Tamil families of disappeared rally across North-East

Tamil families of the disappeared rallied across the North-East today to mark International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances. Families demonstrated in districts across the Tamil homeland and were joined by members of the public and Tamil politicians.

Sencholai massacre remembered in defiance of Sri Lanka police and military crackdown

Remembrance events for the victims of the Sencholai massacre, in which 53 female students and three of their teachers were viciously slaughtered by the Sri Lankan air force, took place in Mullaitivu this morning, despite a ban announced by Sri Lankan police earlier this week, and heavy military surveillance. Commemoration events are usually held annually at the memorial arch at the Vallipunam Junction near the site of the bombed home. This year, while arrangements were being made to hold a remembrance this morning (14 th August 2020); organisers were called to the Puthukudiyirippu police station on Wednesday, and informed that the commemoration events could not be held. The police also threatened the organisers with arrest if they went ahead and organised the event.

British MPs calls for sanctions on Sri Lankan government and military officials

Following a parliamentary election which has further empowered the Rajapaksa regime, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPGT) in the UK has called upon Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, to implement sanctions against senior Sri Lankan officials. The officials listed are former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga; Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka; Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva; and, Staff Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake. In their letter to Raab, the APPGT emphasises that the UK has maintained a “longstanding commitment to accountability and reconciliation” which is...

Remembering the Sencholai massacre 14 years on

Today marks the 14th anniversary of the massacre of 53 school girls by the Sri Lankan Air Force.

British police open war crimes investigation into UK mercenaries in Sri Lanka

The Metropolitan Police has opened an investigation into allegations of war crimes committed by British mercenaries against Tamils in Sri Lanka, decades after UK military veterans trained and assisted government troops on the island. The investigation, which is being led by the Metropolitan Police War Crimes Team, comes after the publication of a book by investigative journalist Phil Miller earlier this year, detailing how mercenaries with Keenie Meenie Services (KMS) effectively set up one of Sri Lanka’s most notorious military units and even took part in massacres.

Rajapaksas dominates South with landslide victory in Sri Lankan elections

Sri Lanka’s Rajapaksa clan have dominated the island’s general elections this week, with the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) sweeping polls on a staunchly Sinhala nationalist campaign and putting the party firmly in control of parliament. The SLPP secured 145 seats across the island, including through its National List, fulfilling expectations that it would win throughout the South. Alongside its affiliated parties, including paramilitary organisations in the North-East, the Rajapaksas look set to secure a powerful two-thirds majority that will grant the regime the power to make...

Tamil homeland goes to the polls

Tamils across the North-East took to the polls amidst heavy Sri Lankan military presence today, as voting began in Sri Lanka’s parliamentary elections. The Tamil homeland in the North-East has registered a sizeable turnout, so far, with all districts registering over 50% turnout as of 17.00.

Sri Lanka’s big Facebook spenders

Drawing on work by Sanjana Hattotuwa, we examine the hundreds of thousands of dollars that were spent on advertisements across the island and in the North-East, as recorded by Facebook. According to Facebook's Ad Library report, from May to August 2 alone, $478,545​ was spent on 26,710 advertisements.

TNA revives federalism and North-East re-merger for election manifesto

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in its manifesto has again promised to spend the next parliamentary term demanding a federal political solution for the Tamil people and a re-merger of the Northern and Eastern provinces. Touching on key Tamil issues such as militarisation, land return, political prisoners and accountability, the TNA also warned that international pressure was needed now more than ever. Political solution “Power sharing arrangements must continue to be established as they existed earlier in a unit of a merged Northern and Eastern Provinces based on a Federal structure, in a...

Remembering the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact of 1957 

On this day in 1957, Sri Lankan Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike and the leader of the Federal Party SJV Chelvanayakam signed a deal, that contained provisions for the recognition of Tamil as the language of administration for the Northern and Eastern provinces, which came to be known as the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact. However, hawkish Sinhalese-Buddhist nationalists railed against the pact, leading ultimately to the unilateral abrogation of the agreement. This was one of the earliest instances of failed negotiations and broken agreements that would eventually seal Tamil hopes of achieving a settlement through Sri Lanka’s political processes.