Today marks the 25th anniversary of the massacre of 184 Tamil civilians by soldiers of the Sri Lankan army. On September 9, 1990, the men, women and children from Sathurukondan and surrounding villages, on the outskirts of Batticaloa, were taken to an army camp by Sri Lankan soldiers, where they were killed. The mass killings, which were carried out during the presidency of the UNP's Ranasinghe Premadasa, were investigated in a probe established by then-president Chandrika Kumaratunga in 1997. The probe identified three captains in the Sri Lankan army as being responsible for the killings. The retired judge who led the inquiry, K Palakidnar said that there was strong evidence for the massacre and urged Ms Kumaratunga to hold the perpetrators to account, however no action was taken by the government.
The Northern Provincial Council passed a resolution calling for the formation of an international tribunal to try those alleged to have carried out mass atrocities on the island. In a resolution that was unanimously passed earlier today, the NPC noted Sri Lanka’s “long and blighted history of human rights violations” which they had characterised as amounting to genocide. “In this context, we the members of the Northern Provincial Council believe that the trial of the alleged perpetrators should not take place through any mechanism instituted by the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) as a State also incurs responsibility for the acts of its agents,” the resolution said. Further stating that no domestic law prescribes these international crimes and whether Sri Lanka’s constitution would allow foreign judges to be appointed to exercise jurisdiction, the NPC said, “Under these circumstances, the trial of the perpetrators of international crimes by a domestic mechanism, would be a travesty of justice as it would amount to the potentially guilty Government trying its own agents, thereby violating the prohibition in the maxim nemo iudex in sua causa.”
Updated 22:00 BST Results from the Tamil-dominated North-East reveal an overwhelming victory for the Tamil National Alliance. Receiving the greatest number of votes in Jaffna, Vanni and Batticaloa, the TNA has secured 16 parliamentary seats, which places it as the third biggest party in Sri Lanka. As the results of the preferential votes come through, in the Jaffna district, S Sritharan received 72,158 votes, Mavai Senathirajah 58,782 votes, M A Sumanthiran 58,043 votes, Siddarththan 53,743 votes and E Saravanabavan 43,719 votes. In comparison to the 2010 parliamentary election results, initial results in the predominantly Tamil speaking regions indicate a rise in support for the TNA and Tamil National People's Front (TNPF), which both agreed on the necessity for an international accountability process into Sri Lanka's mass atrocities. See Tamil election pledges below: TNA manifesto calls for constitutional change that accepts Tamil right to self-determination (25 Jul 2015) TNPF calls for internationally mediated political solution acknowledging 'two sovereign nations' in one country (14 August 2015) International investigation is essential agree Tamil political parties across North-East (02 August 2015) Wigneswaran urges Tamils to vote for 'justice, homeland and self-determination’ (14 August 2015) In a letter to Tamil donors, the Tamil National Alliance spokesperson, Suresh Premachandran, thanked the diaspora for its support and said he would ensure a further “international investigation” into the findings of the UN investigation into Sri Lanka's mass atrocities, whilst also raising awareness in the international community about the “Tamil genocide.” Urging donors to speak to their friends and families in “our Tamil Eelam,” Mr Premachandran pledged further to stop “unpatriotic Tamil MPs who beg appeasement from the Sri Lankan Sinhala government.” The run up to the elections saw the ruling UNF majority Sinhala coalition and the UPFA Sinhala majority opposition reject Tamil demands for fully devolved federalism, acknowledgement of the Tamil right to self-determination, de-militarisation of the North-East and international justice mechanisms. Speaking on BBC World News, Tamil Guardian's Sutharshan Sukumaran, said that as with previous elections, "the full spectrum of Sinhala majority parties have rejected Tamil demands in the run up to elections." The ruling UNP coalition managed to secure 106 seats, making it 7 seats short of an overall majority. The current parliamentary set up once again places the TNA as kingmakers in allowing a future UNP led parliament to carry out its proposed forms. In the run up to the elections the TNA in the event of such an outcome, pledged to use its leverage in parliament to secure a political solution for the Tamil people in the North-East. All island cumulative results
Tamils cast their vote in the North-East. (Photograph Tamilwin). Polls opened this morning local time for Sri Lanka's parliamentary election. Tamils awoke today to elect an expected maximum 18 MPs to seek constitutional change within a 225 seat Sinhala majority parliament where there has been a rejection of Tamil demands from across the spectrum of Sinhala majority political parties. The election has seen the return of the formerly defeated president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, to run on as the Sri Lankan Freedom Party (SLFP) candidate against the United National Party, which has formed a coalition together with smaller parties including the JHU - the United National Front (UNF). The ruling UNF majority Sinhala coalition as well as the UPFA Sinhala majority opposition have rejected Tamil demands for fully devolved federalism, acknowledgement of the Tamil right to self-determination, de-militarisation of the North-East and international justice mechanisms. Amid credible reports of ongoing torture in Sri Lanka, Tamils in the militarised North-East have been clear in reiterating their demands however, which stem from over six decades of seeking solutions within Sinhala majoritarianism in parliament. As campaigning has heated up over recent weeks, the Tamil parties have launched their campaigns precisely on these very issues that remain of the greatest significance to the Tamil electorate. The two main Tamil parties - the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) have said they will seek constitutional change to fully devolve powers to the North-East through a federal solution and recognise Tamils as a nation on the island, as well as proceeding to seek an international process to deal with the findings of the upcoming UN investigation in to Sri Lanka’s mass atrocities.
On 14th August 2006, fifty-three Tamil school girls and 3 staff members were killed, and over 150 injured, when four Sri Lankan Air Force jets flew over the Vanni, dropping sixteen bombs over the Sencholai children's home in Vallipuram for orphaned girls. In a macabre warning of the attacks against hospitals within the designated 'No Fire Zones' in 2009, the Sencholai attack took place despite the Sencholai's GPS coordinates being given to the Sri Lankan military via UNICEF and the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC), in order to protect it as a humanitarian zone. See a list of the victims at the end of this article and their photos here . Also see a survivor’s account of the airstrike here , and photos of the aftermath here and here .
A 78 page study by Freedom from Torture UK, found that Sri Lanka’s military, police and intelligence services have carried on practicing torture and rape against Tamils after the armed conflict, with incidents also occurring under the new Sirisena government. The report called on member states of the United Nations Human rights Council and Security Council to work to ensure a “genuine accountability process” which to win the confidence of the Tamil community “must include strong international participation at every stage and level.” Calling on Maithripala Sirisena to publically acknowledge...
Photograph Shalin An international investigation into mass atrocities committed against the Tamil people during the final stages of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka in 2009 is essential said all Tamil parties contesting at this month's general election in the North-East electoral districts on Saturday. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Tamil National People's Front (TNPF), Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), Crusaders For Democracy (CFD) and Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) unanimously agreed that a domestic inquiry in Sri Lanka would give rise to potential bias and impartiality, as those responsible for committing the crimes would have undue influence over the inquiry.
Abductions, torture and sexual abuse of Tamils by Sri Lanka's security forces continue under the new government of President Maithripala Sirisena, according to a new report released on Tuesday, which calls on the UN to refer its reports to the International Criminal Court for further action against those responsible for the crimes. Location of a secret torture camp in Trincomalee - International Truth and Justice Project Sri Lanka report The report, by the International Truth and Justice Project Sri Lanka (ITJP), says 100 so-called "white-van" abductions occurred between 2009 and 2015, one from as recent as this month, and describes torture and sexual violence by military forces and police against Tamils in locations across the North-East and Colombo. ITJP in its report published 41 locations on the island where victims say they were tortured since the end of the armed conflict, revealing the GPS coordinated for the notorious intelligence detention facility in the Trincomalee Naval Dockyard. The locations include 15 military camps, 15 police stations, 10 "Rehabilitation Camps" and Menik Farm internment camp.
Photograph: Tamil Guardian United and coordinated action between the homeland and Tamil diaspora is needed to achieve the Tamil nation’s aspirations of redeveloping the North-East, seeking justice for genocide and finding a political solution based on the Thimphu principles , said the Chief Minister of the Northern Province during a visit to the UK last week. A full English translation of his statement made on Friday can be read here . Addressing a full auditorium at the annual lecture of the International Association of Tamil journalists (IATAJ), CV Wigneswaran said, “Offering the humanitarian support to rebuild our land is a short term goal. For this your support is needed. Ensuring justice for the genocide that was committed is a medium term goal – for this too your support is needed. Finding a political solution based on the Thimbu principles is a long term goal – that too must take place with your support. I end my talk trusting that you will give your understanding and support for all of us to work together with dedication for this.”