UN experts’ report makes the case for genocide

Based on leaked extracts, the UN expert panel’s report on Sri Lanka constitutes a watershed moment in international understanding of the crimes committed in the closing phase of the war in Sri Lanka. Crucially, although the word does not appear in the extracts, the report’s contents well supports the charge that Sri Lanka engaged in genocide of the Tamils. The report lays out in detail the calculated, deliberate and systematic targeting of Tamil civilians by the Sri Lankan armed forces, operating under the direct command of the country’s top political leadership. The former UN spokesperson in Sri Lanka, Gordon Weiss, has aptly termed the publishing of the UN experts’ report as a ‘Srebrenica’ moment for Sri Lanka and indeed for the world. The analogy is correct on many counts. Firstly, it was in relation to Srebrenica that the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia) most clearly formulated the principle that part destruction – specifically, a geographically contained (i.e a small territory) destruction - of an ethnic or national group constituted genocide.

BTF calls for action on UN expert panel's report

Following the UN expert panel's submission of its report on Sri Lanka to the Secretary general Ban Ki-Moon, the British Tamils Forum (BTF), an umbrella group of Tamil community organisations, said Wednesday: "We demand that an independent international investigation is conducted, supported by comprehensive witness protection afforded to the Tamil community by a UN task force. "We appeal to the UN to release the full report without further delay and implement with vigour the recommendations made by the advisory panel so as to restore the Tamil people's faith in the international body to...

Supporting Sivan Arul Ilam

King's College London (KCL) Tamil Society's raises funds for the Sivan Arul Ilam Charity in Mannar. See the video created by Ratheeson Thillainathan for the Society: See the report on KCL Tamil Soc's awards night for its newly established sports 'Legacy League' here .

Sinhala unity over war crimes

" Instead of supporting international calls for a proper investigation and the prosecution of those responsible for mass atrocities against what are – supposedly – fellow citizens, Sri Lanka’s mainstream media, commentators and, now, the main opposition parties have instead rallied to defend the regime and its conduct of the war. " - See our comment: 'Sinhala opposition to accountability for Tamil suffering '

Ban Ki-Moon must show leadership on Sri Lanka’s war crimes - Amnesty

These are comments by Amnesty International’s Sri Lanka researcher, Yolanda Foster, in an interview to Channel 4 News Saturday. “[The UN panel’s] report is a call for action because it highlights the scale and gravity of what happened in the final months of the war in Sri Lanka. “Amnesty believes an international independent investigation should be set up without further delay . “The panel’s report is very strong and it itself recommended an international investigation. “[Amnesty] is hoping that Ban Ki-Moon will show leadership and deliver on his promises of accountability and set up a...

100,000 missing in war's final months

Over 100,000 Tamil civilians remain unaccounted for after Sri Lanka’s onslaught in 2009 into the northern Vanni region, Channel 4 reported Saturday. Government census forms obtained by Channel 4 show 430,000 residents in Vanni in mid 2008. However internal UN documents also obtained by Channel 4 show only 290,000 people coming out of the final enclave overrun by the government’s troops and being put into its militarized internment camps. Only 60% of the original residents have returned to Vanni, a Channel 4 source who recently visited the still miliarised region, also said. Meanwhile, the UN...

Justice for the Trincomalee 5

This is Amnesty International’s film – ‘Sri Lanka, tell the truth’ - on the ongoing effort to secure justice for five Tamil students executed by the Sri Lankan armed forces in January 2006. The five students are: Manoharan Ragihar (22.09.1985) Yogarajah Hemachchandra (04.03.1985) Logitharajah Rohan (07.04.1985) Thangathurai Sivanantha (06.04.1985) Shanmugarajah Gajendran (16.09.1985) See links to TamilNet’s reports from the period here :

Indian Bank targets Tamil clients in Sri Lanka

The state-owned Indian Bank , headquartered in Chennai, is going to open three more branches in Sri Lanka in the coming months, following the newly opened one in Jaffna (see more here ). Chairman and managing director T.M. Bhasin said the bank’s focus is on those areas where they can easily find Tamil clientele. “ Tamil speaking people are particularly very inclined towards our bank and we are also very close to them . So, we want to venture in those areas where many Tamil people are living. In Sri Lanka, many Tamils are there and we have very good business,” he said. See the report in Sri...

Moving refugees is not smuggling

It’s not human smuggling if you’re essentially trying to get caught, says a lawyer for one of the Tamils who sought asylum in Canada after arriving by ship. Smuggling must entail clandestine and illegal entry, Rod Holloway argued to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). However, in the Tamils’ case, “The [passengers’] intention appears to have been to bring the ship to Canada and to report at a port of entry, not to try and enter Canada clandestinely . “What has happened in this case is not smuggling and the people involved should not be denied access to the refugee process when they came...

Extraordinarily Perverse

Canada’s decision to deport the 74-year old widow of assassinated Tamil parliamentarian Joseph Parajasingham on the grounds she is a member “by association” of the Liberation Tigers exemplifies the Kafkaesque logics of the country’s asylum policy as implemented by its Immigration and Refugee Board. In Canada, as in many Western states, asylum and immigration policy has long been controversial and marked by heated political and public debates. These have intensified amid the insecurities since the global financial crisis, and border agencies in many Western states are under intense pressure to stem immigration – and not just from developing countries. However some of the recent decisions made, and the logics put forward for these, by the IRB stand out as especially perverse.

Pages