The Lanka Academic

MARCH 6, 2008 EST, USA
VOL. 8, NO. 335


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Headline Summary
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Sri Lanka slammed over disappearances, failed probe
Reuters, March 6. COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka is responsible for widespread abductions and disappearances as it fights a new phase in a 25-year civil war, a rights group said on Thursday, while foreign experts quit in protest at a failed abuses probe.

Rights groups have reported hundreds of abductions, disappearances and killings blamed on the state, Tamil Tigers or associated groups since the civil war, which has killed nearly 70,000 people since 1983, resumed in 2006 as a truce collapsed.

"President Mahinda Rajapaksa, once a rights advocate, has now led his government to become one of the world's worst perpetrators of forced disappearances," Human Rights Watch Deputy Asia Director Elaine Pearson said in a statement, launching a 241-page report More...Discuss this story
Published: Thu Mar 6 08:54:38 EST 2008

Independent panel monitoring rights abuse probe in Sri Lanka resigns in frustration
Associated Press, Thu March 6, 2008 07:54 EST . RAVI NESSMAN - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) An international advisory panel said Thursday it was resigning over Sri Lanka - 's refusal to properly investigate alleged human rights abuses, while a new report blamed the government for the abductions of hundreds of people. In a written response, Attorney General C.R. De Silva accused the group of working against Sri Lanka - 's interests and trying to rally international condemnation of the country.

He also denied the panel had the right to disband itself, and said Rajapaksa would simply appoint new foreign experts ``who are likely to work according to the mandate of the (panel) and in constructive partnership with the commission of inquiry.''

The international panel's resignation came as New York-based Human Rights Watch released a report accusing the government and allied militias of abducting hundreds of people in the past two years.

``President Mahinda Rajapaksa, once a rights advocate, has now led his government to become one of the world's worst perpetrators of enforced disappearances,'' Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

Cabinet minister Keheliya Rambukwella denied the government was behind the abductions, blaming them on other armed groups. He pointed to a one-man presidential commission investigating the problem as proof the government was taking it seriously.

The commission said Wednesday that no security forces were involved in any of the 525 reported abductions it studied.

Human Rights Watch said government forces were involved in most of the 99 abductions it documented out of the hundreds reported.

Most of those taken were Tamils with alleged ties to the rebels, though many journalists, clergy, educators and human rights workers also disappeared and are presumed dead, the report said.

Violence continued Thursday as pro-rebel lawmaker Kiddinan Sivanesan, 51, and his driver were killed by a roadside bomb as they traveled through rebel-held territory in northern Sri Lanka - . He was the third lawmaker from the Tamil National Alliance killed since December 2005.

Tamil rebels have been fighting since 1983 for an independent state in the north and east for minority ethnic Tamils, after decades of discrimination by majority Sinhalese-dominated governments. The fighting has killed more than 70,000 people.Discuss this story
Published: Thu Mar 6 08:45:50 EST 2008 Back to the top

Parappakandal under army control, 23 killed in Lanka clashes, March 6, 2008. Colombo (PTI): Sri Lankan army on Thursday brought the entire town suburb of Parappakandal in Mannar district under its control even as 22 rebels and a soldier died in clashes in other parts of the embattled Northern region of the country, the army said on Thursday. "Parappakandal, one of the major town suburbs to the north of Uyilankulam, was completely brought under the troops this morning, giving another severe setback and humiliation to the Tiger militants who had kept the area under siege," an official statement said. Troops earlier had the control over south of Parappakandal for a long time but the north of the suburban town was under LTTE domination, it said. More...
Published: Thu Mar 6 21:14:25 EST 2008 Back to the top

Pro-rebel lawmaker killed in roadside blast, party official says
Associated Press, Thu March 6, 2008 05:38 EST . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ A lawmaker allied with the Tamil Tiger rebels and his driver were killed Thursday when a roadside bomb tore through their vehicle as it traveled through rebel-held territory in northern Sri Lanka... Back to the top

Sri Lanka admits bigger war losses, march 6. COLOMBO (AFP) — Sri Lanka said Wednesday that 100 of its soldiers were killed and a further 800 wounded fighting the Tamil Tigers last month, showing the escalating conflict is bloodier than previously announced... Back to the top

Fighting in northern Sri Lanka kills 14 rebels, 2 soldiers, military says
Associated Press, Wed March 5, 2008 06:16 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's military pounded rebel positions with helicopter gunships and fought a series of ground battles with Tamil separatists in fighting that killed 14 guerrillas and two soldiers, the military said Wednesday... Back to the top

LTTE spreading wings in Kerala?
TOI, march 6. THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A vessel being constructed for use by LTTE at a Kochi dock was seized by Kerala police on Wednesday... Back to the top

LTTE boat builders arrested
UPI, march 6. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, March 5 (UPI) -- Sri Lankan defense officials say two Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam terrorists have been arrested in a South Indian boatyard... Back to the top

Sri Lankan Maid Dies in Airport Lounge
arabnews, march 6. RIYADH, 6 March 2008 — A Sri Lankan maid, who was going home on completion of her contract, died at the King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh on Tuesday, consular officials reported yesterday... Back to the top

Chopper raid kills 5 rebels; 21 dead in Lanka ground clashes
Hindustan Times, march 6. Sri Lankan army helicopters on Wednesday pounded a key LTTE base in the island's north killing five rebels as fierce ground clashes in the restive region left 21 people dead, officials said... Back to the top

Colombo overcomes language problem
hindu, march 6. COLOMBO: After a gap of several years, the government has succeeded in recruiting a number of police officers proficient in Tamil language... Back to the top

Sri Lanka recruits Tamil policemen in east, 2008-03-05 19:34:23 . COLOMBO, March 5 (Xinhua) -- The Sri Lankan government said Wednesday that it has recruited 175 new police officers from the Tamil minority in the newly liberated Eastern Province and more Tamil police personnel would be recruited in the near future... Back to the top

Death toll tops 78 in Sri Lankan battles, March 05, 2008, 09:12EDT. COLOMBO (AFP) -- Sri Lankan forces pushed deeper into Tamil Tiger territory in an offensive that has left at least 69 guerrillas and nine government soldiers over the weekend, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday... Back to the top

Commissioner 'rejects Commission'
BBC Sinhala, March 05, 2008, 09:22 EDT. Large number of people reported missing have come back to their homes, says the One Man Presidential Commission that looks into the disappearances and abduction of persons... Back to the top

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