Posts Tagged ‘Reuters’

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U.N. rights chief calls for Sri Lanka investigation

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

[ Reuters ]

The United Nations’ refugee chief called on Tuesday for an international investigation to determine if Sri Lankan government forces and Tamil rebels had committed war crimes. Ensuring accountability for abuses committed in the recent fighting was important for the island nation’s national reconciliation, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said.

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Fitch cuts Sri Lanka’s rating outlook to negative

Friday, February 27th, 2009

[Reuters]

Fitch Ratings changed the outlook on Sri Lanka to negative from stable on Friday, expressing worries about its external financial position reflected in the sharp fall in its foreign exchange reserves. “Without a sharp contraction in domestic demand to curtail imports, or a significant depreciation of the exchange rate to otherwise correct the trade imbalance, Sri Lanka may not have access to sufficient international funding to cover the current account shortfall and its international debt repayments, resulting in ongoing pressures on official reserves,” the agency said in a statement.

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Up to 85,000 people to flee Sri Lanka war: UNHCR

Friday, February 27th, 2009

[Reuters]

Up to 85,000 civilians trapped in northeastern Sri Lanka could flee the war zone in coming weeks as the army closes in on rebel-held territory, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday. The Sri Lankan government has allocated 300 acres of land where the UNHCR can receive up to 42,000 people by the end of next week, spokesman William Spindler said, citing the need to double the space to accommodate uprooted people in the region.

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UN’s Ban urges suspension of Sri Lanka fighting

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

[Reuters]

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Monday for a “suspension in fighting” between the Sri Lanka government and Tamil Tiger separatists to allow civilians to escape. “There is an urgent need to bring this conflict to an end without any further unnecessary loss of civilian life and destruction of Sri Lankan society,” Ban told reporters. “The U.N. deplores the increasing casualties among civilians trapped in the intense fighting … and would strongly support a suspension in fighting for the purpose of allowing safe passage of (the) civilian population trying to flee the conflict,” Ban said.

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Tamils set for Geneva mass march over Sri Lanka-UN

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

[Reuters]

About 20,000 Tamils from across Europe are expected to protest in Geneva on Friday at Sri Lanka’s military offensive against Tamil rebels, the United Nations said on Thursday. Police in the Swiss city, which is home to the U.N. European headquarters and to many Tamil immigrants, said 200 buses from across Europe were expected to bring protesters in. Demonstrators were expected to wind through Geneva in the afternoon and then rally in the public square in front of the U.N.’s Palais des Nations complex, where Tamils held smaller protests in past weeks as fighting intensified in Sri Lanka.

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UK names former defence secretary as Sri Lanka envoy

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

[Reuters]

Britain named a special envoy to Sri Lanka Thursday to try to ease hardship caused by the country’s long-running civil war and to help in the search for a political solution. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the priorities were to achieve a cease-fire and to get a political settlement in Sri Lanka, where tens of thousands of civilians are trapped in a small area held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).”I’ve asked Des Browne, our former defence secretary, to be an envoy for Sri Lanka,” Brown told a parliamentary committee. “I want him to be involved in seeing whether there is scope for political progress in Sri Lanka as well as looking at the issues of humanitarian aid.”

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U.N. experts decry ‘climate of fear’ in Sri Lanka

Monday, February 9th, 2009

[Reuters]

Sri Lanka’s journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders are living in fear and need better protection from violence, United Nations investigators said on Monday. In a joint statement, 10 U.N. experts called on the government to act quickly to halt repressive practices. “The fear of reprisals against victims and witnesses, together with a lack of effective investigations and prosecutions, has led to a circle of impunity,” they said.

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Nearly 14,000 flee Sri Lanka’s war zone-military

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

[Reuters]

More than 1,400 civilians poured out of Sri Lanka’s war zone on Sunday, bringing the total in the last four days to nearly 14,000 as soldiers try to deal a death blow to the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, the military said. The rate of civilians trapped in fighting between the military and the cornered Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has picked up sharply this week, signalling the onset of faster military operations to wipe out the guerrillas. Combat raged at numerous locations in the 175 sq km (67 sq mile) battle zone, killing at least 11 guerrillas in a series of attacks and counter-attacks on Saturday, the military said.

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Q+A-What next as Sri Lanka strives to end war?

Friday, February 6th, 2009

[Reuters]

Sri Lanka’s quarter-century war is racing towards an end as the military closes in on the last patch of land the separatist Tamil Tigers control. In the first six weeks of this year, soldiers have racked up a string of victories and taken all the major towns the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had controlled. When hostilities reignited in 2006, the rebels held 15,000 square km (5,792 sq miles). Now, the military says that space is 175 square km (67 sq mile) of jungle with a tiny bit of coast in the Indian Ocean island nation’s northeast.

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Ceasefire urged as 52 killed in Sri Lanka war zone

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

[Reuters]

The United States and Britain urged a temporary cease-fire in Sri Lanka to evacuate casualties and allow relief into the war zone as the Island nation celebrates independence from colonial ruler Britain on Wednesday. President Mahinda Rajapaksa was due to preside at a parade of military might in the capital on Wednesday morning that will include fighter jets flying overhead and attack boats sailing by to mark the 61st independence anniversary. The military was on high alert as troops surround the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in a 300-sq-km (115 sq- mile) slice of jungle in the Indian Ocean island’s northeast, aiming to end a war that started in 1983.

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