Sri Lankan Minister defends Hitler comparison as 'personal opinion'

Responding to concerns raised over a government Minister’s call for Sri Lanka’s President to act more like Hitler, government spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella defended the Minister’s statement as a “personal opinion” and maintained that they should not be taken seriously. In his statement, Dilum Amunugama, Sri Lanka’s Minister for Transport, claimed that; “6.9 million people who voted for Gotabaya Rajapaksa wanted him to be a Hitler”, when speaking about the Sri Lankan president’s 2019 election victory”. He added that “when he [Gotabaya Rajapaksa] fails to do so, they criticise him”...

Canadian parliamentarians celebrate Tamil New Years

Canadian parliamentarians, including their Prime Minister, have wished the Tamil community in Canada and worldwide a happy new year and thanked them for their contribution.

British parliamentarians celebrate Tamil New Year and demand justice

Several UK politicians, including the Prime Minister's Office, have shared their thanks to the British Tamil community and wished them a happy new year as well as highlighting the dire situation in Sri Lanka. The Prime Minister's Office tweeted: Happy New Year to those celebrating #Puthandu . Britain’s Tamil community makes an enormous, positive contribution to our society. Once again, it remains important to celebrate safely and remember hands, face, space and fresh air. pic.twitter.com/AAe9RNAzm2 — UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) April 14, 2021 Shaun Bailey, the candidate for the...

Tamil Puthandu observed in the North-East

The Tamil New Year, which falls on the first day of the month of Chithirai in the Tamil calendar, was celebrated across the Tamil homeland on Wednesday, April 14. With some referring to the April festival as an exclusively Hindu and sanskritised holiday, there is debate among Tamil communities as to whether the day truly represents a Tamil New Year. Although socially and politically, a lot more prominence is given to the secular Tamil festival of Thaipongal, Chithirai Puthandu is still widely celebrated by Tamils in the North-East and globally. Jaffna Special worshipping took place in the...

Former Sri Lankan Human Rights Commissioner petitions against Prevention of Terrorism Act

A Fundamental Rights petition has been filed by Sri Lanka's former Human Rights Commissioner, Ambika Satkunanathan, in the Supreme Court against the expansion of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), which permit the state to "de-radicalise" and "rehabilitate" individuals who hold "violent extremist ideology". The bill, which was originally enacted in 1979, has predominately used against Tamils and has been linked to enforced disappearances and torture. Amongst other controversial provisions, the regulations permit persons other than police officers to arrest individuals and to detain them...

1 year since lawyer Hejaaz Hizbullah was detained

Photograph: Amnesty International Today marks a year since the detention of prominent Muslim human rights lawyer, Hejaaz Hizbullah, who was detained under Sri Lanka’s draconian and internationally condemned Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

Following the arrest of Jaffna’s Mayor, Sri Lanka’s army to monitor festivities in Jaffna

Following the unwarranted and internationally condemned arrest of the Mayor of Jaffna, Viswalingam Manivannan, Sri Lanka’s army commander, and accused war criminal, Shavendra Silva visited the province to “evaluate security developments” ahead of New Year festivities. The visit follows an escalation in the use of Sri Lanka’s draconian Prevention of Terrorism as over a dozen Tamils and Muslims since last November. Last month Sri Lanka’s Terrorism Investigation Division arrested two Tamils who managed the website “TubeTamil” for allegedly “promoting terrorism” and promoting "terrorism-related...

‘6.9 million people who voted for Gotabaya Rajapaksa wanted him to be a Hitler,’ claims Sri Lankan minister

File photograph. A Sri Lankan minister has sparked controversy and a backlash from Germany after claiming that “6.9 million people who voted for Gotabaya Rajapaksa wanted him to be a Hitler”, when speaking about the Sri Lankan president’s 2019 election victory. Dilum Amunugama, Sri Lanka’s transport minister, added that “even I accept that”, and that “when he [Gotabaya Rajapaksa] fails to do so, they criticise him”. The minister’s comments come following the increased harassment and intimidation of Tamil and Muslim civil society members which have been described as “fascist” in nature by...

Sri Lanka to deploy ‘peacekeeping’ forces despite human rights concerns

Sri Lanka’s army has announced that it will send 243 army personnel to serve in Mali under the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission despite the UN suspending the use of Sri Lankan troops except for “essential” service in 2019. This comes despite increasing concern over abuses by Sri Lanka’s military following the scathing UN High Commissioner’s report and increasing calls for a ban on deploying Sri Lankan troops for UN peacekeeping missions. In the High Commissioner’s report, she calls on the UN to “keep under review Sri Lanka’s contributions to UN peacekeeping...

Groups spread lies about white vans, crocodiles and sharks – Gotabaya Rajapaksa

During a visit to Vavuniya, last week accused war criminal Gotabaya Rajapaksa expressed the need to “protect” the “ideology” and “force” that made him President and claimed that groups were used to “spread lies about white vans, crocodiles and sharks”; his comments came in the same week in which the elected Mayor of Jaffna V. Mannivannan was arrested by Sri Lanka’s Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) and amongst intense military harassment of Tamil and Muslim civil society members. Gotabaya Rajapaksa visited Vavuniya to hold his 17th “Discussion with the Village”, in one of the few talks to be held in the Northern Province. A programme which began running in September 2020, aimed to meet people in remote villages and inquire into their problems and discuss solutions. In previous discussions, the President has claimed that he does know what human rights abuses he has committed . During this discussion in Vavuniya, Gotabaya Rajapaksa stressed the importance to protect the ideology that brought him into power and criticised hostile forces towards this “ideology” claiming that they are spreading “false propaganda” and trying to destroy it.

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