Thousands pay their respects to Col. Paruthi

Last updated 12:10pm (local time) Thousands upon thousands of Tamils have flocked to Paris today to pay their respects at the funeral of the murdered French diaspora leader - Mathinthiran Nadarajah, alias Parithi. Under a starry canopy, with the flag of Tamil Eelam flying half mast, the body of Col. Parithi is lying in a glass topped, wooden casket, draped in an Eelam flag, as the droves of mourners pass by laying a kaarthikai poo to honour his memory. As the leader of the French Tamil Coordinating Committee (TCC-France), Col. Parithi was held as an inspiration and guiding light by French...

Malaysians set to protest against Rajapaksa visit

Members of the Malaysian Indian Congress political party and Indian NGOs are planning on holding a demonstration in front of the Sri Lankan High Commission later this week to protest against Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s planned visit to the country next month. MIC Youth chief T Mohan stated that the presence of the Sri Lankan President was not welcomed by the Indian community in Malaysia, handing over a memorandum of protest to Foreign Deputy Minister A Kohilan Pillay. Meanwhile NGO groups have lodged complaints and police reports against Rajapaksa’s visit, for the World Islamic...

'Remember, recognise, realise' - TYOUK

A speech at the recently held 'Youth Maaveerar N aal' at King's College London, by a representative for the Tami l Y outh Organ isation UK. "We, the Eelam Tamil youth gather here today, to remember the ultimate sacrifice. We remember those that perished in a struggle against the oppression, destruction and genocide of our people. Today, we remember selflessness. We remember the selflessness of the brave young men and women, who gave up their personal hopes and aspirations and devoted their own lives to a struggle against the oppression of our people. These were people like you and I, they also had dreams and ambitions. These were future doctors, lawyers, entertainers, teachers, artists and future parents. But recognising the dire circumstances our people were living through, our brothers and sisters, rose courageously to be the van guards of our nation’s inalienable right to exist, so that one day each one of us could live out our own dreams in our own homeland, free and dignified.

ICRC international humanitarian law session to be held in Sri Lanka

The International Committee of the Red Cross is set hold hold the 21st South Asia Teaching Session on international humanitarian law later this month . And where better to hold the event, than i n Sri Lan ka - an island where gross violations of international humanitarian law themselves have occurred . T he session , organised by the ICRC's Sri Lanka delegation and Sri Lanka's Ministry of External Affairs, is due to take place from the 29th of November until the 6th of December in Colombo. Yves Giovannoni, head of the ICRC delegation in Sri Lanka , said , "This will be the first time that SATS is taking place in Sri Lanka," "The aim is to enhance knowledge of IHL among civil and military officials working in the fields of international law, international relations and defence studies. At the same time, it is an opportunity for people from South Asian and neighbouring countries to discuss contemporary challenges to humanitarian law." Topics to be discussed include, IHL v. terrorism, direct participation in hostilities and the protection of women in armed conflict, with 'experts' from countr ies such as Sri Lanka also set to deliver lectures.

Army does safari

The Sri Lankan army's spokesperson, Ruwan Wanigasooriya, announced the Army's burgeoning 'Laya' (meaning tranquility in Sanskrit) brand of tourism . Along with Laya Beach resort in Waduwa, Laya Leisure resort in Kukuleganga, the army will now open Laya Safari - a jungle beach resort near the southern aspect of Hambantota. Being constructed by none other than the army's very own Engineer Service Regiment, all three resorts will be staffed by military officers. See our earlier posts: See our earlier posts: Army opens yet another holiday resort in Jaffna (11 Jan 2012) Gota's catering services (...

British Tamil youth honour Murugathasan

Honouring Murugathasan Varnakulasingham - the Tamil youth who, outraged at international apathy and inaction in the face of the genocide of Tamils, self-immolated in protest outside the United Nations in Geneva on 12th February 2009 - young British Tamils at the Tamil Youth Organisation UK (TYO-UK) erected a memorial stone in his memory.

Why does the Tory MP for Stockton care so much about Sri Lanka?

The Independent have released a report questioning why Conservative backbench MP James Wharton, whose constituency has neither a significant Tamil nor Sinhala community, has travelled to Sri Lanka four times in nine months and made some controversial statements in Parliament defending Sri Lanka’s actions at the end of the war. See here for full report. Extracts reproduced below: “Questioned by The Independent over the level of his involvement in Sri Lanka affairs, Mr Wharton said: “I am very much not… the Sri Lankan government’s cheerleader.”” “Mr Wharton spoke out during a Parliamentary debate on Sri Lanka in February this year, saying that a report by a United Nations panel of experts , which detailed allegations of human rights violations by the Sri Lanka government and the rebel Tamil Tigers during the civil war, should be treated with caution. “Is it not clear that, while the report sets out a narrative and raises legitimate concerns, it must not be taken as a factual account?” he asked.” “Asked about the frequency of his visits to Sri Lanka and the country’s High Commission in London he said: “I don’t think it’s disproportionate or unreasonable, no.””

Australia deports 100 asylum seekers on chartered flight

The Australian government has deported 100 failed asylum seekers to Sri Lanka, on a specially chartered Royal Australian Air Force flight. The recent removal is the single largest group to have been sent to Sri Lanka, and the ninth this month according to the Sri Lankan government. It also brings the total number of people deported from Australia to Sri Lanka to 425 since August 13th, when Australia adopted new immigration policies. Immigration Minister Chris Bowen told reporters that those being deported were “economic refugees”, saying , “Our humanitarian programme is for people who are at...

SL Navy attacks Tamil Nadu fishermen... again

The Sri Lankan Navy has once again been accused of attacking fishermen from Tamil Nadu as they went fishing in the Palk Straits. The four fishermen alleged that the navy attacked them with sticks, stones and bottles, as well as damaging their boats and fishing nets. In addition, the navy is accused of seizing their GPS and wireless equipment. The Sunday Times however reported that a senior naval official completely denied the allegations, quoting him as saying , "There is absolutely no truth in these allegations which are apparently politically motivated by certain individuals across the Palk...

GSP+ loss takes its toll on textile industry

According to the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce's data, Sri Lanka’s export during the first quarter of FY 13 earnings from textile and garments has declined 4.3 percent. (See here and here ). In 2000, garment exports accounted for 49 percent of the country’s total export, by 2011 that margin dropped to 38 percent. Industry analysts believe the decline is a reflection of the loss of EU’s GSP (Generalized System of Preferences) plus based on Sri Lanka’s poor human rights track record. European Union accounts for nearly 50 percent of apparel exports with the US being the second largest. It has been...