UN to look at reports of North ban

Wednesday, 14 May 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The United Nations (UN) says it will look into reports that the Government has banned public events being held in the North to commemorate those killed during the final stages of the war in Sri Lanka. When asked at the daily press briefing yesterday about the ban, UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said he had not seen those reports but will look into it. Army spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya had earlier said that public events to commemorate the LTTE killed in the final battle of the decades-long separatist war were barred as the organisation remained outlawed. “Individuals may have religious services to commemorate their loved ones killed in the fighting, but there cannot be any public events,” Wanigasooriya told AFP. “Display of LTTE flags or insignia will also not be allowed,” he added. Government forces killed Tiger supremo Prabhakaran on 18 May 2009 and declared an end to 37 years of armed conflict, which the UN estimates claimed at least 100,000 lives. Rights groups have said that up to 40,000 civilians perished in the final months of fighting alone in the island’s northern coastal district of Mullaittivu where the rebels put up a final stand. —Colombo Gazette

 Army begins recruiting Tamil youth from North

Sri Lanka Army has commenced recruiting Tamil youth from the war-torn North for the first time since the armed conflict against Tamil Tiger rebels ended five years ago. The first initial round for recruitment of Mullaitivu youths to the Army commenced last week at Maritime (Muhudubadapattu) Divisional Secretariat in Mullaitivu. Recruitment program for Army tradesmen in Mullaitivu in the fields of engineering, plumbing, welding, motor mechanism, masonry, electricity, etc, will continue as the first phase till 30 June 2014, covering all Divisional Secretariats in Mullaitivu, the Army said in a statement. More than 50 Tamil youths have applied in the first phase at Maritime (Muhudubadapattu) Divisional Secretariat and the best candidates will be selected after two more interviews. The interviewers will move to Oddusuddan, Puthumattalan, Mullaitivu and other areas to conduct interviews until 30 June. Earlier the Sri Lanka Army recruited Tamil women into the ranks. So far a few dozens of Tamil women who have joined the Army are serving respective Security Force Headquarters – Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu since they are close to their houses, the Army said. However, this is the first time the Army began recruiting young men from the Mullaitivu area.