Eelam Tamil refugees on Diego Garcia unsafe, UN calls for immediate relocation

A damning report released by the UN refugee agency has called for an “immediate relocation” of the 61 asylum seekers who have been stranded on the remote island for more than two years and have experienced violence, abuse and arbitrary detention. The inspection report from the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, marked “confidential” and disclosed only to the Guardian and the BBC by the supreme court of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), is the first to be carried out since a group of asylum seekers, mainly Tamils who fled Sri Lanka, arrived on the island in October 2021. They were rescued and...

Protest in Puthukudiyiruppu over diversion of funds intended for road development

Residents in Puthukudiyiruppu (PTK) protested over the alleged diversion of Rs.1.7 million allocated for the development of Sunnampusulai Road which requires urgent repairs. Yesterday, the residents marched towards the PTK West Office Division demanding that the funds be routed back to the development of the road, adding that the decision to re allocate the funds was not done without their consent. Rs.115 million has been allocated to the Mullaitivu district for development purposes, of which Rs 22.5 million has been allocated to PTK Divisional Secretariat. Following a meeting with local...

EU extends GSP+ scheme despite Sri Lanka's failure to repeal PTA

File photograph - Tamil families of the disappeared in Vavuniya call on the EU to engage with the Tamil community Sri Lanka will continue to benefit from the GSP+ Scheme until December 2027 although it continues to use the notorious Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). The Daily FT reported that the EU-Sri Lanka Working Group on Trade and Economic Cooperation met with Sri Lankan authorities recently where they discussed economic and trade policy developments, regulatory and deforestation regulation. A meeting was organised by the Department of Commerce which was held last week saw the...

Racist Buddhist monk 'apologises if he had caused distress’

The General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) Galagodaaththe Gnanasara apologised “‘if he had caused distress,” according to a report in Ceylon Today , as the extremist monk was dragged to court over remarks he made in 8 years ago. Gnanasara reportedly informed the Colombo High Court Judge Adithya Patabendige from the dock of his apology, ahead of a verdict that is to be delivered on March 28. The case was filed by the Attorney General against the BBS General Secretary over charges of causing religious and racial disunity in the country owing to his remarks. During the 2016 press briefing...

Sinhala nationalists fume as JVP visits India

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and coalition National People’s Power (NPP) continued to elicit much controversy with Sinhala nationalists fuming over the discussions and stance taken by the leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake during his recent visit to India, as he continues to rise in popularity ahead of the presidential polls. Earlier this month, party leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, met with India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar, after the party was invited to discussion in Delhi for the first time. The visit is seen as a significant outreach by Delhi to the leftist...

Sri Lankan president commits to 'secure the Buddhist Order' by declaring 11 viharas 'sacred'

Sri Lankan president Ranil Wickremesinghe has committed to protecting and securing the 'Buddhist order' by declaring 11 Buddhist temples as 'sacred sites', of which four are in Tamil speaking areas. At an event held at the Presidential Secretariat , the National Physical Planning Department submitted documents relating to the 11 temples that have some "archaeological or historical significance" to be declared as sacred sites in the government gazette. Secretary to the President Saman Ekanayake who hosted the event reportedly reaffirmed Wickremesinghe’s "unwavering commitment to upholding and...

Tamil activists cycle to Geneva as UNHRC session approaches

A group of Tamil activists set off on their bicycles from London on Thursday 15 February and are cycling to Geneva, Switzerland where the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) are set to meet later this month.

EDITORIAL - Anti-India or just Anti-Tamil?

The current frontrunner in Sri Lanka’s presidential polls Anura Kumara Dissanayake, leader of Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and National People’s Power (NPP) coalition, was invited to visit Delhi earlier this month, where he engaged in a series of high-level talks. The move was seen as recognition from the Indian government that Dissanayake is a serious contender in elections which are set to take place later this year. It also seemed to mark a significant shift in the militantly Marxist JVP, a movement that was once violently anti-Indian but now seemingly open to engagement with Delhi. As Dissanayake’s visit demonstrates, however, the veneer of anti-imperialist politics within the Sinhala left has always been thin. It is not necessarily Indian interests they oppose, simply Tamil ones.

Sri Lanka increases ties with Israel in the midst of Gaza conflict

The Sri Lankan government announced it was increasing air connectivity with Israel last week, as ties between the two countries continued to grow in recent months. On Thursday (15), Colombo signed a direct air service agreement with Israel, its Ports, Shipping, and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said during a press briefing. “The agreement, signed between the Israeli Ministry of Transport and our Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Aviation, marks the beginning of direct flights between Israel and Sri Lanka, aiming to enhance passenger convenience,” de Silva said. חתמתי הבוקר על הסכם...

TNPF leader questions why Sri Lankan Navy allowed Indian trawlers to bring narcotics into the North-East

Addressing a Jaffna District Coordination Meeting recently, leader of the Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam questioned why the Sri Lankan navy had allowed Indian trawlers laden with narcotics to enter the island's territorial waters.

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