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Justice of the young injustice of the old

DILI (SE): Lucille Abeykoon, a social worker from the Human Rights Office Kandy in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is wondering why one of the youngest countries in the world, Timor-Leste, has made so much progress in the protection of human rights, accountability and the rule of law, while her own land, which has been independent from its colonial power for 69 years, has made so little.
 

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Buddhist monks baulk at losing political status

COLOMBO (UCAN): The powerful Buddhist monks of Sri Lanka have unanimously decided to oppose any changes in the constitution or even amending the existing one, something that Father Nandana Manatunga, the director of the Human Rights Office Kandy, points out that the president, Maithripala Sirisena, promised in his election campaign.
 

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Sri Lanka called to act on forced disappearances

COLOMBO (UCAN): Journalists in Sri Lanka are demanding that the government act quickly to pass a law that would make forced disappearances a criminal offence.
 
The United Nations (UN) Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances ranks Sri Lanka as the second biggest offender in this area, as for decades people have simply been disappearing without a trace.
 

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Boat capsizes during prayer for safety

COLOMBO (AsiaNews): An boat overloaded with people taking part in a procession as part of the celebration of Our Lady of Good Voyage capsized on February 19 off the southwest coast of Sri Lanka claiming many victims.

Our Lady of Good Voyage is considered to be the protector of fishing people and ironically, the victims perished in the midst of their prayer for safety at sea. Eleven passengers, including three children, drowned.

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President meets Asian bishops in Colombo

COLOMBO (SE): The president of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, praised the Church’s dedication to service of the poor at a meeting with a delegation from the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, which has been holding a plenary assembly in Colombo.

He invited the bishops to a meeting at his official residence in Colombo on November 30 and took the opportunity to highlight the work the Church has done in the volatile island nation.

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In the crosshairs at the crossroads

COLOMBO (UCAN): Banners appeared in the streets of Colombo, Sri Lanka, reading Are bullets the only gift the government has for Tamils? and Such killings destroy reconciliation after two Tamil students from Jaffna University found themselves caught in the crosshairs of police guns at the crossroads at Kulappidi Junction on October 20.

Five police were arrested and remanded until November 4.

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Learning curve on both sides of the bars

KANDY (SE): Billed as the Mandela Shield, a debate between inmates at the Bogambara-Dumbara Prison in Kandy, Sri Lanka, and the prestigious law faculty of the University of Perandeniya on September 8, saw the prison team show there are talented people behind bars deserving the same respect and dignity as anyone else in society, and the students come away with a deeper understanding of the problems that exist on the other side of the law.

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Bringing former enemies together in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO (UCAN): In a move to encourage reconciliation in post war Sri Lanka, Caritas has set up 40 Caritas Village Peace Committees in 13 dioceses that span Tamil, Sinhalese and Muslim communities.

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Mandela Shield pits prisoners against law students

KANDY (SE): Inspired by a debate that took place in the Eastern New York Correctional Services Facility in the United States of America last year, where a team made up of prisoners talked a team from Harvard University into the ground on the topic of whether schools should have the right to deny places to undocumented persons, the Kandy Human Rights Office in Sri Lanka is taking up the challenge.

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