Sri Lanka’s mothers ask international community to help find their children – J S Tissainayagam

The international community should demand Sri Lanka to investigate enforced disappearances and prosecute those responsible writes journalist J S Tissainayagam in a piece for Asian Correspondent. “Sri Lanka’s responses to questions on accountability for rights violations at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in November were evasive and packed with clichés,” said Mr Tissainayagam. “This should spur the international community to demand Colombo cooperate in investigating enforced disappearances (and other violations) and prosecuting those responsible. Failure to hold Sri Lanka accountable will...

Is Sri Lanka’s Tamil party selling out the Tamil people? – J S Tissainayagam

There is an “obvious gap” between the Tamil National Alliance’s (TNA) manifesto promises to the Tamil people in 2015 and the Steering Committee proposals it has accepted in 2017, said journalist J S Tissainayagam, in a piece for Asian Correspondent on Wednesday . The TNA has “asked voters to support its demand for a constitution based on shared sovereignty” said Mr Tissainayagam, whilst “the UNP and UPFA manifestoes unequivocally rejected a federal constitution”. Yet proposals released last month Sri Lanka’s Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly means the central government “will...

President Sirisena must not delay upholding his promises to protesting families of the disappeared any longer

Over the past 4 months, (primarily) women across all 8 districts of the North-East of Sri Lanka have commenced roadside protests with one simple goal – to see their children again. Sri Lanka’s 30-year long war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) resulted in over 60,000 enforced disappearances. Sri Lanka has the second-highest number of cases submitted to the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disapeparances – after Iraq (see here ). To date, the Sri Lankan government has failed to even criminalize enforced disappearances – most recently choosing to indefinitely postpone a debate about the bill to do so (see here ). Women across Sri Lanka and civil society are currently campaigning to get that bill to criminalize enforced disappearances back into parliament for debate and to be passed (see here ).

TG View: 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.

Only an independent mechanism with international actors can deliver justice - Mayor of Toronto

The Mayor of Toronto has said that only an independent mechanism with international can deliver justice to the Tamil people. Writing in the Toronto Star on his recent visit to the Northern Province, Mayor John Tory, also commented on the “extraordinary military presence” in the North, adding “when you ask, you are told most of these bases are located on land forcibly taken from Tamil citizens,” and that “this unilateral use of formerly privately owned land, combined with the suffocating military presence itself, causes immense anxiety on the part of the people of northern Sri Lanka and...

Justice or Trade Deals: A defining moment for the EU

In an op-ed published this week on Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka , researchers at Together Against Genocide, Vinesh Mistry and Brami Jegan called on the EU not to miss the opportunity "to insist on meaningful transitional justice, rather than giving its blessing to a government whose commitment to human rights deserves serious scrutiny" Full op-ed reproduced below: by Vinesh Mistry and Brami Jegan Between now and January 2017 the European Union will decide whether to restore the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) trade tax concession to Sri Lanka. This decision will hinge...

BUDGET 2017: TO BEING JILTED AT THE ALTAR

By Dr Arujuna Sivananthan IMPROVEMENT Sri Lanka’s 2017 budget seems to be receiving several accolades, not from those outside Sri Lanka or anyone credible within, but from politicians in the ruling coalition. So it should! The coalition’s attempt to shed its statist skin by expressing an intent to privatise loss making state owned enterprises (SOEs) must be welcomed along with permitting foreign nationals to buy property. It also makes good economic sense. By Sri Lankan standards it is not the worst budget, particularly when compared with the wanton recklessness of last year that precipitated...

Ezhuka Tamil – A Conversation about Democracy

Dharsha Jegatheeswaran and Gajen Mahendra On Saturday September 24th, Ezhuka Tamil, organized by the Tamil People’s Council, became the largest rally to happen since the end of the war in the North-East of Sri Lanka. Over 10,000 people took to the streets to demand an end to ongoing human rights violations, particularly militarization and Sinhala-Buddhisization of the North-East, reiterate their demand for genuine accountability and justice and voice their expectations regarding the ongoing political processes. The political elite in Colombo and their supporters elsewhere have however chosen...

Ezhuga Tamil is ‘expression of frustration at Sinhala hegemony’

The Ezhuga Tamil rally which drew thousands of Tamils in Jaffna last week, is “the expression of Tamil frustration witnessing the bases of their political power being compromised in favour of perpetuating Sinhala hegemony,” said exiled journalist J S Tissainayagam in the Asian Correspondent this week. “In its list of demands, the ‘Eluga Thamil’ (Tamils Arise!) rally in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, on Sept 24 included phrases that form the bedrock of Tamil nationalism – ‘Tamil nation,’ ‘sovereignty’ and the ‘right to self-determination’,” he wrote, adding that the present Sri Lankan government’s pledges...

‘Encouragement and pressure’ needed to sustain transformation in Sri Lanka

UN member states and Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon must ensure the Sri Lankan government feels the “right combination of encouragement and pressure needed to deepen and sustain the potentially historic transformation,” said Alan Keenan in a piece for Inside Story. “UN agencies are actively supporting the Sirisena government’s reform agenda, but government efforts have been under-resourced and weakened by mixed messages and confused lines of authority,” said Mr Keenan, senior Sri Lankan analyst at the ICG. “Clear direction from the president and from prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has...

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