UN human rights chief - reports of recent rape and torture in Sri Lanka 'merit closer inspection from our part'

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has highlighted the need for a "much closer inspection" on the part of the UN into reports of rape and torture of Tamil men by Sri Lankan security services since 2016, under the current national unity government. Responding to reports published on Wednesday by the Associated Press detailing rape and torture by security forces from 2016 until July 2017, Mr Zeid said, "while the UN is unable to confirm this until we mount an investigation, clearly the reports are horrifying and merit a much closer inspection from our part, especially if they occurred in 2016 and 2017." The news wire, which based its feature on interviews with 20 Tamil men and a review of 32 medical and psychological reports, noted that the UN Human Rights chief was "aghast at AP's accounts of the 52 tortured men."

Remembering Thamilselvan 10 years on

Today marks ten years since S. P. Thamilselvan, the head of the political wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was assassinated by the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF). On November 2nd 2007 Sri Lankan Air Force jets carried out a strike on a residence of members of the LTTE's political division. Five other LTTE officials - Lt. Col. Anpumani (Alex), Major Mikuthan, Major Neathaaji, Lt. Aadchiveal and Lt. Maavaikkumaran - were killed alongside Brigadier Thamilselvan, in the attack. The assassination came as the Sri Lankan government ramped up its military offensive in the Tamil...

Behind the protest - Families of the disappeared: Selvan

Artwork courtesy of Sagi Thilipkumar ( @saygi ) For months relatives of the forcibly disappeared have been protesting on the streets across the North-East, demanding to know the whereabouts of their loved ones. Despite years, sometimes decades, of various government mechanisms and pledges, their search for answers continues. In this series of interviews conducted since May 2017, Tamil Guardian goes behind the protest to the individual stories that make up this unyielding movement of Tamil families of the disappeared.

Jaffna Hospital remembers 68 staff and patients massacred by Indian Army 30 years ago

The Jaffna Teaching Hospital marked 30 years since Indian soldiers massacred 68 of its staff and patients.

Remembering Maalathy 30 years on

Today marks thirty years since the death of 2nd Lt. Maalathy, the first female fighter from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to die in the Tamil armed struggle against Sri Lankan state oppression. She was killed at the age of 20, on the 10th of October 1987, during a confrontation with the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) in Jaffna. The following account is told by a cadre that was by her side. "We were in our bunkers firing at the (Indian) army. Hundreds of Indian troops had jumped out of their vehicles and were firing as they moved towards us. Mortar shells were exploding everywhere. We knew the army was advancing quickly. Maalathy was shot in both legs. She couldn't move and she was bleeding profusely. Realising that she was mortally wounded, she swallowed cyanide. A decision had been made to withdraw because we were heavily out-numbered. Myself and another girl Viji went over to carry Maalathy. Maalathy refused to come with us. She begged us to leave her and asked us to withdraw. Nevertheless, we lifted Maalathy and carried her and when we arrived at a safe place she was dead." (Women Fighters of Liberation Tigers, Adele Anne Balasingham, 1993)

One Sri Lankan soldier for every two civilians in Mullaitivu – ACPR/PEARL report

File photo: Sri Lankan troops in Mullaitivu in August 2017. There are at least two Sri Lankan soldiers for every civilian living in the Mullaitivu, finds a new report by the Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research (ACPR) and People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL), detailing the intense militarisation in the northern district.

Remembering Thileepan 30 years on

Today marks 30 years since the death of Lt. Col. Thileepan, a political wing leader of the LTTE who fasted to death on hunger strike, appealing to the Indian government to honour pledges made to the Tamil people. Thileepan began his fast on the 15th of September 1987, with 100,000 people gathered around the historic Nallur Kandwaswamy Temple in Jaffna. As he began his strike he put forward 5 demands to the Indian government. Thirty years on, Tamils continue to call for the demands made by Thileepan. See a video of his famous speech below. See an eye witness account of his protest written by...

Sri Lanka continues intimidation of human rights activists – UN report

Photograph: @franceonu A new report by the United Nations names Sri Lanka as a state that continues to intimidate and harass activists who co-operate with the global body on human rights issues. The report stated that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was “disturbed” to hear that civil society members had faced intimidation from Sri Lanka in the United Nations Palais des Nations in Geneva earlier this year. “He referred the case to the Assistant Secretary-General and stated that he trusted that the President of the Council will give these cases close attention,” it continued. The UN...

Sri Lanka’s CSD attempts to normalise militarisation in Vanni – ACPR report

The Sri Lankan Civil Security Department’s (CSD) activities in the Vanni have embedded and normalised militarisation in the region as well as creating an “economic dependence on the military,” stated a report by the Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research (ACPR) today. “The growth of the CSD in the Vanni points to the larger issue of the Sri Lankan military’s failure to transition into a reduced post-war role,” stated a press release. “Instead, the military’s approach to its post-war role has been to embed and normalize the process of militarisation, thereby extending its control and subjugation...

Buddhas on the A9 - Sinhalisation of Vavuniya

The Sri Lankan Army continues in its mission of Sinhalising the Tamil homeland, specifically through the installation of Buddhist shrines within the premises of or in close proximity to Hindu temples in the North-East.