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Human Rights Groups Welcome Removal of Alleged War Criminal Silva from U.N. Peacekeeping Group

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

[SPEAK]

Human rights groups welcome the announcement that Shavendra Silva—a former military general in the Sri Lankan army who stands accused of extrajudicial killing and torture—has been removed from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Kimoon’s Special Advisory Group on Peacekeeping Operations. In a press statement released on February 22, Louise Fréchette, the Chair of the Special Advisory Group, stated that Silva’s participation in the group is “not appropriate or helpful.”

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UN body bars Sri Lanka diplomat Maj Gen Shavendra Silva

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

[BBC]

A controversial Sri Lankan diplomat has been excluded from taking part in the deliberations of a committee advising the United Nations Secretary General.

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NGOs Call on U.S. to Establish International Accountability Mechanism on Sri Lanka at UN Human Rights Council

Friday, February 17th, 2012

[Amnesty International USA]

We are pleased to hear that the United States has decided to press for action at the March session of the Human Rights Council on accountability for wartime abuses in Sri Lanka.  This issue has long been a high priority for us due to the massive scale of abuses committed in the final months of the war and the Sri Lankan government’s resistance to any serious domestic inquiry.

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Amnesty International and the Tamil community in Canada

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

[Amnesty International Canada]

There have been a number of recent media articles in Sri Lanka recently suggesting that Amnesty International’s impartiality had been compromised because the Canadian Tamil Congress chose to make Amnesty International Canada a beneficiary of funds raised at their third annual Walk-a-Thon held in Toronto in September 2011. The Walk-a-thon is an annual event which offers individuals an opportunity to support organizations in Canada involved in social, health and justice causes and to make a contribution to Canada’s social fabric. Previous recipients in 2009 and 2010 were the Sick Kids Hospital Foundation and the Canadian Cancer Society. These donations in no way impair the independence of Amnesty International – which is nonpartisan and works on human rights issues around the globe. The contributions were offered with no conditions or qualifications. The funds raised from the 2011 Walk-a-thon amount to less than ½ of 1% of the funds raised by Amnesty International Canada’s English Branch in 2011.

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Sri Lanka: Army Inquiry a Delaying Tactic

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

[Human Rights Watch]

The Sri Lankan army’s announcement that it had appointed a five-member court of inquiry to investigate allegations that its forces committed serious violations of the laws of war appears to be another government delaying tactic in the face of mounting international pressure, Human Rights Watch said today.

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Sri Lanka: US urges implementation of war probe findings

Monday, February 13th, 2012

[BBC]

The US will support efforts to get Sri Lanka to implement a government commission’s conclusions in relation to the civil war, officials say.

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My brothers’ keepers: In Sri Lanka the grip of the Rajapaksas only tightens

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

[The Economist]

THE president of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, may well feel pleased with himself. On the face of it, more than six years after his first election, his prospects are still remarkably rosy. The economy clips along at about 7% a year. Mr Rajapaksa’s coalition controls over two-thirds of parliament, and opposition parties are so weak that a senior minister chuckles about not being held to account. The chief political threat, Sarath Fonseka, a former general turned popular presidential candidate, is in a Colombo jail. There, says an MP who has visited him, he wears short trousers and passes his days in a cell known as the “Scouting Room”, complete with a portrait of Baden-Powell.

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‘US to pressure Sri Lanka on reconciliation process’

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

[Radio Netherlands Worldwide]

The United States is set to table a resolution against Sri Lanka at the next sitting of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva later this month. The Americans have voiced their concerns over human rights violations in Sri Lanka before, but so far had not taken the step of bringing it forward at the HRC.

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Letter on Sri Lanka to Permanent Representatives of Human Rights Council Member and Observer States

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

[Human Rights Watch]

Your Excellency,

We write to urge your delegation to work with other member and observer states of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) to bring the issue of accountability for wartime abuses in Sri Lanka onto the agenda of the Council during its March 2012 session. Almost three years after the end of the military conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the government has not kept its commitments to the people of Sri Lanka, the UN Secretary-General, and the Human Rights Council to undertake credible measures to provide justice and accountability for the widespread and serious wartime abuses.

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Kevin Rudd must up the ante on Sri Lanka

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

[Human Rights Watch]

As nations such as Canada and Britain weigh in on accountability for war crimes in Sri Lanka, it’s time for Australia to add its voice. After all, promoting human rights is a crucial part of foreign policy, as Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd is keen to say.

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