Stronger Still

The third week of the UN Human Rights Council's 25th session begins today with palpable sense of renewed impetus towards the need for concrete action. The second draft of the resolution calling for accountability in Sri Lanka has evidently been strengthened. The High Commissioner's office is called upon to establish a stand alone investigative mechanism. The strengthening of the text is without doubt welcome however ambiguity remains around the core issue of an international investigation into mass wartime atrocities. As the continued calls from international and Tamil voices for a Commission of Inquiry highlight, questions remain over the nature and scope of the investigation envisaged in this latest text - will it have the necessary mandate, sufficient resources and right direction to go beyond mere fact-finding but gather evidence towards a judicial process and prosecutions.

New interactive map reveals extent of militarisation and Sinhalisation across North-East

A new interactive map reveals the extent of militarisation and Sinhalisation across the North-East, providing details of military installations, Sinhala colonisation and Buddhist Viharas. See here . Launched by the US based Tamil rights group, USTPAC, the map remained yet to reach full completion due to the on-going campaign of intimidation and terror by military, map developers told Tamil Guardian.

Activists detained by TID officers

Two activists, Father Praveen the Director of the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, and the Sri Lankan human rights campaigner, Ruki Fernando, detained yesterday in Kilinochchi were detained by officials from the Terrorism Investigation Department (TID), Human Rights Lawyer S. Ratnavale told BBC Tamil. Mr. Ratnavale said, "According to reports that we have received they were reportedly not arrested for their work, however, they are being interrogated. This is likely to be connected to the incident that happened yesterday [Thursday] - the arrest of a mother and daughter [Balendran Jeyakumari and Vipoosika]."

Catholic Diocese of Jaffna call for release of Father Praveen and Ruki Fernando

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Jaffna has called for the early release of Rev. Fr. Praveen Mahesan and the Sri Lankan human rights activist Ruki Fernando, who were detained by TID officers on Sunday evening in Kilinochchi. In a statement released Monday, the Jaffna Diocesan Laity Council said, "We understand that this priest and Ruki were involved in mercifully investigating into the circumstances surrounding the plight of that defenceless mother and child. As a further threat to such HR Defenders these two too have now been arrested and detained.

US: Arrests show that 'continued scrutiny' by HRC 'necessary'

The US government said with the recent spate of arrests of activists by Sri Lankan security forces " we remain convinced that continued scrutiny by the Human Rights Council is necessary " in a statement issued today. The statement follows the detention of the prominent disappearances campaigner Balendran Jeyakumari and her 13 year old daughter last Thursday, followed by the detention of Father Praveen and the Sri Lankan human rights activist Ruki Fernando on Sunday evening.

Sri Lankan minister accuses Bishop of Mannar of 'destablising country'

The Sri Lankan Minister, Wimal Weerawansa, accused the Bishop of Mannar, retired Rev. Rayappu Joseph of trying to 'destabilise the country by siding with Western forces'. Speaking to a Sri Lankan daily, MP Weerawansa said , "He has said that the Tamils are being maltreated by the Sinhala majority. This is the current mission that he is tasked with. The UNHRC is hurling accusations at the government stating that human rights violations have occurred and that the Tamil women in the North are being abused by the Army. "

Talking Taboo: Discussing LGBT issues in the Tamil community

Unrestricted , a discussion series created by Tamil Students Initiative, is a platform for open discussion challenging the taboos that are rife within the Tamil society at large. Hoping to bring together perspectives of people from all corners of the Tamil community and provoking frank conversations amongst students - Unrestricted: LGBT , the first of TSI’s discussion series kicked off last Thursday at King’s College London as part of LGBT History Month. Dozens of students gathered to hear Living Smile Vidya speak about her journey as a transwoman. [ more ]

Promotion of human rights must have 'consent of country' - Sri Lanka

Speaking at the interactive dialogue session today at the UN Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in Iran, Sri Lanka's representative, Dilini Gunasekara reiterated that promotion of human rights "must have the consent of the country". Welcoming Iran's cooperation with the UNHRC human rights mechanisms, the Sri Lankan envoy said, "In this regard we reiterate our consistent position that action initiated in the promotions and protection of human rights of a country, must have the consent of the country , and be based on the principles of cooperation and genuine dialogue aimed at strengthening the domestic capacity of the country to comply with its human rights obligations, as stipulated in GA resolution 60/251 and the IB package."

Jeyakumari, Vipoosika arrests restrict them from UNHRC - Vanni MP Sivasakthi Ananthan

The arrest and detention of the disappearances campaigner, Balendran Jeyakumari and her 13 year old daughter, Vipoosika, was to prevent them from giving evidence at the UN HRC, the Uthayan quoted Sivasakthi Ananthan, the MP for Vanni as saying. Speaking on Saturday, Mr. Ananthan called on the international community to call for their release, and refuted the government's claims that a LTTE fighter had fired on troops. "It's been five years since the war ended. There weren't any shootings anywhere since then, or any attacks. This incident has been conjured up ." " There is a need for the government to highlight the LTTE and the armed struggle, in order to do its own politics in the South ."

Wanted posters seen across Kilinochchi, residents fearful

Photographs Tamilwin Wanted posters featuring the photographs of two youths including that of a man who the Sri Lankan Army claims is an LTTE fighter called Gopi, have been spotted today across Kilinochchi, reports Tamilwin . According to the Uthayan , the Army has announced a 5 lakh rupees prize for information about the two alleged suspects. The posters, which come amidst a spate of arrests of activists and house to house search operations by Sri Lankan soldiers over the weekend, have added to a heightened climate of fear among residents.