British Tamils help in UK flood relief

British Tamils have assisted in flood relief efforts in the United Kingdom, after major storms struck the country this week. Organised by the TCC UK, Tamils from London collected donations of blankets, clothes, food and water to distribute to those affected by the floods, with one London temple donating £1,000 towards relief efforts. UK Parliamentarian Gareth Thomas joined the Tamil community in their efforts, with the storms leaving almost 6,000 homes completely flooded and a further 15,900 without power .

TNA say no to PSC after repeated failed promises

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) outlined today that it would not engage in the government Parliament Select Committee (PSC) on the National issue as the Sri Lankan government had failed to fulfill previous promises. Responding to recommendations from the Indian Foreign Secretary, Sujatha Singh, who told the Sir Lankan government to engage with the TNA and reach a political settlement through the 13th Amendment and the PSC, the TNA MP, MA Sumanthiran, reiterated that the Government failed to allow the current Northern Provincial Council to function fully, let alone implement the promise of...

SL prepares to face UNHRC

A Sri Lankan daily reported, today , that the Sri Lankan government had prepared a counter-proposal to combat the resolution to be tabled against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in March. A high-level delegation led by External Affairs Minister, G.L Peiris and Secretary to the President, Lalith Weeratunga, is expected to travel to the UNHRC with a counter-proposal whilst presenting efforts taken by the government to address accountability and reach reconciliation. News of Sri Lanka's strong preparations for the UNHRC sessions comes as the UN Human Rights Chief,...

Australian government commends SL commitment to reconciliation

The Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, speaking at a ceremony at the Sri Lankan High Commission, reiterated the Australian government’s support for Sri Lanka’s reconciliation progress since the end of the armed conflict with the LTTE and commended Sri Lanka’s ‘political will and commitment’ to the process. Drawing upon an Australian parliamentary delegation visit to Sri Lanka, she said , “Yes you can criticise, yes you can judge but you must also recognise that much has been achieved in resettlement and reconstruction.” “The path for reconciliation will be long, but with...

Wigneswaran calls for safety of diaspora to be ensured

The Chief Minister of the Northern Province CV Wigneswaran has called for assurances to be made on the “security” and “safety” of the diaspora, stating that the Tamil areas of the island wrecked by war need their participation to recover. Lamenting the lack of progress in developing the livelihood of the Tamils war torn areas of the island, Wigneswaran called the diaspora a “competitive resource” adding, “They have the technical know how, along with resources to contribute towards post-war rebuilding. They have the socio-cultural links with their motherland and also genuine interest, which are important ingredients to foster transfer of knowledge and technical know-how.” He stated "the Government of Sri Lanka does not have the financial resources and professional technical input or knowledge capital to contribute towards an effective post war recovery” and said, “For the diaspora professionals to come over and participate in the post war recovery processes we need to have pragmatic, meaningful structures and modalities in place to ensure their security, safety, motivation and participation .” Canadian Tamil businessman Anthonypillai Mahendrarajah was murdered when he returned to Vanni in 2012, after a reported conflict with the military over occupied property.

Sri Lanka translates ‘mothers’ into ‘dogs’ on Tamil sign

After yet another in a long series of errors on official sign boards, the Sri Lankan government was forced to make an apology, reported the BBC on Friday. A particular sign which was highlighted read "Reserved for pregnant mothers" in Sinhala and English. The Tamil read "Reserved for pregnant dogs". The series of mistakes forced Sri Lankan government Minister for National Languages and Social Integration, Vasudeva Nanayakara into making an apology to the BBC. However, the minister went on to add, "Sometimes, also translations into Sinhala in mainly Tamil areas are wrong, as there are not...

Rajapaksa gains support from another opposition member

UNP politician Gamini S Kaviratne switched allegiances to the ruling UPFA coalition this week, becoming the latest opposition member to cross over to the government. Kaviratne, who was once the Chairman of the Kalutara Pradeshiya Sabha and the Pradeshiya Sabha’s opposition leader, called on Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa earlier this week, to pledge his support to the government. Another UNP member leaves to join Rajapaksa (01 January 2014) UNP to join Govt's team against resolution at UNHRC (22 January 2014) UNP 'opposed to international inquiry' (19 November 2013) UNP MP condemns...

Tamil demonstrators protest land grabs despite intimidation

The National Fishermen Committee, despite government intimidation, held a protest against the appropriation of Tamil land, today , in front of Jaffna Muniyappar temple. Hundreds of people gathered with placards and slogans, reading, ‘Resettle us back in our homeland’, ‘Do not invade our land’ ‘Where are our disappeared relatives?’ and ‘Let our fishermen live.’ Speaking at the protest, the Northern Province Agriculture Minister, Ayngaranaesan, stressed , "The government is using development to conceal the wounds of those affected by the war. The government's development in the North-East does not work towards peace or solve the problems faced by the people. The motive behind the current form of development in the Tamil Areas is to steal our resources and people's hard work." Crowds gathered despite intimidatory and coercive tactics used by government forces to deter protestors. Sri Lankan intelligence personnel were present at the protest taking videos and photographs of the demonstrators. Further attempts to stop the protest were taken with buses transporting demonstrators from Killinochchi and Mullaitivu to Jaffna stopped by Sri Lankan military forces.

India likely to vote against Sri Lanka at UNHRC

India is most likely to vote for a resolution against Sri Lanka at the upcoming United Nations Human Rights Council, a senior official, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Hindu . The source outlined that the Northern Provincial Council elections had been an opportunity for political reconciliation, which the Sri Lankan government had ‘squandered’ by ‘locking horns’ with the Northern Provincial governance. The source further outlined that the Sri Lanka had not done enough to make countries that voted against it last year change their minds.

Accountability and reconciliation impossible together – Sri Lankan official

The presidential secretary has said to journalists in Colombo that there cannot be reconciliation in the country if moves for accountability are made. “My argument (to the international community) was that, yes, you can have an international inquiry,” Lalith Weeratunga said. “That is not an issue, if that is what the Government wants. But then, all these people will have to be brought back to the judicial process. Won’t that upset the reconciliation we are going through? To have accountability and inquiry into 30 years of war and to also make sure there is reconciliation are two parallel...