Speaking at Youth Maaveerar Naal hosted by Imperial College London on Monday, students representing Kings College London spoke in remembrance of those that had lost their lives fighting against the genocide of the Eelam Tamil nation. The full speech is reproduced below:
The Mannar Citizens’ Committee, in a letter addressed to the Sri Lankan president today, outlined the intimidation and threats that Tamil human rights activists were facing in the North-East. The committee expressed concern regarding strong evidence that suggested police and army forces were responsible for several cases of threats and intimidation against human rights workers, in the lead up and after the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). Extracts from the letter , which also included descriptions of individual cases of intimidation, are reproduced below. “The competent authorities in the higher echelons of the Security Sector claim that the Government restored peace and security to the citizens of this country, but it is not so practically. The security excesses, CID threats and intimidation continue to be the order of civil routine almost daily. ” “Civil Organisations and their workers face threats and intimidation by various types from the intelligence side varying from warning to telephone threats, extortion and intimidation. Even the people affected in various forms expressing their grievances, objections or protests in the internationally accepted democratic way and peaceful resistance are not tolerated in this Country. ”
Richard Hamer, programme director of Amnesty International in Scotland criticised Scotland’s sports minister Shona Robison for not speaking out about human rights while in Colombo. Writing in the Scotsman, Hamer argued that the UN Human Rights Council must establish an international investigation in its March session. See here for full article. Extracts reproduced below: “THERE has been much talk of the legacy the 2014 Commonwealth Games will leave for the people of Glasgow and Scotland as a nation, but becoming a silent witness to war crimes was not the sort of thing we had in mind.”
Acclaimed journalist J. S. Tissainayagam in an opinion on Thursday, argued that an international investigation into Sri Lanka's war crimes is long overdue. See here for full article. Extracts reproduced below: "British Prime Minister David Cameron’s presence at last week’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) facilitated coverage that might not have been possible otherwise for media organisations. But if the human rights and war crimes issues highlighted by the international media are to be redressed and Commonwealth values and international law upheld, the band-aid solution proposed by the Sri Lanka government and aided by the Commonwealth Secretariat has to be dismissed. Instead, what is required is implementing an international investigation into war crimes. "
Dr Nick Cheesman, a research fellow at the department of political and social change in the Australian National University's College of Asia and the Pacific, writes in the Canberra Times arguing that Abbott's deportation policy damages Australia's credibility and endangers the rights of asylum seekers coming from Sri Lanka. See here for full article. Extracts reproduced below: "At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka at the weekend, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that while his government ''deplores the use of torture, we accept that sometimes, in difficult circumstances, difficult things happen''.
Extract’s from an opinion in the Sydney Morning Herald by Ben Doherty, South Asia correspondent: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott came to Sri Lanka to praise President Mahinda Rajapakse, not to bury him under the weight of human rights abuse allegations that completely dominated this Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. For his fealty, he was rewarded. Sri Lanka has vowed to further help Mr Abbott with his No.1 domestic priority, "stopping the boats" of asylum seekers looking to go to Australia. The countries' existing co-operation has been extended, with Australia giving Sri Lanka...
Writing in the Tamil Guardian today, Britain’s Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, said Premier David Cameron, having rejected calls, including by the Labour Party, to boycott this week’s Commonwealth summit in Colombo, should now ensure Sri Lanka is not permitted to chair the Commonwealth for the next two years. The full text of Mr. Miliband’s opinion follows: The Prime Minister flies to a summit in Colombo today amidst growing and continuing concerns about Sri Lanka’s human rights record after two decades of civil war. An estimated 40,000 civilians died in that brutal conflict and yet there has still been no investigation into allegations of war crimes because the Sri Lankan government has so far refused to carry one out. Instead of making progress, the situation in Sri Lanka seems to be getting worse. Last month, Britain's cross-party foreign affairs select committee criticised the scant evidence of progress in political and human rights.
Writing in the Times of India on Thursday, British Prime Minister David Cameron called on the leaders of Commonwealth to unite in pressing for a thorough investigation into Sri Lanka’s war crimes, and for “ an end to the intimidation of journalists and human rights defenders, action to stamp out torture, demilitarisation of the north and reconciliation between communities. ” "Of course," Mr. Cameron said, " we need to see a thorough investigation into alleged war crimes, and if it does not happen rapidly, an international independent investigation will be needed ."
Writing in the Roll Call, US Reps. Danny Davis and Bill Johnson, criticised the lack of progress on implementing "a viable plan for lasting peace and reconciliation". See here for full op-ed, extract published below: "More than four years after Sri Lanka’s ethnic-fueled internal conflict came to an end after 26 years, the country has yet to implement a viable plan for lasting peace and reconciliation.
Writing in the Weekend Leader, Karthick RM hailed the decision of Manmohan Singh not to attend CHOGM in Colombo this week as a 'symbolic victory', but stated it was not enough, calling for a 'serious re-think' of Indian foreign policy towards Sri Lanka. Stating that a complete boycott was still needed, he went on to coment that the regional interests of Tamil Nadu were integral to India's foreign policy, adding that Tamil activists from across the globe have "emerged as a well-networked community" and are "constantly expanding their spheres of influence in opinion making".