ICEP report underscores why an international investigation is urgently needed say Tamils

The ICEP report, 'Island of Impunity' , by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, published today underscores the reason why an urgent international investigation is needed said Tamils across the world. Speaking to the Tamil Guardian, Suren Surendiran of the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) said, "This report is the latest in a mounting body of evidence which shows that the Sri Lankan government's mass killing of the Tamil people in the Vanni was planned and deliberate ." "This is exactly why many within the Tamil community have insisted it's a genocide, and so therefore, it is welcome that the report, along side an increasing number of international experts, calls for an investigation into possible genocidal acts ," he added. Tasha Manoranjan of PEARL, a US based advocacy organisation, told the Tamil Guardian that they welcomed the report for its "thorough overview of the widespread and systematic crimes committed by the Sri Lankan government against the Tamils," and particularly for its acknowledgement that these crimes could constitute genocide if the additional elements of this crime are found in subsequent investigations. Ms. Manoranjan said, "The crime against humanity of persecution, which is raised in the report, rises to the level of genocide when committed with the intent to destroy a particular group, and here, it is painfully apparent that the Sri Lankan government's acts were committed with the intent to destroy the Vanni Tamils, " "In recognising the intentional nature of attacks against Tamil civilians and the intent behind depriving the community of food and medical aid, the report presents evidence showing that the Sri Lankan government's actions were calculated to inflict as much death and destruction as possible ." " This report essentially provides a prima facie case for concluding that the Sri Lankan government committed genocide against Tamils ."

Jayalalitha to push for UNHRC resolution seeking justice for genocide of Tamils

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J Jayalalitha, today, outlined her intent to ensure that India tables a separate resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions that sought to punish those responsible for the genocide against Tamil civilians during the last stages of the ethnic conflict. Jayalalitha, who expects her AIADMK party to have a bigger influence in the Centre’s policies post general elections, explained that it would be easier to push for an Indian led resolution against Sri lanka, stating , “As far as we are concerned, India itself should move a separate...

Rajapaksa defiant on war crimes in Independence Day speech

The Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that “those opposed to peace” are making “baseless allegations of war crimes” against Sri Lanka, in a speech marking the 66th anniversary of Sri Lanka’s independence from the United Kingdom. The president struck a defiant note in the run up to the UN Human Rights Council session in March, saying that those committed to separatism are levelling war crimes charges against Sri Lanka. For full speech see here . See below for extracts. Three decades of suffering ended on May 19, 2009. Since then there has been no bomb explosion or shooting by...

Report finds SL military responsible for mass crimes against humanity

A report titled ‘Island of Impunity?’, due to be released later this week by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre’s ( PIAC ) instructed International Crimes Evidence Project, found that Sri Lankan security forces were responsible for a vast majority of alleged war crimes during the final months of the ethnic conflict. In what may have been an attempt to destroy evidence, the report also found that the regime had systematically destroyed mass burial sites of civilians. PIAC, a research centre based in Australia investigated the alleged rape and torture of civilians, indiscriminate shelling of...

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister conveys 'deep anguish' over repeated arrests

Reports have emerged that 30 Indian fishermen have been arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy, the day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa wrote to the Indian Prime Minister conveying her “deep anguish” at the repeated arrests. The Hindu reported that 30 fishermen were arrested on Monday, bringing the toal number of Indian fishermen held by Sri Lanka to 87. Earlier Jayalalithaa had written to the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying was as at a “loss of words to convey my deep anguish over the repeated apprehension and incarceration”. She went on to add that if the matter was not...

‘Holding Sri Lanka to Account’ - NYT Editorial

The New York Times has called on the United States and international community to persevere in holding Sri Lanka to account for human rights violations committed during the final stages of the island’s armed conflict, in an editorial published on Monday. The editorial, published as the government prepares lavish celebrations for Sri Lanka’s 66th Independence Day, applauds the recent visit by US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian affairs Nisha Biswal, as the United States prepares to bring about third resolution on Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

SL rejects visa for US envoy on women's issues

The Sri Lankan government, today, refused a visa to the US Ambassador at Large for Women’s Issues, Catherine Russell, who had to cancel a 2 day visit scheduled for February 10. Responding to the announcement, the US Embassy Spokesman said , “It is regrettable that the Government of Sri Lanka has refused to grant a visa to Ambassador Catherine Russel for the trip. Ambassador Russell’s mandate is to promote stability, peace and development by empowering women politically, socially and economically around the world.” “The United States will continue to raise important issues related to gender-...

Sri Lankan journalist found murdered

Mel Gunasekara, a senior journalist in Sri Lanka has been found murdered today in her home in Battaramulla, according to local reports. She was a former journalist for the AFP news agency, the founding editor of Lanka Business Online, and an assistant editor of the Sunday Times newspaper.

Sri Lanka rejects US official's criticisms

Rejecting comments made by the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Nisha Biswal, following her visit to Colombo and Jaffna , the Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister G. L. Peiris allegedly said , “Her observations are indicative of a mindset that solely wants to believe the worst and enthusiastically leaps to conclusions based on tendentious claims,” “The treatment of Sri Lanka (by the US) is highly selective and patently unfair.”

"This is an ongoing genocide" - landgrabs conference concludes

The second day of the international conference on the Sri Lankan state’s forcible and militarised procurement of Tamil lands in the Northeast took place in London on Saturday. The conference, organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils alongside British Tamils Forum, opened with a screening of ‘This Land Belongs to the Army’, a documentary by Tamil Nadu journalist Tamizh Prabhagaran, who was arrested and deported from the island last year. The documentary focused on the extent of militarisation in the Northeast. Professor Oren Yiftachel of the Ben Gurion University, Israel, delivered a talk examining ethnocracies, saying that they “might have elections and citizenship on paper… but below this facade it is about the expansion of one ethnic group”. In a panel discussion, Dr Shapan Adnan from Singapore University, pointed out that “army of archaeologists were released [into the Northeast] after war ended, “rediscovering” religious sites” which espoused a “state sponsored rewriting of history” . Dr David Rampton, a fellow of the London School of Economics, asserted that “the international community is only now beginning to comprehend it was Sinhala nationalism that created the dynamic for many of [the island’s] problems” . Dr Jochen Hippler from University of Duisburg-Essen argued that oppression is a useful tool in Sri Lanka’s nation-building project. On the question of genocide, Hippler stated that “Sri Lanka is trying to turn Tamils from a nation into a minority.”