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Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s 27 year emergency extended again

Sri Lankan president Rajapakse has extended the nations State of Emergency again today. The nation has been in a state of emergency for 27 years since 1983. The emergency laws provides exclusive powers to the President and allows the arrest and detention of suspects for long periods without trial. It also allows police and troops to carry out search operations without a warrant from a magistrate.

Parliament was dissolved on 9 February in order to conduct General Elections next month (April) but President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to convene a special session of the house next week to extend the State of emergency. The president on Monday night signed a proclamation extending the tough laws by a further month, an official said on Tuesday.

Opposition parties have complained the government is using the emergency law to suppress them politically, but the administration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa says it is needed to mop up remnants of the Tamil rebel network.

Earlier, On Feb 15th, the European Union decided to withdraw the preferential tariff benefits given to Sri Lanka under the Generalized System of Preferences plus (GSP+) following an investigation by the European Commission that says the country fell short in implementing three UN human rights conventions relevant for benefits under the scheme.

Renewed calls for International War Crimes investigation were being made by some UN representatives. Will Sri Lanka cooperate for an International Investigation? Channel 4 Investigates with new video footage evidences.

SBS Dateline from Australia captures more information from IDP’s who confirm intentional Hospital shelling and targeting of civilians during the war by the Sri Lankan Army:

http://www.sbs.com.au/dateline/story/watch/id/600331/n/War-Stories

Sri Lanka will also miss for the second year in a row budget deficit targets set by the International Monetary Fund as a condition for a $2.6 billion loan, data from the finance ministry showed on Tuesday.

The loan was approved last July to avert a balance of payments crisis, but the IMF said on Thursday it would delay a third tranche of the financing until it sees the budget after April 8 parliamentary elections.

Sirimal Abeyratne, a senior economics lecturer at the University of Colombo, said the government will have to take serious steps to continue the IMF loan, which boosted foreign investor confidence after the end of a 25-year war in May. He futher stated –

“I haven’t seen any serious government efforts to reduce the deficit last year in line with IMF target. If it continues without reforms in expenditure and revenue sides, I don’t think we could achieve 7.5 percent target this year.”

In the political front, General Sarath Fonseka, who was arrested after his defeat in the presidential election, is all set for the parliamentary elections of 8 April, as leader of an opposition alliance. The campaign will be led by his wife Anoma Fonseka the only person who can visit the Navy headquarters in Colombo, where he is in custody. Sarath Fonseka was arrested immediately after the elections on charges of preparing a coup. His candidacy was declared on 26 February, the day after the government announced that he will face fresh charges ahead of the civil court in the coming weeks, as well as a court marshal, the date of which has yet to be established.

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