October 21, 2016 Reading Time: 2 minutes
Reading Time: 2 min read
UN Special Rapporteur urges post-conflict progress
The UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsák-Ndiaye, has called on the government to take immediate action in resolving post-conflict issues and securing the rights of minorities. Ms. Izsák-Ndiaye emphasised that demilitarisation, land return, and the return of prisoners of war are the recurrent concerns of communities in the north and east.
Ms. Izsák-Ndiaye called for greater transparency from the government, stating that it ‘must put in place some urgent, important and concrete measures to clearly demonstrate its political will and commitment’.
Indian Foreign Secretary to visit Sri Lanka
The Foreign Secretary of India, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, will arrive in Sri Lanka this weekend, for a three-day visit. Secretary Jaishankar will promote business and investment in Sri Lanka, and follow up on initiatives discussed by President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe in India.
Secretary Jaishankar is scheduled to meet with businessmen and officials to discuss potential areas of investment. The Indian government has proposed building a liquefied natural gas power plant in Kerawalapitiya in place of the cancelled Sampur power plant.
Russia urges Sri Lanka to reconsider asbestos ban
Russia’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Alexander A. Karchava, has appealed to the Sri Lankan government to lift the ban on chrysotile fibre in the country, arguing that it may limit relations between the two countries.The appeal follows a Cabinet decided to limit and eventually ban the use of asbestos in 2024 due to health risks.
Russia is a major exporter of chrysotile fiber, and stated that alternative solutions, such as improving education on safe use, could be explored.
Philippines and China to restart South China Sea talks
The President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, and President Xi Jinping have agreed to recommence discussions on the South China Sea dispute. The decision was made on 20 October, during President Duterte’s state visit to China.
The Vice Foreign Minister of China, Liu Zhenmin, stated that the ‘South China Sea issue was not the sum total’ of bilateral relations, and that both countries will engage in talks and consultations to resolve the South China Sea dispute.
South Africa plans to withdraw from ICC
The Republic of South Africa intends to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to a document signed by South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, on 19 October.
South Africa is a founding member of the African Union and has expressed its commitment towards promoting international human rights and peace in the African continent. Several African countries have expressed dissatisfaction with the ICC, arguing that the court disproportionately targets the African continent.
Bangladesh passes new NGO law
The Bangladesh parliament has enacted a new law regulating foreign-funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The Foreign Donations (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Act 2016, passed earlier this month, allows the Prime Minister to suspend or terminate an NGO if ‘derogatory’ remarks are made against Bangladeshi constitutional bodies.
The law comes during a clampdown on political, civil society or media critics of the government.