Accountability cannot be bartered for rights

The TNA were urged under no circumstances to barter away war crimes accountability for "political concessions" by the Tamil National Peoples Front (TNPF) during a press conference on Sunday. The TNPF is a group of former TNA parliamentarians and civil society members, formed in early 2010 in exasperation at the TNA's reluctance to base its policies on the Tamil nation's rights. The TNA has since again become more forceful in articulating Tamil grievances, and the party swept local government elections earlier this year. On Sunday the TPNF congratulated the TNA on its electoral success and...

Dutch court rules LTTE not terrorist organisation

A district court in The Hague ruled on Friday, in the case of five Tamils accused of procuring funds, that the LTTE is not a terrorist organisation. The landmark ruling was defies European and US policy. The defence counsel, Victor Koppe, believes the decision "will have a huge impact" on the wider legal battle in the European Court of Justice to remove the LTTE from the EU's list of terrorist organisations. "For the LTTE, this is a very good judgment. It will be Exhibit A in the LTTE procedure in Luxembourg," said Koppe. During the case in question, five men were convicted of raising funds...

UPFA's sorrow at Gaddafi's demise

Speaking in parliament on Thursday, UPFA member, A H M Azwar, expressed sorrow at the end of Gaddafi's rule. "In the world scene Col Maummar Gaddafi, the leader of Libya had been arrested by the foreign armed forces. We do not know his fate. We as Muslims we pray for the safety of him and for the country, because these countries are self-governing countries ." " Their sovereignty and independence must be recognized. Now that is not happening as far as the superpowers are concerned. Tomorrow is Friday and according to our calendar, it is a holiday for the Muslims for the week. All the Muslims...

Doing the right thing

Writing in the Canberra Times, retired Australian diplomat Bruce Haigh called on Australia to reject the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe. Haigh, who has served as the Australian Deputy High Commissioner in Colombo, wrote as Admiral Samarasinghe, along with Sri Lanka's ambassador to the UN Palita Kohona and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse are being investigated by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for allegations of war crimes. Extracts have been reproduced below. "Receipt of the submission presents the AFP with something of a dilemma. It...

Jaffna Hospital remembers 1987 massacre by Indian army

Photograph Tamilnet Jaffna Hospital staff held a remembrance event on Friday, in memory of the 68 staff and patients, killed by the Indian Peace Keeping Force troops (IPKF) on 21st October 1987. The event, led by Dr Bhavani Pasupathirajah, was attended by families and loved ones of those massacred. The Jaffna hospital staff who were massacred, included three then leading medical specialists, Dr.A.Sivapathasuntharam, Dr.K.Parimelalahar and Dr.K.Ganesharatnan. According to eye witness reports, the hospital was shelled on the morning of the 21st, before IPKF troops stormed the building and threw...

Protest was organised by Ministry of Defence – Channel 4

The head of Channel 4 News and Current Affairs has told a Lords communications committee that a protest against the broadcaster earlier this year was arranged by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence. Dorothy Byrne told the Lords committee, which is inquiring into the future of investigative journalism, that Sri Lanka had concerted “worldwide PR exercises against us", after the channel’s investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka. See report from the Guardian here . Speaking to the committee on Tuesday, Byrne said, "They will not just try to threaten us with libel actions, they will launch...

Release of Commonwealth report blocked by Sri Lanka

An internal report by a panel on the Commonwealth, due to be presented at the summit in Perth next week, has slammed the ‘failure’ of the 54-member organisation to address human rights issues of its members and said only prompt action will save the Commonwealth from irrelevance and its eventual demise. Several Commonwealth members have blocked the publication of the report, titled ‘Time for Urgent Reform’, with Sri Lanka signalling it will reject the recommendation by the report to appoint a ‘Commissioner for Democracy’ who would recommend ‘remedial action’ against persistent human rights...

TNA outlines basic requirements for future talks

The TNA (Tamil National Alliance) called on the government to stop all registration of lands in the North-East, reverse the inclusion of the Sinhala region of Welioya into Mullaitivu District and stop the deployment of a Sinhala government agent to Mannar, during talks with government delegates on Thursday. TNA MP Suresh Premachandran, stated that such measures, were the very basic requirement in order for future talks with the Sri Lankan government to take place. “If the President is willing, he can stop these moves within a matter of a few hours,” Premachandran added. The meeting on...

Status: Not Free

In their annual report entitled “Freedom of the Press” released this week, advocacy group Freedom House have declared that media freedom in Sri Lanka is severely restricted with journalists facing constant harassment and intimidation. The Washington-based group have ranked Sri Lanka one place above Afghanistan in their Asia rankings and behind countries such as Pakistan, Côte d’Ivoire and Iraq in the Global rankings. Sri Lanka has also been designated a country where the level of press freedom is “Not Free”, joining states such as North Korea, Iran and Somalia. See the full table here . The...

Indigenous Vedda protest in Trinco over land grabs

A group of Vedda, indigenous people on the island of Sri Lanka, have protested outside the residence of the Trincomalee governor, the BBC Sinhala service reports. The group, hailing from a remote village in the district, claimed their ancestral land was being appropriated by a Buddhist monk, with government officials in the district ignoring their plight. “Uppuveli Hamuduruvo (the monk) grabbed an agricultural tank earlier and we kept quiet but now he is going to go for another one. This can not be allowed” said P.M. Appuhamy, the president of the village’s farmers association. The Tamil-...

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