Northern governor orders schools to remain open, despite Tamil calls for protest

Sri Lanka's Northern Province governor, Suren Raghavan, has ordered the authorities to keep schools in the North open tomorrow. Politicians requested schools to close in support of a major rally in Jaffna tomorrow, which has been organised by the Tamil People’s Council. The Jaffna rally is being staged to demand the authorities to address issues and concerns of Tamil people in the North and East. The Northern Provincial Education Ministry announced that all schools in the Northern Province will remain functional on Monday.

Sri Lanka's STF open fire in Jaffna, one injured

Sri Lanka’s Special Task Force opened fire in Jaffna on Saturday, with latest reports indicating that at least one Tamil youth has been admitted to hospital with gunshot wounds. The injured youth has been identified as 20-year-old Kisnarajah Sajeevan. He has been admitted to a Jaffna hospital with injuries to his leg. Tensions are reportedly high in the Ariyalai region where the shooting took place. Sri Lankan police have reportedly claimed that the youth was involved in illegal sand-mining, but little information on the incident has been released. More to follow.

‘Connection to Chennai’ needed say Tamils in Jaffna

Tamils in Jaffna have called for direct flights to Chennai, as part of a recent expansion of Palaly airport which will see commercial flights from India visiting the peninsula.

Gecko names anger Sinhala nationalists and Buddhist monks

The naming of new gecko species after mythical Sinhala nationalist figures has angered nationalist parliamentarians and Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka. At least six new geckos were named by scientists after Sinhala mythical figures, including giant warriors Nandimithra and Gotaimbara, who reportedly fought against the Tamil Chola King. The practice follows that of the Sri Lankan military, which has named colonised villages and statues in honour of the mythical figures. Four other reptiles were named after Sinhala chiefs from the 1818 Uva rebellion against British colonial rule, who Sri Lanka’s...

Father of disappeared Tamil passes away after long search for son

The father of a disappeared Tamil man has passed away after years of searching for his son and receiving no information on his whereabouts. Sinnaya Nagarasa died earlier this month, after spending more than a decade in a search for his son Nakuleswaran. Nakuleswaran was forcibly disappeared in May 2009 in Mullaivaikkal as the Sri Lankan military launched a massive military offensive that killed tens of thousands of Tamils. More than 22 other Tamils who have died whilst searching for their children since continuous protests were launched by the families of the disappeared in 2017.

Japan provides Rs. 1.7 billion to Sri Lanka for ‘counter terrorism’

The Japanese government announced a grant of almost Rs. 1.7 billion to Sri Lanka for the “procurement of equipment for enhancing its counterterrorism and public security capabilities” on Thursday. Japan’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka Akira Sugiyama, signed the exchange of notes at Sri Lanka’s finance ministry, after meeting with Sri Lankan officials. According to a press release from Japan’s government, the grant allows Sri Lanka to purchase “Mobile X-Ray Scanners, Walk Through Safety Inspection Gates, Vehicle Chassis Safety Inspection Systems, High Speed Craft and Rescue Equipment Vehicle,...

'Sri Lanka still not safe for Tamils'

Chris Slee, a refugee rights activist in Melbourne and a founding member of the Tamil Refugee Council, wrote on how Sri Lanka continues to be an island where Tamils are under threat as the Australian government looks to deport a family of four this week. See extracts reproduced below. Read the full piece on Green Left here . On September 18 the Federal Court will hear an appeal by a Tamil family against their impending deportation from Australia to Sri Lanka. The family fears being sent back to Sri Lanka, because of their traumatic experiences there (Priya saw her fiancé burnt to death by...

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court rejects Gotabaya petition in split decision

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court rejected a petition by presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa to dismiss corruption charges against him, in a split decision on Wednesday. Gotabaya faces charges over the alleged misappropriation of 33.9 million rupees used to build a museum dedicated to his parents on the south of the island. Though he denies the charges, a lower court case is now scheduled to go ahead next month. “It’s a divided decision which shows that the Supreme Court judges are not unanimous on this,” Keheliya Rambukwella, Rajapaksa’s spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday. “He can appeal to...

UN Working Group concerned over ‘climate of impunity’ in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka continues to have a “climate of impunity” said a UN Working Group report this week as it reiterated the importance of “international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators” in an accountability mechanism for mass atrocities. “While welcoming progress in the implementation of some recommendations, it notes that many have only been partially addressed or have not been addressed at all,” said the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances after a follow up visit to Sri Lanka. “The Working Group regrets that neither a judicial accountability mechanism nor a truth...

Eastern University disappearances and massacre commemorated with vigil

A vigil was held in Batticaloa last week, where locals marked 29 years since the enforced disappearance and massacre of 158 Tamils from the Eastern University with calls for justice and accountability.