33 years since Thileepan began fast unto death

Today marks 33 years since Lt Col. Thileepan began his hunger strike at Nallur Kandaswamy Temple in protest against the failure of the Indian government to honour the pledges made to the Tamil people. Thileepan began his fast on 15 th September 1987, surrounded by over 100,000 supporters, and died 11 days later, on the 26 th September 1987.

Britain’s support of Sri Lankan war crimes was part of 'imperial interests' – Professor Jude Lal Fernando

Speaking to Sputnik News, Professor Jude Lal Fernando, from Trinity College Dublin, illustrates that Britain’s complicity in Sri Lankan war crimes was not incidental, nor the actions of a few rogue actors, but rather part of a broader mission which was seen as safeguarding its “imperial interests”.

Ranil Wickramasinghe to remain UNP leader until January

The United National Party (UNP) has announced that Ranil Wickramasinghe will remain leader until January 2021 following a dismal performance at Sri Lanka’s parliamentary elections. During the election, the UNP, one of the island’s oldest parties, failed to win any districts with veteran party leader and three-time Sri Lankan prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also losing his seat. It secured just over 2% of the island's votes, losing more than 100 seats from the previous parliament. The UNP secured just one National List seat. The decision to retain Wickramasinghe as leader until January was...

UN Special Rapporteurs express concern over harassment of journalist Dharisha Bastians

UN Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression; extrajudicial executions; peaceful assembly; human rights defenders; and privacy; have released a statement expressing alarm over the targeted harassment of journalist Dharisha Bastians.

Sri Lanka shakes up foreign service with military and hardline appointments

The Sri Lankan government has announced a broad shake up of its foreign service this week, with a range of new reported appointments that includes hardline Sinhala Buddhist politicians and former military personnel. Usually Sri Lankan envoys stay in their post until the end of their appointed term, however the Rajapaksa regime is reportedly looking to cut many key postings short. Amongst the major overhauls listed are diplomatic postings in New Delhi, Washington DC, Chennai, Tokyo, Beijing and Ottawa. Photograph: Former Navy Commander Admiral Jayanth Colombage After his replacement as Foreign...

Mullaitivu court allows Sri Lankan Archaeology department to construct sentry point

The Mullaitivu Magistrate Court has granted permission for the construction of a sentry point at the Kurundhur mountain, but ordered that no religious sites can be built in the area as tensions continue between Sri Lanka’s archaeology department and local Tamils. An earlier ruling from the court ruled that no construction can go on in the region. However, the temple authorities near Kurunthoormalai filed a motion in the court asking to investigate the archaeological department’s recent interest in construction. During the hearing, the department contended that all construction in the area was...

Trail of diesel from burning oil tanker threatens East coast

An oil tanker that has been on fire since last week has left a mile-long slick across the Indian Ocean, that environmentalists fear may damage the East coast of the island. The blazing tanker had reignited after an initial fire was brought under control. Strong winds on Sunday had caused the new blaze and pushed the tanker 20 kilometres closer to the Eastern shores. The Sri Lankan navy said the new fire was brought under control on Wednesday, but a kilometre-long trail of diesel has been left in its tracks. The New Diamond vessel was carrying 270,000 tonnes of crude oil and 1,700 tonnes of...

Military-occupied land will ‘never’ be returned states Sri Lankan minister

Sri Lanka’s State Minister Sarath Weerasekara told parliament that military-occupied land in the North-East will “never” be given back to the people, blaming Tamil politicians with “separatist agendas” as the reason for continued military control of these areas. Weerasekara, who was formerly the Rear Admiral for Sri Lanka’s Navy and is a known supporter of the Rajapaksas, claimed that areas under military occupation “are grounds of tactical importance”. “As long as people such as Wigneswaran who promotes separatism are there, it will never be given in view of national security as it is...

Sri Lanka remains 2nd highest in the world for enforced disappearances - UN

An annual report by the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances reveals that Sri Lanka continues to have the second-highest number of enforced disappearances in the world, according to cases that have been reported to the global body. The report, published ahead of the UN Human Rights Council session later this month, said Sri Lanka has 6,117 outstanding cases that have been submitted to the group. Only Iraq has a higher number. It added that it was “concerned by the deteriorating civil society space in Sri Lanka,” as human rights defenders have come under increasing state pressure since the election of accused war criminal Gotabaya Rajapaksa as president last year.

Canadian MP calls for Magnitsky sanctions on Sri Lanka

Canadian MP, Garnett Genuis, M.P for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, has spoken out against Sri Lanka’s enforced disappearances and called upon the Canadian government to impose Magnitsky sanctions against “those involved in gross violations of fundamental human rights”. This statement follows a “walk for justice campaign” during which Canadian Tamils marched from Toronto and Montreal to Parliament Hill to raise awareness on the plight of enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka. Read more here: Canadians march over 400 km in solidarity with families of the disappeared In Genuis’s statement, he...