The first Tamil to die in the liberation struggle was remembered in Jaffna today, on the 41st anniversary of his death. Locals gathered at a statue of Ponnuthurai Sivakumaran in his hometown Urumpirai in Jaffna earlier today, and commemorated his life. TNA NPC Councillors Ananthy Sasitharan, AM Shivajilingam and Pradeshiya Sabha member Sajeevan also attended the event.
The following account is based on interviews to Tamils Against Genocide . Personal details of Kumaran (not his real name), place names and dates have been changed to protect his identity. Illustration Keera Ratnam When Kumaran wakes up in the room he has been given by the Home Office, it takes him a few minutes to adjust to his present surroundings. Sleepless nights, recurrent nightmares and depression help contribute to this disorientation. He feels an overwhelming sense of claustrophobia, of the walls moving in, caging him once again. His room, his present day cage, reminds him of the cell he had been kept prisoner in for two years. It is difficult for him to differentiate between the nightmares of his sleep and his present reality. For Kumaran, life in his room in the UK is one of living torture: uncertainty and threat of deportation mirror the uncertainty and fear which shadowed him when locked away for so many months. For Kumaran the years ahead seem to hold nothing but ceaseless striving: to reconcile the trauma of his past with the relative security of his present.
18 May 2009 - Civilians walk into SL camps after thousands killed in night of shelling, surrendering LTTE leadership killed, Tamils blockade Westminster Photo: Tamil Guardian The Sri Lankan Army in its final onslaught killed thousands of civilians whilst the LTTE tried to negotiate a surrender mechanism throughout the night. A surrender deal was eventually agreed upon between the senior leadership of the LTTE, the Sri Lankan government, a UN official and the British embassy a report titled, ‘ 5 years on: The White Flag Incident ’ and the UN Panel of Experts report found. Amnesty International in a statement called on the Sri Lankan government to allow full international access to monitor and aid those in need and “accept the surrender of any LTTE fighter and treat humanely LTTE fighters who have laid down their arms.” Pictures of dead senior LTTE leaders shown on Sri Lankan state television indicated that the Sri Lankan government broke the agreement and violated international law by executing them after surrendering. The Sri Lankan government later that day announced that LTTE leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran had been killed during an ambush. (The commander of the Sri Lankan Army, General Fonseka, in an interview months later, stated that the Defence Secretary had instructed the army to kill all surrendering LTTE leaders, says the UN Panel of Experts report on Sri Lanka.) The Asia Pacific Director of Amnesty International, Sam Zarifi, further called for an international Commission of Inquiry to "investigate allegations of international human rights and humanitarian law by all warring parties in the course of the conflict and make recommendations on the best way to ensure full accountability.”
Updated 20 May 2015 23:48 GMT Students at the University of Jaffna light candles in memory of the tens of thousands who were massacred at the end of the armed conflict Marking the massacre of tens of thousands of Tamils at the end of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka in May 2009, Tamils across the world and in all districts of the Tamil homeland in the North-East came together in acts of remembrance. Remembrance events took place in the North-East amid surveillance by Sri Lankan intelligence and police officers, and a ban issued by court order in Mullaitivu restricting remembrance rallies by the Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) and the Northern Provincial Councillor Ravikaran. Whilst this year saw the most public display of remembrance since the end of the armed conflict, many Tamils in the North-East remained fearful of attending. Vehicles travelling towards events were stopped by security forces and those inside questioned. Reports even emerged that bus drivers were ordered by police officers not to refuse travel to those wishing to attended memorial events. "Civilians largely kept away at this event as several Sri Lankan intelligence agents and police were watching those attending the ceremony. Even journalists covering the ceremony were followed and Sri Lankan security agents listened in as they interviewed civilians and politicians," AP news agency reported. The TNA spokesperson Suresh Premachandran criticised the governement. "The new government tells the international community that they are treating the Tamils with dignity. But they get court orders to prevent Tamils from remembering their dead," Mr Premachandran told AFP by phone from Mullivaikkal. "What sort of democracy do they have? You can see how many police we have over here," he said. Whilst Tamils grieved however, the Sri Lankan government held a military parade in celebration of the defeat of the Tamil armed resistance movement, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). See here for coverage of Sri Lanka's 'Armed Forces Day' celebration in Matara, on May 19th. NPC Councillor Ananthy Sasitharan at Mullivaikkal beach (Photo @ananthysasi) Related articles: Pain of May 2009 will never go away say Jaffna Uni students (16 May 2015) Sri Lankan police warns it will prevent any commemoration of LTTE (16 May 2015) Sri Lankan minister warns against commemorating LTTE (13 May 2015) North-East International community needed to secure justice and political solution for Tamils - CV Wigneswaran (18 May 2015) TNPF hold Mullivaikal memorial in Vadamaradchi East after court order (18 May 2015) Amparai Tamils commemorate Mullivaikkal in Kalmunai (19 May 2015) Mullivaikkal memorial observed in Trincomalee (19 May 2015) Mullivaikkal remembrance event held in Koppaay church (19 May 2015) Uthayan holds Mullivaikkal remembrance event (18 May 2015) May 18 remembrance held in Trincomalee (18 May 2015) Crowds at May 18 memorial event in PTK (18 May 2015) Kilinochchi event for Mullivaikkal remembrance (18 May 2015) May 2009 killings remembered in Mannar amid Sri Lankan court order banning planned event (18 May 2015) Northern councillor marks Mullivaikkal at Nanthi Kadal despite ban (18 May 2015) Prayers held at Keerimalai temple to remember Mullivaikkal dead (18 May 2015) Father Mariyampillai Sarathjeevan remembered in Kilinochchi (18 May 2015) Jaffna University remembers massacre of Tamils at end of Sri Lanka's armed conflict (18 May 2015) Police intimidation at Batticaloa May 18 remembrance event (18 May 2015) Heavy surveillance at interfaith memorial event in Mullivaikkal (18 May 2015) May 2009 massacre commemorated at Mullivaikkal despite ban by Sri Lankan authorities (18 May 2015) Mullivaikal massacres remembered in Vavuniya (18 May 2015) Mullivaikal massacre remembered in Trincomalee (15 May 2015) Mullivaikal remembrance marked in Jaffna in run-up to May 18 (15 May 2015) Mullivaikal remembrance held at Point Pedro (14 May 2015) Beginning of Mullivaikal remembrance week marked, under watch of security forces (12 May 2015) Europe British Tamils remember Mullivaikal massacre in London and Glasgow (18 May 2015) Tamils in Denmark remember May 18th massacre (17 May 2015) Swedish Tamils hold advocacy event in remembrance of Mullivaikkal massacres (20 May 2015) Tamils in Qatar remember Mullivaikkal deaths (20 May 2015) Tamil Nadu Thousands mark May massacre at Marina beach in Tamil Nadu (17 May 2015)
Updated 07 May 2015 01:00 BST As the UK general election 2015 approaches this Thursday, parliamentary candidates outlined their positions on key concerns of British Tamil voters, with many pledging their ongoing support for international accountability and justice mechanism, carrying out an investigation to establish whether a genocide occurred, as well as endorsing the Tamil nation's right to self-determination. Candidates from the Conservative Party, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats, in London and key constituencies across the UK, were asked by the Tamil Guardian to detail their views on accountability and justice for mass atrocities in Sri Lanka, the deportation of Tamil asylum seekers from Britain, steps that should be taken if Sri Lanka fails to ensure justice for the victims by September, an investigation into genocide and the Tamil nation's right to self-determination. To see the final survey report with full responses from candidates, sorted by constituency, please see the UK General Election 2015 Candidate Survey on Tamil Issues .
Sri Lanka's military held several event's in the Vanni to 'celebrate' Tamil and Sinhala New Year, with civilians, including children, invited to take part. The 66th and 663rd Brigades of the Security Forces Headquarters in Kilinochchi held an event each in Pooneryn (Poonakari) on the 8th and 10th of April. Major General A.P. De Z Wickramaratne, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 66 Division was chief guest at both events. Famous Sinhala singers from the south graced the event in the Kiranchi playground, in the virtually exclusively Tamil town.
All Photographs:Naangal A local civil society group called ‘Naangal,' which operates in the North-East of Sri Lanka, over past weeks has carried out a series of welfare activities across North-Eastern districts. On the 28th of February, activists in Jaffna handed out school stationary and shoes to students from families that were detrimentallly affected by the ethnic conflict.
(All photos: Sri Lanka Army) The Sri Lankan military continues to involve itself in activities involving school children and their education, across the Tamil regions in the North-East of the island. Soldiers from regiments which stand accused of commiting mass atrocities, stationed in Batticaloa, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu, organised several activities in the last few weeks, involving young school children, despite Sri Lanka's foreign minister, Mangala Samaraweera, telling delegates gathered at a conference in Washington last week that "involvement of the military in civilian activities has ceased". Troops from the Special Forces Regiment, based in Kilinochchi organised a trip to Colombo from February 11-12, for 37 children from Kanagapuram Central School to visit a photographic exhibition about the military, also taking them to a Buddhist stupa in the Viharamahadevi Park, named after Sinhala king Dutugamenu’s mother.
15:24 GMT, last updated 17 Feb 14:14 GMT The UN Human Rights Council on Monday decided to give the new Sri Lankan government six months to cooperate with the UN inquiry into mass atrocities against the Tamil people, in order to ensure the submission of further information, stressing however, that the extension of time would be "for one time only". In a written letter to the Council, which was holding a preliminary meeting on Monday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, requested member states to defer their consideration of the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) report, till the 30th session in September, to allow for cooperation from the Sri Lankan government in order to gather more information and ensure a "stronger and more comprehensive report". “There should be no misunderstanding,” Mr Zeid stressed, in a letter read to the Council, "I give my personal, absolute and unshakable commitment that the report will be published by September." "Like my predecessors, I believe that one of the most important duties of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is to act as a strong voice on behalf of victims. I want this report to have the maximum possible impact in ensuring a genuine and credible process of accountability and reconciliation in which the rights of victims to truth, justice and reparations are finally respected.”