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SRI LANKA: News Briefs

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UNHRC agrees to postpone release of report of war crimes committed during civil war by six months: United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Februarys 16 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 United Nations 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 had sought 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. Colombo Page, February 17, 2015.

President Maithripala Sirisena assures of action against perpetrators of war crimes: President Maithripala Sirisena on February 13 told the diplomatic community in Colombo that if "credible and firm" evidence is found by the proposed inquiry into allegations that Sri Lankan Security Forces (SFs) committed human rights violations during the fight against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), action would be taken against the guilty. The President also invited the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) to visit Sri Lanka.

Earlier, the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) on February 10 adopted a resolution calling for an international investigation into alleged acts of genocide committed against the Tamils during the civil war. Chief Minister 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. Dawn, February 14, 2015; Colombo Page, February 11, 2015.

Government to release 1,000 acres of lands in the Northern High Security Zones:The Sri Lankan Government has decided to release lands extending to 1,000 acres in the Northern High Security Zones in several stages to civilians. The Cabinet of Ministers has approved the proposal presented by President Maithripala Sirisena as the Minister of Defense. Colombo Page, February 12, 2015.

Regulation banning al Qaeda presented in Parliament: Sri Lankan Government on February 5 presented the regulation under the United Nations (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. Daily Mirror, February 6, 2015.

International probe is the only way justice will prevail for Tamils, says TNA MP Suresh Premachandran: The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said it will not support a domestic investigation launched by the new Government over the war between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and State Security Forces (SFs) that ended in May 2009. TNA parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran, during discussions with United States (US) Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Nisha Biswal on February 3, stressed that an international probe is the only way justice will prevail for the Tamils who have suffered the war. Colombo Page, February 4, 2015.

[Source: SATP]

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