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Leading News from Sri Lanka::

* US to seek full UN access in Sri Lanka
Mon, Feb 18, 2013, 11:00 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 18 (NIE) An early draft of the “procedural resolution” against Sri Lanka, which the US plans to place before the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva next month, seeks “unfettered” access to UN rapporteurs responsible for governance and human rights.

Sunday Times quotes an unnamed Lankan official, who had had access to the draft, to say that it seeks access to international rapporteurs responsible for the independence of judges and lawyers; torture; human rights defenders; freedom of expression; freedom of association and assembly; extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions; and the working group on enforced or involuntary disappearances. But, Lankan ministers have rejected any bid for foreign interference in the country’s internal affairs.

Meanwhile, Colombo is on a diplomatic offensive to stem a bid to put Lanka on the agenda for the forthcoming Commonwealth Ministerial Group meet and shift the venue from Lanka.

Sinhalese-Muslim Rift

Lanka has begun to face a new problem — a rift between the majority Sinhalese and the minority Muslims over ”Halal Certification”.

Sinhalese outfits like the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) are to begin an agitation next week asking non-Muslims not to buy Halal products. Minister Champika Ranawakka told the cabinet last week that Halal Certification was both illegal and exploitative. The Jamayathul Ulema was using it to make money to spread Islam, he charged. But Muslim ministers said that such certification was not compulsory though Muslims preferred Halal stamped products.

Read More:: NIE (Source)