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Sri Lanka rejects the alleged genocide claims by the Canadian PM

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sri Lanka has rejected genocide allegations raised by the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this month.

In a statement, the Ministry says : 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejects the false allegation of a so-called “genocide” in Sri Lanka in a message by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on 18 May 2024.

The Government of Sri Lanka in all previous communications has categorically refuted such outrageous allegation of genocide in Sri Lanka. No competent authority in Canada or elsewhere in the world has made any objective determination of genocide having taken place in Sri Lanka.

These unfounded allegations relate to the conclusion of the armed separatist terrorist conflict waged by the LTTE in pursuit of a separate state, contrary to the principles of the UN Charter.  The LTTE is a listed terrorist organization in 33 countries worldwide, including in Canada.

Prime Minister Trudeau’s endorsement of this false narrative of genocide in Sri Lanka is highly disruptive of communal harmony among the Canadians of Sri Lankan origin, a valuable community of Sri Lankan heritage living overseas. Many of these peace-loving citizens have constructively engaged with Sri Lanka and we welcome their support.   

Civilians from all communities – Sinhalese, Tamils, Moors, Malays, and Burghers – were affected by the conflict in Sri Lanka. In fact, it was the majority Tamil civilians of the North and the East who were disproportionately affected by the daily repression of the LTTE. All communities suffered in brutal terrorist acts of the LTTE. A partisan narrative ignores the complex reality of the Sri Lankan conflict and as such these comments by Prime Minister Trudeau resonates adversely among Sri Lankans and disrupts the Sri Lankan government’s ongoing efforts towards national unity, reconciliation and progress in Sri Lanka.

Canada’s falsification of our history amounts to irresponsible disinformation. It misleads the minds of current and future generations in Canada and elsewhere, encouraging and perpetuating hatred. It empowers extremism on all sides in all parts of the world where such messages are easily and instantaneously transmitted including through social media.

We therefore urge the Canadian Government to assume responsibility in a spirit of mutual respect in promoting peace and harmony.

On a related but separate front, Canada’s disproportionate focus on Sri Lanka is a clear example of double standards.  While Canada has opted to support a false narrative regarding the conflict in Sri Lanka, it has remained intentionally ambiguous relating to the daily dire humanitarian situations we see elsewhere. It is crucial that countries like Canada, who claim to be global advocates of human rights, recognize their self-interested double standards which are resulting in increased polarization in the international community.

Clearly, the repeated statements by the Prime Minister of Canada with regard to Sri Lanka are the outcome of electoral vote bank politics in Canada, funded by a small number of Canadians of Sri Lankan origin with vested and personal interest. 

We categorically reject the allegation of genocide – in fact, throughout the conflict, humanitarian supplies including food and medicines were regularly and systematically delivered to affected areas by the Government in collaboration with local NGOs and international organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and UN agencies. Food and medicine were provided via land and sea routes to civilians trapped in the conflict and used as human shields by the LTTE. Wounded were evacuated with the assistance of the ICRC, irrespective of whether they were LTTE cadres. Humanitarian needs were regularly evaluated and despatched. Additionally, throughout the conflict, the Government ensured the continuity of civilian administration in the affected areas by addressing the needs for housing, schools, hospitals, roads, and other infrastructure, enabling the continuity of civilian life and livelihoods. Local administration in the Northern and the Eastern Provinces was financed and run by the civil servants of the Government of Sri Lanka. 

In contrast, the LTTE has indiscriminately targeted civilians of all communities in all parts of the country, engaged in ethnically ‘cleansing’ the areas in the Northern and the Eastern Provinces controlled by the force of their trafficked and smuggled arms. The LTTE has targeted and assassinated the moderate Tamil leadership of the country including the former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.

Since the end of the conflict many steps have been taken by the Government of Sri Lanka towards reconciliation, unity and achieving durable peace and security despite the present economic hardships. The Government is determined to continue these measures.

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8,000 UDA flat dwellers to get title deeds

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Urban Development and Housing Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said yesterday that arrangements have been made to provide title deeds to 8,000 residents of the apartments owned by the Urban Development Authority (UDA) next month, under the Government’s programme to provide title deeds to dwellers in such apartments in Colombo.

In addition, the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) has also planned to give 1,070 title deeds to dwellers living in apartments in Colombo.

He said that this programme will be implemented according to the pledge given by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in the last Budget that 50,000 Colombo flat owners will be given their title deeds.

According to the UDA, 14,559 units of the 22 housing complexes have been given to low-income people.

Accordingly, the granting of title deeds will be made focusing on UDA housing projects of Mihindu Senpura, Sirisara Garden, Methsara Garden, Lakmuthu Sewana, and Sirimuthu Garden under the first phase.

In addition, title deeds of Laksandha Sevana, Randiya Uyana, Lakmuthu Uyana, Muwadora Uyana, Siyapath Sevana, Puradora Sevana, Jayamaga Sevana, Mihijaya Sevana, Helamuthu Sevana, Laksetha Sevana and Lakhiru Sevana housing projects are to be given to its dwellers before the end of this year.

The NHDA will first issue the title deeds for the apartments that have been built in the Colombo Municipal Council areas.

Transferring of ownerships of these houses to dwellers has been delayed due to the problematic situation arising from certain related rules and regulations. The Minister emphasised that he has already discussed with the Attorney General and obtained the necessary advice in this regard.

Minister Ranatunga further stated that all Colombo flat owners will be given their title deeds before the end of this year.

After giving the deeds to the owners of these houses, it is expected to carry out maintenance and management of these houses by a joint management corporation which will be established with the representation of the resident population.

An amount of Rs. 2 billion has been allocated in the 2024 Budget for providing ‘Urumaya’ freehold deeds to all who are eligible to receive and confirm landownership in the next two months.

(dailynews.lk)

 (This story, originally published by dailynews.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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Sailor succumbs to injuries off Delft island

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A Sri Lanka Navy personnel has succumbed to his injuries suffered during an attempt to arrest a group of Indian fishermen poaching in seas off the Delft island in Jaffna, the Navy said today (June 25).

The sailor had fallen of the Naval craft and suffered injuries.

Ten Indian fishermen were taken into custody in the incident.

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World Bank approves $150 mn. to improve Primary Healthcare Services in SL

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The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved $150 million in financing for Sri Lanka to improve the quality and utilization of its primary healthcare services. 

The newly approved Sri Lanka Primary Healthcare System Enhancing Project will help improve quality of care and increase the use of primary medical care institutions, which provide essential health services to local communities.

Capacity challenges and absence of a formal referral mechanism have led to the underutilization of primary healthcare facilities and overcrowding in tertiary care facilities in Sri Lanka. The previous World Bank-supported Primary Healthcare Systems Strengthening Project had already enhanced 550 Primary Medical Care Institutions with essential equipment, medicines, health workers and basic laboratory testing facilities. The new project will scale up these efforts to cover 100% of Primary Medical Care Institutions across all districts of Sri Lanka, expanding to over 1,000 facilities with a more comprehensive service package and improved quality of care.

“Sri Lanka’s health system has demonstrated remarkable performance, but it needs to be strengthened to face emerging health care challenges,” said Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. “This project will support the country’s forward-looking primary care reorganization agenda, laying the foundation for a more responsive and people-centric healthcare system.”

Non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and cervical cancer are a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in Sri Lanka, accounting for 80% of deaths.  Effective control and management of non-communicable diseases require robust screening, early diagnosis, treatment and follow up. Additionally, Sri Lanka has the fastest aging population in South Asia, necessitating health system adaptations to meet the growing healthcare needs of the elderly. This project is designed around these evolving health priorities, helping invest in preventive care and promoting primary care facilities as the first point of care.

In addition, the project will support the provision of comprehensive primary healthcare services by expanding capacity to cover mental health, palliative, geriatric, rehabilitative, and emergency care, which are particularly important for the aging population. The project will also bolster pandemic preparedness by expanding the capacity of primary medical care institutions to detect and respond to future infectious disease outbreaks. This will help Sri Lanka’s healthcare system to adapt and respond effectively to new and emerging challenges.

(worldbank.org)

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