Mannar mass grave number rises to 61

The number of skeletons found in a mass grave in Mannar has risen to 61, with two more found on Wednesday. More excavations are due to be held on Thursday, reported the Uthayan .

'Corrupted Journalism' owner arrested for possession of illegal Nazi firearm

Jonathan Farmer, a conservative councillor and owner of Corrupted Journalism , a website that rebukes Channel 4 reports and international concerns on Sri Lanka’s human rights situation, was arrested today on charges of possessing a Nazi wartime gun. Farmer was arrested after police raided his house in Cambridgeshire, to find the illegal firearm.

Delhi non-committal on UNHRC resolution

The Indian Government avoided committing to the resolution to be tabled on Sri Lanka at the upcoming United Nations Human Rights Council session in March. Speaking to a group of visiting Sri Lankan journalists in New Delhi, Indian Foreign Secretary, Sujatha Singh, reiterated that India had not formed a position on the resolution, statin g, “In Geneva we are in touch with all parties looking at various aspects of the issue. It is something on our radar. We will see how it goes.” “We will decide once the text of the resolution is made available. India has no position on it now.”

New report details torture and abuse in SL's rehabilitation camps

A programme of physical and psychological torture in Sri Lanka’s “rehabilitation” camps for former members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, has been revealed in a report by an NGO. Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) has gathered evidence from former detainees, who detailed systematic torture, beatings, humiliation and sexual abuse in the camps, and concluded that rehabilitation in Sri Lanka is a “physical and mental pacification programme that forms a cornerstone of the Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist state-building project” .

UK is working hard to ensure international inquiry - FCO tells MPs and Tamil community

The British government is working with international partners to pass a resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) calling for an independent international investigation into atrocities committed at the end of the armed conflict, officials at the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) told British MPs and Tamil activists during a meeting with a cross party group, the All Parliamentary Party Group for Tamils (APPGT), on Monday. In a statement released yesterday outlining the discussion that took place, the APPGT said, “Since Sri Lanka has not made any progress on a credible and transparent investigation, it was confirmed that the British Government is working with international partners to set up an Independent International Investigation in the island of Sri Lanka. The government feels that there is a good chance of passing the resolution with the support of international partners. ” “It was also agreed that the substance of the resolution should have a strong mandate to implement the recommendations without any further delays with witness protection for all victims in order to serve justice and accountability for a long term sustainable peace on the island” Outlining the key messages advocated by representatives of the Tamil community at the meeting, which was chaired by the Conservative MP for Ilford North, and Chair of the APPGT, Lee Scott, and included the Labour MP for Mitcham and Mordem Siobhan McDonagh, one source at the meeting told the Tamil Guardian, “ we highlighted the likelihood of the Rajapaksa regime repudiating any resolution made against them and stressed the necessity to follow-up on the regime’s reaction to the resolution with travel bans and asset freezes. ”

5 years since self-immolation of British Tamil in Geneva

Today 5 years ago a young British Tamil self-immolated outside the United Nations Human Rights Council in protest at the inaction of the international community, in the face of the relentless onslaught of the Sri Lankan military on Tamils in the Vanni. 26 year old Murugathasan Varnakulasingham left a letter behind, in which he said that his actions were intended to wake up the international community, which “failed to stop the genocide against Tamils in their traditional homeland”. His funeral was attended by over 10,000 people in London and the anniversary of his death is commemorated every...

‘Government commission is a fake’ NPC Deputy Chairman tells Japan

Antony Jeganathan, Deputy Chairman of the Northern Provincial Council and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Councillor, has slammed the Sri Lankan government’s commission on disappearances as a fake, set up only to fool the international community, in a meeting with officials from the Japanese embassy. According to a report in the Uthayan , Jeganathan met with the embassy’s political affairs officer who was on a recent visit to Mullaithivu, and told him that no information on the thousands of people who remain missing or disappeared has been released. The Deputy Chairman also told the Japanese of...

‘Saboteurs want me in electric chair’ says Sri Lankan President

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has rallied against an international investigation this week, slamming “foreign saboteurs” and “insidious elements” in a series of adamant speeches across the Sinhalese South of the island. Speaking in Batahena, Rajapaksa said a “smear campaign” has been started against him, stating, “Those who cannot tolerate the country's growth after the eradication of terrorism are trying to take me to the electric chair." Whilst the International Criminal Court cannot impose the death penalty, it can pass down sentences of up to 30 years of life imprisonment. In Udugama, according to the Official Government News Portal of Sri Lanka , Rajapaksa went on to launch an attack against the “sinister objectives” of “certain embassies with the help of Non Governmental Organizations”, who were attempting to destabilise the south of the country and launch a conspiracy against the security forces. He labelled a recent protest at a factory, possibly referring to the loss making state-owned Milco Company , as “part of this plan”. Rajapaksa went on to defiantly rally the South together in his speeches, adding , "Civilians should not be misled by the ongoing international conspiracy against Sri Lanka." In yet another event at the Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo, Rajapaksa lashed out at “foreign saboteurs” as he launched a “Responsible Citizenship, Unity, and National Pride” program for school children. He stated that “a morally upright and disciplined society” needed to be created and that “ children should be guided on the correct path ” so that they could “love the country”, adding, “Therefore, it is a national need for programs of this nature (Mother Sri Lanka project), which paves the way for a well-disciplined society to be given all the support in its endeavours." The Official Government News Portal of Sri Lanka went on to add, “students expressed their loyalty to President with a Kurahan Satakaya ”.

75 men, women and children arrested after attempting to flee Sri Lanka

Photograph: Daily Mirror A group of 75 Tamil asylum seekers who attempted to flee from Sri Lanka have been stopped and arrested by Sri Lankan security forces. The group, consisting of 60 men, 9 women and 6 children were all Tamils from Batticaloa and Valaichchenai, in the Eastern province. They are the latest in a sustained wave of Tamil asylum seekers who have continued to attempt to flee the island since the end of the armed conflict in May 2009. A report by Human Rights Watch found that Tamil detainees, including failed asylum seekers, were regularly tortured and raped by Sri Lankan...

Sri Lanka falls further in RSF press freedom index

The World Press Freedom Index for 2014 , compiled by Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) has Sri Lanka fall further to 165th position out of a total of 180 countries. Last year Sri Lanka occupied the 162nd spot, but has gone down the rankings due further restriction of the Tamil press. “In the north of Sri Lanka (165th, -2), the army reigns supreme, tolerating no challenge to the official vision of the “pacification” process in Tamil separatism’s former strongholds.” RSF said.