Sri Lankan PM says failed asylum seekers safe to return home

By Colin Packham SYDNEY, Feb 15 : Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said today that failed asylum seekers held in Australian-run detention centres in the South Pacific will not face prosecution or harm if they return home. Wickremesinghe’s comment comes as Australia increases pressure on failed asylum seekers on Papua New Guinea’s Manus island […]

With drought looming, Sri Lanka tries something new: preparing

By Amantha Perera COLOMBO, Jan 18 : With rainfall in many areas just a third of that last year and many water reservoirs far below normal levels, Sri Lankans have begun holding traditional ceremonies to invoke rain – some with the participation of President Maithripala Sirisena. But this time, national officials are also doing something […]

Sri Lanka divided as panel backs foreign judges to probe war crimes

By Shihar Aneez COLOMBO, Jan 5 : Sri Lanka should bring in international prosecutors and judges to help investigate alleged atrocities in the civil war that ended in 2009, a task force said today in recommendations that were welcomed by the United Nations. The Consultation Task Force (CTF), appointed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, said […]

Sri Lanka says 32 “elite” Muslims have joined IS in Syria

By Shihar Aneez COLOMBO, Nov 19 : Thirty-two Sri Lankan Muslims from “well-educated and elite” families have joined Islamic State in Syria, the justice minister told parliament, promising that the government would clamp down on extremists. The statement by minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe was condemned by representatives of the Muslim minority, who complained of racism. “All […]

Chinese query Sri Lanka allegations of corruption in contracts

By Shihar Aneez COLOMBO, Nov 2 : China has criticised Sri Lankan allegations of bribery in the awarding of contracts to Chinese firms worth billions of dollars, saying it should have a greater sense of gratitude for development assistance. The comments to reporters were the strongest since President Maithripala Sirisena took office last year, vowing […]

UN official urges Sri Lanka to take stronger measures to protect minorities

By Shihar Aneez COLOMBO, Oct 20 : Sri Lanka’s government must “clearly demonstrate” its political will and commitment to better protect the Indian Ocean island’s minorities by taking urgent steps to resolve post-war issues, a United Nations rights expert said today. Since the end of a 26-year war in May 2009, successive Sri Lankan governments […]