'Rights of Tamils and Muslims are under grave threat' - ICG's Keenan

In an interview to the Times of India, Alan Keenan of the International Crisis Group (ICG) outlined the Sri Lankan government's litany of failings to make progress on reconciliation or accountability. Highlighting that " Tamils have long suffered from a denial of their collective right to self-rule within a united Sri Lanka ", Keenan added that " these problems have continued and, in some ways, grown worse since the end of the war ." See interview here . Reproduced in full below: Q: According to the ICG, how is Sri Lanka`s consolidation of power impacting the process of post-war reconciliation? KEENAN: There is no process of reconciliation or accountability and the government has made no attempt to remedy the long-standing poli-tical marginalisation of Tamils . It has made it clear it has no intention to devolve meaningful power to Tamil and Muslim areas in the north and east. It has refused to acknowledge the terrible suffering of Tamils and the loss of civilian lives in the last stages of the war, focussing only on the sacrifices of government troops. Also, it has refused to conduct any independent investigations into alleged war crimes by government and LTTE forces or other violations of human rights suffered by members of all of Sri Lanka's communities. The further concentration of power in the Rajapaksa family and the executive, achieved through the impeachment of the chief justice, will make reconciliation and accountability even harder. Q: What does such a situation mean for minority rights? KEENAN: The rights of Tamils and Muslims are under grave threat. Tamils have long suffered from a denial of their collective right to self-rule within a united Sri Lanka as well as from a regular denial of many of their individual civil and political rights. These problems have continued and, in some ways, grown worse since the end of the war .

JHU and Buddhist Council tell cricketers to boycott IPL

Sri Lankan cricketers should boycott the Indian Premier League (IPL) demanded the JHU (Jathika Hela Urumaya) and the National Buddhist Council, handing over a petition to Sri Lankan cricket's governing body on Thursday. The chairperson of the National Buddhist Council, Rajawatte Wappa Thero, said: "Politicians in Tamil Nadu have banned Sri Lankan cricketers from travelling there to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL). We value our players and if they are injured then that would be a huge loss to our country. Therefore, we are asking our players not to endanger their lives in travelling to...

India was involved "throughout" drafting of resolution - Assistant Secretary Blake

In an interview with the BBC Sinhala service, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Robert O. Blake said that the US worked very closely with India in drafting the resolution, passed last week at the UN Human Rights Council. Interview With BBC Sinhala Service - US State Department Please see below for excerpts, for interview in full click here . Question: [W]ith regard to the resolution passed yesterday, Indian media reports say that U.S. vetoed a last minute attempt by the Indian government to bring in some resolutions, some amendments, especially calling for some international involvement in monitoring LLR’s implementation. Is that true? Blake: Well let me just say with respect to India that we worked very closely with India throughout the process and we indeed welcomed some of the changes that India made. So we were quite satisfied with the cooperation that we had with India, and I think going forward it will be very important for all of the international community to continue to work with India to encourage progress, since India has quite a lot of influence on the island. Question: Did India propose any amendments at the last moment? Blake: Like I said, we consulted closely throughout the entire process. Question: Right. The original draft proposed by the United States was in the opinion of observers was pretty much toned down at the last moment. Is that because of Indian influence? Blake: I reject that premise. I don’t think that it was toned down in any way. I think it remains a very fair and balanced text that again reaffirms that Sri Lanka had to take meaningful action on reconciliation and accountability.

Beyond Geneva

The UN Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka last week rightly invoked mixed sentiments. On the one hand, the passing of the second resolution in two years and the advocacy efforts that accompanied it underlined that Sri Lanka remains firmly on the international agenda and that the coalition of state and non-state actors pursuing accountability for the slaughter of tens of thousands and continuing rights abuses is expanding. On the other hand, the quest for consensus on the Council, and in particular the support of India, resulted in a significant weakening of the resolution’s force and the introduction, as Delhi’s pound of flesh, of elements deeply antithetical to the goals of accountability and justice, and injurious to the political aspirations of the Tamil nation.

Tamil Nadu Assembly adopts resolution seeking Eelam referendum

The Tamil Nadu Assembly has adopted a resolution calling for a referendum among Eelam Tamils in the North-East of the island of the Sri Lanka, and those who have fled the conflict, on the formation of an independent state of Tamil Eelam. Announcing the decision in the Assembly on Wednesday, the Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said: " The referendum should be conducted among Tamils in Sri Lanka and other displaced Tamils across the world. A resolution should also be adopted in the UN security council in this regard ." The resolution also called on New Delhi to stop considering Sri Lanka as a '...

Sri Lankan cricketers respond to IPL ban..

The day after Tamil Nadu banned all Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket matches with Sri Lankan players, Sri Lankan cricketers responded... Arjuna Ranatunga Slamming the IPL governing council's decision to withdraw Sri Lankan cricketers from Chennai matches, the former Sri Lankan cricket captian, Arjuna Ranatunga, told Sri Lankan cricketers to " think of their country " and boycott the entire event, due to begin on 3rd April. Ranatunga asserted that playing else where in India under current circumstances would mean having "endorsed the human rights violation charges." Ranatunga said: "... as far as cricketers are concerned I think if they can't play in south India (Chennai) they should play in other part either. I personally feel if players are not welcomed in one part of India they should not be part of any IPL," " The excuse that the south Indian politician gave was war crimes . And, I am sure the players should take that into consideration and think of the country and pull out from the entire Indian Premier League ," "What most people seem to ignore is that both Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi are wanting to stop Sri Lankans playing in Tamil Nadu because they accuse Sri Lanka of human rights violations. So playing in other (Indian) states while skipping Tamil Nadu is an endorsement of human rights allegations against our country ," " Players must be made aware of this as the world will say that Sri Lankan IPL players have unwittingly endorsed the human rights violation charges ," "I think what IPL should have done was pulled out all the matches from south India if they are so keen on Sri Lankan players participation. But, it's all political gimmick," Muttiah Muralitharan Expressing disappointment at the IPL's decision, Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan claimed that he "did not have any problems as a Tamil", and invited the Indian authorities to "come and see how we are living in Sri Lanka and forget what happened in the past." See here for what the Tamil civil society of the North-East said earlier this month on life for Tamils at present. Speaking to NDTV, Muralitharan who currently plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore said: “It’s a sad [day] for cricket as we are not allowed to play in a certain part of India. It is a government decision, if they cannot provide security for us, we have to be cautious,”

Minister's son joins SL cricket squad

Sri Lanka's cricket squad for the T20 international against Bangladesh in Kandy announced a new addition today... the son of Minister Keheliya Rambukwella. Yesterday Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to India, Prasad Kariyawasam said he was 'concerned about mixing of politics and sports' . Here's a sample of the distinction between politics and cricket in Sri Lanka: 2nd Lt Ajantha Mendis hailed by Army for cricketing display at T20 World Cup (07 Oct 2012) ‘Political pressure’ leads to uncontested cricket board elections (03 Jan 2012) Ruling party MP rejoins Sri Lanka cricket team (20 Jun 2011)

UK Tamil youth “disappointed” at UNHRC resolution

Tamil students from several universities in the UK have expressed their disappointment at the exclusion of a Commission of Inquiry in the resolution on Sri Lanka, passed at the Human Rights Council in Geneva last week. Tamil Societies from 21 universities signed a statement, alongside Tamil Youth Organisation - UK, to call for an international, independent investigation into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity and to recognise that what the Tamils face in their homeland is genocide. “We express serious disappointment at the exclusion of an independent, international commission of inquiry into all allegations of crimes against humanity and genocide, and stress the crucial need for such a mechanism in order to secure true accountability and justice,” the statement said. “Whilst we recognise the initiative to bring Sri Lanka into the spotlight of international fora after the dismal failure of the international community to act and protect civilian lives during the armed conflict, we strongly condemn a number of states in the international community who have actively been diluting what was already a substantially weak resolution […].

“Mistake” to grant Sri Lanka one more year – PEARL

The US-based advocacy group PEARL has criticised the UN Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka. In a statement, released on Monday, the organisation said the resolution was another “grave failure” of the UN on Sri Lanka. “Given Sri Lanka’s structural impunity for past and present crimes, it is a mistake to grant Sri Lanka one more year of ‘time and space’ to investigate itself. This will only exacerbate Sri Lanka’s insidious efforts to Sinhalizeand militarize Tamil areas, causing irreversible damage to the Tamil community,” said spokesperson Anjali Manivannan. “This HRC session...

Resolution not a victory for Tamils but defeat for Sri Lanka – TGTE

The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam has said the resolution passed at the UN Human Rights Council last week was a defeat for the Sri Lankan government, but pointed out that it failed to come close to Tamil people’s aspirations. “The resolution did not come close to Tamil people's aspirations or expectations. We cannot consider this resolution, therefore as a victory for Tamils. However, we can definitely look at this as a defeat for Sri Lanka,” a statement said. “The fact that this resolution was debated and passed in the United Nations Human Rights Council will help to expose the...

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