Tamil civil society slam TNA's dithering leadership

A multitude of Tamil civil society groups condemned the " deception and deviatory polity " of the TNA's leadership , in a memorandum presented to the party leader's on Tuesday, reported Tamilnet. It added that the impressive list of signatories to the memorandum, including trade unionists, community leaders, religious leaders, academics, profressionals and educationalists, urged "firmness of leadership in political stand" and asserted that " Tamils are not a ‘minority’ requesting concessions, but a nation demanding self-rule ". See here for Tamilnet report in full. Extracts of the memorandum...

89,000 war widows in North-East

An organisation campaigning for women's rights in Sri Lanka has revealed there are 89,000 war widows in the north-east of the island. Committee member for Women for Rights, Dr. Sarojini Savithri, said 12,000 of those widows were under the age of 40. "All these women suffer immense hardships and their children are also greatly affected," Convener of the organisation, Dr. Chandani Karunathilaka said. Read report on Colombo Page here .

Can't investigate; won't investigate

Addressing parliament on Wednesday, Foreign Minister GL Peiris asserted Sri Lanka will not allow an international investigation into allegations of war crimes. The Sri Lankan government " is firmly for solving the country’s internal issues by itself ,” he reiterated. It is unfortunate then that this is the only aspect of the investigation of war crimes the government is firm about. Almost a month after the LLRC report was presented to the President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the dithering continues. No definite release date has been set. Any calls to expedite its release are condemned as "indecent...

Human rights groups, activists and journalists discuss 'Where now'?

Sri Lanka panel discussion hosted by Freedom from Torture from Freedom from Torture on Vimeo . Amnesty International, Tamils Against Genocide and the director of 'Sri Lanka's Killing Fields' documentary, Callum Macrae joined others in a discussion on 'Where now after Sri Lanka's Killing Fields' on 25th November. The event, organised by Freedom from Torture, the medical foundation for the care of victims of torture, who released a damning report into the widespread and ongoing practice of torture by Sri Lanka's security forces, was fully booked. Yolande Foster from Amnesty International, Jan Jananayagam from TAG, the shadow minister for international development, Rushanara Ali and the journalist and director, Callum Macrae were invited to share their thoughts the allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Sri Lanka, prior to the public discussion.

Sri Lanka thanks China for assisting war against Tamils

China’s General Xiaotian was warmly welcomed to Sri Lanka by army chief Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya. General Xiaotian arrived at the army headquarters on Tuesday morning, where a guard of honour was awaiting him. Lt. Gen. Jayasuriya stressed that Sri Lanka was ‘true friends’ with China due to the military assistance the country provided during the last few years of the war, which left at least 40,000 Tamil civilians dead. The Army Commander told the visiting General, 'how the nation, as the war was on, looked at the true friends of Sri Lanka with a deep sense of pride and appreciation', the...

Army on standby to sell and distribute vegetables

Reports have emerged that the Sri Lankan Army is ready to distribute and sell fruits and vegetables, as thousands of farmer protested against a new law requiring plastic crates to be used in their transportation. The protests took place as 40 lorries were seized by the government’s Consumer Affairs Authorities, after they were found to be transporting these fruits and vegetables without the proper packaging. A shortage of fruits and vegetables was later reported in Colombo’s Manning Market due to the raid. Army Spokesman Brigadier Nihal Hapuarachchi was alleged to have said that the Army...

Tamil protest against disappearances in Colombo

Defying the heavy Sri Lankan security presence,Tamil civilians staged yet another protest against the ongoing disappearances and arbitary arrests of Tamil youths on Monday, in Colombo. The relatives of missing Tamils shouted and carried placards demandi ng: "Release the prisoners of war immediately!", "Where are our missing relatives?", "Stop the discrimination of Tamils immediately!" and "Sri Lankan government, release our children!". One father tearfully recalled his son's abduction four years ago, “My son was abducted in 2007 in Jaffna. Unknown members came into my house and took our gold jewellery and motor bike and also took my son away. I have complaint to the police and human rights organisation but they haven’t taken any actions till date. We have no clues of his whereabouts and we are unsure if he’s still alive or not. This is causing me great agony. My wife passed away with the worries of our missing son. My other children and I are still suffering being without any knowledge of my eldest son.” The protest in Colombo, comes immediately after Tamils who had lost their loved ones staged a protest in Jaffna to coincide with International Human Rights Day. See video:

Resurgence of ‘white van’ abductions

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has called for investigations into the disappearances of two activists, who helped organise a protest in Jaffna drawing attention to the plights of missing people on the island. The disappearances are just the latest in a string of abductions, which have seen a marked rise in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. The two missing men, Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganathan, were last seen in Avaragal near Jaffna, as they were making their way to the protest on Friday. Both men were involved in organising a series of protests against disappearances,...

Chinese military delegation arrives in Sri Lanka

A high-level delegation of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has arrived in Sri Lanka for talks. The group, led by General Hixiaotian, the Deputy Chief-of-Staff of the PLA, will meet with Army Commander and war crimes accused Jagath Jayasuriya to discuss training, exercises and further provision of military assistance to Sri Lanka. The delegation will also explore possibilities to increase the number of Sri Lankan trainee officers at Chinese military academies. The Daily Mirror reports .

Grateful subjects

Mahinda Rajapaksa's ears must have been burning yesterday, as ministers took turns to confess their gratitude to the President during the parliamentary session . "We must be grateful to him" urged UPFA member VK Indika, lauding the "numerous benefits" Rajapaksa is said to have been bestowed upon the fisheries sector. "We must thank President Rajapaksa for eliminating terrorism" echoed UPFA's Suriapperuma. Meanwhile UPFA MP Azwer took things one step further - Rajapaksa deserves a peace prize. Lamenting what he described as the West's misguided view of a peace, Azwer urged the Norwegian Nobel...