Minister calls on asylum-seekers to return to torture free Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s Minister of National Co-existence told Australian Media that it was safe for people seeking asylum in other countries to return to Sri Lanka. Speaking to the SBS Australian media outlet during a visit to the Australia, Mr Manoharan Ganeshan said “ If anyone has broken any law, they may be questioned about it. But, they will not be taken to torture camps.” His statements come as reports of torture in Sri Lanka continue to be documented well into Maithripala Sirisena’s governance. Speaking to SBS, Dr Sam Pari, spokesperson of the Australian Tamil Congress, said, “There is evidence...

Tamils displaced by Sampur Vidura Navy Camp meet HRCSL

Displaced people of Sampur told the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission that the Sri Lankan Navy’s ‘Vidura’ camp should be removed so that they can be resettled in their own lands. A team from the commission led by Ambika Satkunananthan visited Trincomalee on the 15th and 16th June, holding discussions with civil society and political representatives and visiting the occupied lands in Sampur. According to the villagers, having displaced the people of Neenakeni in 2006, the Navy built a camp on 176 acres of civilian land. Having stated that the owners of those lands would be given alternate...

Protest condemns burglary of Trincomalee women's organisation

Women’s organisations in Trincomalee were joined on Tuesday by colleagues and supporters across the island in a protest condemning the vandalism and burglary of the Trincomalee Women’s Network office.

Australia deports asylum seekers on government chartered jet to Colombo

A group of asylum seekers have been deported from Australia to Colombo aboard a government-chartered flight on Monday, fuelling speculation that a boat was intercepted by Australian forces last week as it fled from Sri Lanka. The Australian reports that the early morning flight saw approximately 20 people – thought to be asylum seekers – boarding the flight with guards accompanying them on to the plane. Residents of Christmas Island reported seeing an Australian navy vessels towing a small boat to the shore last week. A spokesperson for Australia's Immigration Minister however declined to...

Sri Lanka to shut diplomatic missions abroad

Sri Lanka will shut several diplomatic postings abroad including a series of missions in Europe announced Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday. Speaking at a press briefing on Monday morning, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ravi Karunanayake said, “We will have to close down some missions as those have found to be of no use lately. The government has decided has decided to go for commercial based diplomacy and link to the world through establishing commercial based diplomatic ties with various countries across the globe. We are not in a position to reveal the names of...

Eid-ul-Fitr celebrated across North-East

Muslims across the North-East celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr on Sunday, marking the end of a month of fasting from dawn to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan.

Mannar Catholic Diocese condemns police threats against protesting priest

The Mannar catholic community has condemned police threats made against the parish priest of Iranai Matha Church for joining and supporting the land-return protests of Iranaithivu villagers. Reverend Father Arul Selvan was threatened by a police officer while supporting a road-block protest undertaken by the people of Iranaithivu, on their 54th day of protest, on Friday. The Manner Diocese Catholic Union reiterated in a statement on Sunday thats its priests had always been united with the people and their struggles. “No-one can forget that our priests even gave their lives during the war,...

No prosecutions as Sri Lanka's supreme court orders compensation for family of disappeared

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court ordered the state to pay RS 1 million to the parents of two men who disappeared whilst being held in custody of Batticaloa police in October 2008. The court further ordered the Officer-in-(OIC) of the Batticaloa police station, to pay the families Rs 50,000 for failing “to provide equal protection of law to their missing sons who were subject to torture.” The compensation order was in relation to the disappearance of Selvarajah Gunaseelan and K Kugadas of Batticaloa. The bodies of the two grocery shop assistants were found tied to concrete posts at Polamunai beach...

Dissecting the British Tamil vote - UK General Election 2017

The British General Election of 2017 has thrown up some surprising results. When the election was first called, few could have predicted the outcome. The ruling Conservative Party lost their majority in parliament and the Labour Party clawed back a massive deficit in the polls. The pundits were amiss with their predictions and many, including Prime Minister Theresa May, were left wrong footed by the results. Analysts from across the political spectrum have begun examining the vote and revisiting their engagement with the electorate, with questions being asked of how the Conservatives lost such a comfortable majority. Amongst the key demographics whose voting intentions will be closely scrutinised in the weeks to come, will be Britain’s ethnic minority groups. With many constituencies across the country having been heavily contested and hanging in the balance between the country's major parties, their role was crucial. British Tamils, who have a considerable presence in many of these constituencies, particularly in London, are one such influential group. As has been repeatedly noted before, Tamils are engaged in all aspects of social, economic and political life in the UK. Appearances in the Sunday Times Rich List and nominations at the Oscars and Grammy awards are just some of the highlights of the British Tamil community, who also continue to be pillars of the public sector and contribute to a flourishing student life in campuses across the country. And in this election, alongside key issues such as the economy and healthcare, as ever, the British government's policy on Sri Lanka played a large factor in deciding the Tamil vote. Indeed, it continues to be one of the key issues that galvanises the whole community with remarkable unity. The current British government has, quite simply, been floundering in its approach – both with its engagement with the Sri Lankan state and the local British Tamil community. Led by the Conservative Party and Theresa May, recently Britain has sent signals of appeasement to Colombo, whilst seemingly scaling back on its ties with British Tamils. This miscalculation, has led to setbacks on the island and closer to home.

Malathy Tamil Academies of Denmark celebrate student sporting achievements

Tamil schools in Denmark celebrated their students’ sporting achievements with their annual sports festival last week.