U.S. Congressman calls for international investigation

U.S Congressman Bill Johnson (R) from Ohio reiterated calls for an international investigation and accountability in Sri Lanka while meeting Tamil and Indian constituents, as he campaigned for re-election in November. Representative Johnson was welcomed with a flower garland from the host and lit the traditional oil lamp. Speaking to the Tamil Guardian regarding the recent UN discovery of cluster bombs in the North-East, representative Johnson said, “ That is absolutely atrocious and they must be held accountable. Like I said earlier, it never ceases to amaze me what one group of human beings...

Eelam flag seen at Jaffna May Day Rally

Video footage of Tuesday’s May Day rally in Jaffna, organised by the UNP and TNA, has shown a man waving the Tamil Eelam national flag whilst marching with the procession. The footage, which has been broadcast on state TV, shows an unknown man flourishing the Tamil Eelam flag as the procession marched through. Further footage shows another unknown man, unbuttoning his shirt to reveal a T-shirt with a map of Tamil Eelam outlined on it.

Rajapakse will fight foreign 'conspiracies'

President Mahinda Rajapakse has said that he will not allow international ‘conspiracies’ under the guise of human rights to break Sri Lanka. Addressing a May Day rally Tuesday in Colombo, the Sri Lankan president said "the unity of working people is essential to rebuild this nation". "I am confident that you will not deviate from this task and I promise that no outside influences will de-rail the intentions of this government with talk over human rights," Xinhua quoted the president as saying.

Prasanna set to flee permanently this week

Major General Prasanna de Silva, Sri Lanka's military attache at the high commission in London, has been reported to be planning his permanent departure back to Sri Lanka this week, after growing calls to declare him a persona non grata. A spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs has confirmed that the vacant position caused by de Silva’s permanent return is yet to be filled. Earlier this month, Labour MP for Mitcham and Mordem, Siobhain McDonagh called for de Silva to be questioned for his involvement in alleged war crimes before being allowed to leave. See our earlier posts: UK MP...

UK ‘concerned’ about human rights in Sri Lanka

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has released its annual human rights report and has listed Sri Lanka as a country of concern, along with countries such as North Korea, Iran, Russia and Syria. Foreign Secretary William Hague spoke at the launch of the report in London on Monday and welcomed the many positive moves towards democracy that had occurred around the world in the past year. Mr Hague added that Britain’s main focus will be on those countries, whose human rights have not shown any improvements or deteriorated over the past year. “Human rights is an indivisible part of our...

Anyone but the Indians

Sri Lanka imports 90% of its oil from Iran, and w ith US-EU sanctions on Iran looming, needs to source oil elsewhere. But its sole refinery, at Sapugaskanda, needs upgrading if it is to refine oil from other countries. Yet, Sri Lanka has rejected an offer by the state-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to do this. Instead, Colombo will seek expressions of interest from others to do the work, which it claims will cost $500m. The reason, according to Petroleum Minister Susil Premjayantha, is IOC already operates a majority of fuel stations in Sri Lanka and increases fuel prices at will...

Seventh anniversary of Sivaram’s assassination

Seven years have passed since the Tamil journalist and editor of TamilNet was found assassinated in Colombo, inside a High Security Zone. No-one has yet been brought to justice for his murder, after a trial was postponed earlier this year. 2005 saw the deaths of Sivaram, and two other Tamil media workers, S. Suhirtharajan, Trincomalee correspondent for Sudar Oli, a Tamil daily and Mrs. Relanki Selvarajah, Tamil broadcaster. Below is an excerpt from a speech delivered in London on Aril 29, at the fifth anniversary of the death of Sivaram. "The Tamil Guardian has had a relation with Sivaram...

Muslims appeal to President over Dambulla mosque

The Dambulla dispute maybe resolved by intervention from the president, reports The Sunday Times. Representatives of Muslim political parties hope to discuss the situation directly with the president in the hope a solution maybe found. See also: At the mercy of the King (30 Nov 2011)

Army collects information on 'ex-LTTE'

The Sri Lankan army has been collecting information on young Tamil men and women who it claims are former LTTE cadres, reports Tamilwin. Upto 500 young men and women, including 200 in Trincomalee have been targeted. All in the name of 'rehabilitation'. See also: Security forces to search for 'ex-LTTE' returning from abroad (24 Apr 2012) Army collects personal details of NGO employees in Batticaloa (22 Apr 2012)

The same old story

Speaking to the BBC, the senior Buddhist monk who led the protest against a mosque in Dambulla has stated that footage from the protest has been “ technically manipulated ”. The footage showed a mob of 2,000 Sinhala protestors, led by the monk Inamaluwe Sumangala thero, violently attacking a long-standing mosque in the area while security forces stood by. It also showed a monk disrobing and exposing himself in front of the mosque, expressing his outrage that the mosque had been built in the area. Screenshot from News 1st TV, showing a Buddhist monk exposing himself in front of Dambulla mosque...