Malaysia urged to vote against SL at UNHRC

A human rights group in Malaysia has called upon the country to vote against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, as the vote on the US-sponsored resolution at the council draws closer. Chairman of Suaram, a leading human rights organisation in Malaysia, K. Arumugam said in a press statement, "Malaysia can’t turn a blind eye to this. We have a vote at the UN Human Rights Council and we must vote in favour of a resolution against Sri Lanka". He went on to add, “After the Tamils, the Muslims are now the new targets of attack in Sri Lanka. Malaysia can’t be seen to support a...

Growing militarisation of the North-East

The Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice has demonstrated the growing militarisation in the North-East of the island, by releasing a set of info graphics earlier this week. The graphics, released on the group's Facebook page, have been shared hundreds of times in the past few days alone. See their Facebook page here .

1.4m signature Sri Lanka petition handed to Manmohan Singh

A petition by Amnesty International in India, signed by over 1.4 million Indians, has been handed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s office on Friday. "This petition represents the voices of 14 lakh ordinary Indian citizens asking India to play a stronger role in seeking justice in Sri Lanka," said G. Ananthapadmanabhan, the chief executive of Amnesty India. "This is a demand for an end to the impunity for past and present human rights violations in Sri Lanka," he added. The petition urges the prime minister to “stand up for justice in Sri Lanka, and act to end the climate of impunity...

'The Commonwealth: time to reconsider' - The Guardian

In its editorial on Thursday, The Guardian newspaper, called a row "over the unwisdom of choosing Sri Lanka as host of the next heads of government meeting". See here . Reproduced in full below: The Commonwealth is an organisation which normally bumps along well under the radar. What bounces it into prominence is a row. And the Commonwealth has a history of good rows, over issues that matter, like apartheid in South Africa, judicial murder in Nigeria or dictatorship in Zimbabwe, and on which it has been able to make a difference. Such moments make everyone pay attention to a body that many rather lazily think is not that relevant any longer. Few will remember, for instance, that this Monday is Commonwealth Day. The Commonwealth is about due for another row, and indeed it desperately needs to have one on the unwisdom, weekly becoming more obvious, of choosing Sri Lanka as host for the next heads of government meeting in November this year. Otherwise we may find ourselves in the ludicrous situation of sending the Queen or Prince Charles off to a country which has very serious unresolved human rights charges hanging over it, which has yet to justify executive interference in the judiciary, or has failed to adequately investigate the killing of journalists. When our royals arrive they could therefore be in the unhappy position of giving credit to a gathering from which important countries and close allies, like Canada, may well have chosen to absent themselves. That would be a disaster for them, for Britain, and for the Commonwealth.

UK MP pledges to canvas Queen for CHOGM boycott

Simon Danczuk, MP for Rochdale in the UK, has pledged to urge the Queen to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting later this year, in protest at the lack of justice for a British man murdered in Sri Lanka in 2011, reports AFP. (See here and here ). The victim, Khuram Sheikh was a Rochdale constituent. Speaking to reporters in Colombo, Danczuk said: "This case has attracted a lot of attention in the UK and people are asking why the wheels of justice have ground to a halt. Why have the suspects all been released on bail and no trial date been set?" " I will press for a boycott of...

Tamil journalist attacked in Jaffna

Photograph TamilWin

Indian PM - 'worried about the fate of Tamils'

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha as part of a wider debate on Friday, the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said , "There are problems in Sri Lanka; we have been worried about the fate of the Tamil population in Sri Lanka." "It has been our effort to plead with the government of Sri Lanka that there must be political reconciliation, that without national reconciliation (the) situation cannot remain calm." "It has been our effort to work with the leadership in Sri Lanka and to ensure that Tamil people (there) do get a chance to live a life of dignity and self respect as equal citizens of the...

Draft resolution HRC 22 circulated amongst UNHRC

The second draft of a US sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka that is to be submitted to the 22nd session of the UN Human Rights Council currently underway, was circulated today. See here for full text.

Prof Manor: 'New Delhi will be blamed'

Writing in the Indian Express , James Manor, professor emeritus of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London, argues that the venue for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) later this year must be changed from Sri Lanka, " if the Commonwealth is to retain its well-earned reputation as a force for human decency ", adding, " if that meeting is not moved elsewhere, the Commonwealth will abandon its enlightened commitments. Its irresolute secretary general, Kamalesh Sharma, has blocked a change of venue. Because he is a former Indian diplomat, New Delhi will be blamed ." Reproduced in full below: A message to Colombo India will soon be blamed — unjustly — for an international catastrophe. Since 1991, the Commonwealth has been a potent force behind the scenes for democracy, rights and human dignity. For example, it has persuaded the leaders of several one-party states to adopt open multi-party systems and it has ensured that leaders who have lost elections do not cling onto power. This admirable record is about to be squandered. The next Commonwealth heads of government meeting in November is scheduled for Sri Lanka where an abusive government has committed multiple outrages. If that meeting is not moved elsewhere, the Commonwealth will abandon its enlightened commitments. Its irresolute secretary general, Kamalesh Sharma, has blocked a change of venue. Because he is a former Indian diplomat, New Delhi will be blamed. This is already beginning to happen. Some commentators are saying that India urged Sharma to avoid offending Sri Lanka's leaders because it is anxious about China's growing influence there. It is true that China has invested massively in the island and that in 2011, President Mahinda Rajapaksa made a threatening telephone call to a newspaper editor in an unsuccessful attempt to suppress a report that the Chinese had given him $9 million to be used at his discretion. But India has not tried to restrain the secretary general.

Jaya slams shooting of Indian fishermen

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has blasted Sri Lanka, after a group of Indian fishermen were allegedly shot at by the Sri Lankan Navy. A 40-year-old Indian fishermen was injured after shots were fired by the Sri Lankan Navy, causing extensive damage to their boats and equipment, who claim they were in Indian waters at the time. The Rameswaram Fishermen's Association president Emiret criticised New Delhi’s "indifference" and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, labelling the constant attacks as an “indirect attempt to intimidate India and...