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SRI LANKA: News Briefs

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Major human rights problem in Sri Lanka in Tamil areas, says US Department of State report: The 2011 country reports on human rights practices published by the United States (US) State Department claimed that unlawful killings by Security Forces (SFs) and Government-allied paramilitary groups are a major human rights problem in Sri Lanka, often in the predominantly TAMIL areas. In addition, attacks on and harassment of civil society activists, persons suspected of being Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) sympathizers, and journalists, by persons allegedly tied to the Government created an environment of fear and self-censorship, the report says. Colombo Page, May 25, 2012.

Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka released on an unconditional presidential pardon grant: Former Army Commander General (retired) Sarath Fonseka was released on May 21 on an unconditional presidential pardon granted by President Mahindra Rajapaksa. He was discharged from the private Nawaloka Hospital where he was receiving treatment since April for a respiratory ailment. He was later brought to the Supreme Court where his counsel withdrew two appeals pending in court, where a five-judge bench granted permission for Fonseka to withdraw the appeals filed by him, against the verdict on the White Flag case and a Writ Application filed related to the verdict on second court martial case, ahead of the release. Colombo Page, May 22, 2012.

No troop cuts in Tamil areas, asserts President Mahinda Rajapaksa: President Mahinda Rajapaksa on May 19 asserted that there will be no troop cut in Tamil areas. "Armed services camps are not found in the North alone. They [Armed Forces] are seen throughout the country. They are in Colombo and Giruvapattu in the South. These are found in our country. Not in any foreign country," he said, making it clear that the army-to-civilian ratio in the North will not be altered. "We must ask if we are in a position to remove the armed forces camps in the North and reduce our attention national security. That is not possible," he added. Diplomats stationed in Colombo reckon that as much as 60 per cent of the Sri Lankan Army is deployed in the North. Another similar estimate puts the army-to-civilian ratio at 1:4. The Hindu, May19, 2012.

428 LTTE schools in Europe, says defence intelligence report: According to a May 5 Lankadeepa report, Sri Lanka Defence intelligence has found that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) operates 428 schools in the main countries of Europe. These school functions in Germany, Switzerland, France, Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden and provide education to 22,500 students across the Europe. Germany has the highest number of such schools with 145 and there are 133 schools in Switzerland, and 65 schools in Denmark. Sri Lanka's defense authorities have complained to the authorities of such countries. Colombopage, May 5, 2012

Court orders Sarath Fonseka transfer to NHC over LTTE threat: Colombo High Court on May 3 ordered the Prison Commissioner to transfer Sarath Fonseka to the Colombo National Hospital (NHC) from the private hospital where he is receiving treatment for security reasons. The court observing the fact that there is a threat to Fonseka from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and other organisations and the prison authorities are unable to provide maximum security for Fonseka while at the private hospital, ordered his transfer to NHC. Daily News, May 5, 2012.

Anti-state conspiracies, uprisings or rebellions have no place in Sri Lanka', says President Mahindra Rajapaksa: President Mahindra Rajapaksa on May 1 said that anti-state conspiracies, uprisings or rebellions have no place in Sri Lanka. He said that people from foreign countries without name or address come to Sri Lanka to destabilize the country with their anti-national campaigns. Stating that some countries, unfortunately, assist them in the hope of a regime change, he stressed that a regime change would be possible only by the people for the people of this country through free and fair elections and not by conspiracies hatched with the assistance of foreign powers. Dailymirror, May 2, 2012.
[Source: SATP]


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