New US envoy set to focus on human rights

The current US Ambassador-designate has stated that she will prioritise human rights, if confirmed as the next Ambassador to Sri Lanka. Speaking at her Senate confirmation hearing, Michele Sison said that the US was looking for “near term progress” and stating, "serious allegations of violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law, committed by both sides at the end of the war remain to be investigated and have slowed reconciliation." The former Ambassador to Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates went on to say, "The United States and other international partners have...

Tamara doubts Pillay's 'impartiality'

Sri Lanka's parting representative to the UN in Geneva, Tamara Kunanayakam, sent a letter to the UN High Commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, questioning the impartiality of the UNHRC resolution passed earlier this year, the Daily Mirror reports . In a letter, published by the newspaper, Sri Lanka ambassador, asserts that Pillay's office, "instead of implementing the resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council at its Special Session on Sri Lanka in 2009, was playing the political agenda of the USA and other Western powers." Citing an email communication by the head of the Asia-Pacific division of the OHCHR, Rory Mungoven, to Pillay's office, 'triumpantly announcing the adoption' of the UNHRC resolution, Tamara writes, " The communication raises serious doubts about the impartiality, objectivity, and non-selectivity of the work conducted by the staff of OHCHR and their respect for decisions of the Human Rights Council." Tamara's full letter, as published in The Daily Mirror, is reproduced below: "I am writing to you in connection with an email communication dated 22 March 2012 addressed to the staff of your Office by Mr. Rory Mungoven, Head of the Asia-Pacific Division of OHCHR, triumphantly announcing the adoption that morning of the resolution on Sri Lanka by the Human Rights Council, describing it as “the culmination of the sustained and determined work by many in the team and other parts of the house over the past few years.”

$5bn into Hambantota Port, new race track by 2014

Amid strong calls for reconciliation and rehabilitation in the North, the Sri Lankan government, who are currently accused of war crimes and human rights abuses, are looking to raise $5 billion dollars, to invest into Hambantota, President Rajapaksa’s home constituency, and in the southern capital city, Colombo. See here . A recent report on a $5 billion investment raising initiative exhibited Sri Lanka’s continuous investment drive to help develop its southern ports facilities. Speaking about plans for Colombo and Hambontota, in a recent interview with a UK newspaper, Sri Lanka Ports...

Refugee Charity slam UK's deportation policy

Writing in The Guardian , Donna Covey, the chief executive of a leading UK charity for refugees and asylum seekers, Refugee Council, condemned the UK's policy of deportation to Sri Lanka, following the recently published testimony of the tortured Tamil deportee, 'Hari'. 'Evidence that shows it is unsafe to return people to Sri Lanka grows by the day . Just last week, the UK's high court stopped the removal of 40 refused asylum seekers to Sri Lanka on the grounds that their human rights would be violated . Human Rights Watch have this year alone reported 13 cases of refused asylum seekers who...

David Cameron presses Rajapaksa on war crimes

As an estimated 8000 protestors gathered outside Marlborough House to demonstrate against Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, it was reported that inside, British Prime Minister David Cameron also discussed the issue of war crimes with Rajapaksa. The Prime Minister’s spokesman Craig Oliver told Channel 4 that, “The Prime Minister raised the issue of making sure that allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka were properly investigated”. Earlier, reports from “senior sources” to The Times indicated that the British Prime Minister would also warn Rajapaksa of potential boycott of the 2013 CHOGM...

More footage of Sri Lankan Army brutality emerges

Video footage has been released that appears to show Sri Lankan soldiers “gloating” over more than a hundred Tamil corpses, many of which have been stripped naked, reported The Independent . The video clips, recorded by Sri Lankan soldiers, shows more than 100 dead bodies of Tamils, with many of the dead dressed in civilian clothing. Almost all of the dead women in the video have had their clothes stripped off to expose their breasts and genitals. A second clip appears to show injured Tamils lying on the ground surrounded by Sri Lankan soldiers before cutting to a clip of lines of Tamil women...

Failed Tamil asylum seeker recounts torture on deportation

In an article published in the Guardian on Tuesday, a failed Tamil asylum seeker, 'Hari', recounted his harrowing experience of being tortured in the infamous '4th floor' of Sri Lanka's Criminal Investigation Department, accused of 'undermining diplomatic relations by complaining to the UK government' of previous abuses. See here for full article in The Guardian. Extract reproduced below: '... In what he described as a "torture hall" on the fourth floor of the criminal investigation department building in Colombo , Hari, who had already served time for being an intelligence agent for the...

Body found in Bambalapiti was former LTTE bodyguard

The body of male, found mutilated by Bambalapiti Hindu College on Friday morning , is that of Kanapathipillai Udayakanthan, reported The Sunday Times. Udayakanthan, from Batticaloa, is said to be the former bodyguard of the LTTE political wing leader. According to reports, he returned to Sri Lanka two years ago, after spending several years in the UK.

Thousands protest against Rajapaksa as he lunches with Queen

Published 12:50 BST Thousands of Tamil protesters are marching through London to Marlborough house protesting against Rajapaksa's UK visit. There remains a heavy police presence with more police arriving, as rajapaksas arrival is expected. Follow us on Twitter @tamilguardian for live updates and coverage.

8000 Tamils protest at Rajapaksa's lunch with Queen

Published 22:40 BST Photographs added 07 Jun 2012 02:01 BST Thousands of Tamils marched through the streets of London on Wednesday protesting against Rajapaksa's UK visit to have a Diamond Jubilee lunch with the Queen, before egging his car as he made his way to the airport. Protesters throw eggs at Rajapaksa's car as he leaves for the airport. At 8am this morning, buoyed but undeterred by the cancellation of Rajapaksa's key note speech at the Commonwealth Economic Forum, hundreds of protesters began to gather outside Mansion House, before marching on to Marlborough House where Rajapaksa was due to have lunch with the Queen. As the march progressed, hundreds rapidly swelled into thousands as scores of Tamils arrived with placards, banners and Eelam flags. By mid-morning the march had reached an estimated 8000 protesters, as they congregated around Marlborough House. Hundreds of Tamils from France, Germany and other European countries joined the protest with their country's flags flying outside. Furious at the invitation extended to him, protesters dragged an effigy of Rajapaksa through the streets and burnt the Sri Lankan constitution.