elected under the First-Past-the Post (FPP) system, 55 under the District Proportional Representation (PR) system and 37 from the National List through the 20th Amendment to the Constitution. The new proposal was presented to the Cabinet meeting by President Maithripala Sirisena.

June 13

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa alleged that 59 Sri Lankan Army camps in the Tamil majority Northern Province were shut down by the successor Government led by President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. In a letter addressed to participants in a "Bring Back Mahinda Rally" at Matara District in Southern Province, Rajapaksa charged that the withdrawal had taken place at a time when ‘Eelam’ flags had reappeared in the North, indicating a revival of terrorism. He added that the present Government is compromising national security by suggesting the release of LTTE cadres in custody, and holding discussions with persons like the former Norwegian Peace Envoy, Erik Solheim, who, he alleged, is trying to revive Tamil separatism.

Sri Lankan Government has dismissed the claims made by the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa that the new Government has closed 59 Army camps in the Tamil majority Northern Province. The General Secretary of the UNP, Minister Kabir Hashim in a statement denied the former President's allegation asserting that neither the President Sirisena nor the PM Wickramasinghe or the present Government has removed any of the Army camps in the Northern Province.

June 15

HRW delivering a statement at the 29th session of the UNHRC in Geneva said that Sri Lanka should include a majority of international judges or prosecutors in the domestic mechanism it intends to establish to address the accountability issue.

June 16

The Army Headquarters issuing a statement denied media reports which said that 59 Army camps in Jaffna District of Northern Province have been closed since January 2015 after the new Government was established.

June 18

Responding to the statement of HRW, Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said that the International Community must keep confidence in Sri Lanka and assured that the domestic inquiry would be a credible mechanism acceptable for the international as well as the local community.

June 19

United State Department of State in its Annual Country Report on Terrorism for 2014 released said that despite the military defeat of the LTTE at the hands of the Government in 2009, the LTTE's financial network of support had continued to operate throughout 2014.

June 20

Foreign Affairs Minister, Mangala Samaraweera said that Sri Lanka failed to seize the opportunity presented by the end of the Eelam War-4 in May 2009 to achieve meaningful reconciliation and consolidate peace.

June 21

State Minister for Defence Ruwan Wijewardene said that there is no truth in the statements that are being made by the Opposition that the LTTE is raising its head in the North because of certain actions by the present regime.

June 22

Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera strongly rejected allegations that the Government received US$ 3.5 million from the UNHRC for a Diaspora festival to reintroduce the separatist Eelam agenda.

The Council of the EU while releasing the EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World in 2014 in Luxembourg said that it was not possible to hold sessions of the established human rights dialogues with Sri Lanka in 2014.

June 23

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament that the Government has not made any decision to withdraw military camps from war-torn north and east.

June 25

Colombo High Court handed over death sentence to Staff Sergeant Ratnayake Mudiyanselage Sunil Rathnayake for murdering eight Tamil civilians in Jaffna District on December 19, 2000.

The 2014 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices published by the United State Department of State said that the Government of Sri Lanka is yet to hold anyone accountable for alleged violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law that occurred during the conflict that ended in 2009.

June 27

The PCICMP began its public sittings to hear cases of missing in Trincomalee District of Eastern Province. The Public Sittings are being conducted in the towns of Trincomalee and Muttur in the Trincomalee District from June 27-30.

Source:Compiled from news reports and are provisional.

 

 

 

 

 
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