Jaffna Hospital remembers 1987 massacre by Indian army

Photograph Tamilnet Jaffna Hospital staff held a remembrance event on Friday, in memory of the 68 staff and patients, killed by the Indian Peace Keeping Force troops (IPKF) on 21st October 1987. The event, led by Dr Bhavani Pasupathirajah, was attended by families and loved ones of those massacred. The Jaffna hospital staff who were massacred, included three then leading medical specialists, Dr.A.Sivapathasuntharam, Dr.K.Parimelalahar and Dr.K.Ganesharatnan. According to eye witness reports, the hospital was shelled on the morning of the 21st, before IPKF troops stormed the building and threw...

Protest was organised by Ministry of Defence – Channel 4

The head of Channel 4 News and Current Affairs has told a Lords communications committee that a protest against the broadcaster earlier this year was arranged by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence. Dorothy Byrne told the Lords committee, which is inquiring into the future of investigative journalism, that Sri Lanka had concerted “worldwide PR exercises against us", after the channel’s investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka. See report from the Guardian here . Speaking to the committee on Tuesday, Byrne said, "They will not just try to threaten us with libel actions, they will launch...

Release of Commonwealth report blocked by Sri Lanka

An internal report by a panel on the Commonwealth, due to be presented at the summit in Perth next week, has slammed the ‘failure’ of the 54-member organisation to address human rights issues of its members and said only prompt action will save the Commonwealth from irrelevance and its eventual demise. Several Commonwealth members have blocked the publication of the report, titled ‘Time for Urgent Reform’, with Sri Lanka signalling it will reject the recommendation by the report to appoint a ‘Commissioner for Democracy’ who would recommend ‘remedial action’ against persistent human rights...

TNA outlines basic requirements for future talks

The TNA (Tamil National Alliance) called on the government to stop all registration of lands in the North-East, reverse the inclusion of the Sinhala region of Welioya into Mullaitivu District and stop the deployment of a Sinhala government agent to Mannar, during talks with government delegates on Thursday. TNA MP Suresh Premachandran, stated that such measures, were the very basic requirement in order for future talks with the Sri Lankan government to take place. “If the President is willing, he can stop these moves within a matter of a few hours,” Premachandran added. The meeting on...

Status: Not Free

In their annual report entitled “Freedom of the Press” released this week, advocacy group Freedom House have declared that media freedom in Sri Lanka is severely restricted with journalists facing constant harassment and intimidation. The Washington-based group have ranked Sri Lanka one place above Afghanistan in their Asia rankings and behind countries such as Pakistan, Côte d’Ivoire and Iraq in the Global rankings. Sri Lanka has also been designated a country where the level of press freedom is “Not Free”, joining states such as North Korea, Iran and Somalia. See the full table here . The...

Indigenous Vedda protest in Trinco over land grabs

A group of Vedda, indigenous people on the island of Sri Lanka, have protested outside the residence of the Trincomalee governor, the BBC Sinhala service reports. The group, hailing from a remote village in the district, claimed their ancestral land was being appropriated by a Buddhist monk, with government officials in the district ignoring their plight. “Uppuveli Hamuduruvo (the monk) grabbed an agricultural tank earlier and we kept quiet but now he is going to go for another one. This can not be allowed” said P.M. Appuhamy, the president of the village’s farmers association. The Tamil-...

Fox to face further investigation

The parliamentary standards watchdog will be conducted a fresh investigation into the Fox's dealings with Werritty, the watchdog's commissioner announced today. The watchdog was asked by the Labour MP, John Mann, to investigate allegations that Fox allowed Werritty to live rent-free in his London flat, paid for by parliamentary allowances. The police are also considering a criminal investigation.

A cunning evasion of admission of guilt

Carefully skirting around a direct admission of guilt, the British former defence secretary, Liam Fox, whilst addressing parliament on Wednesday, said, " The ministerial code has been found to be breached . For this I am sorry." "I accept it is not only the substance but [also] perception that matters. That is why I chose to resign. I accept the consequences for me without bitterness or rancour. I do not blame anyone else, and I believe that you do not turn your back on your friends or family in times of trouble." "With hindsight, I should have been more willing to listen to concerns of those...

Cross-party Tamil outrage at Sinhala colonisation in Vavuniya

Tamil politicians across the political spectrum protested in Vavuniya on Monday, against the on-going settlement of Sinhala citizens into Tamil areas, whilst Tamil refugees remain homeless and face increasing obstacle to land registration. The protest included TNA parliamentarians Mavai Senathirajah, Suresh Premachandran, S. Adaikalanathan, E. Sarawanabawan, MP Sivasakthi Anandan, TULF Leader V. Anandasangaree, PLOT Leader S. Siddharthan and TELO Political Wing leader M. K. Sivajilingam. See here for photographs.

TNA invited to US for talks with Clinton

The Tamil National Alliance will be sending a four-member delegation to Washington on October 25th to meet with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other State Department officials for talks, following an invitation from the US government, according to the Sunday Times. The Tamil delegation has also reportedly planned to meet with US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake, who visited Sri Lanka and met with the TNA last month. During his visit Blake reiterated the “need for a credible process of accountability” and expressed concern about human...

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