sri lanka

The ambassadors of Sri Lanka and Mexico have met with Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati during separate meetings in Tehran to discuss the expansion of cultural cooperation, the Culture Ministry announced in a press release on Saturday.

Tourism and nation branding have the potential to boost a country's soft power and convey values and culture. However, it's not always a win-win situation for governments (or tourists).

Sri Lankan authorities have decided to deport a British tourist for having an image of Buddha tattooed on her arm, officials have said. Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said on Wednesday that Naomi Coleman, 37, was detained at Colombo's airport after she arrived from India on Monday when authorities spotted the tattoo of Buddha seated on a lotus flower.

A recent report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights carried the strongest criticism yet of Sri Lanka’s Human Rights record. The report, Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka points out that the Sri Lankan government has “failed to ensure independent and credible investigations into past violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.”

Just over two months ago, the Tamils went to the polls for Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial Council elections with defiance, yet with a cautious sense of festivity. Military harassment of voters and party candidates had been thorough and brutally innovative throughout the campaigning; in addition to the typical battering of election monitors, cash-for-votes and widespread intimidation, government supporters had even printed a fake newspaper.

Who would have expected a neophyte Australian foreign minister to get policy right on Sri Lanka while India’s prime minister scores yet another foreign policy own goal in his backyard? Julie Bishop rejected calls for Australia to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo on Nov. 15, insisting that Sri Lanka’s human rights are better advanced by engagement than isolation. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott duly attended.

In his memoirs, Sir John Major praised the Commonwealth as an “enchanting institution” whose biennial summits were “by far the friendliest” that a British prime minister could attend. Sadly, enchantment and affection are likely to be in short supply when the Prince of Wales opens the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, today. Instead, this occasion will be dominated by the controversy over its location.

The Malaysian authorities should immediately drop charges against a rights activist accused of showing a film about Sri Lanka’s civil war without Censorship Board approval, Human Rights Watch said today. Lena Hendry, of the human rights group Pusat KOMAS, was charged under the Film Censorship Act for organizing a screening of “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” on July 3, 2013, in Kuala Lumpur. Hendry, whose trial starts on October 21, faces up to three years in prison and a fine of RM30,000 (US$9,500).