Julie Bishop stalls on UN call for Sri Lanka war crimes inquiry

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*Julie Bishop stalls on UN call for Sri Lanka war crimes inquiry[ SMH ][ Mar 20 14:57 GMT ]

The Abbott government is resisting a push by its closest allies to establish a United Nations investigation into war crimes and human rights abuses in Sri Lanka, where Australia has returned more than 1100 failed asylum seekers in the past 18 months.Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed Australia had not co-sponsored the resolution and wanted a motion to reflect ”progress” in ”reconstruction and rehabilitation” in Sri Lanka. [ full story |


Tamil doctor ‘was pressured to recant war reports by Sri Lanka’[ BBC ][ Mar 20 16:28 GMT ]

A doctor who worked in Sri Lanka’s combat zone in the final days of the civil war has told the BBC he was forced by the government to recant his claims about casualty figures.”Everyday we received hundreds of casualties. I only told what actually happened on the ground. Tamil Tigers neither forced us nor did we exaggerate casualty figures,” said Dr Varatharaja. “Only during the last three months of the war, the ICRC transported 9,000 patients with very serious wounds.” [ full story |


Commission on war missing starts investigations in E. Sri Lanka[ Xinhua ][ Mar 20 14:58 GMT ]

A special commission appointed to investigate thousands of missing people during Sri Lanka’s three decade war has started its probe in the eastern part of the country, an official said here on Thursday. Last month Sri Lanka’s president extended the mandate issued to the special commission tasked with investigating thousands of people who disappeared during the country’s brutal three decade war amid international pressure. [ full story |


Sri Lanka bows to international pressure, releases rights activists[ PTI ][ Mar 19 15:01 GMT ]

Under international pressure ahead of voting on a resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC, the authorities here have released two leading rights activists after their detention under anti-terrorism laws. Father Praveen Mahesan, a Catholic priest, and Ruki Fernando of the Colombo-based INFORM advocacy group were arrested on Sunday in the former LTTE stronghold of Kilinochchi in the north as they met Tamils who lost loved ones during the separatist conflict. [ full story |


Sri Lankan government amplifies its ‘dirty tactics’ during UN session[ Amnesty International ][ Mar 19 19:23 GMT ]

The Sri Lankan government’s ongoing dirty tactics to silence and smear dissidents are a brazen attempt to deflect criticism as the country faces fresh scrutiny at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Amnesty International said today. The Council is due to vote next week on a resolution calling for an international investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka during the protracted and bloody internal armed conflict with the LTTE (Tamil Tigers). Since the end of the conflict in May 2009, the government under President Mahinda Rajapaksa has pursued a crackdown on its critics. [ full story |


Sri Lanka frees arrested human rights activists[ BBC ][ Mar 19 14:53 GMT ]

Sri Lankan authorities have released two prominent human rights activists who were detained on Sunday under anti-terrorism laws. The arrests of Catholic priest Father Praveen Mahesan and Ruki Fernando had provoked domestic and international criticism. The authorities said they had been held under suspicion of fostering communal disharmony. Both men had been working with families of disappeared people. [ full story |


UNHRC members under US pressure on resolution: Sri Lanka[ PTI ][ Mar 19 14:52 GMT ]

Sri Lanka on Wednesday claimed that most of the 47 member countries of the UN Human Rights Council are under pressure to back a tough US-sponsored resolution that has called for an international probe into alleged rights abuses during the country’s war with Tamil Tiger rebels. “Countries have told us they do not want to pursue Sri Lanka’s case. But they want to be seen with the US. Some of them have defence pacts with the US and wider trade links,” External affairs minister G L Peiris said. [ full story |


Statement By Parliamentary Secretary Obhrai on Situation in Sri Lanka[ Government of Canada ][ Mar 18 19:48 GMT ]

March 18, 2014 – The Honourable Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for International Human Rights, today issued the following statement: “Canada is concerned about the recent and seemingly arbitrary arrest and detention of several activists, including a pastor, in Sri Lanka. “We call on the Government of Sri Lanka to respect the rights of those detained and ensure due process for the detainees, including by guaranteeing them full access to legal counsel. [ full story |


Dispatches: Silencing Sri Lanka’s Rights Advocates[ HRW ][ Mar 18 17:32 GMT ]

Unlike many activists who are ground down by the challenges of taking on a powerful state, Ruki Fernando has never lost the ability to laugh out loud at the sheer absurdity of the Sri Lankan government’s graceless efforts to dodge accountability for abuses. That includes its public campaign to deny any responsibility for war crimes during its defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in early 2009. While I have never met Father Praveen, I do know of his painstaking efforts to assist families and victims of human rights abuses, documenting cases, enabling people to demand answers. [ full story |


NDP calls for accountability in Sri Lanka[ NDP ][ Mar 18 17:31 GMT ]

New Democrats have proposed a parliamentary motion calling for an immediate independent and international investigation of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the Sri Lankan civil war. The motion was introduced by NDP Foreign Affairs critic Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre) and seconded by NDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan (Scarborough-Rouge River). “The Sri Lankan government has been given numerous opportunities to commit to an impartial investigation of these alleged crimes,” said Dewar. “I call on the Government of Canada to support our NDP motion and stand with victims and their families who deserve justice.” [ full story |


Canadian Tamil Congress appreciates Revised Draft Resolution on Promoting reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in Sri Lanka[ CTC ][ Mar 18 13:50 GMT ]

Geneva, Switzerland – Nearly five years have passed since the end of the brutal armed conflict in Sri Lanka, where UN estimates suggest that at least 40,000 to 70,000 people were killed in the last phase of the war alone. United Nations Human Rights Council draft resolution 25/1 (revised), if adopted, would finally serve as a meaningful step towards accountability and justice in Sri Lanka, in line with recommendations by many previous UN bodies. The clarification and strengthened language in the latest revision addresses many of the concerns previously raised by the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC). [ full story |


3 Activists Held in Sri Lanka, Raising Fears of Crackdown[ New York Times ][ Mar 18 13:12 GMT ]

Fears of a broad crackdown against rights activists in Sri Lanka have been heightened after the Sri Lankan police recently arrested two prominent human rights advocates and a woman who has made a public campaign of finding her missing son. The arrests took place just as the United Nations Human Rights Council considers starting an inquiry into possible war crimes committed by government forces and separatists during Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war. [ full story |


Arrests of Sri Lankan activists condemned by Foreign Office[ Channel 4 News ][ Mar 18 13:11 GMT ]

The arrest of two prominent human rights activists in Sri Lanka is condemned as “not acceptable” by British Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire, writes Callum Macrae. Mr Swire said he was “deeply concerned” to hear of the arrests and urged the government of Sri Lanka to allow them “immediate access to lawyers and their families”. He added that the two men – Father Praveen Mahesan, a priest and human rights defender, and Ruki Fernando a Catholic human rights activist from the majority Sinhala community – have “a strong record of promoting peace, justice and reconciliation across the country”. [ full story |


Sri Lanka: Free Prominent Rights Defenders[ HRW ][ Mar 18 13:09 GMT ]

The arbitrary arrest and detention of prominent human rights defenders is an attempt to silence criticism and divert the spotlight from ongoing abuses, leading global and Asian human rights monitors said today in a joint statement. The statement was issued by Amnesty International, Forum Asia, Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group, and the International Commission of Jurists. Ruki Fernando of the Colombo-based INFORM and Father Praveen Mahesan, a Catholic priest, were arrested in Kilinochchi on March 16, and are believed to be detained without formal charges under Sri Lanka’s notoriously draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). [ full story |


Sri Lanka: Free prominent human rights defenders Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen[ Amnesty International ][ Mar 18 13:08 GMT ]

The arbitrary arrest and detention of prominent human rights defenders is an attempt to silence criticism and divert the spotlight from ongoing abuses, leading global and Asian human rights monitors said today in a joint statement. The statement was issued by Amnesty International, Forum Asia, Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group, and the International Commission of Jurists. Ruki Fernando of the Colombo-based INFORM and Father Praveen Mahesan, a Catholic priest, were arrested in Kilinochchi on March 16, and are believed to be detained without formal charges under Sri Lanka’s notoriously draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). [ full story |


Arresting Performance: Shelling Sri Lanka’s zone in Geneva[ Groundviews ][ Mar 17 16:58 GMT ]

With the arrests of an outspoken middle aged Tamil woman activist with no history of violence, her detention in Boossa under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the handover of her 13 year old daughter to the child protection authorities, the detention without acknowledgement of two human rights activists, Ruki Fernando and Fr Praveen reportedly also under the PTA, the Sri Lankan authorities just torpedoed Sri Lanka’s chances at the ongoing crucial 25th sessions of the UNHRC. [ full story |


Sri Lanka arrests prominent rights activists under anti-terrorism law[ The Guardian ][ Mar 17 15:24 GMT ]

Two of Sri Lanka’s most prominent rights activists have been detained under anti-terrorism legislation which allows them to be held for up to 18 months without trial and can lead to prison sentences of up to 20 years. The arrests will prompt fresh criticism of the human rights record of the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse. [ full story |

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