The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has concluded another round of emergency distributions amond detention centres. The items so distributed included reusable masks, PPE kits, chlorine, soap and other hygiene items for the use of inmates and personnel of prisons, police stations and an immigration centre.
“People who are detained are likely to be more vulnerable during a medical emergency of this scale. We adapted our activities at the start of the pandemic and we are in coordination with prison authorities ever since”, said the head of the ICRC delegation in Sri Lanka, Loukas Petridis. “We are committed to continue supporting the detaining authorities to ensure humane conditions and dignified treatment to all detainees in such challenging times”, concluded Loukas Petridis.
The ICRC also donated fabric and accessories to the Department of Prisons to produce reusable masks for detainees. Over 30,000 reusable masks have been produced so far, out of the 40,000 planned in total. In the coming weeks, the ICRC delegation will also support a pilot project for online phone calls for detainees. The calls will allow detainees to maintain contact with their loved ones, amidst the administrative restrictions that have been put into place.
Since March 2020, the ICRC, in coordination with the Ministry of Health, supported the efforts of the Sri Lankan detaining authorities to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading amongst the detainee population. It has provided health and hygiene items and disinfection material that has benefited almost 33,000 people in over 23 prisons, a prison hospital, five police stations and the Mirihana Immigration Detention Centre.
The ICRC has been visiting detainees in Sri Lanka since 1989. Worldwide, detainees are at the center of the ICRC’s humanitarian action and addressing their needs and concerns remains a key priority.
Key FACTS & FIGURES since March 2020
Over 30000 beneficiaries in 23 prisons island-wide were supported with 74,100 bars of body soap and laundry soap, 18,500 toothbrushes and 16,000 tubes of toothpaste, 9650 razors, 1755 mats and 1800 sanitary pads. 1.550 Kg of Chlorine and cleaning items for disinfection were distributed. PPE, 36950 surgical masks, 5750 FFP2 masks, 18,000 gowns, 18,000 surgical caps, 1560 face shields, 41400 gloves, 172 goggles were distributed, mainly to prison health staff, and 5000 re-usable masks were provided to other administrative personnel.
Over 250 beneficiaries in five police stations in Colombo, Tangalle and Vavuniya were supported with chlorine, 1000 bars of body soap and laundry soap, 595 each of toothbrushes & toothpaste, 740 surgical masks, 185 mats, 20 sanitary pads and cleaning products.
100 beneficiaries at the Immigration Detention Centre in Colombo were provided 40 litres of chlorine, 10 sanitizers, 470 bars of body soap and laundry soap, 170 each of toothpaste & toothbrushes, 20 mosquito nets and 250 surgical masks.
Sixty six chief jailors and jailors from the Department of Prisons participated in a training on prison standards.
Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’
By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam
The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.
Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.
A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.
The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.
According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.
The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.
DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.
PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners
By Norman Palihawadane
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.
Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.
The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”
Thilo Hoffman remembered
A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.
Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.
The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.
Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’
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