Country of Origin Information Report

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Country of Origin Information Report

Sri Lanka

11 November 2010



UK Border Agency

Country of Origin Information Service

Contents

Preface
Latest News
Events in Sri lanka from 21 September to 3 November 2010 (Includes a list of links to useful sources for further information)
Reports on Sri Lanka published or firstaccessed between 21 September and

3 November 2010
Paragraphs

Background Information
1. Geography 1.01

Map 1.06

Public holidays 1.07

2. Economy 2.01

3. History 3.01

Key political events (1948 to January 2010) 3.01

Presidential elections – 26 January 2010 3.21

The internal conflict (1984 to 2009) 3.32

The defeat of the LTTE – May 2009 3.57

The conflict's impact: casualties and displaced persons 3.59

4. Recent developments 4.01

Key recent developments (February – September 2010) 4.01

Government treatment of (suspected) members of the LTTE 4.13


Commission on Lessons Learnt & Reconciliation (LLRC) 4.43

Security situation in the Northern and Eastern provinces 4.46

5. Constitution 5.01

The 18th amendment 5.06

6. Political system 6.01
Human Rights

7. Introduction 7.01

8. Security forces 8.01

Police 8.04

Arbitrary arrest and detention 8.15

Cordon and search operations – May to the end of 2009 8.20

Disappearances/abductions 8.29

Torture 8.38

Extra-judicial killings 8.45



Armed forces 8.49

Arbitrary arrest and detention 8.51

Torture 8.52

Extra-judicial killings 8.53



Avenues of complaint 8.54

Police abuses: investigations and prosecutions 8.58

Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) 8.66

Ad hoc commissions of inquiry 8.70

Presidential Commission of Inquiry to investigate and inquire

into serious violations of human rights 8.72

Witness protection 8.75

9. Military service 9.01

Desertion 9.02


10. Abuses by non-government armed forces 10.01

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE/Tamil Tigers) 10.02

Paramilitary groups 10.08

Arbitrary arrest and detention 10.14

Disappearances/abductions 10.19

Torture 10.25

Extra-judicial killings 10.26

Forced conscription by the LTTE (until May 2009) 10.28

11. Judiciary 11.01

Organisation 11.02

Independence 11.04

Fair trial 11.09

12. Arrest and detention – legal rights 12.01

Emergency Regulations (ERs) and the Prevention of

Terrorism Act (PTA) 12.03

Bail/reporting conditions 12.16

Arrest warrants 12.19

Criminal records 12.20

13. Prison conditions 13.01

Deaths in custody 13.14

14. Death penalty 14.01

15. Political affiliation 15.01

Freedom of political expression 15.01

Freedom of association and assembly 15.04

Opposition groups and political activists 15.07

16. Freedom of speech and media 16.01

Journalists 16.07

Internet freedom 16.25

17. Human rights institutions, organisations and activists 17.01

18. Corruption 18.01

19. Freedom of religion 19.01

Overview 19.01

Hindus 19.07

Muslims 19.09

Christians 19.11

20. Ethnic groups 20.01

Overview…. 20.01

Sinhalese…. 20.05

Tamils…. 20.06

Up-Country Tamils 20.13



Muslims 20.15

Indigenous people - Veddas 20.18

21. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons (LGBT) 21.01

Legal rights 21.01

Treatment by, and attitude of, state authorities 21.04

Societal treatment and attitudes 21.07

22. Disability 22.01

23. Women 23.01

Overview 23.01

Legal rights 23.07

Marriage/divorce laws 23.09


Political rights 23.10

Social and economic rights 23.14

Employment 23.17

Family planning/abortion 23.18

Single mothers/widows 23.21

Mixed marriages 23.25

Violence against women 23.26

Legal rights 23.26

Rape/domestic violence 23.30

Violence during and after the internal conflict 23.24

Assistance available to women 23.40

24. Children 24.01

Overview 24.01

Basic legal information 24.04



Legal rights 24.07

Violence against children 24.09

Illegitimate children 24.16

Unaccompanied and orphaned children in the North 24.17

Child soldiers 24.18

LTTE 24.21

Karuna Group/TMVP 24.28

Other groups 24.34

Childcare and protection………………………………………........24.37

Government and NGO childcare 24.40



Education 24.42

25. Trafficking 25.01

26. Medical issues 26.01

Overview of availability of medical treatment 26.01

Availability and affordability of drugs 26.09


HIV/AIDS – anti-retroviral treatment 26.10

Cancer treatment 26.13

Kidney dialysis 26.14

Mental health 26.18

Mental health hospitals and clinics 26.20

Psychiatrists and psychologists 26.22

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 26.24

Availability and affordability of antidepressant

and therapeutic drugs 26.25



27. Humanitarian issues 27.01

28. Freedom of movement 28.01

Colombo 28.04

Police registration 28.09

Lodges in Colombo 28.16

Check-points 28.18

A9 highway (Kandy/Colombo to Jaffna) 28.26

Access to the Northern Province 28.30

Jaffna district: entry and exit 28.31



Unexploded ordnance (UXO) 28.32

29. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) 29.01

Documentation for IDPs 29.14

30. Foreign refugees 30.01

31. Citizenship and nationality 31.01

Identity cards 31.06


Travel documents 31.13

32. Forged and fraudulently obtained documents 32.01

33. Exit and return 33.01

Exit procedures…………………………………… 33.01

Entry procedures…………………………………… 33.06

Treatment of returned failed asylum seekers 33.11

Physical examinations/scarring 33.22



34. Employment rights 34.01
Annexes
Annex A – Chronology of major events

Annex B – Timelines

Annex C – Political organisations

Annex D – Prominent people

Annex E – List of abbreviations

Annex F – References to source material

Preface


i This Country of Origin Information Report (COI Report) has been produced by COI Service, United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA), for use by officials involved in the asylum/human rights determination process. The Report provides general background information about the issues most commonly raised in asylum/human rights claims made in the United Kingdom. The main body of the report includes information available up to 20 September 2010. The ‘Latest News’ section contains further brief information on events and reports accessed from 21 September to 3 November 2010. The report was issued on 11 November 2010.

ii The Report is compiled wholly from material produced by a wide range of recognised external information sources and does not contain any UKBA opinion or policy. All information in the Report is attributed, throughout the text, to the original source material, which is made available to those working in the asylum/human rights determination process.

iii The Report aims to provide a brief summary of the source material identified, focusing on the main issues raised in asylum and human rights applications. It is not intended to be a detailed or comprehensive survey. For a more detailed account, the relevant source documents should be examined directly.
iv The structure and format of the COI Report reflects the way it is used by UKBA decision makers and appeals presenting officers, who require quick electronic access to information on specific issues and use the contents page to go directly to the subject required. Key issues are usually covered in some depth within a dedicated section, but may also be referred to briefly in several other sections. Some repetition is therefore inherent in the structure of the Report.
v The information included in this COI Report is limited to that which can be identified from source documents. While every effort is made to cover all relevant aspects of a particular topic, it is not always possible to obtain the information concerned. For this reason, it is important to note that information included in the Report should not be taken to imply anything beyond what is actually stated. For example, if it is stated that a particular law has been passed, this should not be taken to imply that it has been effectively implemented unless stated.

vi As noted above, the Report is a collation of material produced by a number of reliable information sources. In compiling the Report, no attempt has been made to resolve discrepancies between information provided in different source documents. For example, different source documents often contain different versions of names and spellings of individuals, places and political parties, etc. COI Reports do not aim to bring consistency of spelling, but to reflect faithfully the spellings used in the original source documents. Similarly, figures given in different source documents sometimes vary and these are simply quoted as per the original text. The term ‘sic’ has been used in this document only to denote incorrect spellings or typographical errors in quoted text; its use is not intended to imply any comment on the content of the material.

vii The Report is based substantially upon source documents issued during the previous two years. However, some older source documents may have been included because they contain relevant information not available in more recent documents. All sources contain information considered relevant at the time this Report was issued.
viii This COI Report and the accompanying source material are public documents. All COI Reports are published on the RDS section of the Home Office website and the great majority of the source material for the Report is readily available in the public domain. Where the source documents identified in the Report are available in electronic form, the relevant web link has been included, together with the date that the link was accessed. Copies of less accessible source documents, such as those provided by government offices or subscription services, are available from the COI Service upon request.
ix COI Reports are published regularly on the top 20 asylum intake countries. COI Key Documents are produced on lower asylum intake countries according to operational need. UKBA officials also have constant access to an information request service for specific enquiries.
x In producing this COI Report, COI Service has sought to provide an accurate, balanced summary of the available source material. Any comments regarding this Report or suggestions for additional source material are very welcome and should be submitted to UKBA as below.
Country of Origin Information Service

UK Border Agency

7th floor

St Anne House

20-26 Wellesley Road

Croydon CR9 9XB

United Kingdom

Email: cois@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Website: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/country_reports.html

Independent Advisory Group on Country Information
xi The Independent Advisory Group on Country Information (IAGCI) was set up in March 2009 by the Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency to make recommendations to him about the content of the UKBA’s country of origin information material. The IAGCI welcomes feedback on UKBA’s COI Reports, COI Key Documents and other country of origin information material. Information about the IAGCI’s work can be found on the Chief Inspector’s website at http://icinspector.independent.gov.uk/country-information-reviews/
xii In the course of its work, the IAGCI reviews the content of selected UKBA COI documents and makes recommendations specific to those documents and of a more general nature. A list of the COI Reports and other documents which have been reviewed by the IAGCI or the Advisory Panel on Country Information (the independent organisation which monitored UKBA’s COI material from September 2003 to October 2008) is available at http://icinspector.independent.gov.uk/country-information-reviews/
xiii Please note: it is not the function of the IAGCI to endorse any UKBA material or procedures. Some of the material examined by the Group relates to countries designated or proposed for designation to the Non-Suspensive Appeals (NSA) list. In such cases, the Group’s work should not be taken to imply any endorsement of the decision or proposal to designate a particular country for NSA, nor of the NSA process itself.

Independent Advisory Group on Country Information contact details:

Office of the Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency

4th floor, 8-10 Great George Street,

London, SW1P 3AE


Email: chiefinspectorukba@icinspector.gsi.gov.uk

Website: http://icinspector.independent.gov.uk/country-information-reviews/
Return to Contents

Go to list of sources
Latest News
Events in Sri Lanka from 21 September to 3 November 2010
28 October A military spokesman said that in the light of the improved security situation in Colombo the government had decided to remove all check points in the city. The existing ten permanent check points within the Colombo metropolitan area would be gradually removed and replaced with an advanced surveillance system.
The Official Website of the Government of Sri Lanka, Security check points removed, 27 October 2010

http://www.priu.gov.lk/news_update/Current_Affairs/ca201010/20101027security_check_points_removed.htm

Date accessed 28 October 2010
Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka), Checkpoints phased out, 28 October 2010

http://www.dailymirror.lk/print/index.php/news/front-page-news/25545.html

Date accessed 28 October 2010
See also Section 28: Freedom of Movement
25 October The Ministry of Resettlement stated that by end of the previous week the total number of IDPs in the Vavuniya ‘relief villages’ and in Jaffna had dropped to 18,799.

The Official Government News Portal of Sri Lanka, IDPs now down to 18,799, 25 October 2010


http://www.news.lk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=16515&Itemid=44

Date accessed 28 October 2010
See also Section 27: Humanitarian issues and Section 29: Internally Displaced People (IDPs)
23 October UNHCR figures show an increase in the number “refugees” returning to Sri Lanka from camps in Tamil Nadu. In the period between January and 30 September 2010, 1,280 refugees returned voluntarily to Sri Lanka from India with the help of the UNHCR compared to 843 in 2009. In 2010, over 1,000 refugees reported to the UNHCR in Sri Lanka that they had returned.

Hindustan Times, More Lankan refugees returning home from India, 23 October 2010



http://www.hindustantimes.com/rssfeed/srilanka/More-Lankan-refugees-returning-home-from-India/Article1-616930.aspx

Date accessed 26 October 2010
See also Section 27: Humanitarian issues and Section 29: Internally Displaced People (IDPs)
20 October Parliament extended for another month the state of emergency (SOE). The SOE has being extended by a month in every month since August 2005.
TamilNet, SL Parliament extends state of Emergency, 20 October 2010

http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=32833

Date accessed 26 October 2010

See also Section 12: Arrest and detention

18 October The Commissioner General of Rehabilitation said “over 4600 ex-combatants have been rehabilitated and reintegrated into society” since May 2009. The latest batch of almost 500, more than a half women, were released in the Northern town of Vavuniya on 15 October.
The Official Website of the Government of Sri Lanka, Over 4600 ex-LTTE cadres rehabilitated, 18 October 2010

http://www.priu.gov.lk/news_update/Current_Affairs/ca201010/20101018over_4600_ex_ltte_cadres_rehabilitated.htm

Date accessed 26 October 2010
BBC Sinhala, 500 Ex-LTTE cadres set free, 15 October 2010

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sinhala/news/story/2010/10/101015_release.shtml

Date accessed 18 October 2010
See also Section 4: Recent developments
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) called on the government to take immediate action against the police officers accused of assaulting a group of journalists covering a student protest. “They were assaulted despite having identified themselves as journalists to police after reporting that a group of 25 officers were attacking a single protester.”
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Attack On Journalists Sparks Outcry In Sri Lanka, 18 October 2010

http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/attack-on-journalists-sparks-outcry-in-sri-lanka


Date accessed 18 October 2010
See also Section 16 on Journalists
14 October Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group and Amnesty International said in a joint letter to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission that they would not accept an invitation to testify before the commission because the government-sponsored panel lacks mandate, credibility, independence and “fails to meet basic international standards for independent and impartial inquiries.”

Human Rights Watch, Groups Decline to Testify Before Flawed Commission, 14 October 2010



http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/10/13/sri-lanka-groups-decline-testify-flawed-commission

Date accessed 14 October 2010
10 October The wives of the two prominent Tamil Tiger leaders - spokesman Rasiah Ilantherian and head of the intelligence wing in Batticaloa, Prabha - told the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission their husbands have not been seen since being detained in May 2009.

BBC News, Sri Lanka Tamil Tiger spokesman 'missing after arrest', 10 October 2010



http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11510315

Date accessed 10 October 2010

7 October Former general Sarath Fonseka, who was jailed after being recently found guilty of misappropriating funds, had his parliamentary seat revoked. Mr Fonseka's Democratic National Alliance (DNA) argues the military court is not a proper court established under the constitution and said it would take legal action against the decision.

Reuters Alertnet, Sri Lanka's jailed ex-army boss loses parliament seat, 7 October 2010

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/SGE6960IG.htm

Date accessed 7 October 2010
BBC News, Sri Lanka ex-army chief Fonseka loses seat as MP, 7 October 2010

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11493932

Date accessed 7 October 2010

See also Section 15 on Opposition groups and political activists


1 October A group of 397 former LTTE cadres (242 men and 155 women) were released from a rehabilitation camp in Vavuniya after being there for over 16 months and having receiving vocational training. During the last 16 months 4,000 former LTTE cadres were reported to have been rehabilitated and handed over to their parents.
Daily News (Sri Lanka), 397 former LTTErs released, 1 October 2010

http://www.dailymirror.lk/print/index.php/news/front-page-news/23064-397-former-ltters-released-.html

Date accessed 7 October 2010

30 September The government announced that the president had upheld a court-martial sentence of 30 months of rigorous imprisonment for former army chief Sarath Fonseka. The spokesman for Mr Fonseka's Democratic National Alliance party said: "The president is taking revenge personally…This is political revenge just for challenging him at the presidential election."

Reuters Alertnet, Sri Lanka's ex-army boss jailed, to lose seat, 30 September 2010

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/SGE68T05F.htm

Date accessed 30 September 2010
The Official Government News Portal of Sri Lanka, 30 month imprisonment on Sarath Fonseka confirmed, 30 September 2010

http://www.news.lk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=16383&Itemid=44

Date accessed 30 September 2010
See also Section 15 on Opposition groups and political activists
Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Affairs stated that around 89,000 females (49,000 in the East and 40,000 in the North)

had been widowed due to the war and had no means of support for themselves and their families. Meanwhile the National Child Protection Authority said that about 800 calls were received a day to their Hotline about children who had been abused or ill-treated, especially from Batticaloa and Vavuniya.
Daily News (Sri Lanka), Conflict leaves 89,000 widows, 30 September 2010

http://www.dailymirror.lk/print/index.php/news/front-page-news/22915.html



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