Tamils across the world on November 27 and preceding days held events to mark Tamil National Remembrance Day or Maaveerar Naal. Maaveerar Naal, which remembers those who sacrificed their lives in the Tamil struggle for freedom, is marked on November 27 yearly, in memory of the first death of a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadre in fighting - Lt. Shankar died in combat on November 27, 1982.
- Thusiyan Nandakumar, Jaffna. As the sun began to set over the Vanni last November, thousands of locals stood before the crumbled remains of gravestones at an LTTE cemetery in Kilinochchi. The graves had been bulldozed by the Sri Lankan military years before. Few had ventured to the site since, fearful of reprisals from security forces. But last year, with the military seemingly restrained, residents of the town cleared the rubble and constructed a makeshift monument with the remains. At 18:05 precisely, they lit lamps and played a song in remembrance of those buried there. It marked the first time since the brutal end of the armed conflict on the island that Tamils had gathered to publicly mark Heroes' Day – or Maaveerar Naal .
Sri Lanka faced pressure to deliver a time bound benchmarked action plan on full implementation of its commitments in United Nations Human Rights Council resolution 30/1 on reconciliation, accountability and human rights during its Universal Periodic Review. Making interventions during the interactive dialogue of Sri Lanka’s Universal Periodic Review, UN member states including Macedonia, Austria, USA, UK, Germany, Canada, Finland and Denmark called on the Sri Lanka to “produce an unambiguous timeline” detailing “adequate resources” for the full implementation of the resolution commitments...
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has highlighted the need for a "much closer inspection" on the part of the UN into reports of rape and torture of Tamil men by Sri Lankan security services since 2016, under the current national unity government. Responding to reports published on Wednesday by the Associated Press detailing rape and torture by security forces from 2016 until July 2017, Mr Zeid said, "while the UN is unable to confirm this until we mount an investigation, clearly the reports are horrifying and merit a much closer inspection from our part, especially if they occurred in 2016 and 2017." The news wire, which based its feature on interviews with 20 Tamil men and a review of 32 medical and psychological reports, noted that the UN Human Rights chief was "aghast at AP's accounts of the 52 tortured men."
Today marks ten years since S. P. Thamilselvan, the head of the political wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was assassinated by the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF). On November 2nd 2007 Sri Lankan Air Force jets carried out a strike on a residence of members of the LTTE's political division. Five other LTTE officials - Lt. Col. Anpumani (Alex), Major Mikuthan, Major Neathaaji, Lt. Aadchiveal and Lt. Maavaikkumaran - were killed alongside Brigadier Thamilselvan, in the attack. The assassination came as the Sri Lankan government ramped up its military offensive in the Tamil...
Artwork courtesy of Sagi Thilipkumar ( @saygi ) For months relatives of the forcibly disappeared have been protesting on the streets across the North-East, demanding to know the whereabouts of their loved ones. Despite years, sometimes decades, of various government mechanisms and pledges, their search for answers continues. In this series of interviews conducted since May 2017, Tamil Guardian goes behind the protest to the individual stories that make up this unyielding movement of Tamil families of the disappeared.
The Jaffna Teaching Hospital marked 30 years since Indian soldiers massacred 68 of its staff and patients.
Today marks thirty years since the death of 2nd Lt. Maalathy, the first female fighter from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to die in the Tamil armed struggle against Sri Lankan state oppression. She was killed at the age of 20, on the 10th of October 1987, during a confrontation with the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) in Jaffna. The following account is told by a cadre that was by her side. "We were in our bunkers firing at the (Indian) army. Hundreds of Indian troops had jumped out of their vehicles and were firing as they moved towards us. Mortar shells were exploding everywhere. We knew the army was advancing quickly. Maalathy was shot in both legs. She couldn't move and she was bleeding profusely. Realising that she was mortally wounded, she swallowed cyanide. A decision had been made to withdraw because we were heavily out-numbered. Myself and another girl Viji went over to carry Maalathy. Maalathy refused to come with us. She begged us to leave her and asked us to withdraw. Nevertheless, we lifted Maalathy and carried her and when we arrived at a safe place she was dead." (Women Fighters of Liberation Tigers, Adele Anne Balasingham, 1993)
File photo: Sri Lankan troops in Mullaitivu in August 2017. There are at least two Sri Lankan soldiers for every civilian living in the Mullaitivu, finds a new report by the Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research (ACPR) and People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL), detailing the intense militarisation in the northern district.
Today marks 30 years since the death of Lt. Col. Thileepan, a political wing leader of the LTTE who fasted to death on hunger strike, appealing to the Indian government to honour pledges made to the Tamil people. Thileepan began his fast on the 15th of September 1987, with 100,000 people gathered around the historic Nallur Kandwaswamy Temple in Jaffna. As he began his strike he put forward 5 demands to the Indian government. Thirty years on, Tamils continue to call for the demands made by Thileepan. See a video of his famous speech below. See an eye witness account of his protest written by...