Jaffna Library burns - May 31st 1981

On 31st May 1981, the crucible of Tamil literature and heritage - the Jaffna Public Library - was set ablaze by state security forces and state sponsored mobs. Over 95,000 unique and irreplaceable Tamil palm leaves (ola), manuscripts, parchments, books, magazines and newspapers, housed within an impressive building inspired by ancient Dravidian architecture, were destroyed during the burning that continued unchecked for two nights. The library was one of the largest in Asia. The destruction took place under the rule of the UNP at a time when District Development Council elections were underway, and two notorious Sinhala chauvinist cabinet ministers - Cyril Mathew and Gamini Dissanayake - were in Jaffna. Earlier on the 31st May, three Sinhalese police officers were killed during a rally by the TULF (Tamil United Liberation Front).

Thousands in Chennai remember May 2009 genocide of Eelam Tamils

Thousands of people gathered at Chennai's Marina Beach on Sunday to remember the 7th year anniversary of the genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka as the armed conflict ended.

May 18th commemorated by Tamils worldwide

On Wednesday, May 18th, Tamils across the world marked the 7th year anniversary of the end of the armed conflict, which saw tens of thousands of Tamils massacred as Sri Lankan state forces drew in. Find full coverage of May 18th remembrance events here: Tamils mourn 7 years after 2009 UK - British MPs reiterate need for credible justice at Mullivaikal genocide remembrance event (19 May 2009)

Tamils mourn 7 years after 2009

Updated 22 May 2016 11 :00 GMT NPC Councillor T Ravikaran pays his respects at the Nandikadal Lagoon Marking the massacre of tens of thousands of Tamils at the end of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka in May 2009, Tamils across the world and in all districts of the Tamil homeland in the North-East are coming together in commemoration. . May 18 memorial at Jaffna University Remembrance events are taking place across the North-East amid surveillance by Sri Lankan intelligence and police officers and warnings by government officials not to commemorate the LTTE At Mullivaikkal this morning Local...

Danish parliament hosts conference on accountability for Sri Lanka's mass atrocities

A conference on international humanitarian and human rights law violations in Sri Lanka was held in the Danish Parliament this week, with speakers from around the world discussing mass atrocities committed on the island and the current human rights situation.

Murdered Tamil journalists remembered in Jaffna

A memorial event was held in Jaffna last week, marking the tenth anniversary of the murder of two Uthayan journalists.

'Torture remains in frequent use' in Sri Lanka says UN Rapporteur

The UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E Mendez, noting that ‘torture continues to be used’ in Sri Lanka, stressed that a lack of structural reform posed a ‘real risk that the practice of torture will continue.” Speaking at a press conference in Colombo, Mr Mendez said, that though the number of cases of torture were much less than during the height of the conflict, “torture remains in frequent use in Sri Lanka by CID and TID because of weak provisions in law.” "Sadly the practice of interrogation under physical and mental coercion still exists and severe forms of torture, albeit probably in less frequent instances, continues to be used," he added. Deploring the varied forms of torture, Mr Mendez said that there were "sexual violations including mutilation of the genital area and rubbing of chili paste or onions on the genital area," reports Agence France Presse. Calling for urgent measures to be taken to prevent further torture and undermining of the transitional justice process, in is preliminary statement said, “The Government should repeal the current PTA. In the context of any replacing legislation, if at all necessary, a robust and transparent national debate should take place that provides for full participation of civil society.”

Swedish Foreign Minister in Jaffna after meetings with Sri Lankan leaders

Updated 2100 GMT Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallström arrived in Jaffna on Tuesday, ahead of a series of meetings with civil society activists, displaced Tamils and the Chief Minister of the Northern Province. On arriving in the North-East, Ms Wallström was greeted by Jaffna’s Government Agent Mr N Vethanayaha, as she held a meeting at the District Secratariat.

'Where else should I die but here?'

Dharmeratnam 'Taraki' Sivaram 11 August 1959 - 28 April 2005

SJV Chelvanayakam remembered

Today marks the death of SJV Chelvanayagam QC, who is remembered across the Tamil nation for spear heading the Vaddukoddai resolution, which was overwhelmingly ratified by the Tamil votes in the 1976 parliamentary elections. After representing the Tamil people for five general elections, experiencing repeated disappointments in over 3 decades of negotiation with the Sinhala majoritarian government, Chelvanayagam QC formulated the Vaddukoddai resolution , which remains a cornerstone of the Tamil movement for self-determination in Sri Lanka. In the late fifties, Chelvanayagam QC signed the first ever pact between the Sinhala and Tamil community to resolve the issue of Tamil political demands. The Bandaranaike-Chelvanayam pact, signed in 1957, was abrogated by the then President due to vehement opposition by Sinhala parties. Following another decade of civil disobedience and negotiations, Chelvanayagam QC signed a pact to settle Tamil political demands with the then UNP leader Mr Dudely Senanayake. The 1965 general elections, which preceded the signing of the Chelva-Dudely pact, saw no Sinhala political party obtain an absolute majority in parliament. Despite having the support of the Tamil political parties in parliament Mr Senanayake abrogated the pact as vehement opposition arose in the Sinhala South.