Sri Lanka: Discrimination against Muslims and Tamils is getting worse

Writing in Middle East Eye, Strategic Advisor to People for Equality and Relief in Sri Lanka (PEARL), Mario Arulthas highlights the deterioration of Tamil and Muslim rights in Sri Lanka as President Rajapaksa appears “committed to seizing any opportunity to hurt non-Sinhalese communities”. In his piece, he draws particular attention to Islamophobic legislation proposed to ban Islamic face coverings and close over 1,000 Islamic schools, under “national security” concerns. These moves he notes follow a long history in which the Sri Lankan state has “used laws to marginalise vulnerable...

‘We will continue’ – British Tamil organisations speak out against Sri Lanka's ban

File photograph: British Tamils protest outside the Houses of Parliament in 2009. British Tamil diaspora organisations have vowed to continue their struggle for justice and self-determination, despite the Sri Lankan government’s proscription of hundreds of Tamils and several diaspora organisations, in a move that has generated shock and outrage across the world. Speaking to the Tamil Guardian, a representative of the Tamil Youth Organisation UK (TYOUK), said they will "continue to educate and bring awareness to the legitimate aspirations of Eelam Tamils". The new proscribed list, which renews...

Vigils held across Tamil homeland for Rev Rayappu Joseph

As the former Bishop of Mannar and beloved Tamil activist Right Reverend Dr Rayappu Joseph was laid to rest in Mannar on Monday, vigils have been held in his honour across the Tamil homeland. In the Mannar district, Rev. Joseph’s diocese and home for many decades, communities engaged in a full day of mourning, with businesses remaining shut. Private transport companies also did not operate. Thousands, including Hindu and Muslim leaders flocked to the St Sebastian Cathedral to pay their last respects. Mothers of the disappeared held vigil, lighting candles and hanging black flags outside the...

Former Bishop Rayappu Joseph laid to rest

The former Catholic Bishop of Mannar and prominent Tamil activist Right Reverend Dr Rayappu Joseph was laid to rest at the St. Sebastian Cathedral in Mannar on Monday. Thousands had visited to pay their respects to the former Bishop lying in repose since his passing on Thursday, April 1. On Sunday, his body was moved from the Bishop’s house to the cathedral in a procession of thousands, including clergy, civil society, students and members of the public. In line with a call to mark Monday as a day of mourning across the Tamil homeland, businesses in the Mannar district remained shut, whilst homes and streets bore black and white flags. Following the funeral service, a statue of Rev. Joseph was unveiled in Mannar Town.

EU may withdraw trade concessions to Sri Lanka

Following the passage of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution on Sri Lanka, the European Union (EU) has stated that they will monitor the human rights situation in light of their GSP+ agreement. Responding to an inquiry from the Business Times, the EU responded stating that whilst the resolution “does not have an immediate and direct link with EU-Sri Lanka trade relations […] trade preferences that Sri Lanka currently enjoys under GSP+ are conditional to the implementation of 27 international conventions related to human and labour rights, as well as the environment and good...

'Our stance on Tamil Eelam is the same as those who fought for it' - NTK speaks to Tamil Guardian

With Tamil Nadu Assembly elections set to take place on April 6 and electioneering underway in full swing across the state, Tamil Guardian spoke to Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK) State Youth Wing Coordinator, Dhuruvan Selvamani. Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK), is a Tamil nationalist party that formed following the genocide that took place in Mullivaikkal in 2009. We asked Selvamani about a number of issues including the NTK’s strategy for the elections, its stance on the intensifying Sinhalisation and colonisation of the Tamil homeland and its views on India-Sri Lanka relations.

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Secretary smears human rights defenders as funded by the West

Speaking to DW News’ journalist, Tim Sebastian, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Secretary, Jayanath Colombage, who himself stands accused of running torture camps, attacked human rights defenders in Sri Lanka as “being funded by the West”. The wide-reaching interview addressed issues of military impunity; Sri Lanka’s draconian counter-terrorism legislation; the President’s racist rhetoric; continued intimidation and harassment of victim communities and human rights defenders; efforts by the Sri Lankan government to block further investigations; and the country’s dwindling international support. UN...

Tamil civil society calls for national day of mourning for Rev Rayappu Joseph

Tamil civil society networks have called for a day of mourning for the late Rt. Rev. Dr Rayappu Joseph. Tamil civil society organisations across the North-East called for homes and businesses in the homeland and in the diaspora to mark Monday, April 5, as the Tamil nation’s national day of mourning for Rt. Rev. Joseph. “The loss of the Bishop is an immeasurable loss for the Tamil nation,” the organisations said in a statement, highlighting how Rt. Rev. Joseph’s campaigning in 2009 was crucial for continuing the Tamil struggle after the decimation of the armed struggle. While the days until...

Sri Lanka arrests two for allegedly spreading Wahabism

Sri Lanka’s Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) have arrested two people, under its draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), for allegedly spread “extremist and Wahabism” through WhatsApp.

Myanmar’s military junta attends BIMSTEC conference chaired by Sri Lanka

Following denials of accepting Myanmar’s military coup, Sri Lanka chaired the 5 th Bay of Bengal Initiative of the Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Co-operation (BIMSTEC) summit which was attended by Myanmar’s military junta. This comes as Myanmar’s junta continues its brutal suppression of dissent, killing at least 535 people during peaceful demonstrations. These include the murder and grievous harm of children as young as one year old. In response to these disturbing scenes, international leaders have issued harsh condemnation and imposed sanctions on the military regime. Across the...

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