The Australian Greens party released a statement earlier this week to mark Black July, expressing soldarity with the Tamil people, and stating they wll continue to work towards an independent investigation in Sri Lanka. The full statement has been reproduced below. "Today marks 30 years since the start of Sri Lanka's "Black July", when anti-Tamil riots broke out in Colombo and soon spread to other parts of the country. Many Tamils lost their lives, their loved ones and their homes. It is estimated that up to 3,000 Tamils lost their lives in those riots - and nearly 700,000 people were forced to flee the country." "Black July was a tragic turning point in the history of Sri Lanka and marked the beginning of a long period of intense civil war. The events of that time and those of the war shattered lives, tore families apart and sent hundreds of thousands of people into exile." "I have spoken to Australian Tamils who remember Black July and have expressed to me the unimaginable fear of not feeling safe in one's own home and the agony of not knowing the fate of family and loved ones." "Many countries around the world have welcomed Sri Lankan Tamils who sought a new and safer life overseas." "The Greens thank you for your contribution to Australian life and culture. We know that today must be a time of sad reflection for many whose lives were forever changed by the events of 30 years ago. The Greens will continue to be a strong voice for a humane refugee policy in Australia and an independent war crimes investigation into the final stages of the war in Sri Lanka."
The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress withdrew its motion against amending the 13th Amendment on Wednesday. According to The Island the chairman of the committee A. M. Jameel said the motion remained on the agenda 'but party leaders had decided not to pursue it as the government had postponed amending the 13th amendment.'
The Sikh Activist Network, a North American based youth group, has released a statement expressing solidarity in remembrance of the 30th anniversary of Black July. The statement , released as the Tamil nation worldwide remembers the pogrom, has been reproduced in full below. "It is with a profound sense of solidarity that The Sikh Activist Network marks the 30th Anniversary of the Tamil Genocide during Black July." "Approximately one year before a similar massacre of Sikhs - Sri Lanka was host to the organized and mass killings of Tamils throughout across the country. The murder, looting and...
Although thirty years have passed since the anti-Tamil pogrom of 'Black July' 1983, stories of the thousands of Tamil victims are yet to be unraveled. The thousands that fled, many not to return for years and decades to come, all too often buried their painful memories as they struggled to make a new life for themselves in new lands as refugees. Silenced Voices by www.blackjuly1983.com is a noteworthy archive. Yet it is striking that thousands of individual stories, of the many ordinary Tamils, remain unheard. Thirty years on, these stories are starting to trickle out - even then, not from the victims themselves, but from their friends and loved ones, and most of all, their children and grandchildren. As the Tamil nation marks this poignant anniversary, we have endeavoured to collate the small snippets of the nation's memories, that have been shared with the world via social media sites. Despite the time that has passed however, there is little doubt that the personal anguish remains. Whilst those that shared their families' memories were keen for the stories to be heard, many we approached asked that they remain anonymous, out of respect for the deep privacy of their parents and grandparents in relation to their own experiences of Black July. *Names changed on request, to protect victim's privacy. Gajan* @Gajan98*, UK : My parents refuse to talk about the details. But someone warned them, and they fled. When they returned, there was nothing.. #BlackJuly Selvan Ratnarajah*, Australia: "30 years ago this day my dad was dragged out of his car in the heart of Colombo whilst a government-incited mob baying for Tamil blood attempted to pour kerosene on him and set him alight. 3 months after the July 1983 pogrom which left up to 3000 Tamils dead and 150,000 homeless, the entire Rajasingham* / Ratnarajah* clan had left Sri Lanka forever and 3 years later I was born in Sydney – still very much a Tamil but an Australian. And that has made all the difference."
Less than a week after the leader of Sri Lanka's opposition party UNP, Ranil Wickremasinghe, breathed a sigh of relief that the MP Dayasiri Jayasekara was not going to jump ship, he did. Defecting to the government, Jayasekara - widely purported by Sri Lankans to be a critic of the government - proclaimed : "My leader is Mahinda Rajapaksa". UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara is to contest the North Western Provincial Council election as the UPFA Chief Ministerial candidate. Meanwhile, the SundayTimes.lk asserts that at least six local council UNP members are also expected to make the jump.
Although thirty years have passed since the anti-Tamil pogrom of 'Black July' 1983, stories of the thousands of Tamil victims are yet to be unraveled. The thousands that fled, many not to return for years and decades to come, all too often buried their painful memories as they struggled to make a new life for themselves in new lands as refugees. Silenced Voices by www.blackjuly1983.com is a noteworthy archive. Yet it is striking that thousands of individual stories, of the many ordinary Tamils, remain unheard. Thirty years on, these stories are starting to trickle out - even then, not from...
A new alliance of Tamils of Indian origin in Sri Lanka has been formed under the Upcountry People's Front (UPF) in order to contest the Central Provincial Council election. The other parties include: Democratic Workers’ Congress (DWC), Workers’ Liberation Front and Democratic Left Front. All of them are allies of the ruling coalition, the UPFA.
The US development agency, USAID has said it will design a livelihood project for vulnerable groups, including “women-headed households, those relocated due to the conflict” and others. A statement by the US embassy in Colombo said: In order to support further reconciliation of the Sri Lankan people, the U.S. Embassy, through its development office of USAID, is designing a new livelihoods project that aims to increase household incomes in the dairy, poultry and horticulture sectors. This initiative seeks to reach women-headed households, those relocated due to the conflict, and other vulnerable groups.
The Sri Lankan election commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya has said that all candidates taking part in the provincial council elections will have to submit a signed affidavit with their nomination, swearing that they respect the territorial integrity of the country and unequivocally oppose any moves to divide Sri Lanka. Deshapriya said that all nomination papers should be completed and a failyure to do so will lead to rejection of the nomination.
Sri Lankan Military spokesperson Ruwan Wanigasuriya has said that unless called upon by the police, there are no plans for the army to be directly involved in security at the Northern Provincial Council polls. Wanigasuriya told the Sunday Leader : “Sri Lanka defeated the armed terrorists in the year 2009, but the separatist ideology is still alive both here and abroad. There are several organisations overtly propagating the separatist ideology and carrying out activities aimed at creating a separate state in Sri Lanka and they will try to do everything possible to reignite conflict in the...