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.

Indian civil rights organisations call for international investigation

Over 150 activists from various Indian civil rights organisations and political movements convened at a demonstration to call on India to sponsor a United Nations Human Rights Council mechanism calling for an independent international investigation mechanism into Sir Lanka’s crimes against Tamils. Speaking at the event, Senthil, from Save Tamils Movement, condemned the Indian government for its silence on the issue whilst it worked to weaken the current resolution against Sri Lanka.

Hugo Swire: 'arrests underline why the Council must continue its focus on Sri Lanka'

The arrests of activists over recent days " underline why the Council must continue its focus on Sri Lanka ", Channel 4 News quoted the British Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire as saying. Stating that he was " deeply concerned " to hear of the arrests, Mr. Swire urged the Sri Lankan government to allow " immediate access to lawyers and their familie s", adding, "With the March UN Human Rights Council underway and a resolution on Sri Lanka under draft, these arrests underline why the Council must continue its focus on Sri Lanka. The world is watching what happens there, so I urge the Sri...

Navi Pillay reiterates OHCHR mandate to establish international investigation

The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, reiterated her office's mandate for establishing and conducting international investigations during a meeting on Monday between the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) and NGOs on the sidelines of the 25th session of the Council. Asked to clarify the remit of the OHCHR mandate, Ms. Pillay stressed that the OHCHR " has the power to establish an international mechanism " to investigate crimes, as it falls under the human rights protection mandate of her office. " Now apart from calling for an international investigation, we have interpreted our mandate to say that the High Commissioner herself has power to investigate a situation ," said Ms. Pillay.

TNA - 'pleased by revisions to draft resolution'

As the second draft of the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka was circulated amongst diplomatic missions, international NGOs and Tamil activists on Friday, the TNA said it was " pleased by the revisions ". Commenting via twitter, the TNA said, " TNA pleased by revisions to draft resolution, esp re intl inquiry on SL at #HRC25 ." " Revised draft clarifies and strengthens envisaged investigation. Provides basis for robust intl inquiry by experts "

MoD orders 18 day detention, Jeyakumari makes statement to judge

The Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence has ordered for the disappearances campaigner Balendran Jeyakumari, who is currently reported to be detained at Boosa camp, to be detained for 18 days, reports Uthayan . Ms Jeyakumari made the following statement to the judge: "On the day of the incident, about 3.30 pm, I was feeding food to my child. At that time a tall person wearing a black jacket jumped over the wall and ran into our house.

Text of second draft UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka

The second draft of the UN Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka, tabled by the US, UK, Montenegro, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Mauritius, was circulated late on Friday night. See here for full text. Commenting on the draft, the TNA said it was "pleased" by the changes.