Pillay to arrive in SL on Sept 14

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, is to visit Sri Lanka and the North-East next week. Arriving on the 14th September, Pillay will off 'advice and techinical assistance', reported the Daily Mirror. Quoting government officials, PTI reported that Pillay's team would examine resettlement programmes and IDP concerns in the North-East. See related article: Pillay's invitation cannot be a fact-finding mission - Mohan Peiris (03 Jun 2012)

'The Dialectics of Genocide' - Interview with Lokeesan

Writing in the Kindlemag, Meena Kandasamy interviews a Tamil journalist who reported from Vanni during 2009. Lokeesan was the Vanni correspondent for TamilNet during that time, and is currently living in exile. See here for full interview entitled 'The Dialectics of Genocide'. Excerpts of Lokeesan's interview reproduced below: Meena Kandasamy: How different was your work, from the kind of reporting that Lasantha, or any of the dissenting Sinhala journalists were doing? Lokeesan: "Lasantha had all the facilities available to the media – internet, phone, email, camera, everything. But where we...

Asylum seekers stage protest aboard boat in Indonesia

53 Tamil asylum seekers have undertaken a fast-unto-death protest on their boat harboured in Indonesia for the past 4 days, demonstrating against the decision to send them back to Sri Lanka. The group of asylum seekers sent messages to relatives and journalists calling for intervention to ensure they are not returned to Sri Lanka for fear of persecution. After a perilous 20 day journey from Chennai, during which a friendly fishing boat provided them with fuel, the group found themselves stranded off the Indonesian coast, where the navy then towed them to a port. The refugees have been calling...

Passing the soiled buck

After severe criticism from Tamil Nadu's major parties and protests in the state, the BJP hastily distanced itself from allegations that the party was behind Mahinda Rajapakse's planned visit to a Buddhist event in Madhya Pradesh, pushing the blame onto Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. "Invitation to Rajapajksa was sent by the prime minister, not by the leader of opposition. I have not invited him. "Leader of opposition cannot invite anybody (head of the state) to the country. His itinerary has been finalised by the Premier and MEA," said BJP leader Sushma Swaraj. BJP’s Tamil Nadu chief Pon...

Sri Lankans face further protests in Tamil Nadu

A convoy of buses carrying 178 fleeing Sri Lankans was pelted by sticks and stones near Kattur in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday. The Sri Lankans, who were on their way to Tiruchirapalli airport to fly back home to Colombo, experienced similar protest action whilst visiting a Christian shrine in Velankanni earlier that morning, and whilst visiting a Poondi Madha Christian shrine in Thanjavur the day before. Shouting , "Sinhalese go back", protesters in Tamil Nadu used two-wheelers to block the road ahead of the convoy. According to Sri Lanka Deputy High Commissioner R K M A Rajakaruna, the fleeing Sri...

'No real will to account' says Amnesty

In a written submission to the up-coming, 21st session of the UN Human Rights Council, Amnesty International detailed the 'shortcomings in Sri Lanka's National Plan of Action to implement the recommendations of the LLRC'. The report, entitled 'No Real Will to Account', argued that the lack of accountability had ensured a " climate of impunity where arbitrary detentions, torture and other ill-treatment, enforced disappearances, and custodial killings continue unchecked." "More than three years after the armed conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ended, these violations continue to be reported." See here for full statement.

India tries to reassure Sri Lanka

Responding to Sri Lanka's travel advisory warning against travelling to Tamil Nadu, the spokesperson of India's External Affairs Ministry assured Sri Lanka of the safety of any visiting Sri Lankans. The spokesperson, Syed Akbaruddin, said , "I wish to convey here that the government of India, in close consultation with the state governments concerned, has taken and will continue to take all measures to ensure the safety, security and wellbeing of Sri Lankan dignitaries and tourists coming to India, including to Tamil Nadu," Meanwhile reports of Sri Lankans being targetted by protesters in...

Weerawansa's warning to India

Sri Lankan Minister Wimal Weerawansa warned of a 'possible catastrophic situation that would seriously harm the interests of both countries' if the protest acts on Sri Lankans in India continued, reported the Daily Mirror. Asking 'what the consequences would if Sri Lankans chose to treat thousands of Tamil Nadu citizens who regularly visited Sri Lanka in a similar manner', Weerawansa wanted India to stop the 'politically and racially motivated foolish actions of Tamil Nadu politicians'.

Mahinda visit to Tamil Nadu ‘unacceptable’ – DMK

DMK leader M Karunanidhi has spoken out against Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s proposed visit. "It is not acceptable to us that he, who is responsible for the killing of lakhs of Tamils, is accorded a special welcome," Karunanidhi said. The DMK’s fellow constituents of India’s ruling United Progressive Alliance coalition, the VCK, also criticised the plans. “I will be meeting the Prime Minister or Minister of External Affairs in this connection, in a couple of days,” VCK leader Thol. Thirumavalan told reporters. “The island nation is having cordial relations with China and Pakistan...

Sri Lanka warns against travel to Tamil Nadu

The Sri Lankan government has warned its citizens against all travel to Tamil Nadu after several protests against Sri Lankan citizens were held in the state. “The Government of Sri Lanka regrets the increasing number of instances of intimidation of Sri Lankan nationals visiting Tamil Nadu for the purposes of tourism, religious pilgrimages, sporting and cultural activities and professional training,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a travel advisory . “The Government of Sri Lanka is constrained to request Sri Lankan nationals in the interest of their security to desist from undertaking...

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