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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 75

Monthly archive

Ambassador Srgjan Kerim

Sri Lanka backtracks on opposition to French FM

Bernard Kouchner,Sri Lanka distanced itself Thursday from opposition to Bernard Kouchner, who was named by the European Union to monitor human rights on the tropical island and is France's new foreign minister. Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said he was not against Kouchner, even though the troubled island's ambassador-designate to Geneva had opposed the EU appointment. "I am the foreign minister and I speak on foreign policy and not the ambassador-designate," Bogollagama told reporters in Colombo. "I did not oppose the appointment of Mr. Kouchner." Ambassador-Designate Dayan Jayatilleka had opposed the EU's move, claiming it could set the stage for the partition of Sri Lanka, which suffers from a bloody separatist conflict.

UK announces additional £1m support for humanitarian relief in Sri Lanka

The British High Commissioner, Dominick Chilcott, today welcomed the announcement by the UK government of an additional one million pounds (approximately 210 million rupees) to assist internally displaced people in Sri Lanka. The High Commissioner said “Recent fighting, particularly in the east of Sri Lanka, has displaced ten of thousands of innocent civilians. Britain’s additional funding, to be divided between the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations, will bring much needed help to those who have lost their livelihoods and homes."

Malaysia: Government must stop abuse of Burmese refugees and asylum seekers

Burmese refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia are facing increasing threats to their security. Starting in March 2005, the Government of Malaysia launched a nationwide operation targeting undocumented migrants in the country. This operation has led to serious human rights violations against Burmese in Malaysia, who the government classifies as illegal migrants rather than refugees or asylum seekers. Since early 2006 the situation in Malaysia has deteriorated with public statements made by the Home Affairs Minister and Immigration Department officials condoning the arrest of undocumented workers, including refugees, while immigration courts in detention centers mete out punishments that include caning. Burmese in Malaysia will continue to face abuses until the government recognizes the protection needs of the refugee population in its country.

Sri Lanka Welcomes the New President of the UN General Assembly

Srgjan KerimThe 192-member UN General Assembly this week elected a new President for the forthcoming Sixty Second Session beginning September 2007. Speaking as the new chairman of the Asian Group at the UN, Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, welcomed the new President-elect, Ambassador Srgjan Kerim of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Congratulating the new President on behalf of the Asian Group, Ambassador Kariyawasam stated that his distinguished career spans three decades at very high levels running through momentous social and political changes in the region he comes from.

Hashimpura survivors file 615 RTI applications in 20 years long pursuit of justice

By Bobby Ramakant

Even twenty years after the sordid Hashimpura massacre in Uttar Pradesh, in which Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel allegedly gunned down over 40 people on 22 May 1987 (all Muslim), justice remains still out of sight. On 24 May 2007, two survivors and many members of 36 families of those killed on the fateful day of Hashimpura bloodbath came to Lucknow – UP's state capital - to file 615 applications under The Right to Information Act 2005, at the office of Director General of Police demanding critical information pertinent to the case.

Burma Army offensive against Karen civilians ‘unacceptable’

Burma Army troops have reportedly shot dead a deaf man, raped and murdered a woman, taken thousands of villagers for forced labour and displaced thousands more people in their continuing offensive against Karen civilians. According to the Free Burma Rangers, a relief organisation working in the area, soldiers from Light Infantry Battalions 542 and 544 attacked Ber Ka Lay Ko village, northern Toungoo District in north-western Karen State on 12 May. They reportedly captured, raped and killed a woman.

Sri Lanka : Thousands of displaced persons begin return to Batticaloa West

Some 90,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in Batticaloa District in eastern Sri Lanka are in the process of returning to their home villages in Batticaloa West. With their houses and crops looted, many now face tough food and livelihood challenges, according to initial reports from humanitarian agencies. A major portion of Batticaloa West had been under the control of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) prior to the government’s March offensive in the region.

Janashakthi insurance achieved Rs. 1.028 billion during the 1st quarter of 2007

Sunil C. Perera - Reporting from Colombo

Janashakthi Insurance has reported a growth of 37% for the 1st quarter 2007 in general insurance with its flagship motor insurance Brand 'Janashakthi Full Option' reaching a record growth of 40% and registering the highest absolute premium value growth in the motor insurance industry. The general insurance category of the company has achieved in excess of Rs. 1.028 billion during the 1st quarter 2007 with a Rs. 277 million increase, compared to the corresponding period of last year.

Moral policing in Modi’s Gujarat

By Tukoji R.Pandit - Syndicate Features

In Narendra Modi’s Gujarat the quest for ‘Hindutva’ has taken two forms: overt or covert state-sponsored attacks on the minorities, and unbridled display of intolerance towards those deemed to be against the ‘ancient Hindu culture’. If the post-Godhra pogrom and the Vanzara-led ‘encounters’ are the horrifying symbols of the former, the officially backed campaign against Telugu speaking young final year Fine Arts (FA) student of Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara, formerly Baroda, represents the latter.

Fijian military junta targets bloggers

The Fijian military junta has targeted anti-regime web logs (blogs), and threatened to arrest the people behind them. On May 17, army commander Colonel Pita Driti announced that blogs “critical of the army and members of the government” would be shut down as they posed a “threat to national security”. “There is still an active state of emergency and people must be aware that some freedoms need to be restrained, including freedom of expression,” Driti declared. “When we catch up with these bloggers, we will take them to our military quarters and explain to them how their remarks constitute a threat to the country.”

Bernard Kouchner,

AI Ignores Threat to Sri Lanka’s Sovereignty, Territorial Integrity and Democracy in Rights Abuse Report

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

The human rights situation in Sri Lanka deteriorated dramatically. Unlawful killings, recruitment of child soldiers, abductions, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations and war crimes increased. Civilians were attacked by both sides as fighting escalated between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Hundreds of civilians were killed and injured and more than 215,000 people displaced by the end of 2006, says Amnesty International in its latest report on Sri Lanka’s situation.