Monday, 06 July 2015
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 Tamil Affairs
Tamil Guardian 06 July 2015
Gotabhaya to cancel US citizenship

Sri Lanka’s former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapksa says he has applied to have his US citizenship cancelled.

Speaking to Ada Derana in response to conflicting reports regarding the forthcoming elections, the former president’s brother said he will not contest the polls in August, but that this decision was unrelated to the issue of his dual citizenship.

“This has nothing to do with my citizenship issue,” he said, adding that he has already taken measures to cancel his dual citizenship. “I’ve already handed over the relevant documents to the US embassy, in this regard.”

There have been repeated demands that the former defence secretary is prosecuted by US authorities, as he is a citizen of the country.

In March Mr Rajapaksa said that if he was to move to the USA, he would be prosecuted and sentenced to death by electric chair.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 06 July 2015
Indian minister confirms Delhi is considering rail link with North-East

The Union Minister of State for Transport, Pon Radhakrishnan, said India’s government is considering a proposal to establish a rail link between Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu and Talaimannar, in the Tamil-dominated North-East of the island.

The minister, speaking to reporters in Chennai, said the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government is considering a proposal to establish a bridge to connect the two countries.

In June India’s road transport and highways minister, Nitin Gadkari, said that a proposal for bridging the divide across the Palk Strait had been submitted to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), for a pre-feasibility study and subsequent financing, however the Sri Lankan government said it has not held any discussions with India on this issue.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 06 July 2015
Sri Lankan army holds Buddhist festivals in North-East

Sri Lankan army troops held Buddhist ceremonies in Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi this week, to invoke Buddhist blessings on the military.

Meanwhile troops at the Forward Maintenance Area in Kilinochchi (FMA-KLN), together with 6 Sri Lanka Army Ordnance Corps (SLAOC), organised a similar ceremony, complete with soldiers dressed in white waving Buddhist flags, on July 2nd.


 

In Mullaitivu, troops of the 12 Sri Lanka Light Infantry held a ceremony on July 1st, with Buddhist monks which “invoked merits on fallen War Heroes and blessings on disable soldiers, serving Army personnel and their family members”, according to an official military website.

Tamil Guardian 06 July 2015
Government hopes to avoid Rajapaksa victory by announcing elections ahead of UN report

The release of a United Nations report on mass atrocities committed by Sri Lankan troops influenced the decision by the Sri Lankan government to hold parliamentary elections in August, reports Reuters quoting government sources.

The UN report, widely expected to details massacres of Tamil civilians by Sri Lankan soldiers during the final phase of the armed conflict, is due to be released in September. With the possibility of a late August leak, incumbent Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena announced elections for August 17, well before any release is expected.

In doing so Mr Sirisena is attempting to stop an expected rise in popularity for former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was in power during the final massacres. A report that criticises Sri Lankan troops is believed to strengthen his popularity, reports Reuters.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 06 July 2015
'Sri Lanka will never pose a threat to India' says Rajapaksa
The former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa reassured India, that Sri Lanka would never pose a threat to the country as he embarked on his election campaign for the upcoming general election on August 17.

"Sri Lanka will never pose a threat to India, and we have nothing to gain by helping any other country to become a threat to India," Mr Rajapaksa told an Indian news site, Rediff, in an interview on Sunday.

Reiterating the "need to maintain good relations with both India and China", Mr Rajapaksa said he intended "to be a bridge between these two rising superpowers".


[more]

Tamil Guardian 05 July 2015
End of war did not signify end of conflict in Sri Lanka says Wigneswaran at Tamil diaspora meet

The Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister, stressed that the “end of the war did not signify end of conflict,” whilst calling on Tamils in the US to assist in the creation of an environment that allowed Tamils in the North-East to thrive.

Addressing the annual conference of the Federation of Tamil Sangams in North America (FeTNA) on Saturday, CV Wigneswaran said that Sri Lanka’s government had reduced resources to the Northern Province.

Noting that the “majoritarian” nature of the Sri Lankan state, Mr Wigneswaran slammed attempts of the government to provide a political settlement to Tamils.  

“Devvolution to the North-East provinces is a joke, a mockery. Elected officials in the North-East have no say,” he added.

Mr Wigneswaran said,

“The North-East is a war ravaged area; we need more assistance & finances than other provinces but central government has reduced our resources.”

Condemning the appropriation of Tamil lands by the Sri Lankan state, he added,

“If they take our land, they take everything.”

Mr Wigneswaran highlighted restrictions by Sri Lanka’s government had not allowed the UN to work with the Northern Province to conduct a “joint Needs Based Assessment”

Tamil Guardian 05 July 2015
JHU to withdraw from UPFA

The Jathika Hela Urumaya, one of the main coalition partners of the current government led by President Sirisena, says it will leave the UPFA.

JHU General Secretary Patali Champika Ranawaka addressing a media briefing said the Central Committee of the Buddhist party had decided to contest the elections from a new party, which will push for good governance and democracy.

The party will be named the United National Front for Good Governance.

Tamil Guardian 05 July 2015
Karumpuli Naal observed at Jaffna University


Students at Jaffna University observed Karumpuli Naal - Black Tigers Day – on Sunday.

A portrait of an unknown Black Tiger was adorned with flowers and candles were lit, in the secretly held ceremony at the  Kalapeeda Puthiya building at the university.


Also see our earlier post: Karumpuli Naal marked worldwide (05 July 2015)
Tamil Guardian 05 July 2015
Military coordinates Hindu temple festival held in Sri Lankan HSZ

The Sri Lankan military “organised and facilitated” a Hindu temple ceremony at a temple inside a High Security Zone (HSZ) in Jaffna on Tuesday, reports an official military website.

The annual festival of the Veeramanikkathevanthurai Sri Kanngathevi temple, which is situated inside the Myliddy HSZ, took place on June 30 with the Sri Lankan military overseeing festivities.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 05 July 2015
Maithri 'unaware' of Rajapaksa nomination

A senior Buddhist monk says President Maithiripala Sirisena told him he did not know about the nomination of Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest the forthcoming general elections.

Maduluwawe Sobitha, a key figure responsible for Sirisena's victory at January 8 vote, told reporters that he spoke with the president who claimed he was unaware of Rajapaksa getting a UPFA ticket.

"He says "mama danne na" ( I don't know)," the monk told reporters. "Let's wait for him to make a statement."

Several members of Sirisena's SLFP are reported to be holding discussions with the UNP to cross over, according to UNP Minister John Amaratunga.

"There are several proposals that involve SLFP members of the Maithripala Group who want to contest the upcoming general election from the UNP," Mr Amaratunga said adding that the SLFP members are not "quite happy with the way things are going" and are "deeply saddened" by the nomination of the former president.

Tamil Guardian 04 July 2015
All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils agrees objectives for new Parliament

The UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils has voted in a new chair and agreed on new objectives for the new Parliament.

Conservative MP for Kingston and Surbiton, James Berry, was elected as the new chair of the group.

Creating a new set of objectives at the group’s AGM, several MPs, including Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers, agreed to work to ensure that the OHCHR Investigation and the UN international and independent investigation are completed; and to assess their conclusions and ensure that appropriate international action is taken in the light of those conclusions.

Speaking to Tamil Guardian after the AGM, James Berry MP said that although the group did not wish to prejudge the contents of the UN report, they would not rule out encouraging the British government to employ soft powers, to further the objective of promoting reconciliation and human rights in Sri Lanka, including through supporting the UN investigation into war crimes.

Mr Berry also said that he would prioritise the objective to get the Sri Lankan government’s ban on legitimate diaspora organisations withdrawn, commenting that the proscription of certain Tamil organisations was “absolutely absurd”.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 04 July 2015
UNP outlines post-election priorities
A prominent United National Party (UNP) MP Harsha de Silva said that the party would give top priority to develop the country’s education and health sector after elections.

Speaking at a media brief, the former deputy finance minister, Mr de Silva, said,

“Sri Lanka’s education and health sector expenditures according to the Gross Domestic Product are exponentially lower than those of several other Asian countries such as Vietnam, Bangladesh, Korea, Thailand, Phillippines and Singapore. Last year's tax revenue was Rs 1,050 billion whereas the interests and installment payments stood at Rs 1,074 billion. They wasted money on developing infrastructure where nothing happens. So how could they have spent money for the development of education and health? That is why the government will give priority to education and health in the next five years after the General Elections”
Tamil Guardian 04 July 2015
Maithri pledges to 'protect silent revolution'

Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena said he would not allow the "silent revolution" of the January 8 win over Mahinda Rajapaksa to be overturned.

Speaking at an event in Matara, the president said he would protect the change which came to the country.

"I did not enter politics randomly or abruptly – my experiences in politics spans close to 49 years. . . I will not let any party decision tarnish or harm the transformations that occurred in this country after January 8 – I will protect it,” he has said according to the DailyMirror.

Meanwhile former minister and Rajapaksa-confidante T.B. Eknanayake told the paper the former president would contest from the Kurunegala district.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 04 July 2015
Former Sri Lankan army general denied US visa

The former army commander and suspected war criminal Lt Gen Jagath Jayasuriya is thought to have been denied a visa to enter the United States for a private trip, the Daily Mirror reports.

The visa application is said to have been submitted in May for the trip at the end of June, but while Mr Jayasuriya's wife's passport was returned by the embassy, the former Chief of Defence Staff's passport had still not been returned.

When contacted by the Daily Mirror, a spokesperson for the US embassy in Colombo said that as a matter of policy, they cannot comment on individual cases. “That’s all we have to say at this moment,” he said.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 04 July 2015
GSP programme renewed for Sri Lanka

The US has renewed its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) benefits programme with Sri Lanka.

In a statement the Department of Commerce said “The US President signed into law HR 1295 on June 29, 2015 re-authorizing the US GSP Program until 31 December 2017 providing preferential duty free entry into US market for nearly 5000 products from 122 designated beneficiary countries and territories, including Sri Lanka.”

“The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington DC was an active member of the Alliance of GSP countries which joined other US stakeholders in advocating early renewal of the US GSP Program. In 2014, the United States has imported US $ 178 million worth of goods under the GSP program from Sri Lanka demonstrating 12.5 percent increase compared to 2013,” the statement further said.

A review on Sri Lanka's eligibility for the programme was initially carried out after a petition was filed in 2008, outlining shortcomings in Sri Lanka’s recognition of worker rights.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 03 July 2015
International community ‘must maintain fullest scrutiny of Sri Lanka’ say NGOs

A coalition of international non-governmental organisations has called on ambassadors of UN Human Rights Council Member States to maintain scrutiny of Sri Lanka on issues of justice and accountability.

In a letter written to ambassadors on Friday, the organisations said that despite a delay in releasing the report of a UN investigation into mass atrocities committed during the final phase of Sri Lanka’s armed conflict, there is “serious concern that there has been no visible progress in these areas till date”.

“In the last few months, the government has expressed its categorical unwillingness to allow international investigations within Sri Lanka, and has thus far not publicly demonstrated real cooperation with the UN High Commissioner by providing access to information relevant for the report,” said the letter.

Signatories of the letter included Forum Asia, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Conectas Direitos Humanos, Human Rights Law Centre, International Commission of Jurists, International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism, International Service for Human Rights and the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 03 July 2015
BBS pledges to safeguard Buddhism and Sinhalese people

Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) vowed to focus on safeguarding the Sinhalese people and Buddhism, in a press conference held by the organisation’s general secretary on Friday.

Announcing the political agenda of the Bodu Jana Peramuna (BJP), the political wing of the BBS, Galagodaatte Gnanasara said the party’s “objective and the ideology would focus on safeguarding Buddhism, the Sinhalese community and the country from the threats they were facing”.

“There is political instability in the country at present,” said the monk, stating that the BJP, which will be contesting in the upcoming elections would “put the country first”.

Furthermore, it would attempt to field a Buddhist monk in every one of the districts it is contesting in, announced Gnanasara.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 03 July 2015
Mahinda to contest elections under UPFA

Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa will contest in the upcoming general elections under the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), reports Ceylon Today.

The news comes as current president Maithripala Sirisena said that Mahinda Rajapaksa would not be allowed to contest in the upcoming elections under the SLFP section of the UPFA.

Maithri denies Mahinda nominaation reports (02 Jul 2015)

Mahinda to be nominated by UPFA (30 jun 2015)

 
 International Affairs
Tamil Guardian 05 July 2015
Burundi rejects UN mediation
Burundi rejected a second UN diplomat assigned to mediate between parties in the countries post –election political crisis reports Reuters.

The Burundian government rejected the mediator on the bases that a critical UN report on Burundi’s elections demonstrated bias.

The UN mediator Abdoulaye Bathily, was blamed by the Burundian government for the critical report, which in a letter to the UN Secretary General, said,

“He has produced a critical report not reflecting reality on the scene, saying the elections on June 29 were not ‘free and credible,’ while (the ruling coalition) believe that theses elections were transparent, fair, free and credible and were held in peace and security.”

The previous UN mediator, Said Djinnit, left the role after a few weeks amidst criticism from the opposition that he was working in the Burundian government’s favour.

Burundi tension results in 110,000 refugees in neighbouring countries - UN (19 May 2015)

Tamil Guardian 05 July 2015
Week of violence in Nigeria

A suicide bomb in a church in the northeast of Nigeria has capped a week in which almost every day saw deaths due to violence by Boko Haram militants.

At least 5 people were killed in the latest attack in Potiskum, in Yobe state.

Recent attacks include:

  • Friday: several suicide bombers kill large numbers in Zabarmari village
  • Thursday: two female suicide bombers attack another village in Borno state
  • Wednesday: more than 50 gunmen kill 97 people in the village of Kukawa, near Lake Chad
  • Tuesday: 48 men shot dead after prayers in two villages near the town of Monguno

Thousands have died in the violence which has gripped Nigeria in recent years. The Nigerian military has also been accused of committing war crimes, including summarily executing people suspected to be members or supporters of Boko Haram.

Tamil Guardian 04 July 2015
Sinai militants fire rockets into Israel
 Militants in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula launched rockets into southern Israel on Friday, reports Reuters.

The incidents caused no casualties, however a high way was closed by the Israeli military within close vicinity of the rocket remnants.

Egyptian security sources announced that the event was being investigated and that there was no immediate evidence that the rocket was launched from Egyptian territory.
Tamil Guardian 04 July 2015
Iran and world powers agree preliminary sanctions relief process
Iran and world powers have reached a preliminary agreement on sanctions relief announced diplomats on Saturday.

Speaking from Vienna, officials said that the sanctions annex was completed during negotiations between Iran, US, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

Negotiators are looking to finalise the deal by July 7 reports the Guardian.

A major sticking point in negotiations has been the sequencing of sanctions relief. A system that allows for automatic “snapback” sanctions on Iran in the event of agreement violations has also been heavily opposed by Russia.

Tamil Guardian 04 July 2015
Protest in The Hague after death in police custody

The Dutch city of The Hague has seen 4 consecutive nights of protests, triggered by the death of a man in police custody.

Mitch Henriquez, 42, from the Caribbean island of Aruba, died in police custody last Sunday.

He was initially arrested at a music festival and amateur video footage showed several police officers restraining him before his limp body was put into a police van, the BBC reported.

Around 200 people, mostly teenagers, were arrested during the protests, which turned into unrest as anger grew, with protestors throwing stones and fireworks at police.

Tamil Guardian 03 July 2015
South Sudan criticises UN sanctions
The UN Security Council decision to impose sanctions on military commanders from both sides of South Sudan’s conflict could derail the peace process, said the country’s foreign ministry spokesperson.

Questioning the effectiveness sanctions, Mawien Makol Ari, said,

“For the UN to insist on sanctions, I think is not going to be a helpful thing. This country doesn’t need sanctions. What this country needs is support from the region, from the international community so that we come up with a peaceful solution, as soon as possible, to alleviate the suffering of the people of South Sudan.”

Travel bans and asset freezes on Six South Sudanese military commanders where imposed by the UN Security Council on Wednesday.

Fighting continues in the region, with the UN expressing concern that displaced civilians amy face a cholera outbreak.

UN finds mass rights violations in South Sudan, calls for unfettered access and accountability (01 Jul 2015)

South Sudan expels UN relief coordinator (01 Jun 2015)

UN warns of famine in South Sudan, China urges ceasefire between warring parties  (26 May 2015)

Tamil Guardian 03 July 2015
UNHRC passes resolution calling on Israel-Palestine parties to cooperate with ICC to end impunity
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed a resolution on “ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalam,” with 41 votes in favour, 5 abstentions and one vote against.

The resolution, passed on Friday, calling on all parties involved to cooperate with the International Criminal Court 2014 Gaza conflict to expressed grave concern over reports regarding “serious human rights violations and grave breaches of humanitarian law.”

The resolution stressed the need to “without delay” end the Israeli “occupation” and condemned the “long-standing systemic impunity for international law violations” that allowed for the “recurrence of grave violations without consequence.

India, for the first time on a resolution based on the Israel-Palestine conflict, abstained from voting.
Tamil Guardian 02 July 2015
Islamic State destroys ancient artefacts from Palmyra

Islamic State has been destroying statues and artefacts from the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra which the group captured in May.

A 2000 year old lion statue outside of the city's museum was destroyed on Saturday, reported Syria's antiquities director, Maamoun Abdelkarim.

IS also published images of combatants grinding to dust classical busts and statues, reportedly found being smuggled in Aleppo.

The group regards monuments and statues as idolatrous and has destroyed several sites associated with pre-Islamic and early Islamic civilisations in Iraq and Syria.

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, spoke out against cultural destruction at Chatham House on Wednesday, saying “culture has always been the victim of war – as collateral damage, from direct targeting, from looting.”

Ms Bokova said “cultural cleansing is an attack against the people of Iraq and Syria - it is an attack against the humanity we all share,” and accused Islamic State of attempting to destroy the memories and identities of the region's peoples.

Tamil Guardian 02 July 2015
Malaysia seeks UN-backed tribunal to prosecute downing of airliner in Eastern Ukraine

On Thursday Malaysia informed the UN Security Council that it would be seeking a UN-backed tribunal to prosecute those suspected of being responsible for shooting down a passenger airliner last year in eastern Ukraine.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 was shot down in July last year with 298 passengers on board, crashing in Ukrainian territory held by Russian separatists. Ukraine and some Western powers have accused Russia of supplying the missile rebels allegedly used to shoot down the airliner. Russia has denied these accusations and diplomats speaking on condition of anonymity have said that Russia views Malaysia’s move as premature.

The President of the UN Security Council for July, New Zealand's U.N. Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, informed the press that Malaysia intends to present a proposal for the tribunal to the Security Council. "They are seeking to find a mechanism to deal with criminal accountability in relation to the downing of the aircraft," he said. He reported that it is a joint proposal between Malaysia, Australia, the Netherlands, Belgium and Ukraine.

Currently the Netherlands is leading the multi-national investigation into the crash, while Russia has also deployed its own investigators.

Tamil Guardian 01 July 2015
Islamic State launches escalated attacks in Egypt’s Sinai province

The Islamic State appears to have escalated its attacks in Sinai, launching simultaneous attacks on multiple military checkpoints Wednesday morning. Egyptian military officials claimed that 100 militants and 17 soldiers were killed in the attacks but local newspapers reported much higher numbers for soldier casualties.

The Islamic State’s Egyptian affiliate, Sinai Province, claimed responsibility for the attacks saying they targeted more than 15 security sites and launched 3 suicide bombings.

Unlike previous attacks by IS in Egypt’s North-Eastern province, this time they appeared to try to advance after the attacks instead of retreating. The BBC reported it as one of the “largest coordinated assaults yet by militants in Sinai.”

While militants in the North-Eastern Sinai province have attacked Egyptian military forces for years, the scale and number of attacks have steadily increased since the army ousted former Egyptian President Morsi in July 2013.

Also on Wednesday, security officials reported that nine members of former President Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood had been killed in a police raid in western Cairo.

Tamil Guardian 01 July 2015
UK defends draft resolution on Srebrenica genocide at UN
Britain defended a draft United Nations Security Council resolution commemorating the Srebrenica massacre of 1995 at the UN on Wednesday.

Britain’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Matthew Rycroft, defending the resolution at a memorial service for the Srebrenica massacres, said,

“This is the moment for the Security Council to show through the resolution that we are committed to making ‘never again’ a reality.”

The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, told the event that the Srebrenica genocide must never be forgotten, adding,

“Those who deny genocide in Srebrenica today only embarrass and humiliate themselves. Let me simply appeal to all gathered here that the resolve induced by the horror of Srebrenica be extended not only to commemorating the past, but to do far more to prevent genocide and mass atrocities in the present>”

The UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia ruled the massacre, which was the worst mass killing on European soil since World War Two, a genocide.

Russia’s deputy UN Ambassador Petr Illichev accused the British draft resolution as being “devise” as “it focuses on only one aspect of the conflict.” Russia is producing a counter resolution, which he described as “more general and more reconciling.”

Serb Republic slams UK draft resolution on Srebrenica genocide  (10 Jun 2015)

UK to draft UN Security Council Resolution on Srebrenica genocide (09 Jun 2015)

Tamil Guardian 01 July 2015
UN finds mass rights violations in South Sudan, calls for unfettered access and accountability
South Sudanese armed forces could have committed widespread human rights abuses in recent intensified fighting across the region, found a new report by the United Nations mission in South Sudan, (UNMISS).

A report released on Tuesday accused the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) of killing civilians, looting and destroying villages and displacing over 100,000 people.  

Human rights abuses including the rape and immolation of women and children were recorded in the testimonies of 115 victims and eyewitnesses from different counties.

Emphasising the need to ensure accountability, the UN Secretary General’s representative, who also leads the UN Mission to South Sudan, Ellen Margrethe Loj, said,

“Revealing the truth of what happened offers the best hope for ensuring the accountability for such terrible violence and ending the cycle of impunity that allows these abuses to continue. We call on the SPLA to fulfill its commitment and allow our human rights officers unfettered access to the sites of these reported violations.”

“The recent upsurge has not only been marked by allegations of killing, rape, abduction, looting, arson and displacement, but by a new brutality and intensity. The Scope and level of cruelty that has characterised the reports suggests a depth of antipathy that exceeds political differences,” said the UNMISS report.

Tamil Guardian 30 June 2015
Islamic State behead two civilian women

Two women, accused of "sorcery", in Syria have been beheaded by Islamic State, in the first such executions of female civilians by the group.

“The Islamic State group executed two women by beheading them in Deir Ezzor province, and this is the first time the Observatory has documented women being killed by the group in this manner,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, chief of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Both women were executed with their husbands, each couple being accused of "witchcraft and sorcery".

Islamic State has previously decapitated Kurdish female fighters' corpses and stoned civilian women to death on accusations of adultery, the Observatory said.

Read more from AFP.

Tamil Guardian 30 June 2015
Islamic State threatens Hamas
Islamic State militants threatened to overrun the Gaza Strip after accusing Hamas of being insufficient in enforcing religion, reports Reuters.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Islamic State militants said,

“The rule of sharia (Islamic law) will be implemented in Gaza, in spite of you. We swear that what is happening in the Levant today, and in particular the Yarmouk camp, will happen in Gaza."

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Israel’s intelligence minister, Israel Katz, accused Hamas of partnering with Islamic State, stating,

“There is cooperation between them in the realm of weapons smuggling and terrorist attacks. The Egyptians know this, and the Saudis. At the same time, with Gaza, ISIS has been flouting Hamas. But they have a common cause against the Jews, in Israel or abroad.”

Tamil Guardian 30 June 2015
ICC Prosecutor restates commitment to bringing justice in Sudan

In a briefing to the UN Security Council on Monday, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda restated her office’s “unshakeable” commitment to bringing “independent and impartial justice” for the people of Sudan. This statement comes six years after the first issuance of a warrant by the ICC for the arrest of Sudan’s President, Omar al-Bashir, for alleged war crimes including genocide in Darfur.

Dismissing “detractors and naysayers” of the efficacy of ICC warrants, Bensouda pointed to President al-Bashir’s recent visit to South Africa: “Omar Bashir's rapid departure from South Africa proves that the warrants of arrest against him are as valid as they were when issued; that they remain in full force and effect, and that my Office is committed to ensure they are executed.” She called on courts in other countries to look to the South African courts’ swift action as an example.

However, Bensouda also called on the Security Council to take action on the situation saying, "It is long overdue for you to heed the cries of the victims of rape and sexual abuse, torture, mass displacement and other inhumane suffering Darfurians continue to endure."

She reiterated that the Council had a “vital” role to play in achieving “peace and justice” in Sudan:

“If there is no follow-up action on the part of the Security Council, any referral by the Council to the ICC…would never achieve its ultimate goal, namely, to put an end to impunity. Accordingly, any such referral would become futile.”

Tamil Guardian 29 June 2015
Somalian troops killed in Al Shabab attack

At least five Somalian soldiers were killed in an attack on their base by Al Shabab militants in Kismayo.

Some of the soldiers were beheaded after the militants briefly took control of the camp, witnesses told AFP.

Last week over 50 Burundian peacekeepers from the African Union were killed in an attack by the militant group.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) has more than 20,000 troops in the country, but is now withdrawing from some of its smaller outposts in southern Somalia, residents have told the BBC Somali service.

Tamil Guardian 29 June 2015
Chad violence killls police

Five members of Chad's police force were killed in a raid on a militant weapon's cache in N'Djamena.

Officials say six militants also died in an explosion, as they refused to surrender and blew themselves up.

The Chadian government has blamed Nigerian armed group Boko Haram for recent violence in the country, with a bomb attack in the capital in May killing 33 people.

The militants had threatened Chad for taking part in armed operations against it in neighbouring Nigeria.

Tamil Guardian 29 June 2015
Egypt prosecutor killed in car bomb

Egyptian prosecutor Hisham Barakat was killed in a car bomb earlier today.

Mr Barakat, who has sent thousands of opponents of President Sisi to prison in a crackdown on supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, died of his injuries in hospital.

"He [Mr Barakat] has passed away," Justice Minister Ahmed al-Zind told AFP news agency.

At least three civilians were also killed, local media reported.

 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
Struggle for remembrance
The British Tamil ballot
Demanding demilitarisation
  Opinion
‘In Defence of Diaspora and Sri Lanka's Invisible Victims’
Tamils struggle for freedom in Sri Lanka’s ‘new democracy’
Chief Minister's statement delivered at May 18 remembrance event in Mullivaikkal
  Feature
Karumpuli Naal marked worldwide
Witnesses from No Fire Zone testify at UNHRC event on disappearances in Sri Lanka
TAG Eyewitness Account: Shanthi's Story
  Culture & Community
A night to remember as Tamil comedy takes to the stage
'Super Singer Junior' audiences stunned by song dedicated to Eelam Tamils
Denmark Tamil schools compete in Malathy Cup football tournament



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