Atherton: Tamils’ plight must prick English consciences

Cricket commentator and former England captain Mike Atherton wrote in The Times Thursday: “Throughout Sri Lanka’s tour to England, a small and dedicated band of Tamil protesters have done their best to raise awareness of the persecution that members of this minority have suffered and continue to suffer in their homeland. “They were at the Sri Lankans’ opening match, at Uxbridge , and at the Test matches at Cardiff and Lord’s . By and large, it is a voice that has been ignored. “Channel 4’s distressing documentary on Tuesday evening that highlighted the systematic killing, torture and sexual...

US State Department on human rights in Sri Lanka:

“The government and its agents continued to be responsible for serious human rights problems . “ Security forces committed arbitrary and unlawful killings ... Disappearances continued to be a problem ... Many independent observers cited a continued climate of fear among minority populations ... Security forces tortured and abused detainees ; poor prison conditions remained a problem; and authorities arbitrarily arrested and detained citizens . “ Discrimination against … the ethnic Tamil minority continued, and a disproportionate number of victims of human rights violations were Tamils . “...

Why not Sri Lanka?

“The targeting of civilians is a war crime. If proved, these charges go right up the chain of command of Sri Lanka’s military and government. If Iran stands condemned for killing hundreds in the wake of the June 2009 election, if Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic now face justice in The Hague, if Bashar al-Assad faces UN sanctions for an assault that has killed 1,300 Syrians, how it is that President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother, the defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, escape all censure, after over 40,000 civilians were killed?” - The Guardian newspaper’s editorial on June 15. See the...

Britain warns Sri Lanka to act on war crimes by year’s end

Speaking after Tuesday’s transmission of Channel 4’s documentary ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’, Britain's Foreign Office Minister for South Asia, Alistair Burt, said in a statement : “I was shocked by the horrific scenes I saw in the documentary that was broadcast on 14 June. “The recent UN Panel of Experts’ report, this documentary and previously authenticated Channel 4 footage, constitutes convincing evidence of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. “The whole of the international community will expect the Sri Lankans to give a serious and full response to this...

World must confront Sri Lanka’s killing fields

“The UN Panel of Experts suggested that only an international accountability mechanism could investigate the serious allegations properly. Such a mechanism is crucial to avoid a horrifically negative precedent for lawless behaviour worldwide, and to act as a neutral and independent body to bring out the truth that must be at the heart of genuine reconciliation . “ The UN and its member states need to act now to ensure that what happened in Sri Lanka is not overlooked and forgotten . “At Amnesty International we hope that ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ awakens the public’s outrage and puts...

At least now Britain must act on Sri Lanka’s war crimes

TYO-UK (Tamil Youth Organisation - UK) welcomes the broadcast of the documentary ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ by Channel 4 as a harrowing but vital insight into the truth of the final stages of the war in Sri Lanka during 2009. It is an outstanding example of investigative journalism that has uncompromisingly presented the horrors that occurred. The documentary’s irrefutable evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity serves as a reminder to all journalists of the responsibility they carry to highlight such atrocities wherever they occur. The horrors that the documentary exposed, were repeatedly and clearly voiced by many, including the Tamil Diaspora, and international human rights organisations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, throughout the first half of 2009, as events unfolded. Serious concerns were repeatedly raised regarding credible accounts of daily rape, torture, abduction and mass killings of Tamil civilians. Yet sadly, these calls were dismissed as mere rhetoric and propaganda.

Lifting the lid on Sri Lanka's war crimes

As the shells fall, the trench provides little protection. It is only three feet deep and the adults, crouched protectively over their children, can barely get their heads below the level of the ground. But someone has not jumped into the trench; someone with a small video camera. Despite the nearby crump of the shells, he keeps filming. A woman in the trench is clutching a baby and crying desperately. "Please get in the bunker! Don't take the video!" she shouts in Tamil. " What are you going to do with the video? They are killing everyone … " Two years later there is an answer to that woman'...

Cricket and the military

The majority of the Sri Lanka women's cricket squad have signed up for jobs in the armed services. Some 90% of the national cricketers in the pool have already been recruited, with 14 out of 30 joining the air force, and 13 recruited by the navy. See BBC Sinhala service’s report here . Captain Shashikala Siriwardene told the BBC she also expects to be recruited by the Sri Lanka navy soon. "I hope all 30 members of the national pool will soon find jobs in the security forces," she told the BBC. The cricketers will not take part in any combat operations and can hone their sporting skills while...

Cash-strapped Sri Lanka’s new extraction scheme

Since late 2010, the Sri Lankan government has made much of the country’s soaring stock market as indicative of a post-war boom. The claim has also been repeated by some international analysts. However even by October 2010, it was becoming clear that the stock index was being boosted by the government itself. State-owned pension funds were doing much of the buying - even as foreign investors have been largely taking their funds out. See our earlier post ‘ Sri Lanka’s stocks: a closer look ’ But now the chickens are coming home to roost.

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