Saturday, 28 November 2015
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Eelam Tamils across the world mark Tamil National Remembrance Day 2015. Photograph - Maaveerar Naal remembered over the site of the demolished LTTE cemetery in PTK. UPDATED 23:59 GMT
 Tamil Affairs
Tamil Guardian 28 November 2015
Maaveerar Naal commemorated in Strasbourg

Tamil families in Strasbourg gathered at their local community center to commemorate Maaveerar Naal.

Tamil Guardian 27 November 2015
Flame lit on Mullaitivu beach for Maaveerar Naal

Tamil youth in Mullaitivu have commemorated Maaveerar Naal despite facing intense intimidation from Sri Lankan military.

Young people came together on a beach in Mullaitivu to light a commemorative flame at 18.05, a Maaveerar Naal tradition observed in tribute to the exact time of the death of the first LTTE cadre, Lt Shankar.

Tamil Guardian 27 November 2015
Tamil youths in Manipay hold Maaveerar Naal event

Several Tamil youths gathered in Manipay today to commemorate Maaveerar Naal.


Tamil Guardian 27 November 2015
Maaveerar Naal commemorated in Batticaloa

Maaveerar Naal was commemorated by the people of Batticaloa on Friday evening at a historic site in Thuraineelavanai.

Current and former Batticaloa politicians also observed the day with a service at the office of TNA MP, S. Yogeswaran.

Local sources report that newly elected TNA MPs for Batticaloa, S. Viyalanderan and G. Srineshan, are facing criticism for declining to participate in any commemorative events.

Tamil Guardian 27 November 2015
Maaveerar Naal marked in secret at homes across the North-East

Photos: Tamil Guardian

Fearing reprisals from the Sri Lankan state, several households commemorated the Tamil national remembrance day in secret at their homes.

Photos from the North-East show candles lit to commemorate Maaveerar Naal.

An increased military presence and fear of reprisals had dissuaded many Tamils from participating in the more public events, local sources told the Tamil Guardian on Friday evening.

Tamil Guardian 27 November 2015
French Tamils mark Maaveerar Naal

Tamils in France attended a remembrance event on Friday to commemorate Maaveerar Naal or Tamil National Remembrance Day.


Tamil Guardian 27 November 2015
Remembrance at PTK's destroyed LTTE cemetery


A clandestine event to remember Tamil fighters was held at the former site of a cemetery in Puthukudiyiruppu.


தமிழீழத்தில் நடை பெற்ற மாவீர்ர்கள் நாளின் வீடியோ ஒன்று....!!!

Posted by யாழ்காந் தமிழீழம் on Friday, November 27, 2015

The cemetery, in which thousands of LTTE fighters were buried, was destroyed by the Sri Lankan state after the end of the armed conflict.

Tamil Guardian 27 November 2015
Jaffna University students light commemorative flame for Maaveerar Naal

Photographs: Tamil Guardian

Students at Jaffna University marked Maaveerar Naal this evening, by lighting a commemorative flame.

The flame was lit at 18:05 local time, the moment when the first LTTE cadre Lt Shankar, died in the struggle on November 27th, 1982.

Candles lit at 18:05 at Jaffna University today.


Tamil Guardian 27 November 2015
Tamils in Qatar commemorate Maaveerar Naal

Tamils living in Doha, Qatar marked Maaveerar Naal alongside Tamils across the world on Friday.

Alongside makeshift graves, dozens of photos of those who died during the struggle for liberation were posted.


Tamil Guardian 27 November 2015
TNA marks Maaveerar Naal in Jaffna

Photographs: Tamil Guardian

At a ceremony in Jaffna, parliamentarians from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) commemorated Maaveerar Naal on Friday.

In a ceremony at the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kathchi (ITAK) offices in Martin Road, Jaffna, TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah led commemorations, as party members gathered to remember lives lost in the Tamil struggle.  With the party offices decorated in red and yellow, the Tamil national colours, members lit deepams and held a moment of silence.

At 18:05 local time, Mr Senathirajah light a flame of remembrance, marking the exact time the first LTTE cadre Lt Shankar died in November 1982.


Tamil Guardian 27 November 2015
Kilinochchi Maaveerar Naal commemorations


Tamils from Kilinochchi gathered at an undisclosed location to commemorate Maaveerar Naal on Friday evening. Sri Lankan intelligence officers were however seen observing the event, reported.

A sacrificial lamp was lit and gloriosa lilies and candles were placed at a shrine by officials, relatives of those who died and other locals.

Tamil Guardian 27 November 2015
Vavuniya commemorates Maaveerar Naal

Maaveerar Naal was commemorated in the grounds of a Temple in Vavuniya despite threats and military intimidation on the previous day about hosting a memorial event.

Candles were lit and placed in an orientation that marked the date of Maaverar Naal as a symbol of protest to threats from police and military against raising the Tamil national flag and remembering the Tamil war dead in their usual traditional way.


Tamil Guardian 27 November 2015
TNPF commemorates Maaveerar Naal

The Tamil National People's Front commemorated Maaveerar Naal at an event in Jaffna on Friday.

Members of the party, including General Secretary Selvarajah Kajendran, participated in the event.

A remembrance flame was lit at precisely 18:05 local time, the exact time the first LTTE fighter died on this day in 1982.


Tamil Guardian 27 November 2015
Maaveerar Naal commemorated in Mannar despite forced cancellation and threats of arrest

Members of the Northern Provincial Council and Tamil families in Mannar convened at the local church to commemorate Maaveerar Naal after having to cancel the original event due to police threats of arrest.

The remembrance event which was initially planned to be held in the village of Keeri was cancelled as people faced threats of arrest for conducting the event, and rescheduled for the evening at the local church compound.

The event was held late in the evening and attended by Northern Provincial Councillor Deniswaran and the leader of the Ilankai Tamil Arasi Katchi (ITAK) youth wing Sivakaran.

See below for video.

Tamil Guardian 27 November 2015
Thousands of British Tamils commemorate Maaveerar Naal in London

Thousands of British Tamils have gathered in London to commemorate Maaveerar Naal, the Tamil day of remembrance.

Taking place at the Wembley Arena in London, thousands of Tamils queued for hours to pay respects and lay flowers before photos of those who gave their lives in the Tamil struggle for liberation.

With queues stretching outside the arena for hours, thousands staged their own service outside the venue, as people continued to join. With the venue at capacity, thousands stood in silence and bowed their heads, whilst some held the gloriosa lily aloft, in remembrance of those who have passed.


Tamil Guardian 27 November 2015
Hundreds attend last rites for Senthuran

The funeral of Rajeswaran Senthuran, the 18-year-old schoolboy who committed suicide in protest at the ongoing detention of Tamil political prisoners, was held today in Koppay.

After religious rites at Senthuran's home, his body was laid at the private tuition centre where he had studied, allowing hundreds of attendees to pay their respects.

Tamil Guardian 27 November 2015
Maaveerar Naal marked in Jaffna University

The University of Jaffna commemorated Maaveerar Naal at an event on the campus at noon today.

Tamil Guardian 27 November 2015
Schoolboy's heartbreaking suicide must open eyes - Tamil political prisoners

Tamil political prisoners have expressed their heartbreak at the suicide of 18 year old Rajeswaran Senthuran, who took his own life in protest at their prolonged detention.

In a statement, the prisoners requested that no more supporters should resort to such tragic measures.

The schoolboys death should resound loudly for the oppressive Sri Lankan government, they said.

 International Affairs
Tamil Guardian 27 November 2015
Burundi is at risk of genocide warns US Special Envoy
The US Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa warned that Burundi is at risk of genocide thought it was “not yet present reality”, amidst ongoing unrest in the country.

In an interview, Thomas Perriello said that the crime of genocide is a risk, stating, “We have seen very dangerous signals from senior government officials about what makes this conflict more ethnic in nature”.

“But its also for the government and others to note that genocide is not the only serious international crime,” he added. “There is torture or extrajudicial killing that is still a serious crime. So we certainly continue to track ethnic language but also look at additional crimes.”

Mr Perriello said the recently announced sanctions “are the latest in a series of steps by the United States, the European Union, the African Union and the United Nations to ensure consequences for... repressive acts”.

“We want to get the peace process started so the people of Burundi have the chance for peace and for an open democratic society that they so clearly desire and there will consequences for those who push in a different direction,” he added.

See his full interview here.
Tamil Guardian 25 November 2015
Russian MPs submit bill to criminalise Armenian genocide denial

The Russian opposition party has submitted a bill in parliament that will criminalise the denial of the Armenian genocide, carried out by the Ottoman Empire over a century ago.

"We have just submitted a bill on responsibility for failure to acknowledge the fact of a genocide of Armenians by Turkey in 1915," said the leader of Russia's opposition A Just Russia party, Sergei Mironov.

Those who deny that the killings constituted genocide can face a fine of up to $7,500

The move is likely to inflame tensions with Turkey, who deny that it was a genocide, the day after the Turkish air force shot down a Russian jet near the Syrian border.

Tamil Guardian 25 November 2015
US sanctions business entities helping Syrian government trade
The US sanctioned a Syrian businessman who it accused of facilitating oil sails between the Islamic State and Syrian government, reports Reuters.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the US treasury Department said  that three other individuals, including a Russian Bank had also been sanctioned for providing support to the Syrian government and its supporting businesses.

George Haswani, who was accused as being the middleman for Islamic State and Syrian oil deals had already been sanctioned by the European Union in March.

Responding to the sanctions, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabokov, criticising the sanctions on Russian businessmen, called on the US to stop playing “geo-political games.”
Tamil Guardian 25 November 2015
Refugees at Greece-Macedonia commence hunger strike

A group of Iranian refugees at the border between Greece and Macedonia have sewn their lips shut, going on a hunger strike to protest controversial new immigration policies enacted by several Balkan governments. The new measures passed first by Slovenia, but quickly adopted by Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia, block access to any asylum-seekers that cannot prove citizenship from Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq, classifying asylum-seekers from all other countries as “economic migrants.”

A spokesperson for the refugee advocacy group, Are You Syrious, told Al Jazeera on Tuesday, “[a]t this moment the worst situation is at the Idomeni border crossing in Greece, where at least 2,000 Iranians, Moroccans and other nationals are stranded after the border was closed for everyone except Syrian, Afghan and Iraqi refugees.”

Rados Djurovic, director of the Belgrade-based Asylum Protection Centre, told the Independent, “[t]o classify a whole nation as economic migrants is not a principle recognized in international law.” (link:)

As of mid-November, Human Rights Watch has reported that an unprecedented 800,000 asylum-seekers had reached Italy and Greece, with many of them attempting to continue their journeys to safety through the Balkans.

Tamil Guardian 25 November 2015
US airstrike against MSF hospital due to 'avoidable human error'
An investigation into the United States air strike against a MSF (Doctors Without Borders) hospital in Afghanistan last month found the incident was due to "avoidable human error".

Addressing journalists in Washington on Wednesday, the senior US General John Campbell reiterated the "US forces would never intentionally (strike) a hospital."

"The report determined that the US strike upon the MSF trauma centre in Kunduz city, Afghanistan, was a direct result of human error, compounded by systems and procedural failures," General Campbell said.

"US forces directly involved in this incident did not know the target compound was the MSF trauma centre. The medical facility was mis-identified as a target," he added.


Tamil Guardian 24 November 2015
US urges Russia to focus attacks on Islamic State
US President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande called on Russia to focus its attacks in Syria on Islamic State militants following the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey’s air force.

Noting that the United States did not have enough information yet to form conclusions on the incident, the US president said future situations could be avoided if Russia stopped attacking “moderate” Syrian rebels battling the Assad regime.

Speaking after a meeting with the French President, Mr Obama said,

“This points to a ongoing problem with the Russian operations in the sense that they are operating very close to a Turkish border and they are going after moderate opposition that are supported not only by Turkey but a wide range of countries.

Calling on Russia to direct its energy towards Islamic State forces, he added “some of those conflicts and potential mistakes or escalation are less likely to occur.”

Earlier today, NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg offered support for Ankara and rejected that the incident happened outside of Turkey's borders, reports Reuters.
Tamil Guardian 24 November 2015
United Nations Special Rapporteur calls Paris attacks a crime against humanity

United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights denounced the attacks in Paris earlier this month, stating that they “may constitute a crime against humanity”.

 “These attacks may constitute a crime against humanity and certainly one which viciously and deliberately targeted sites of arts and leisure where people come together to enjoy their cultural rights,” said Karima Bennoune in apress release last week. 

She added that civil society around the world must “unite in exposing and opposing the fundamentalist ideology motivating such atrocities, as many have done in Muslim majority countries for years, and to support those resisting such fundamentalist assaults on cultural life on the frontlines from West Africa to South Asia and beyond”.

“I would like to emphasize the global equality of victims and the unavoidably international nature of the struggle against those who seek to deliberately kill civilians and culture itself, and above all to divide the human family,” she concluded. 


Tamil Guardian 24 November 2015
EU backs Western Sahara’s ‘right to self-determination’

The European Union reiterated its support for a "just, lasting and mutually political solution, which will allow the people of Western Sahara to exercise their right to self-determination".

The High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said the EU "follows closely the human rights situation in Morocco", and added "the EU will take no action that may undermine” the efforts of UN chief Ban Ki-Moon in the region.

See more from here.



Tamil Guardian 24 November 2015
Turkish forces shoot down Russian aircraft in Syria

Turkey's forces shot down a Russian Su-24 plane by the border with Syria on Tuesday.

Turkey, which is a NATO member, stated the plane entered its air space. This has been denied by Moscow.


Tamil Guardian 23 November 2015
US sanctions Burundi officials

The US has imposed sanctions on four officials connected to the violence which has hit Burundi over the last months.

Hundreds of people are said to have died in violent clashes since President Pierre Nkurunziza unconstitutionally ran for a third term earlier this year and ended up being elected.

“President Nkurunziza’s pursuit of a third term in office has precipitated a humanitarian, economic, and security crisis,” said a statement by Ned Price, spokesman of the National Security Council in Washington.

“Burundi is on the precipice, but there is a clear path available to Burundi’s leaders to avoid further violence and reach a political solution.”

Tamil Guardian 23 November 2015
Protesters killed by police in Nepal in ongoing violence over constitution
Violence over the weekend in Nepal saw the fatal shooting of at least three protestors by police, with many more injured. The protestors belonged to the Madhesi group which is protesting the recently passed constitution.

While reports are unclear about who used force first, Saturday saw open violence between police and protestors during a blockade of a highway in the Saptari District, the latest in a series of ongoing clashes. The first incidents of violence in Nepal began in August with finalization of the recently passed Constitution. Over 40 people have been killed since then.

The Madhesi group, who have close geographical and historical ties in India, oppose the new constitution on the basis that it diminishes their political voice. They have been blockading the Nepal-Indian border since September, with significant effects on Nepal’s economy.

In a statement last Friday, UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon expressed “his growing concern over the blockade of essential supplies on the Nepal-India border.” On Sunday, spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, Vikas Swarup said on Twitter that India was “distressed at [the] loss of lives in police firing in Saptari” and that “political solution [was] required.”

See here and here for more.
Tamil Guardian 23 November 2015
Cooperation with Russia to tackle Islamic State a possibility says US
US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday that it was possible to broaden cooperation with Russia and Syria in attempts to combat Islamic State militants.

Stressing that Washington was not under pressure to work with Moscow, Mr Kerry said that under the right circumstances cooperation could read to “constructive possibilities”

Such a move should not deter opposition groups in Syria from fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad he added.

Highlighting the necessity of any cooperation to not be perceived as cooperation with Assad, he said,
“If certain entities perceive that whatever we’re doing is going to help Assad to stay, that complicates issues. So it has to be done in a way that manages the passions, among people who have been fighting Assad for four years.”

Kerry made these statements at a press meet after talks with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on ways to bring Syrian opposition groups together at a conference in Riyadh next month, reports Reuters.
Tamil Guardian 22 November 2015
Colombia pardons FARC rebels as confidence-building measure

Colombia is pardoning to 30 jailed members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), as a confidence-building measure in its peace talks with armed group, AFP reported on Sunday.

The government said none of those being pardoned were in prison for serious crimes and added that they will be supported in their efforts to find jobs and receive social support on their release. 

"As part of the confidence-building gestures between the national government and the FARC, the national government has decided, based on its constitutional and legal authorities, to grant pardons ... to 30 guerrillas," the presidential statement said.

FARC told local media last week that around 850 jailed members of the leftist militant group have been on a hunger strike in 13 prisons since Nov. 9, demanding humanitarian releases and improved prison conditions.

Tamil Guardian 21 November 2015
Bangladesh executions over war crimes

Bangladesh has executed two opposition leaders for war crimes committed during the 1971 independence struggle against Pakistan.

Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid were convicted of genocide and rape and were hanged in Dhaka's central jail.

A special war crimes tribunal found Mr Chowdhury guilty of nine out of 23 charges including genocide, arson and persecuting people on religious and political grounds.

The prosecution said that his father's residence in Chittagong was turned into a torture cell during the war.
Mujahid was the secretary-general of Jamaat-e-Islami. and was sentenced to death in July 2013.

He was accused of responsibility for the killings of a number of pro-independence Bangladeshi leaders and intellectuals.

Tamil Guardian 21 November 2015
UK convicts teen for trying to join Kurdish militant fight against Islamic State
A British teenager became the first British citizen convicted of trying to join the fight against Islamic State in Syria.

Silhan Ozcelik, an 18 year old, ran away from home to join the Kurdistan Workers party’s women militia, a wing of the proscribed Kurdish militant PKK organisation.

Ms Ozelik was sentenced to 21 months in a young offender institution. The judged added that the teenager would “have to live with the long lasting consequences of a conviction for terrorism,” reports The Guardian.
Tamil Guardian 20 November 2015
UN General Assembly passes resolution condemning North Korea rights abuses
A United Nations General Assembly committee condemned what it described as rampant and planned human rights abuses in North Korea reports Reuters.

The non-binding resolution adopted by the UN General assembly’s 3rd committee referred to the findings of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) commission of inquiry that concluded that rights abuses in North Korea may amount to war crimes.

The resolution accused North Korea of torture, use of an extensive system of prison camps, forced transfer of populations, and “all-pervasive and severe restrictions on the freedoms of thought, conscience, religion or belief, opinion and expression.”

Urging North-Korea to end all rights abuses, the resolution added, “The government of DPRK has always been maintaining a policy of taking responsibility for and constantly enhancing the promotion and protection of the human rights of popular masses.”
Tamil Guardian 17 November 2015
Bosnia arrests over war crimes against Serbs
Bosnia has arrested a police commissioner, a lawyer and a third man, all Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims)suspected of having committed war crimes against Bosnian Serb civilians during the war in the early nineties.

The Sarajevo-based lawyer Ibro Merkez and Gorazde police commissioner Esef Huric were arrested on Tuesday on suspcion of having illegally imprisoned more than 100 Serbs from the eastern town of Gorazde at the local police station.

The Serb civilians were held for several months in inhumane conditions, causing two deaths, a statement from the state prosecutor said.

After the arrests Serbs permanently left Gorazde.

In a separate case, police arrested Ahmet Sejdic under suspicion of illegal imprisonment, expulsion, torture and inhumane treatment of dozens of Serb civilians and prisoners of war,
AP reported.
Tamil Guardian 17 November 2015
Finland detains Iraqi war crimes suspect for preliminary investigation
Finish officials arrested an Iraqi man on suspicion of committing war crimes in Iraq in 2014, reports abc news.

The Pirkanmaa Regional Court in Finald, confirmed that a suspect was held in custody on allegations of committing war crimes in Iraq during June 2015.

Jabbar Salman Ammar was detained by Finland’s police on Friday said Detective Superintendent Jari Raty during a press brief this week.

Under Finish law the Iraqi suspect can be held for four months during a preliminary investigation before having to be charged with a crime.
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'Have we not lost enough lives for our rights?' - Jaffna Uni protests in tribute to student who committed suicide
US Ambassador Samantha Power visits Jaffna
UN confirms existence of secret torture camps in Sri Lanka, calls on gov to reveal other possible locations
  Culture & Community
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