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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.

Source:Compiled from news reports and are provisional.

 

 

 

 

 
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