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2015 in photographs

We look back at 2015 with some of the year's most significant events in images.

January elections brought Sri Lanka a new president, with the incumbent Mahinda Rajapakse bowing out to his former defence minister Maithripala Sirisena, who won 51% of the vote. Governments around the world welcomed the change and called on the new president to cooperate with international efforts towards accountability.
New Crossroad? - Editorial (12 Jan)
Sri Lanka's new government and the possibility of justice (23 Jan)
 
Waves of demonstrations swept the North-East throughout February with Tamils taking to the streets, demanding the return of their disappeared relatives, the removal of troops from the Tamil homeland and rejecting local probes into war-time atrocities.
Tamil mothers demand new Sri Lanka govt returns missing children. (02 Feb)
Tamils in Mullaitivu demand new Sri Lanka govt returns disappeared loved ones. (08 Feb)
Tamils across North-East Sri Lanka demand release of disappeared in new wave of protests. (09 Feb)
Tamils in Jaffna demand justice for loved ones disappeared by Sri Lankan state. (21 Feb)
Thousands protest in Jaffna rejecting domestic probe, demanding release of UN report. (24 Feb)
Demanding demilitarisation - Editorial (27 Feb)
 
The Northern Provincial Council passed a resolution calling on the United Nations to investigate the genocide of the Tamil people by the Sri Lankan government.
NPC passes resolution asking UN to investigate genocide of Tamils by Sri Lankan state. (10 Feb)
 
As Tamils in the North-East continued to protest demanding an international investigation, demilitarisation and the return of their disappeared loved ones, March saw Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit Jaffna.
UK Prime Minister, David Cameron wrote in the Tamil Guardian ahead of bilateral discussions with Maithripala Sirisena to reiterate his commitment to accountability.
In Jaffna 'to wipe tears' from those that suffered - Modi. (14 Mar)
Sri Lanka must seize this window of opportunity - David Cameron. (10 Mar)
Protesters reject domestic probe into disappearances for third consecutive day. (02 Mar)
Tamils protest across North-East rejecting domestic probe into atrocities, call for international action. (23 Mar)
 
Tamil women decried the inaction of their local politicians on sexual violence, government inaction over ground water contamination saw hundreds more take to the streets, families called for international investigations into disappearances and students rallied against attacks and detentions in an April that saw continued protests in the North-East. The Tamil new year was marked by heavily militarised 'celebrations'.
The month also signified a decade since the assassination of prolific Tamil journalist Taraki Sivaram.
Women in Jaffna protest against TNA for inaction over sexual attacks. (04 Apr)
Tamils protest against Sri Lanka government inaction on groundwater contamination in Jaffna. (07 Apr)
Families in Amparai protest calling for international investigation into disappearances. (08 Apr)
Jaffna University students protest against attacks and detention. (28 Apr)
Tamil New Year in the militarised Vanni. (14 Apr)
"Where else should I die but here?" - Ten years since murder of Sivaram (29 Apr)
 
Despite heavy military surveillance, and even court bans issued to politicians, Tamils in all districts of the North-East came together to mark May 18 and remember the tens of thousands of Tamils massacred at the end of the armed conflict.
Tamils remember May 2009 massacre amid surveillance by Sri Lankan intelligence officers. (18 May)
 
The gang-rape and murder of Punguduthivu schoolgirl S. Vithiya sparked anger across the North-East with protests in Jaffna turning violent after reports that one suspect had escaped police custody. Sri Lankan police pursued and assaulted protesters in attempts to deter further demonstrations.
Anger in Jaffna over murder of schoolgirl. (15 May)
Sri Lankan troops and riot police deployed in Jaffna as protests continue. (20 May)
Police accused of negligence in Vithiya case. (30 May)
 
In June, Tamil landowners in Mullaitivu were arrested for protesting the illegal, military-aided construction of a Buddhist vihara on their property. The 41st anniversary of the death of Pon Sivakumaran was remembered in Jaffna, and the Jaffna Press Club called for inquiries into the killings and disappearances of Tamil journalists. Witnesses from the No Fire Zone testified at the 29th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Arrests at protest against army-built Vihara. (05 Jun)
Pon Sivakumaran remembered in North-East. (05 Jun)
Jaffna Press Club calls for inquiry into killings and disappearances of Tamil journalists. (04 Jun)
Witnesses from No Fire Zone testify at UNHRC event on disappearances in Sri Lanka. (25 Jun)
 
St Peter's Church in Navaly remembered 20 years since it was bombed by Sri Lankan fighter jets when over 120 civilians were killed. 32 years since Black July 1983 was also remembered, as well as 30 years since the Thimphu principles.
Navaly church bombing victims remembered on 20th anniversary (09 Jul)
30 years since Tamil organisations unanimously agreed on Thimphu principles (13 Jul)
Black July 1983 remembered (23 Jul)
 
Following general elections in August, the Tamil National Alliance became the third biggest party in the Sri Lankan parliament after Tamils across the North-East decisively backed its platform promising results on Tamil demands.
Election polls close in Sri Lanka amid unanimous Sinhala rejection of Tamil demands. (17 Aug)
TNA becomes third biggest party in Sri Lanka with 16 parliamentary seats. (18 Aug)
Litmus Test - Editorial. (24 Aug)
 
 
Moving across the North-East in September, a signature campaign insisting upon an international accountability mechanism received over 150,000 signatures, all despite several attempts by Sri Lankan police to disrupt the campaign at various locations.
Campaign for international accountability process reaches 150,000 signatories across North-East of Sri Lanka. (15 Sep)
Campaign for international accountability mechanism in Sri Lanka sends signatures to UN. (17 Sep)
 
 
 September saw the release of the long-awaited OISL report, followed by the passing of a consensus resolution for Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka cannot domestically deal with 'grave crimes' found in OISL report says UN Rights Chief. (16 Sep)
Road to Reckoning - Editorial. (21 Sep)
Consensus resolution on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka adopted at UNHRC. (01 Oct)
Inescapable truth - Editorial. (07 Oct)
 
 
A memorial was opened at the Nagarkovil Central School marking 20 years since 26 schoolchildren were killed there by Sri Lankan bombing raids.
 
Children of Tamil political prisoners held a series of protests in districts across the North-East as pressure to release political prisoners mounted.
Children of Tamil political prisoners protest in:
Cheddikulam (28 Sep)
Jaffna (30 Sep)
Vavuniya (30 Sep)
 
Tamil political prisoners went on hunger strike in protest of their prolonged detention, mostly without trial, and were joined in solidarity with daily symbolic strikes by Tamils in Jaffna.
Day 5 of hunger strikes in Jaffna calling for the release of Tamil political detainees. (16 Oct)
 
Thousands paid tribute to former LTTE official Thamilini, who died battling cancer aged 43.
Thousands attend funeral of former LTTE official in Kilinochchi (21 Oct)
 
Several towns across the Tamil homeland participated in a Hartal in support of Tamil political prisoners in November. The protest resulted in a near-complete shutdown of districts across the North-East as Tamil and Muslim owned institutions remained closed for the entire day, forcing President Sirisena to cancel a visit to Batticaloa.
Towns across North-East shut down in support of Tamil political detainees. (13 Nov)
 
The North-East was shaken by the suicide of schoolboy R. Senthuran, who took his life in protest at the ongoing detention of Tamil political prisoners. Hundreds attended the student's last rites, and demonstrations demanded the Sri Lankan government accept accountability for his death.
'Have we not lost enough lives for our rights?' - Jaffna Uni protests in tribute to student who committed suicide (26 Nov)
Hundreds attend last rites for Senthuran. (27 Nov)
Schoolboy's heartbreaking suicide must open eyes - Tamil political prisoners (27 Nov)
 
 
This year's Maaveerar Naal was commemorated in an unprecedented number of locations across the North-East, despite police threats and military intimidation.
Maaveerar Naal 2015 (27 Nov)
 
The Tamil People's Council, a new body for rights campaigning and research was inaugurated in Jaffna in December.
Tamil People’s Council inaugurated in Jaffna. (20 Dec)
Wigneswaran clarifies Tamil People's Council motives. (28 Dec)
 
Musical sensation M.I.A. spoke to Tamil Guardian about her controversial new video, and her experiences as a Tamil refugee.
"As an artist I’m still dealing with being a refugee" - Interview with M.I.A. (21 Dec)