Remembering the Nagarkovil bombings 26 years on

Today marks the 26th anniversary of the Nagarkovil massacre, where the Sri Lankan air force bombed a school in Jaffna killing dozens of Tamil school children. On September 22, 1995, a SLAF aircraft bombed the Nagarkovil Maha Vidyalayam schoolyard crammed with 750 children on their lunch break, killing more than 30 – of whom 12 were six or seven-year-olds – and injuring 150 others. The overall death toll from the raids reached 71. The bombing occurred just hours after the Sri Lankan government imposed press censor­ship on the reporting of military events. The bombing, which happened during the...

34 years since Thileepan began fast unto death

Today marks 34 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.

Face down, naked and left to die – Swiss guards acquitted over death of Tamil asylum seeker

A group of four Swiss guards have been acquitted over their roles in the death of a 28-year-old Tamil woman at a prison in 2018, after they delayed medical attention following a suicide attempt for 19 minutes. The woman, identified only as “Kowshika”, had fled Sri Lanka but had her asylum application rejected by Swiss authorities who subsequently detained her at the Waaghof Prison in Basel. On the morning of June 12, she was transferred to a cell with a camera "for her own safety and to monitor her state of health," according to a court indictment, with reports that she was restless,...

Remembering the Sencholai massacre 15 years on

Today marks the 15th anniversary of the massacre of 53 school girls by the Sri Lankan Air Force.

Remembering the Muttur massacre 15 years on

Image courtesy of Action Contre la Faim (ACF) On this day 15 years ago, Sri Lankan security forces summarily executed 17 aid workers from the French NGO, Action la Contre Faim (ACF), in Muttur, Trincomalee. The killings, which have since been dubbed as the 'Muttur massacre', took place at the organisation's compund where the ACF team were based as they provided humanitarian assistance to the survivors of the catastrophic tsunami in 2004. The bodies of 15 aid workers were found lying face down with bullet wounds to their heads and necks, two days after the massacre. On August 8, two more...

‘India’s My Lai’ – Remembering the 1989 Valvettiturai massacre

On this day 32 years ago, up to 64 Tamil civilians were killed by the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Valvettithurai in a massacre that was termed “India’s My Lai”. The massacre, which saw dozens killed, came on the background of escalating violence and rights abuses committed by Indian forces across the Tamil homeland. As Tamil militant groups continued hostilities with the IPKF, the Indian forces imposed a curfew on August 2, 1989, following an ambush attack. Indian soldiers then embarked on a systematic killing spree in Valvettithurai. Many in the town were blocked from receiving...

US continues to vet Sri Lankan soldiers – but are war criminals being let in?

The United States says that all Sri Lankan soldiers continue to be fully vetted for involvement in human rights abuses before being allowed to train in the country. Recent appointments however point to holes in the vetting process and raise questions from survivors.

20 years since the LTTE assault on Katunayake air force base

Today marks 20 years since a team of 14 LTTE commandos infiltrated and attacked the Sri Lankan Air Force Base in Katunayake, destroying several aircraft and causing over US$500 million worth of damage without a single civilian fatality. Remnants of the Sri Lankan military jets that were destroyed in the raid. The assault, launched to mark 18 years since the Black July pogrom, came on the back of a series of disastrous military setbacks for Sri Lanka, lurching then-president Chandrika Kumaratunga's government further into crisis. Read more about the operation in this extract from Anton...

Remembering Black July - 38 years since the pogrom

Today marks thirty-eight years since the horrors of the anti-Tamil pogrom of 1983, when thousands of Tamils were killed by Sinhala mobs backed by the then UNP government and state forces.

Remembering Ida Carmelitta 

On this week 22 years ago, Sri Lankan soldiers burst into the home of Ida Camerlitta, a 21-year-old Tamil woman, in Mannar. They gang raped her and shot her dead, in what was yet another example of horrific crimes committed by the military. To this day, the soldiers responsible for her rape and killing continue to roam free. On the 12 th of July 1999, armed Sri Lankan soldiers stormed into Ida Camerlitta’s home in Pallimunai. Her whole family, including her mother, were inside at the time. The soldiers beat and tied up some of those who were inside the home. They then proceeded to rape Ida, before shooting her dead. Her post-mortem revealed 18 injuries across her body, including injuries from sexual violence and bite wounds on her breasts and lips. She had been stabbed in the abdomen and then shot through her genitals.