Seeding resistance

Four years ago on the 6th April, hundreds of British Tamils burst onto the streets of Westminster, outraged at the massacre of Tamils in the North-East. An unprecedented, global, mass mobilisation of Tamils followed. The protesters' demands were encapsulated within the slogan: “ Stop Genocide. Free Tamil Eelam ”. Four years on however, with the decimation of the Vanni, the military defeat of the Tamil armed resistance movement, and the on-going persecution of the Tamil people in the North-East, the absolute objective of the protesters evidently failed. Yet nonetheless the 2009 protests remain a milestone in the long Tamil struggle - a defining moment that seeded the next generation of Tamil activists.

US calls for ‘credible investigation’ into Uthayan attack

The United States Embassy in Sri Lanka has expressed concern over a series of attacks on the Jaffna-based Uthayan newspaper and “credible investigation” into the attack. In a tweet on Friday, the head of public affairs for the US Embassy in Sri Lanka, Christopher Teal, said he was expressing “official embassy concern”, tweeting, “Concerned about series of attacks on Uthayan, & call upon SL authorities to protect freedom of the media, conduct a credible investigation.” Concerned about series of attacks on Uthayan, & call upon SL authorities to protect freedom of the media, conduct a...

New Year’s celebrations in Jaffna

The Sri Lankan military “celebrated” the Tamil and Singhalese new year by organising a festival for Tamil civilians in Iyakkachchi near Elephant Pass. Although the region is nearly exclusively Tamil, the Army reported that “a range of Sinhala and Hindu traditional sports had been organized for civilians”. According to the army-run Civil Military Coordination website , local people “really enjoyed the programme”. “People in Iyakkachchi and surrounding areas, especially young crowd, had fun dancing and singing to the tune of the 12th Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment beat group who sang popular...

Further calls for CHOGM boycott

In an opinion piece for abc News, the director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict at the University of Sydney, Professor James Lynch, outlined the need to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting due to take place in Colombo later this year. Excerpts follow below, “The final offensive against the Tamil Tigers was planned as a 'war without witnesses', but investigative journalism led by the UK's Channel Four, in collaboration with brave Sri Lankan reporters both in country and in exile, has kept the issue in the public eye.” “The Commonwealth summit would be hosted by president...

Tamil newspaper office attacked, Govt alleges insider job

Photographs Uthayan The office of the Tamil newspaper, Uthayan, was attacked during the early hours of Sunday morning, with equipment set fire to and employees assaulted. Six masked men are reported to have entered the building in Kilinochchi, and opened fire injuring two staff members and setting equipment ablaze. The owner of the Uthayan, and TNP MP, E. Saravanapavan, his staff informed him that the masked men had been shouting in Sinhala and possessed cricket stumps. Saravanapavan said : “This morning at around 4.45am three people with arms – two were carrying pistols and one was carrying what looked like an AK-47 – came into the building and scared away the security staff." “They shot at the panel board and put kerosene all over the place. Four printing wheels got burned. The main part of the machine was destroyed. They also threw press oil everywhere.” Speaking to the BBC , he added: "In the office the manager was sleeping on the floor. They hammered him," "Another boy was badly hit - he needed stitches between his ear and his jaw." The Sri Lanka meanwhile accused the Uthayan newspaper of an insider job in order to "tarnish the government's image". The Director General of the Media Center for National Security Lakshman Hulugalla was quoted on the MOD website as saying: “The setting fire to Uthayan newspaper printing office has been an inside job to tarnish the government’s image,”

Drop 'obsession with 13A' - Tamil MPs and activists tell India

Tamil politicians and activists in the North-East told the visiting Indian delegation to drop with "obsession" with the 13th Amendment. K. Guruparan, lecturer of Law, at the Jaffna University, was quoted by The Hindu as saying: “ We told them that the 13th Amendment in itself had several contradictions and explained how, constitutionally, it would be difficult to implement anything beyond the 13th Amendment .” Along with Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam of the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF), Guruparan stressed the that the 13th Amendment was 'not an adequate starting point in addressing the...

SL rejects US tariff talk request

A request by the US embassy in Colombo to discuss electricity tariffs has been rejected by the Sri Lankan government. Ms. Allison V. Areias-Vogel, the Economic and Commercial Affairs Chief of the embassy, is reported to have written to the chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board W B Ganegala to discuss issues regarding the refusal of the Petroleum Corporation to continue to issue fuel to the CEB on a deferred payment basis. Ganegala is reported to have felt that this was interference in the internal matters of the government and sought instructions from his seniors. The government had...

State-owned airline suspends flights to Tamil Nadu

Sri Lankan government-owned airline Mihin Lanka has decided to stop all its operations in Tamil Nadu, cancelling all flights from Colombo to Tiruchi. The decision comes as state-run airlines Mihin Lanka and SriLankan Airlines posted widening year-on-year losses , earlier this month. SriLankan airlines, which have received US$100 million of tax payer capital injections to stay afloat over the last 2 years, posted losses of 20.5 billion rupees in 2012. Mihin Lanka meanwhile lost 1.0 billion rupees in 2012, compared to 455.3 million rupees in 2011. S K Mittal, executive director of Trans Lanka Air Travels, the Chennai-based general sales agency (GSA) for the airline, stated the decision was made after a steep fall passengers flying to and from Colombo. Mittal stated , "We have taken a decision to ground the four flights to Colombo because of lack of patronage on this sector".

UN says 19 refugees will not be deported to Sri Lanka

19 refugees stranded in Dubai will not be deported back to Sri Lanka stated an official from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, amid fears that they face torture on their return. The Times of India reported Babar Baloch, spokesperson for UNHCR in Geneva, as saying, "UNHCR is looking for a solution to resettle the 19 refugees in other countries. We have full cooperation from the UAE government and there is no threat of the refugees being sent back to Sri Lanka ". "We have been working sincerely to settle them in other countries. Fifteen of the 39 recognized refugees left UAE and 12 are in the process of departing. Resettlement for others may take time. The UAE government has been supporting UNHCR in sheltering the refugees." Several groups including Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists and Journalists for Democracy have expressed concern over their return and urged for the group not to be deported (See here and here ). One of the refugees is a former presenter for the National Television of Tamileelam (NTT), Rathimohan Lokini. Ramanan, another of the group stated, "She (Lokini) is depressed. She knows what happened to Isaipriya , another TV presenter with the LTTE channel, who was brutally killed by the Sri Lankan Army".

Lokini speaks out about fear of being deported - Independent

Tamil journalist Rathimohan Lokini, currently stranded in Dubai, told the Independent that she is 'terrified' of being sent back to Sri Lanka, saying: “I am in a situation where I could be sent back and killed. My colleagues who worked with me have been persecuted and one person, Isaipriya, was raped and killed during the war.” Shan Sutha of BTF said of the refugee situation: “If the United Arab Emirates authorities return the 19 Tamil refugees held in detention in Dubai, they are not only failing to protect these refugees from torture and other inhumane treatment, but also showing utter...