PEARL’s News Update 05 January 2015

PEARL wishes all its subscribers a Happy New Year. For a look back on key events in 2015 please click here.

 
NEWS

 
Villagers protest against army occupation

 
Residents of Keppapilavu, a village in Mullaithivu, protested against the continued occupation of their lands and homes, as members of Sri Lanka’s security forces photographed them.

 
Since 2012 Keppapilavu villagers have been living in a so-called “model village” nearby, built by the Ministry for Resettlement, despite their repeated demands to be allowed back to their homes. According to the ministry they “could not be resettled in their land due to their land in the village being required for the Security Force Headquarters in Mullaithivu”Tamil Guardian.

 
Suspected torture cells found on land released by government after 25 years

 
The Sri Lankan government released 700 acres of land to its owners, after over 25 years in military hands. Tamils returning to their homes on the land say that at least two of the houses on the land were used as torture cells. However the Sri Lankan army rejected the report. Sri Lanka’s president meanwhile promised that all displaced will be given land to build new homes within 6 months. Tamils have long demanded that they be allowed to return to their native villages and homes. The TNA, while welcoming the president’s promise, said the army must vacate all private land – AFP.

 
Trincomalee 5 murders remembered on 10th anniversary
 

The tenth anniversary of the killing of five Tamil students was marked at an event in Trincomalee. The young men, all 21 years of age, were shot by members of the Special Task Force, a wing of Sri Lanka’s police, on January 2nd 2006, while they were spending an afternoon at a beach in Trincomalee – Tamil Guardian.

 
Tamil political detainees will not be released – Sirisena
 

President Sirisena said Tamil prisoners detained under the PTA will not be released as there were “no political prisoners”The Hindu.

 

 

Muslim homes daubed with racial graffiti

 
An unknown group has started a campaign on social media, spreading an image of the Sri Lankan flag’s lion and a stylized font in Sinhala, saying Sinha-Le, which means “lion’s blood” in the language but also plays on the name of the majority ethnic group. Muslim homes have been daubed with graffiti saying Sinha-Le and several stickers have started appearing in public places, taxis and cars. T-shirts bearing the image are also said to be on sale in the south of the island – Global Tamil News.

 
Wigneswaran explains motives behind TPC as TNA leadership ramps up criticism

 
The TNA has continued to express its discontent over the formation of a new body looking to unite Tamil voices. Chief Minister Wigneswaran explained the motives behind the formation of the organisation, but senior TNA official Maavai Senathirajah called for an inquiry into the participation of TNA MP Siddharthan in the organisation led by the chief minister. TNA spokesperson MA Sumanthiran also hit out at Mr Wigneswaran – Daily Mirror.

 
New constitution to be drafted and face referendum by June 2016 – Minister
 

The new constitution would be prepared during the first six months of 2016 and a public referendum held said the government’s chief whip, minister Lakshman Kiriella – Tamil Guardian.

 
Buddhist collective warns against arrests of military personnel over war crimes

 
A group of Buddhist monks and Member of Parliament for the National Freedom Front (NFF) Jayantha Samaraweera held a protest warning the government against arresting members of the military for human rights abuses – The Island.
 

Sri Lanka to finalise trade agreement with India by 2016, but reiterates rejection of proposed brige

 
The Sri Lankan government says it will finalise a trade agreement with India by June 2016, as protests against the agreement continue. However bridge proposed by India, linking the Tamil North-East of Sri Lanka with Tamil Nadu in southern India was ruled out by the government, despite India’s repeated statements that plans for its construction were underway – The Island.

 
Unitary nature of the state will remain; North and East will not be merged again  Government

 

A Minister has assured that the unitary nature of Sri Lanka’s state will remain and ruled out the re-merger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces – The Island.

 
TNA MP killing: Navy intelligence officers involved according to witness

 
Officials with the Sri Lankan navy’s intelligence unit were involved in the assassination of TNA MP Raviraj in 2006 – Daily Mirror.
 
OPINIONS

 
What’s the deal with Sri Lanka’s war crimes court?

 
Sri Lanka’s announcement of a special court to handle alleged war times abuses should still be met with skepticism – The Diplomat.

 
As 2016 dawns, UNP and SLFP face internal crises

 
One year after the election, Sirisena is still struggling to take control of his party – The Sunday Times

 
Sri Lanka’s Maithripala Sirisena is no stranger to politics
 

A recently published article on USAID’s blog is a cause for concern – The Diplomat.

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