US warns of renewed conflict risk if accountability not addressed

The US Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia has stated that without accountability in Sri Lanka, new violence could arise on the island. Speaking in Washington, Robert Blake stated that both reconciliation and accountability were in Sri Lanka’s best interests so that, "they really can achieve peace and security and not sow anger in their own community that could give rise to new violence." He then went on to say, “Experience in many civil conflicts around the world has shown that countries that don't take adequate measures to address reconciliation and accountability frequently...

Indian Parliament erupts in uproar over Sri Lanka

Both houses of the Indian Parliament had to be adjourned earlier on Tuesday after parliamentarians were in uproar over the Indian government’s failure to hold Sri Lanka accountable for allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Members of the AIADMK and its rival DMK, along with members of the BJP and Left parties came together in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha demanding to know the Indian government’s stand on the proposed resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council. The MPs staged a vociferous protest, carrying newspaper reports of atrocities in Sri Lanka, and demanded that Indian Prime Minister Mamohan Singh, who was present in Parliament, clarify India’s position on the proposed resolution. V Maitreyan of the AIADMK said , "The entire world knows about the war crimes against Sri Lankan Tamils. The Tamil Nadu chief minister has raised this issue with the prime minister. We want an answer from the prime minister... will they support the UN resolution." The furore prompted Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to respond , "Traditional position of India has always been, not only in respect of this case, that we normally do not support any country-specific resolution. But what view on this issue will be taken will be determined as and when the time will be finalized in respect of the meeting of the Human Rights Commission." The uproar comes just days after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Manmohan Singh stating that he wanted to avoid “deepening confrontation and mistrust” between India and Sri Lanka, yet wanted to achieve a “forward looking” outcome on accountability. See the full text of his letter below.

Amnesty releases report of ongoing abuses, calls for international investigation

In a report, 'Locked away: Sri Lanka's security detainees', released Tuesday, Amnesty International (AI) highlighted the ongoing arbitrary, illegal and often incommunicado detention of Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka. Sam Zarifi, AI’s Asia-Pacific Director said, “ A lack of accountability for alleged war crimes gives the green light to Sri Lankan authorities to act with impunity . Meanwhile the message coming from the Sri Lankan government is that those who dare criticise it risk harassment, or even disappearance.” If Sri Lanka is serious about ending impunity and committed to reconciling communities torn apart by conflict, the rule of law needs to be a large part of that equation. While governments have the right to address national security concerns, human rights abuses are never justified. “The war crimes alleged in Sri Lanka in the final stages of the war are of such magnitude that if unchallenged risk fundamentally undermining international justice mechanisms - the UN must support an independent international investigation into these alleged crimes.” In a statement , AI said, "Reports of illegal detentions persist. Since October 2011, 32 people have been ‘abducted’ or subjected to abduction-style arrests."

Reporters Sans Frontieres catalogues media suppression over past year

In a statement released Monday, Reporters Sans Frontieres, detailed the " violence, threats and propaganda aimed at journalists and media defenders seen as government critics " since 2011. Extracts reproduced below: "On 5 November, the information and media ministry ordered news sites to register with the government , yet another restriction on the free flow of information – and a step toward heavier government control of the media." "One day after the registration order, the ministry blocked access to four major independent news sites critical of the government – Sri Lanka Mirror, Sri Lanka...

Tamil diaspora organisations urge UNHRC to call for an international investigation

In a joint statement and resolution, 12 Tamil diaspora organisations, called for an independent, international investigation as the only mechanism to ensure accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity, as well as a lasting political solution that reflected the nationhood of Eelam Tamils. Organisations included: National Council of Canadian Tamils, Tamil Coordinating Committee - United Kingdom, Maison du Tamil Eelam France, Cultural Organisation of Tamils - Belgium, Norwegian Council of Eelam Tamils, Danish Tamil Forum Dutch Tamil Forum, Council of Eelam Tamils in Germany, Swiss...

Threats to US, whilst appealing for concessions

A Sri Lankan Minister has warned the United States that Sri Lanka would join international allies and align itself against the US, if they were to continue to push Sri Lanka “to extremes”. Referring to a resolution put forward by the US at the UN Human Rights Council, Minister of Power and Energy Patali Champika Ranawaka said , "There are friends as well as enemies of the United States. We are ready to join the anti-U.S. allies if it is for forcing us to extremes. " His remarks came as Petroleum Minister Susil Premajayantha stated that Sri Lanka had appealed to the US for exemptions from its...

'Reconciliation is not happening in Sri Lanka, and the problem isn't a question of time'

Writing in the online site, OpenDemocracy , Sivakami Rajamanoharan from the Tamil Youth Organisation UK argues that the failure of reconciliation in Sri Lanka is as a result of "Sri Lanka’s refusal to accept the Tamil identity as a rightful and equal part of the island" and that the Tamil nation's desire for self-determination is "denounced as an inherent threat to the majority and vilified as 'terrorist ideology'." Instead, in Sri Lanka today, "in the name of reconciliation, an escalation of ethnic polarisation is unfolding, as the state strives to impose a Sinhala Buddhist hegemony over the...

SL Minister urges boycott of Google

Addressing a public meeting in Colombo, Sri Lankan government Minister Wimal Weerawansa has called for a boycott of all American products, including the use of Google. The Minister also called for a boycott of brands such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, KFC and McDonalds. Weerawansa pledged to the crowd that he would personally stop using Google products, stating , "We must show our protest even in a small manner to U.S. for the ill-treatment they are throwing at us." " We should boycott American products in order to show them the strength of our nation, they will feel the effects of our actions. I also...

The Tamil people must lead their struggle

The Tamil people should not keep quiet anymore. Their mass organisations and civil groups should realise their duties and the fact that the unfolding scenario has no room for individual issues. It is futile for the Tamil political leadership, positioning itself against the aspirations of the people, to again and again get trapped in the old ways of polity. The next stage should be a mass struggle.

The stakes of Sri Lanka's strategy - and why only an international investigation will suffice

“ What is happening in Sri Lanka is a systematic genocide. It has been happening for the last 60 odd years. What happened in the last stages of the war was taking that genocidal project to its extreme. “It has been three years since the war ended. There are several steps that are being taken currently that carry on the structural genocide of our people. What is happening in Sri Lanka ... is the dismantling of the existence of the Tamils as a distinct nation of people. “That is what is happening and it is that what has to be investigated and our belief is that if there is any prospect of...

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