Hope beyond reason

The body of a prominent Sri Lankan human rights activist missing since February last year has been found, the United Nations said Friday. Pattani Razeek, managing trustee of non-governmental organisation the Community Trust Fund, was exhumed by police on Thursday after a tip-off from two suspects arrested in relation to the case, the UN said. See AFP’s report here . Bizarrely, Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, urged Sri Lanka's authorities to "expedite" investigations and prosecute those involved in the crime. Whom does she think ordered Razeek’s...

TNA: The Tamil people demand 'full self rule', international investigation of war crimes

" The Tamil people’s demand is that they exercise full powers of self-rule within their homeland consisting of a merged North and East. Once again, the Tamil people have declared that they will not relinquish their political aspirations. "The Tamil people have – by ensuring the victory of the TNA – accepted and supported the recommendations of the UN [Panel’s report], which state that the government’s war crimes and human rights abuses require an impartial international investigation . "The TNA asks that this verdict of the Tamil people be respected and that the government accept and allow an...

Orgy of massacre, rape, torture and mutilation in final days

Below are extracts from a frontline Sri Lankan soldier’s eye witness account of what happened in the final days of the war in May 2009 (see Channel 4's report here ): "When I look at it as an outsider I think they're simply brutal beasts. Their hearts are like that of animals, with no sense of humanity.” "They shoot people at random, stab people, rape them, cut their tongues out, cut women's breasts off. I have witnessed all this with my own eyes. I have seen small children laying dead," he continued. "I saw a lot of small children, who were so innocent, getting killed in large numbers. A...

Killing spree after Gotabaya’s orders: Army eyewitness accounts

A Sri Lanka Army officer has given Channel 4 his account of how, following orders from Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa , the commander of the 58 Division, Brigadier Shavendra Silva (now Major General) gathered his officers in the closing days of the war and ordered them to take no prisoners when capturing the remainder of the enclave in which thousands of Tamils civilians and fighters were surrounded. This is what Brig. Silva, now Sri Lanka’s representative to the UN in New York, told his gathered troops: “This is a very decisive day for us because last night I got a call from the...

TYO marks Black July anniversary

Tamil youths in London, Paris and Sydney marked the anniversary of ‘ Black July ’ with activities to raise public awareness of the mass killings of Tamils in Sri Lanka. In recent days members of the Tamil Youth Organisation (TYO) in Sydney and London handed out leaflets at central locations, while in Paris they organised blood donations and participated in a march. See report and photos here .

British Tamils' remember 1983 pogrom victims

British Tamils held a candle light vigil Saturday evening opposite the Prime Minister’s official residence, 10 Downing Street, to remember victims of Sri Lanka’s 1983 ‘Black July’ anti-Tamil pogrom. See full report, photos here . A thousand people dressed in black and carrying black flags and Eelam national flags, held a vigil between 6 and 9 pm, with lit candles and banners commemorating the pogrom. For several hours before the vigil began, activists and supporters handed out leaflets in the surrounding Whitehall area. The events were organised by the British Tamil Forum (BTF).

Black July: part of Sri Lanka's past - and future

" While Black July destroyed the Tamil economic base in the island, it created the now flourishing global Diasporic economic base. While it sought to silence Tamil political struggle ‘for once and for all’, it instead spread Tamil activism across the world. It sought to erase the Eelam Tamil cultural symbolism and identity, but instead rendered them globally recognised . The present is thus inextricably linked to the past. And the past will also define the future. Until there is accountability for the mass atrocities against the Tamil people, until justice – the bedrock for any lasting peace...

What Black July means for the future

Based on a speech at the vigil in London on July 23, 2011 to remember the victims of Black July. Every year, for 28 years, the Tamil people and our friends across the world have come together in July to remember a crucial turning point in our history. Black July was the largest and most significant of Sri Lanka’s pogroms, more horrific and unrestrained in its violence than the Nazis’ Kristallnacht. In just six days starting on July 23, 1983, Sinhala mobs supported by police and troops attacked the Tamils in the island’s south, killing several thousand and driving the survivors into camps...

Tamils endorse self-rule mandate - again

“The resounding victory consolidates the Tamil National Alliance's status as an authentic representative of ethnic Tamils in negotiations with Rajapaksa's ethnic majority Sinhalese-controlled government in sharing political power and postwar rehabilitation. The party had appealed to voters to give it a mandate to demand self-rule in the Tamil-majority areas .” - Associated Press , July 23, 2011. See the report here . See the election results here . "The military-intimidated elections that took place in the country of Eezham Tamils are a despicable way of exercising democracy or probing public...

Reuters: Jaffna Tamils sceptical of development, voting

Jaffna is still Sri Lanka's most militarised region. Photo AFP Extracts from a Reuters report from Jaffna Saturday: Tamils say President Mahinda Rajapaksa's post-war development and infrastructure projects in the former war zone in the island's north have yet to address their real concerns and have excluded their participation . Voting in Jaffna, as it did in war time, will take place with a heavy military presence . Tamils in Jaffna are reluctant to speak in public due to the presence of government intelligence officers and soldiers , and many Reuters approached gave a brusque "No comment...

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