Paramilitary leader appointed presidential advisor

The leader of the TMVP (Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal), Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, known as Pillayan, has been appointed as Presidential Advisor, reports the Daily Mirror. The past few months have seen increasingly brazen attacks by members of the TMVP, including attacks on TNA (Tamil National Alliance) members at pre-election rally , and the intimidation of voters in Batticaloa . No doubt Pillayan's got a few tips to pass on.

SLFP's Najeeb Majeed sworn in as Eastern CM

The former SLFP organiser for the Trincomalee district, Najeeb A. Majeed, was sworn in as the Chief Minister of the Eastern Province on Tuesday, by President Rajapaksa. The appointment is believed to confirm a UPFA (united Peoples Freedom Alliance) and SLMC (Sri Lankan Muslim Congress) coalition agreement. According to , out of the four ministerial positions, two - health and education - will be held by the UPFA's Pillayan and W. Dissanayake respectively, and two - road development and agriculture - by the SLMC's A.M. Jameel and Hafiz Nazeer Ahamed. Majeed is the son of a deputy...

TAG applies for injunction against deportation

The rights group, Tamils Against Genocide [TAG] applied on Wednesday morning to the UK Administrative Court for an injunction against the UK government proceeding with the charter flight of forced returns to Sri Lanka scheduled for 15.30 pm on the same day. See here for court order. The application was made based on the information contained in recent report released by TAG, entitled 'Returnees at Risk' , which detailed egregious torture of 26 students and other persons returning voluntarily to Sri Lanka after spending a short period of time in Britain. TAG challenged the UK Border Agency's...

Prostesters halt bus carrying Tamil refugees due to be deported

The bus carrying Tamil refugees due to be deported by UK Border Agency at 15:30 on Wednesday, has been halted by protesters, with one protester under the front of the bus. Photograph sent by protester to Tamil Guardian. Published 14:18 BST

Freedom House report says Sri Lanka worsening

In their latest report on Sri Lanka, Freedom House has declared that Sri Lanka has slid down their scale for accountability, civil liberties, rule of law and transparency. The “Countries at the Crossroads” report by the NGO, found that Sri Lanka fell down their rankings in all four areas from 2010 Extracts from the report have been reproduced below. See the full report here . Accountability and Public Voice "In addition, Tamils in both the national and parliamentary elections experienced problems exercising their right to vote. Many internally displaced Tamils did not have national ID cards, could not obtain them, or could not travel to their home village and were therefore unable to vote. During the war, government security forces used the confiscation of national ID cards as a way to control the travel of Tamils. " "President Rajapakse has increasingly tried to centralize power, especially judicial power in the executive branch, and has refused to obey several related Supreme Court rulings." "Basil is believed to be the president’s most trusted advisor, while Gotabaya, who was the chief architect of the defeat of the LTTE, is in charge of the nation’s security and intelligence apparatus. He has been accused of allegedly ordering the murder of opposition politicians and journalists as well as Tamil civilians during the war. "

China and Sri Lanka sign sixteen bilateral agreements

On Monday, Wu Bangguo Chairman of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) met with President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo on his four-day official visit to the country. Wu praised Sri Lanka for its post-war achievements, and asserted that it will continue to support economic growth in the country and provide aid for its development projects. Wu said, "China-Sri Lanka relations are now at the best period of development in history." Currently, China is the largest development partner to Sri Lanka, providing development assistance over 5 billion dollars. Rajapaksa thanked China for its...

60 Tamils to be deported by UK on Wednesday

Up to 60 Tamil asylum seekers are set to be forced to return back to Sri Lanka by UK authorities on Wednesday, despite evidence from human rights groups that even Tamils who have returned to the island voluntarily, have faced torture. Channel 4 spoke to one asylum seeker due to be deported on Wednesday, who had already cut his neck in an attempted suicide last week. He said, “Definitely, the government, they’ll harass and detain me. I won’t go tomorrow. I want to die here, in this place better. I want to die.” “The government, they will kill me. Definitely” Another Tamil asylum seeker showed...

'Returnees at risk' says TAG

In a report published on Sunday, rights groups TAG (Tamils Against Genocide), called for a 'comprehensive re-evaluation of the UK government's current policy towards asylum applicants' of Tamils from the island of Sri Lanka. Publishing 27 recent asylum appeal determinations, with extensive analysis, TAG highlighted that 26 of the 27 claims were of egregious torture, and were "found credible under the most stringent adversarial review". See here for report in full. Extracts of Judicial Opinions contained with TAG's report are reproduced below: Case 15 The appellant resembled a British Tamil who had protested to call for an independent international enquiry into war crimes in Sri Lanka. In a case of mistaken identity he was detained, interrogated about this protest [which he had not participated in] and subsequently tortured. Finding “Background material relating to Sri Lanka and the expert's report and previous case law all confirm that Sri Lanka is a country where corruption of officials is rife and the circumstances of the appellant's detention and the subsequent release through bribery and the assistance given for him to leave the airport after being tortured whilst incredible in the context of many regimes is not incredible in the context of what happens in Sri Lanka , even after the final onslaught against the LTTE. I conclude that the appellant is a truthful witness. I accept his account as credible in its entirety.” [emphasis by TAG]

Karunanidhi joins chorus against Mahinda visit, as protestor dies

Tamil Nadu opposition chief M Karunanidhi has urged Delhi to prevent the Sri Lankan president’s visit this week, saying that Tamils are not prepared to welcome him. "Considering that no Tamil is prepared to welcome him to the country, the Centre should prevent his visit and also be humane at the UN review meeting," he said in DMK party organ 'Murasoli’. Karunanidhi also expressed sadness at the death of a protestor who self-immolated in protest over Rajapakse’s visit to India.

Cricket 'will fade away' the war crimes - SL

As Sri Lanka prepares to host the World Twenty20 which starts tomorrow in Rajapaksa's hometown of Hambantota, with many hoping that the image of cricket can 'fade away' the horrors of war crimes and genocide. One of the key brand ambassadors for the event, the Sri Lankan Central Bank Governor, Nivard Cabraal, told AFP: "The T20 World Cup programme will provide an excellent platform to endorse the new Sri Lanka brand during the next three weeks," "I am confident that this trend will continue in the future, and those so-called international calls for (war crimes) investigation will fade away...