Indian official's house ransacked in Jaffna

The Jaffna home of an Indian consulate official was ransacked on Friday reports the Hindu. It is reported that the Sri Lankan Army keeps close watch on the consulate officials and that issues of intimidation have arisen. While a video player and some money were taken from the premises, the house was raided thoroughly seemingly with the intention of a specific search. Officials confirmed that a formal protest has been lodged.

Geneva envoy’s plea to “Sri Lankans abroad”

Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha has said that Sri Lankans living abroad should “contribute towards moderating the negative narratives propagated against Sri Lanka – by clarifying genuine concerns and debunking the falsehoods", reported the Daily Mirror . The ambassador, speaking at independence day celebrations in Geneva, said that "these continue to be challenging times for Sri Lanka, as some, particularly living abroad, either mis-guided or with vested interests, continue to seek to distort the image of Sri Lanka" and that there is a...

Sri Lanka hopes for GSP+ to return

The Sri Lankan government is hoping for the EU GSP+ trade concessions that were stripped from the island to return, after an estimated US$1.5 billion loss due to the withdrawal, reported the Sunday Leader . The government is alleged to be preparing an application to handover to the European Union for June 2014, where they will be re-applying for the trade concessions, the loss of which has seen factories leave the island. President of the Inter Company Employees Union (ICEU), Wasantha Samarasinghe, said, “The government assured that the country would not face any economic fallout due to the...

Japan grants aid for demining in North

The Japanese government has granted US $860,500 in aid to the demining organisation - HALO Trust, to work towards demining in the North. The agreement was signed between the Japanese Ambassador Nobuhito Hobo and the HALO Trust Programme Manager on the island, Bartholomew Digby on Friday. HALO Trust operates in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Trincomalee and Mullaitivu districts, and has been working along side the Sri Lankan Army and the National Mine Action Centre since 2002.

SL hoping for Indian support at UNHRC

A Sri Lankan government minister said on Saturday that it hoped India will vote for it in the UN Human Rights Council in March. Sri Lankan Minister for Public Administration W.D.J. Seneviratne told reporters here that there had been "a remarkable improvement in the human rights situation" in his country. "We expect India will consider (the issue) differently," he said, adding that the relationship is going from strength to strength. "Today citizens in (the northern and eastern) provinces can freely approach the civil administration to sort out their issues," he said. "India is one of the...

The writing on the wall

Tamil Guardian editorial

Tamil civil society in NE advocates referendum on political aspirations

In a submission to a conference organised by Berghof and GTF last month, Tamil civil society actors from the North-East advocated for a " referendum wherein the Tamil people could freely express their aspirations for a political solution ", after an outline of a proposal for a political solution is drafted from a bottom-up process, echoing work done by the Scottish Constitutional Convention which eventually led to the establishment of the Scottish Parliament. Dismissing an incrementalist state transformation process as unworkable given the exclusivist character of the Sinhala Buddhist state...

Floods wash up bodies from the killing fields

Writing in the Times of India, Frances Harrison told of how recent flooding in Mullivaikal has exposed skulls and human remains from the final killing fields, where civilains were slaughtered in 2009, according to reports. Extracts from her article entitled " Row in Lanka as govt turns Tamil killing fields into tourist hot spot ", as well as photos from Frances Harrison's Jux visualisation have been reproduced below. " Local people who've recently travelled into Sri Lanka's killing fields, where an estimated 40,000 people perished in 2009, say skulls and human bones have risen to the surface...

Indian Tamils protest against Rajapaksa visit

Activists from Naam Thamizhar Iyakkam in India have protested against Sri lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's visit to Tirupathi, picketing an express train leaving from Puducherry. Protestors waved Naam Thamizar flags as they delayed the train with a protest also being held near a temple run by Tirupathi trust. They called on the Central government to ensure that Rajapaksa be held accountable for the massacre of Eelam Tamils, noting Rajapaksa's recent comments against the devolution of pwoer on the island. See the report from New India Express here .

Tamil MP slams Australian politicians' remarks

Tamil Member of Parliament Sritharan has rebuffed claims made by Australian politicians last week that Sri Lanka was safe for Tamils and the reasons for the rise in asylum seekers were “economic and lifestyle”. Speaking on Melbourne radio 3CR, Sritharan said , “I am very hurt by Julie Bishop’s false claims. Spreading lies with no conscience about a race that is being wiped out saddened us. We feel we have been deceived,” Having met with the Australian delegation as they toured the island, Sritharan went on to say, “I felt Julie Bishop and her colleagues were taking sides with the Sri Lankan Government. They did not care about Tamil grievances. The actions of people like Julie Bishop hurts us.” “ Many people who have been deported back from Sri Lanka are spending time in jails. They asked for names but I could not provide them at the time. When I asked them whether they could guarantee the lives of these young men, Julie Bishop shook her head and said we can’t guarantee anyone’s life. So we could not talk about issues certain individuals faced. It hurts us to know that they haven’t understood the sufferings of our people,” “When they visited Tamil areas, they did not speak to any of the Tamil civilians. The people were too scared because the army and intelligence people surrounded them.” “ Thousands of Tamil youth are rotting in jails. Sri Lankan Army is everywhere. We have Sri Lankan intelligence roaming around everywhere. Even two days ago on Sri Lanka’s independence day (which Tamils mourn) Tamils were forced to hoist the Lion flag on their houses. When a flag accidentally fell down from a house, they beat up the house owner.” “Tamils can’t live peacefully here. This why Tamils flee to places like Australia.” Earlier, Australian opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison denied ongoing human rights abuses on the island stating, “We didn’t hear of on-going Tamil abuse by the Sinhalese, that’s the point... The most important thing is to beef up the capacity of Sri Lanka to ensure they (the boats) don't get within a few hundred nautical miles of Australia ".