Of those reported missing ...

File photo: An international ceasefire monitor of the Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission (SLMM) examines two bodies dumped by the roadside in then government controlled Vavuniya town on 13 Oct 2006. Apart from thousands of such extra-judicial killings by Sri Lanka's military, tens of thousands more people have vanished after being taken into custody. Click photo for details. Photo TamilNet.

Commonwealth urged to say no to CHOGM Sri Lanka 2013

In an open letter to Commonwealth Foreign Ministers, ten rights groups from across the world condemned the possibility of Sri Lanka hosting the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). The ten international, Diaspora and Sri Lanka-based organisations included Human Rights Watch, Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA). Highlighting the continued human rights violations and pressing need for an international investigation into allegations of war crimes, the authors called the consideration of Sri Lanka as host 'grossly inappropriate '. 'Awarding the next CHOGM to Sri Lanka would not only undermine the fundamental values on which the Commonwealth is based , but also has the potential to render the Commonwealth’s commitment to human rights and the promise of reforms meaningless.' 'The fact that the host country of the CHOGM goes on to hold the chairmanship of the Commonwealth (from 2013 to 2015) is also a serious concern.' ' Handing over leadership of the Commonwealth to a country with a questionable record in terms of human rights and democracy should not be the outcome of an event that will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Harare Declaration .'

IDPs branded 'squatters on state land'

Any IDPs who refuse to live on land provided by the government are no longer to be considered 'displaced persons' ordered the Governor of the Eastern Province, Rear Admiral Mohan Jayawickrema, Friday. Jayawickrema alleged that under international conventions those provided with land and housing are not 'displaced'. “ The displaced fall into three categories, namely squatters on state land, land permit holders and owners of private land ,” he explained . In November 2010, a number of reports emerged of Jayawickrema allegedly ordering the burning of a predominantly Muslim village, Kandalkadu, and a Muslim mosque in the Kinniya district. Victims reported that local police had identified Jayawickrema as directly issuing orders to carry out the arson attack. Fifty-four families were forced into homelessness. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre reported on 1st July 2011 that more than 220,000 civilians remain displaced.

Jaffna Uni students rise up in protest

Photo TamilNet Over one thousand Jaffna university students walked out of lectures and staged a demonstration on Wednesday, reported Tamilnet. See full article by Tamilnet here . Protesters condemned what they described as the Sri Lankan government's complicity in the spate of sexual attacks on Tamil women by individuals widely believed to be closely associated with Sri Lanka's security forces. Students carried placards openly condemning 'ethnic cleansing' and the security forces for being 'shelters for perpetrators'. Some symbolically tied black cloths over their mouths to protest Sri Lanka's brutal crackdown on freedom of speech and freedom of expression.

Amnesty on Sri Lanka's LLRC

Amnesty International has released a new report criticising Sri Lanka's Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission as "flawed at every level". The report went on to urge the UN to establish a full international independent investigation into war crimes. Sam Zarifi, Amnesty's Asia Pacific Director said, " The Sri Lankan government has, for almost two years, used the LLRC as its trump card in lobbying against an independent international investigation. "Officials described it as a credible accountability mechanism, able to deliver justice and promote reconciliation. In reality it's flawed at every level: in mandate, composition and practice. " In a 69-page report , the human rights group has said, " Amnesty International urges the international community not to be deceived that the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission -- the latest in a long line of failed domestic mechanisms in Sri Lanka -- will deliver justice, truth and reparations to the tens of thousands of victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other crimes committed during the conflict by both sides, particularly during its last bloody few months," Entitled “When Will They Get Justice?” the report called on the UN to establish a credible international, independent investigation into war crimes, calling it “crucial” to “protest the global principle of accountability”. " All U.N. member states should fulfill their shared responsibility to investigate and prosecute persons suspected of responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka by exercising universal jurisdiction. " Yolanda Foster of Amnesty International said , “ We’re publishing this report now as a wake up call to UN member states that they must act on the … credible evidence of very serious crimes that happened at the end of the war and (the UN) recommended an independent international investigation ”. A previous UN panel report also called for an independent international investigation to take place on Sri Lanka's war crimes. Amnesty's report comes amid increasing pressure on Sri Lanka, as the UN Human Rights Council is expected take up the issue in three-week meeting in Geneva starting Monday.

US watched shelling of civilians hoping it would cease

Puthukurippu hospital was shelled repeatedly by Sri Lankan forces in the final months of the war. The red crosses are clearly marked on the roofs and were visible to circling Sri Lankan drones guiding the shelling. Circles mark some of the shell impacts. Image from March 6, 2009.

Diaspora Tamils have to reapply for land deeds

The Sri Lankan Government has asked all Diaspora Tamils who own land in the north of the island to apply for new land deeds. Minister for Land and Land Development Janaka Bandara Tenakoon has said that members of the Tamil Diaspora had ‘abandoned’ their properties and gone abroad . Once the new forms have been received the application will be authenticated by the Ministry for Land and Land Development and the area surveyed before it is decided whether new deeds are issued to the owners or not. The Senior Assistant Secretary to the Ministry of Land and Land Development P. M. P. Udayakantha has...

Gotabhaya promotes army to Vietnamese

Sri Lankan Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapakse, currently on an official visit to Vietnam, used the opportunity to promote the incorporation of the army into civilian life and the country's wider development. Gotabhaya met with President Truong Tan Sang and the Deputy Minister of National Defence, Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, Monday. President Sang reportedly citing 'cultural similarities' and 'long-lasting traditional relations', said he hoped for deeper cooporation and sharing of experience in development and national construction. Gotabhaya, welcoming the President's expressed...

Why Sri Lanka matters

Edward Mortimer, director of communications to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan from 1998 to 2006, writes in New World magazine's 2011 Autumn edition: "Chinese and Russian support for the GoSL is perceived as a major stumbling block. However, we should remember that, in 2005, China allowed the Security Council to refer war crimes in Darfur to the International Criminal Court, despite the two countries' significant oil and economic ties, and this February, both China and Russia voted to do the same with Libya. And even if those two countries do remain firm, that should not excuse others'...

Army defend use of PTA on civilians

Sri Lanka's military spokesperson, Brig Nihal Hapuarachchi, claimed the civilian protests at the on-going 'grease devil' incidents were a 'terrorist act'. He warned the army will take action against them under the infamous Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), adding: " It is wrong for civilians to attack an army camp or police station. Those who do that are terrorists. " Over 120 Tamil civilians have been arrested after protesting at Jaffna's military camp. " They attacked a joint army-police camp. It is a terrorist act," Brig Hapuarachchi, said about them.