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July 24, 2017 [GMT]
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Aussie explores options to rehabilitate SL refugees in TN
[Friday 2017-05-19 18:00]

Australia is exploring options with the Tamil Nadu government and Sri Lanka to rehabilitate some Sri Lankan refugees in the State that will in turn reduce the number of refugees trying to enter Australia through illegal means, a top Australian Border Force official told The Hindu on Friday.

Australia is exploring options with the Tamil Nadu government and Sri Lanka to rehabilitate some Sri Lankan refugees in the State that will in turn reduce the number of refugees trying to enter Australia through illegal means, a top Australian Border Force official told The Hindu on Friday.

  

Roman Quaedvlieg APM, Commissioner of the Australian Border Force, met Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan on Thursday and discussed options including Australian assistance in rehabilitating a number of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu. In an interview to The Hindu, Mr. Quaedvlieg said, “It is in our interest that the size of the diaspora (Sri Lankan refugees) here is reduced; this in turn indirectly reduces that probability of further (illegal) maritime ventures to Australia. So, we are very interested in working with TN Govt., NGOs like IOM and UNHCR to ensure that there is a continuous resettlement programme.”

Mr. Quaedvlieg said the government of Tamil Nadu has been extending its cooperation to Australia in helping reduce the number of refugees who are illegally making their way to Australia by sea. “There is a large diaspora of Sri Lankan Tamils who have sought refuge in Tamil Nadu; some of them have sought to enter Australia through illegal maritime means.” According to him, there are about 100,000 refugees in India, some of whom want to go back to Sri Lanka, while some have integrated themselves with the Tamil society in the State. There are also some who were born here who wouldn’t want to go back to Sri Lanka.

“Out of that cohort, there have been some who leave these shores and travel to Australia by boats through organised people smuggling ventures,” he said. He added that while Australia was criticised for turning back the “boat people” – refugees who arrive in boats –the country had the third-largest pro-rata number of refugees. “We are escalating our refugee programme to 18,750 refugees per year. Over and above that, we took in 12,000 extra Syrians last year,” Mr. Quaedvlieg said.

  
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Protests in the North over shooting, cop remembered Top News
[Monday 2017-07-24 18:00]

Protests were staged in the North today over the shooting incident targeting a prominent judge while events were also held in remembrance of the policeman killed in the incident. Judges, Magistrates and lawyers in the North including Vavuniya and Mannar staged protests over the attack on High Court Judge M. Illanchelian.



Canadian PM reiterates need for accountability in Sri Lanka
[Monday 2017-07-24 18:00]

Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau today reiterated the need for accountability in Sri Lanka. He said this in a message to mark the anniversary of Black July.



Two arrested over shooting in Nallur, gunman is suspected to be an ex-LTTE
[Monday 2017-07-24 18:00]

Jaffna Police have arrested two suspects in connection with Saturday's shooting at the Jaffna High Court judge M. Illancheliyan and his security officers in Nallur. The two suspects arrested are the brother and a relative of the main suspect, who is still at large. The two suspects are being interrogated in length to find the whereabouts of the main suspect, police said. The police teams investigating the shooting in which, a police sergeant was killed, suspects the gunman is a former LTTE cadre, the police said.



President orders strengthening of security of judges
[Monday 2017-07-24 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena today ordered the security of judges to be strengthened following the Jaffna shooting incident. He condemned the attack aimed at High Court Judge M. Illanchelian yesterday in Nallur. He also expressed his condolence over the death of police Sergeant Sarath Premachandra during this shooting incident. The President who paid his attention over the security of judges, directed the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to initiate a special program to strengthen the security of judges.



Rajapaksa says incident in Nallur should not be taken tightly
[Monday 2017-07-24 18:00]

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday urged the government not to take the killing of a police sergeant and wounding a constable at Nallur, Jaffna lightly. The two policemen were providing protection to Jaffna High Court Judge M Illancheliyan, the former President said that the incumbent government had no regard for the safety and welfare of security forces and police personnel. "The shooting incident should not be considered lightly", he told The Island, adding that the government should take immediate action to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents.



Military did not maintain torture chambers
[Monday 2017-07-24 18:00]

Defence State Minister Ruwan Wijewardene yesterday strongly refuted claims made by United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-terrorism Ben Emmerson that the military was maintaining torture-chambers. Wijewardene said the government does not agree with the alleged comments made by Ben Emmerson with regards to the above subject, following his visit to Sri Lanka with several other UN Rapporteurs. Wijewardene vehemently refuted that Sri Lanka military was keeping torture-chambers at present and added that the government has a zero-tolerance policy on torture.



Police Sergeant dies in Jaffna shooting
[Sunday 2017-07-23 17:00]

A Police Sergeant attached to the security detail of Jaffna High Court Judge M. Ilanchezhiyan, who was undergoing treatment at the Jaffna General Hospital for gunshot injuries in yesterday’s shootout at Nallur, died early this morning, the Police said. They said another Policeman was also injured in the shooting.



Emotional judge bows to his body guard’s wife Top News
[Sunday 2017-07-23 17:00]

An emotional Jaffna High Court Judge Manikkavasagaar Ilanchezhiyan was seen bowing to the wife of the killed Police Sergeant following the postmortem in Jaffna this morning. The Police Sergeant was killed due to gunshot injuries while giving escort to the Judge Ilanchezhiyan at Nallur. High Court Judge was seen even more emotional when the wife of Police Sergeant Sarath Premachandra arrived at the scene.



TNA condemns attack on Jaffna judge; urges IGP for prompt action
[Sunday 2017-07-23 17:00]

All the persons responsible for the attack on Jaffna High Court Judge Ilanchezhiyan should be immediately arrested, the Tamil National Alliance said yesterday. In a statement the TNA yesterday condemned the attack on Jaffna High Court Judge Ilanchezhiyan and urged IGP Pujith Jayasundara to investigate the incident promptly.



Police says Nallur shooting not pre-planned
[Sunday 2017-07-23 17:00]

Two suspects had been arrested by the Police in connection with the shooting incident in which a gunman opened fire at Jaffna High Court Judge M. Ilanchezhiyan and his security detail at Nallur in Jaffna on Saturday, killing a police sergeant. Police Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekara said according to the initial investigation, it was revealed that the shooting was unexpected incident but not a pre-planned attacked.



UN notes not enough progress in Sri Lanka on rights issue
[Sunday 2017-07-23 17:00]

The United Nations (UN) noted that Sri Lanka has not made enough progress on addressing human rights issues and the issue on missing persons was a concern. UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters in New York that during his recent visit to Sri Lanka Jeffrey Feltman, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, had also discussed the matter with the Government.



Three major PC elections announced
[Sunday 2017-07-23 17:00]

The National Elections Commission announced yesterday that nominations for the North-Central, Eastern and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councils will be called on 2 October 2017. Deputy Elections Commissioner M.M. Mohammed said the terms of the North Central, Eastern and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councils would end on 26 September 2017.



TNA complains to visiting UN Under Secretary General
[Saturday 2017-07-22 17:00]

A Tamil National Alliance delegation led by R. Sampanthan yesterday complained to visiting UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffery Feltman about a series of issues they had with the state at the world body’s office in Colombo.



UK Report Expresses Concern Over Intercommunal Tension In Sri Lanka
[Saturday 2017-07-22 17:00]

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s annual human rights report recognises and welcomes improvements in the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, while also emphasising the need for further progress. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) made public its annual Human Rights Report for 2016 on Thursday (July 20). Sri Lanka is one of 30 ‘Human Rights Priority Countries’ (HRPCs), countries with which the UK looks for positive engagement that contributes to addressing human rights concerns, the British High Commission said.



CC to recommend officials to the OMP
[Saturday 2017-07-22 17:00]

With the Office of Missing Persons Act becoming operational, the Constitutional Council (CC) chaired by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya will meet next week to discuss the appointment of officials to this office, an official said. The Act became operational after President Maithripala Sirisena placed his signature for the gazette notice.



SLFP ministers ready to leave govt to meet President next week
[Saturday 2017-07-22 17:00]

The SLFP ministers who have indicated their desire to leave the government were scheduled to meet President Maithripala Sirisena next week, a deputy Minister of the group of disgruntled ministers told The Island yesterday. The Deputy Minister said that their group would intimate to the President their intention of functioning as SLFP members in the Opposition and their move was in no way intended to topple the government.



Sri Lanka Navy arrests eight Indian fishermen for poaching in Sri Lankan waters
[Saturday 2017-07-22 17:00]

Sri Lanka Navy Friday arrested eight fishermen from Tamil Nadu for allegedly breaching the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and poaching in Sri Lankan waters. Naval personnel on a Fast Attack Craft belonging to the Northern Naval Command arrested the eight fishermen in a fishing trawler illegally fishing in Sri Lankan territorial waters about 15 Nm north of Point Pedro on Friday (July 21).



New Chief of Staff Appointed
[Saturday 2017-07-22 17:00]

Major General K. A. D Amal Karunasekara has been appointed as the new Chief of Staff of the Army. He is currently serving as the Commandant at Defence Services Command and Staff College, Sapugaskanda.



Guterres offers support to Office of Missing Persons
[Friday 2017-07-21 18:00]

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has commended the Government of Sri Lanka for establishing the Office of Missing Persons (OMP). Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General said that establishing the OMP is a significant milestone for all Sri Lankans still searching for the truth about their missing loved ones. Haq quoted Guterres as saying the United Nations stands ready to support the process and that the Secretary-General looks forward to the OMP becoming operational as soon as possible, starting with the appointment of the independent commissioners.



FCO announces SL as one of 30 ‘Human Rights Priority Countries’
[Friday 2017-07-21 18:00]

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in its annual Human Rights Report for 2016 announced that Sri Lanka was one of 30 ‘Human Rights Priority Countries’ (HRPCs), countries with which the UK looks for positive engagement that contributes to addressing human rights concerns.


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