Russia supports Sri Lanka against war crimes pressure

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has criticised pressure on Sri Lanka to allow an international probe into war crimes and human rights abuses, Russian media reported on Wednesday. Speaking at a meeting with Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister GL Peiris, Mr Lavrov stressed that Sri Lanka has already had a home-grown and trustworthy commission to look into war crimes. “We believe, attempts to force international investigation on Sri Lanka without the sovereign state’s permission and bypassing the UN Security Council are absolutely wrong, they also contradict our aspirations in the human...

Sri Lankan constitution burnt on 40th anniversary

A group of young Tamil activists burnt copies of the 1972 constitution, at the same spot where the mother of the LTTE’s leader, Parvathi Amma, was cremated, TamilNet reported today. Over 40 youths burnt the copies at Oorani cemetery in Valvettithurai on Tuesday afternoon. According to TamilNet, the youths raised some slogans and distributed leaflets to the public before leaving the scene. A draft of the constitution was burnt by ITAK leader SJV Chelvanayakam and others, 40 years ago in Jaffna. See full report on TamilNet .

TNA calls for reduction of military camps

The leader of the Tamil National Alliance, R. Sampanthan, has called for a removal of military camps in the Northeast of the island. Speaking to Tamil media, Sampanthan said his party would continue to campaign for a reduction in military presence. "The current ratio of security personnel in the north of the country is one soldier to every eight civilians. This is too much and we have highlighted the need to reduce the military presence to restore normalcy to this region," he said. Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission also recommended that army camps be removed; however...

Fonseka: I was in charge

Speaking to Charles Haviland of the BBC, General Sarath Fonseka, asserted that he was in charge of the military in 2009, and not the political leadership. See BBC report here . Criticising "some people", for " trying to hide their face when it comes to war crimes and other issues ", as "it give the impression to the rest of the world, that these people are guilty of something," General Fonseka said that he would " not be scared ". "I have always said that I'm ready to answer any allegations about war crimes, in relation to the military operations. So that is my position" "The large figures of...

Worldwide coalition of diaspora youth groups condemn Jaffna uni attack

In statement released on Monday, a coalition of Tamil diaspora youth organisations across the world, the Global Taml Youth League ( T-League ), condemned the attack on Paramalingam Tharsananth , the secretary of Jaffna University Student Union (JUSU). Describing it as an " act of intimidation and violence ", T-League said it was " an attempt to instill fear in students and silence their voices for justice ", adding that the targeting remembrance events was " an attempt to extinguish the memory of the victims, and deny the ongoing genocide that is apparent today ". Standing in solidarity with Tamil youth in the North-East, the global coalition of youth organisations, pledged, "We will never forget the victims of Mu'l'livaaykkaal, and must work tirelessly to bring justice to our brothers and sisters who have suffered , and continue to fall prey to violence at the hands of the Sri-Lankan Government." The Global Tamil Youth League's member organisations include: Canadian Tamil Youth Alliance, Canada ( CTYA ); Tamil Youth Network, Germany; Giovani Tamil , Italy; Tamil Youth Organisation, Norway ( TYO-Norge ); Tamil Youth Organisation, Switzerland ( TYO-Swiss ) and Tamil Youth Organisation, UK ( TYO-UK ); Voice of Tamils , Australia; Tamil Youth Organisation New Zealand (TYO-NZ), Tamil Youth Organisation Sweden (TYO-Sweden) and Tamil Youth Organization USA (TYO-USA). See also: UK Tamil university societies condemn Jaffna student attack (19 May 2012)

Government plans to seize assets “linked to terrorism”

The Sri Lankan government has declared that the assets of those linked to “terrorist” activity will be frozen and seized, both inside and outside of the country, as part of new regulations put in place by the External Affairs Ministry. A “Competent Authority” will be created to oversee the seizures, appointed by the Foreign Minister G L Peiris and Defence Minister Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The body, once commissioned, will have the authority to freeze and seize all funds, assets and resources of any group deemed to be linked to “terrorists”. Furthermore, the Sunday Times reported that, if any...

‘This is precisely what we mean’

The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke to Sri Lanka’s GL Peiris on issues of accountability, free media, human rights and demilitarising the North, according the spokesperson Victoria Nuland, a move that was rejected just hours later by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Asked if prosecuting war crimes and responsibility for the estimated 40,000 civilian deaths in the final phase of the armed conflict was discussed, Ms. Nuland replied , “This is precisely what we mean when we talk about accountability in all of it” . She further stated that there were meetings with Robert Blake,...

Mahinda and Basil decide to expand fertiliser subsidies

Sri Lanka has announced that a new subsidy for fertilisers would be granted to farmers with supplementary crop cultivations, expanding a scheme currently only available for paddy farmers. Minister S.M. Chandrasena stated that the new subsidy was decided by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapksa, after discussions with farmers. He announced that the new subsidy was a means of tackling a surplus of paddy cultivation. The move comes just weeks after the government announced that the state-owned company Milco would buy all unsold milk from farmers...

Marina Beach candlelight vigil held for Mullivaikal

Thousands of people gathered on Marina Beach in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, to remember those that perished in Mullivaikal, shouting slogans of grievance and calling in international independent investigation into war crimes. Organised by the Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam and the May 17th Movement, the crowd also called for a referendum in establishing a separate state and were heard to shout slogans such as, “We will never forget India’s betrayal” and “We will never condone”. An organisation called Youth Against War Crimes and Genocide also took part in the event, collecting signatures for their campaign. See below for more photos.

Over 200 Tamil prisoners on hunger strike

A total of 234 Tamil detainees are now on hunger strike at prisons across the country , which has stretched into its fifth day, with more detainees joining the protest. The detainees, some who have been held without charge for several years, have asked to be either charged or released. TNA MP Sumanthiran told the Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency , that he was due to have a meeting with prison authorities today, regarding the detainees. Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with countries in South Asia, Jean Lambert , also told Xinhua that the European Union was calling...

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