French charity urges Sri Lanka to act over killings

Updated 04 August 2016
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French charity urges Sri Lanka to act over killings

Colombo: A French charity urged Sri Lanka’s government on Thursday to hold a credible investigation into the killing a decade ago of 17 of its staff.
The head of Action Against Hunger (ACF) said it was time for Sri Lanka to act on its promises as she visited the island to mark the 10th anniversary of the massacre.
No one has ever been prosecuted over the execution style killings of ACF staff, among them four women, the worst attack against humanitarian workers during the island’s 37-year-long ethnic war.
Human Rights Watch has said mishandling of the case by successive Sri Lankan governments showed the need for credible international involvement to determine who carried out the killings.
ACF Chief Executive Veronique Andrieux said the charity was closely monitoring Colombo’s pledge at the UN Human Rights Council in September to establish an internationally acceptable mechanism to prosecute war criminals.
“What we hope is that this accountability mechanism will be able to deliver a credible legal and just solution,” Andrieux told AFP.
“We are awaiting concrete steps in the right direction. It is now time for action.”
The killings took place during the decades-long separatist war that came to an abrupt end in May 2009 after government forces crushed the Tamil rebel leadership in a major offensive.
The workers, all Sri Lankan, were massacred near Trincomalee, 260 kilometers (160 miles) north-east of Colombo, at a time when government forces were locked in combat with separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in the area.
Andrieux said the ACF had held a private remembrance event in the capital on Wednesday and a similar ceremony would be held Friday in Trincomalee.
Previous Sri Lankan investigations into the ACF attack have been inconclusive, and the UN has said security forces intimidated the victims’ relatives whenever international attention was paid to the case.
A UN report published last year pointed fingers at the Sri Lankan military, which has strongly denied it had any hand in the killings.


Thousands rally against leading, far-right Brazil candidate

A woman protests against presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Saturday, October 20, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 21 October 2018
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Thousands rally against leading, far-right Brazil candidate

  • The left-leaning party governed Brazil between 2003 and 2016, and has been dogged by the massive “Carwash” corruption investigation

SAO PAULO: Thousands of people took to the streets in Brazil Saturday to protest the candidacy of presidential front-runner Jair Bolsonaro, shouting “Not him!” which has become the rallying cry against the far-right former army captain.
In Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and 24 other cities, large crowds filled avenues and squares a week before the Oct. 28 second-round vote polls suggest Bolsonaro is likely to win.
Bolsonaro, who has angered many Brazilians by praising the country’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship and making comments offensive to gays, women and blacks, won the first round of voting on Oct. 7, getting 46 percent against 29 for Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party.
In front of the Sao Paulo Art Museum, people beat drums and waved gay pride flags as they denounced Bolsonaro. Many carried cardboard signs bearing Haddad’s name and photo.
Tiago Silva, a 27-year-old philosophy teacher, said Bolsonaro “represents the fascism, intolerance and violence we are seeing in Europe and in the United States.”
“It will be a disaster if he wins — and it looks like he will,” he added.
Vinicius Bento, a 27-year-old lawyer, said voting for Haddad is “the only way to stop Bolsonaro and his racist, misogynist and fascists views from reaching the presidency.”
“We have to get Haddad elected,” he said, acknowledging that he didn’t vote for him in the first round because he’d “lost faith” in the Workers’ Party as a result of the corruption scandals it has been involved with. The left-leaning party governed Brazil between 2003 and 2016, and has been dogged by the massive “Carwash” corruption investigation.
Bolsonaro has appealed to many Brazilians weary of crime and corruption by promising a violent crackdown on drug gangs and other criminals, and by highlighting the corruption that took place under past Workers’ Party administrations. He has also promised a return to “traditional Brazilian values.”
Haddad, the hand-picked successor to jailed former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has promised to bring back the boom times Brazil experienced under da Silva, fight inequality, invest more in education and improve state services.