Strong response to 'The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka' at UNHRC

The documentary “ No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka ”, illustrating war crimes and human rights abuses by the Sri Lankan government, was screened in a side-line event today at the United Nations Human Rights Council amidst strong formal opposition from the Sri Lankan delegation. The Sri Lankan delegation strongly opposed the event, lodging a formal protest to the United Nations. Despite boycotting the event, Sri Lanka’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Ravinatha Aryasinha, made an appearance at the end of the screening. In an attempt to discredit the documentary he said , “By providing a platform for the screening of this film which includes footage of dubious origin, content that is distorted and without proper sourcing and making unsubstantiated allegations, the sponsors of this event seek to tarnish the image of Sri Lanka.”

Scott Morrison's advice to Tamils: be grateful

Writing in The Australian, the Shadow Immigration official, Scott Morrison, told Tamils to be grateful, stating that "Kilonochchi may not be the Paris end of Sri Lanka, but it has come a long way". See here . Reproduced in full below: Kilonochchi may not be the Paris end of Sri Lanka, but it has come a long way since its days as the levelled terrorist capital of the Tamil Tigers just four years ago. In the Kilinochchi district, malnutrition has been dramatically reduced, 99 schools have been reopened, 26,000ha of landmines have been cleared, 10,000 homes have been built and 40,000 displaced families have been resettled. Road construction is everywhere; there is a new electricity substation and agricultural production is up fivefold. Across the country per capita incomes are up by more than 50 per cent or about $US1000 ($973). If the same transformation after a war had been achieved in Iraq or Afghanistan, they would be handing out Nobel prizes. Yet much of this achievement in Sri Lanka is going unacknowledged by the international community. Of course more needs to be done, the stalled reconciliation agenda needs to move forward, the military is still too involved in civilian matters, but the checkpoints are gone, the drawdown has commenced and soldiers are no longer on street corners with guns. Elections in the northern province will be held in September. Of critical importance is the fact that when the Tamil National Alliance took me on a tour of resettlements and displaced persons camps in the north, those living there did not complain about physical security but the need for jobs, access to their lands and increased local control. These are fair grievances. Of particular interest is the fact that 5700 Tamils who fled to India have returned to Sri Lanka. Of even greater significance was confirmation by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organisation for Migration and the TNA that these returnees have not been violated. I am not suggesting people living in the north do not want or deserve greater liberty. But to suggest today's Sri Lanka is like Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe is ridiculous , and impedes a country trying to get back on its feet. The greatest threat to life for Tamils is not in Sri Lanka but getting on boats to come to Australia . Furthermore, it is economic and lifestyle factors that are principally motivating Sri Lankans to come to Australia rather than go elsewhere.

'Questions from the killing fields' - Guardian editorial

The Guardian has stated that the United Nations Human Rights Council must adopt "a much tougher resolution on Sri Lanka" in the coming weeks, declaring that Sri Lanka has failed to deliver action on the question of accountability for war crimes. Stating that Sri Lanka "should not be allowed to get away with it any longer", the editorial also went on to say that Commonwealh states should "reconsider the Colombo venue" for this years Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting. See the full editorial here . Extracts have been reproduced below. "After the showing of the documentary No Fire Zone in...

Tamil deportations halted

The deportation of Tamil asylum seekers, due for Thursday, has been halted by the High Court in London. The landmark ruling means that the deportations of all failed Tamil asylum seekers will have to be reviewed. A UK Border Agency spokesman told Channel 4 News: "We are disappointed with the outcome of this hearing and we will appeal. The ruling does not represent a blanket ban on returns to Sri Lanka." The judge, Mr Justice Wilkie, said the situation was "virtually unique", as at the same time as this particular case, an immigration tribunal has been hearing evidence on the situation in Sri...

British Prime Minister says violations must be 'held to account'

British Prime Minister David Cameron has praised the Tamil Diaspora's contribution to life in Britain and reiterated calls for an investigation into alleged violations of international law in Sri Lanka. The Prime Minister's statement given to the Global Tamil Forum for their 3rd anniversary conference at the British Houses of Parliament, has been reproduced in full below. "I am very pleased to send my best wishes to today's event, the Global Tamil Forum's 3rd Anniversary Conference. The Tamil Diaspora has made an important contribution to our national life here in the UK, which I warmly...

TNA will not wait 'forever' on S Africa initiative

TNA MP Suresh Premachandran has stated that the Tamil National Alliance would not be waiting "forever" to pursue the South African initiative of talks between the Tamil party and the Sri Lankan government, stating that pre-conditions for talks had already been laid out. Speaking to the Tamil Guardian, Premachandran said, " They (Sri Lanka) want to use (it) to show to the world that the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil people, we are discussing matters. That's what they want to do, but we told these things very clearly to the South African government, this is what the government is doing...

The leader of the TNA

Tamil Guardian caught up with the leader of the Tamil National Alliance, R Sampanthan, at the sidelines of the Global Tamil Forum's 3rd anniversary conference in London. Asked for his opinion on South Africa's initiative to push for talks between the Tamils and the Sri Lankan government, R. Sampanthan said, "South Africa is engaged in an initiative, and we have gone a visit to South Africa, and they have acquainted us with their experience and their knowledge, in regard to the resolution of their own conflict. And we will perhaps pursue their initiative, not immediately, but after some time,...

More calls to boycott CHOGM

A prominent barrister, Geoffrey Robertson QC called on Australia and other commonwealth countries to boycott the Common wealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) due to be held in Sri Lanka later this year. In a report for England's Bar Human Rights Committee, Robertson stated , " Governments which respect the rule of law should not attend." " Nor should the Queen or any royal family member provide a photo-opportunity for President Mahinda Rajapaksa ." " Royal seals of approval serve the propaganda interests of people like this and no-shows by powerful nations would signal the...

SL begins transfer of Indian prisoners back to India

In accordance with a bilateral agreement signed two years ago, Sri Lanka has commenced the transfer of Indian nationals imprisoned in Sri Lankan jails back to India, announced the Indian High Commission on Thursday. The High Commission stated that two Indians were being transferred this week under the Transer of Sentenced Persons Act. A further eighteen prisoners would be transferred back within a week, said the mission. Meanwhile, 21 'Sri Lankan' fishermen that were held in custody by Indian officials accused of crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line, were handed over to the Sri...

TAG urges India to show leadership and co-sponsor resolution

Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) supported the call for India to show leadership and co-sponsor the proposed resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council. Speaking at a press conference organised by British Tamils Forum (BTF) in New Delhi on Tuesday, Henrietta Briscoe of TAG argued that India should push to make the US based resolution stronger and emphasised the need for an independent international investigation into the alleged human rights violations by Sri Lanka. Zeenews India quoted Briscoe as saying: "India should take leadership and push for a stronger resolution. Co-sponsoring...

Pages