CBK receives award in UK, whilst Tamils continue to mourn

Sri Lanka’s former president who oversaw a military invasion of the North-East in the 1990’s was the recipient of the 2019 Common Ground Award in London last month, just weeks before Tamils gathered to mourn the death of those killed in an offensive she ordered. Chandrika Kumaratunga, who was Sri Lanka’s president from 1994 until 2005, received her award at the House of Lords in London last month. The Common Ground Awards are reportedly handed to “honor outstanding accomplishments in conflict resolution, negotiation, community building, and peacebuilding” stated the organisers. “Recipients...

TNA MP slams Sirisena for denigrating 'Tamil leader' Prabhakaran

A Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP has slammed the Sri Lankan president for denigrating the LTTE leader V Prabhakaran, whom the MP described as the ‘leader of the Tamil people’. TNA MP Shanthi Sriskandarajah had taken exception to Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena’s comments claiming that the LTTE leader was connected to drug cartels. Ms Sriskandarajah also raised concerns about the timing of Sirisena’s remarks: with the president attempting to press on with executions for drug convictions, the MP accused Sirisena of laying the groundwork to further scapegoat former LTTE cadres as...

Tamil Survivors of Genocide Deserve Justice in their Lifetime

Twenty-nine years ago, Vellupillai Viyazhamma’s son, V. Ranjan, was forcibly disappeared. Viyazhamma appeared before multiple commissions and inquiries over the years, refreshing her trauma each time in a desperate attempt to find answers to her endless question — what happened to my son? Last week, Viyazhamma passed away in Keppapilavu. At least twenty-one mothers, including Viyazhamma, have died in their pursuit to learn the truth about their disappeared loved ones. Earlier this month, the Sri Lankan military claimed it did not receive any surrendering Tamil fighters during the final stages...

UK tells Sri Lanka that ‘more needs to be done’ on UN resolutions

The United Kingdom said that it holds “regular discussions” with Sri Lankan officials regarding implementing a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution on accountability for mass atrocities, and that “more needs to be done” to ensure progress. Responding to a question from parliamentarian Theresa Villiers on discussions regarding the aftermath of the armed conflict, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs said the British government wanted to see Sri Lankan implement the UN resolutions on accountability. “We firmly believe that this is the best framework for...

TNA opposes vote of no-confidence

On July 11, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) voted against a motion of no-confidence in government due to concerns over a future government’s commitments to human rights. In a statement, TNA leader R. Sampanthan condemned the government’s failure to prevent the Easter Sunday bombing but maintained that removing said government from office would lead to a lack of clarity. In 2015, Tamils voted against the Rajapaksa administration due to concerns over its human rights record and the seeming commitment to UN resolution 30/1 which sought reconciliation after the turbulent civil war. Read more...

29th anniversary of Sampur massacres marked

A small commemoration ceremony was held in Sampur, in the Trincomalee district, earlier this month, to mark 29 years Tamils were killed by advancing Sri Lankan soldiers. More than 150 Tamils are thought to have been killed in the offensives which started on 7 July 1990.

Sri Lankan General accused of war crimes calls for military rule

General Jagath Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka’s former army chief, has called for military rule in Sri Lanka to resolve the “situation after April 21”, the Easter Sunday Bombing.

Tamils protest Kanniya Hindu temple destruction despite Sinhalese assaults and security force obstructions

Hundreds of Tamils from across the North-East travelled to Kanniya in Trincomalee to protest the destruction of a Hindu temple to make way for a Buddhist vihara. Several protesters were obstructed and blocked en route by Sri Lankan army and police, while some were assaulted by Sinhalese as security forces watched on. The protest was planned for July 16 following the destruction of the ancient Hindu temple by the Kanniya hot wells, a place of spiritual significance for Tamils which has become disputed due to the Sri Lankan state’s Sinhalisation of the Trincomalee district, especially its historic and touristic sites. Sri Lankan police had obtained a court injunction against the protest from the Trincomalee magistrate’s court, by arguing that the protest would cause communal tensions. With the injunction notice being served in Sinhala only to the protest organisers, hundreds of Tamils still attempted to make their way as planned to the site, with many being blocked by the Sri Lankan army, police and riot police who had all been deployed in their dozens. Although the injunction stated that nobody should be allowed to enter the hot wells premises, only Tamils were stopped from entering while Sinhalese traders and counter-protesters were allowed to enter. The Tamil crowds pleaded with police to allow them to enter the disputed site to worship, however being still blocked, protesters carried out prayers on the main road where they were stationed. Two representatives, Saivite leader Akarthiyar and the landowner of the Kanniya temple Ms Kokilaramani, were assaulted by Sinhalese traders who splashed them with hot tea, when they were summoned by police for mediation talks. Protesters who travelled to the area from Jaffna and Mullaitivu had their vehicles and bodies subjected to intense searches by the army and police. One group accused Sri Lankan army personnel of deliberately puncturing the tyre of their bus while they had been stopped for checking. In another group, Tamil journalist K Kumanan was harassed by the Sri Lankan army who attempted to detain him longer after the rest of the group was cleared to continue travelling.

Protestors in Batticaloa demand release of Tamil political prisoners

A protest was held in Batticaloa last week demanding the release of all Tamil political prisoners, and calling for justice over the recent death of one such prisoner in a Sri Lankan jail.

Tamil families of disappeared mark 868 days of protest in Vavuniya

Tamil families of the disappeared who have been demanding information regarding the whereabouts of their loved ones, marked 868 days of protest last week, with a rally through Vavuniya town.