Mass service held near Mannar mass grave

Pictures: Sankathi24 The Bishop of Mannar held a special mass service with family members of the disappeared on Thursday, near the Mannar grave were 61 bodies have been unearthed so far . Ringing the bell for all those that went missing in Mannar, the Bishop recited prayers for all those that had disappeared or been kidnapped. Addressing the crowd, he went on to state that, from September 2007 until May 2009 166 people had disappeared from Mannar alone, adding that he had collected all their details and submitted it to the LLRC. Yet, the Bishop lamented, their whereabouts are still unknown, and he went on to call for an independent and accountable investigation.

Supreme Court case filed after church land grabbed

Father Jeyaraj Rasiah has filed a case in Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court, in an attempt to force the Sri Lankan Air Force to cancel their seizure of land that belongs to a Catholic Church in Trincomalee. Two years ago, the Sri Lankan Air Force came and seized the land, that has belonged to the Church for over 50 years, and stopped all persons from entering the area stated the Father. He went on to add that despite complaints being submitted to the Air Force, there has been no response and no explanation given as to why the land was seized. See the story on BBC Tamil here .

Sri Lanka slams ‘inconsistent’ policies of the international community

Sri Lanka’s Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella has hit out at the international community for criticising his country on the issue of investigations into war crimes, Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported. "The [UNHRC] resolution is a serious concern for the government. Reconciliation is something that is important for the people and we are very aware of it and have done an incredible amount of work so far but we feel that the international community keeps changing the specifications of what it wants us to achieve ," he said. Rambukwella said his government sensed a “hidden agenda” in the...

Sri Lanka's domestic human rights commission...

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka has refused to take a complaint made by a Buddhist monk against the Bodu Bala Sena, a Buddhist organisation, thought to be close to Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. The monk accused the BBS of threatening him and that he feared for his life. See more here .

'Deceitful campaign' ongoing in the West – Major General Shavendra Silva

The Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Major General Shavendra Silva has said in a speech marking Sri Lanka’s Independence Day that many groups in western countries try to paint a false picture of Sri Lanka.

Tamil Nadu students petition US for international investigation into genocide

Students from colleges in Tamil Nadu, handed over a petition to the United States Consulate in Chennai on Thursday, calling for an international independent investigation into genocide to be initiated at the UN Human Rights Council in the coming weeks. The students, including those from Loyola College who sparked off a wave of protests last year after undertaking a hunger strike , handed a petition to Jennifer McIntyre, the Consul General of the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai, stating, “Probing war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan Army by its own Government will not yield any justice. What was committed by the Army cannot be limited to war crimes but it amounts to genocide. We Tamils all over the world cry for justice. We demand an independent international inquiry on Tamil genocide .” They went on to outline their demands to the United States for an international investigation and referendum, adding, “We firmly believe that Indian government will not initiate any process for inquiring into the charges of genocide on Sri Lanka. Therefore we seek the help and assistance of United States of America to pass a resolution against Sri Lanka in the forthcoming UNHCR meet to be held at Geneva. We request the USA take a firm stand on Sri Lanka by seeking independent international inquiry on Tamil genocide committed by the Sri Lankan Army under the guidance of Sri Lankan Government.” Speaking to Tamil Guardian, one of the petitioners Joe Britto said, "We handed over a petition urging the US to pass a resolution against Sri Lanka, and expressing our hope that this resolution will be based on the fact that what happened to the Tamil people was a planned genocide." "We really hope that the resolution will provide a new dawn for them," he added. See the full text of the petition below.

Resolution against Sri Lanka will be counterproductive - SL Muslim Council

The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL) has released a statement, expressing concern over the resolution to be put forward at next month’s UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva. "In view of the Sri Lankan Government's stated commitment to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) which has been accepted by Sri Lankans and the International community, it is unclear how the proposed resolution will productively bring about the much needed changes in our country," the statement said according to Colombo Page . The MCSL said it hoped that a process would be started to support Sri Lanka in looking for domestic mechanisms to address concerns. The council, which is the largest Muslim civil society organisation on the island, offered its “wholehearted support” to President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

SL ‘over-sensitive’, world ‘over-active’ - India

India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has called on Sri Lanka not to isolate itself, over global pressure on war crimes and accountability, while speaking to a group of Sri Lankan journalists in New Delhi on Wednesday. “Sri Lankans will have to find means to satisfy the world, while convincing the world that it needs more time to find its own solution at a pace and in a time frame convenient to it,” Khurshid said, adding that although it was understood that a 30-year conflict cannot be solved overnight, Sri Lanka cannot take 30 years to bring about reconciliation. When asked about...

Use PC elections to show solidarity with president ahead of UNHRC – Gotabhaya

The defence secretary of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa has called on Sri Lankans to use the forthcoming Western and Southern Provincial Council elections to show that the people are supportive of his brother, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, while speaking during an election rally in Colombo. Speaking about next month’s UNHRC session in Geneva, Gotabhaya said that the ultimate objective was to remove the president from power and topple the government, in order to install a government which will act according to western interests, and enable them to spread their political power and dominance in the Indian Ocean, reported the Daily Mirror . “They know that with the current regime and President they cannot divide this nation or fulfill their political agendas. So this upcoming election is a good opportunity for Sri Lankans to show that they are with President Rajapaksa and the government,” he said.

Conference on genocide of Tamils held in Bologna

A discussion on the ‘genocide in Sri Lanka and trials against the Tamils in Italy’ was held by the TPO Centre in Bologna on the 12th February. Photo: TYO Italy The panel included Professor of Anthropology at the University of Bologna, Christiana Natali, a speaker from the Tamil youth Organisation Italy (TYO – Italy), International Law professor and jurist at PPT on Sri Lanka, Gabriele Della Morte and a lawyer that has defended Tamil activists, Vainer Burani. Christiana Natali spoke on the historic genocide of the Tamil people that led to an armed resistance that formalised as the LTTE. Speaking on the LTTE she said, “The LTTE was a revolutionary movement. Not only within the island, but also within the south-Asia region. I’m not talking about their armed struggle but about their progressive revolution in the social life of the Tamil Nation. They abolished caste system and they made effective equal rights between men and women. Even the largest democratic country, India, is failing to achieve the implementation of these important human rights. The Tamil women fought for their nation, shoulder to shoulder with the men. Equal to them.” Photo: TYO Italy The spokesperson for TYO went on to outline the ongoing destruction of the Tamil people in the North-East, highlighting the unabated land appropriation of Tamil land. Gabriellie Della Morte then went on to speak about the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT), which classified the assault on the Tamil populous in Sri Lanka as genocide. Commenting on the failure of the international judicial system to hold Sri Lanka accountable, she said, “The failure of R2P (responsibility to protect) is followed also by the failure of an International judicial system. In fact the ICC jurisdiction is not recognised internationally. Some countries like United States, Russia, China, India and Sri Lanka don’t recognise the international Court. The countries that I mentioned represent 2/3 of the world population. Countries that commit these crimes (War crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide) are free to decide if face to trial. This is why alternative tribunals like the PPT are important to enlight the crimes that cannot be investigated by international law.”