Sri Lanka arrests ‘white van’ driver and victim

Sri Lankan authorities have arrested a man who had admitted to being the driver of a ‘white van’ squad that murdered people and fed bodies to crocodiles, as well as another who claimed to have been the victim in a press conference last month. Douglas Anthony Fernando, the man who had admitted to being the driver of a ‘white van’ and Athula Sanjaya Masanyake, a man who had come out as a victim of the ‘white van’ abduction have both been arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department. Sri Lanka’s white van squads abducted, tortured and murdered victims before feeding their bodies to...

Sri Lankan President discusses island’s energy issues

Sri Lankan President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, met with officials from the Ministry of Power and Energy to discuss issues within the energy sector. During this meeting, Rajapaksa emphasised the importance of attracting foreign invading into the country to meet increasing energy demands. The Minister of Power and Energy stated that whilst there were agreements with foreign countries, many were with private companies and not States and steps would need to be taken to ensure that a proper protocol was followed. Reading the Colombo Page’s reporting here.

Japan strengthens ties with Sri Lanka despite human rights concerns

Japan’s Foreign Minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, met with Sri Lankan President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, to reaffirm their bilateral relationships and commitment to key areas of cooperation despite human rights concerns. Toshimitsu Motegi greeted the newly appointed President during his three-day visit, congratulating him on his victory and stating that Sri Lanka is a “special friend of Japan”. He further stated, Japan will be hosting a conferenced called “Friends of Asia” to which President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been invited. Motegi has maintained that Japan will continue efforts for peace,...

Sri Lanka ignored more warnings over Easter attacks, says shot Muslim councillor

A Muslim councillor who was shot in the head just weeks before the Easter Sunday attacks, described how his warnings to the Sri Lankan police were ignored, adding to evidence that the security forces received intelligence that an attack was due to take place, but may have allowed it to proceed. In his first interview with journalists, Mohammad Taslim described how he had tried to warn authorities about two brothers, Sadiq and Shaheed Abdul-Haq, and rumours that they had been stockpiling weapons. However, Sri Lankan authorities took no action. Speaking to NPR, Taslim said, “Muslim...

DMK leader vows to stand by Malaysian Tamils

DMK leader, M K Stalin, and son of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M. Karunanidhi, has said that he would maintain his support for Malaysian Tamils. Stalin’s statement was addressed to a group of Malaysian Tamil representatives at Anna Arivalayam on Friday. "The DMK will be the first voice to speak in your support should you face any problem,” he said. Read more from The Hindu here .

EU launches seven new projects to support human rights in Sri Lanka

The European Union (EU) has launched seven new projects to support civil society organisations and human rights in Sri Lanka. The EU will be providing EUR 4 million to seven civil society organisations "who will work jointly with their local partners to promote social rights, women's empowerment, and freedom of expression in Sri Lanka. These projects will also help build the capacities of local communities and stakeholders, including the media, lawyers, and women's rights organisations," an EU statement said. The organisations who will receive support are: ACTED, SRI LANKA CENTRE FOR...

Eelam Tamil refugees denied citizenship by India’s Citizenship Amendment Bill

Despite having lived in the country for decades, Eelam Tamils residing in India have been denied citizenship status by the new Citizenship Amendment Bill, which was passed by parliament last week. Hundreds of thousands of Eelam Tamils remain refugees in India despite residing in the country for over three decades. The citizenship bill’s amendment gives Indian citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh yet excludes Eelam Tamils, in the midst of a number of other refugees.

India pledges Rs 300 Million to develop Jaffna airport

India has pledged to grant a sum of 300 million rupees for the expansion of Palaly airport in Jaffna, just weeks after the airport was ceremoniously opened by receiving a flight from Chennai. Tranjith Singh, Indian High commissioner had made this announcement when he met with Prasanna Ratnunga, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Industrial Export Investment Promotion and Civil Aviation. The funding will largely focus on the expansion of the passenger terminal at the Palaly Airport, as well as the luggage inspection area. The Sri Lankan military continues to occupy vast areas of lands around the Jaffna...

Sri Lanka’s defence ministry takes over NGO, media and tech institutions

Sri Lanka’s new president Gotabaya Rajapaksa issued a gazette that the defence ministry which he heads, control over state institutions that govern for non-governmental organisations, as well as the telecommunications and media agencies. According to the gazette, a total of 31 institutions will come under Sri Lanka’s defence ministry. This includes not only the three branches of the military, but also the National Media Centre, Secretariat for Non- Governmental Organisations, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka and Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri...

Remembering Bala Anna

Today marks 13 years since the passing of the chief negotiator and political strategist of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Anton Balasingham. Balasingham, or as he was fondly known among Tamils - Bala Anna, was widely respected and adored by the nation. His charismatic addresses in venues around the world drew tens of thousands, as he provided political analysis with sharp wit. Leading LTTE delegations through numerous negotiations, Bala Anna eloquently and forcefully articulated the rights of the nation. His intellectual prowess and political acumen earned him respect from all sides of the negotiating table. He remains an extraordinary theoretician and a formidable figure within the Tamil struggle. Bala anna's special relationship with the Tamil Guardian is a bond that we remain deeply proud of to this day.