UK Houses of Parliament lit with Karthigaipoo to mark Maaveerar Naal

A Karthigaipoo, the national flower of Tamil Eelam, was projected on to Britain's Houses of Parliament in Westminster, Central London tonight, as British Tamils paid tribute to those who gave their lives in the Tamil liberation struggle amidst restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. The projection lit up the Houses of Parliament with an image of the flower and the words “We Remember” and "We remember the heroes who fought for freedom from Sri Lankan state genocide".

US resolution calls for an end to enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka

US Congressmen Brad Sherman and Jamie Raskin introduced a House Resolution calling for an end to enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka, across Asia and around the world and also calls upon the United States to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance. The resolution highlights that "Tamil families of the disappeared have demonstrated tremendous courage in conducting continuing protests, lasting over 1,300 days to demand answers from the Sri Lankan state, despite being met with threats, intimidation, and harrassment by state security forces." It also noted that Sri Lanka has "promoted high-ranking military officials suspected of forcibly disappearing persons and bearing responsibility for war crimes, incuding Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, and has failed to hold accountable other current military officials accused of war crimes."

Sri Lankan state crackdown on Maaveerar Naal across Tamil homeland

The Sri Lankan state has intensified its crackdown on commemorations of Maaveerar Naal, the Tamil national remembrance day for fallen LTTE fighters, with police obtaining court injunctions against commemorations in several districts and both police and Sri Lankan army setting up roadblocks and checkpoints around LTTE cemeteries. The Jaffna High Court on Friday rejected petitions against a number of injunctions, with the judge ruling that the court had no jurisdiction to issue such an order. The court however further stated that no one can prevent the petitioners from commemorating individually, but that collective commemoration was a matter related to national security.

Sri Lanka accelerates Sinhalisation across Vavuniya

Local Tamils have expressed concern and outrage after an area previously known as Kachchal Samalankulam in Vavuniya has become ‘Sinhalised’ and has had its name changed to Sapumalgaskada and a signboard labelled ‘Sapumalgaskada Archaeological Site’ was put up in the area, last week. The Sinhalisation adds to the expansion of colonisation across the North-East of Tamil areas, where Tamil names have been erased and converted to Sinhala names, and Tamil areas are becoming occupied by Sinhala settlers with the support of Sri Lankan military and government officials.

Kamala Harris - the first Black and Tamil woman to become Vice President of the USA

California senator Kamala Harris has become the first Black and Tamil woman to be elected the Vice President of the United States. Harris’ mother, Shyamala Gopalan, is a Tamil woman who grew up in Chennai, whilst her father Donald grew up in Jamaica. In her memoir, Harris writes how she would visit Tamil Nadu almost every year and understands small amounts of Tamil. In her address to the Democratic National Convention earlier this year, Harris paid tribute to her 'chithis' - a word in Tamil for aunties.

Remembering Thamilselvan 13 years on

Today marks thirteen 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 2, 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 Nethaaji, 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 homeland.

‘The greatest humanitarian crisis of the war’ – Press coverage of the Jaffna Exodus

As we mark 25 years since the Jaffna exodus, which led to over half a million Tamil men, women and children fleeing their homes, we look back at press coverage from the time. On 21 September 1995, as the Sri Lankan military prepared to launch its offensive, new emergency regulations were imposed, granting widespread censorship powers on all war-related reporting. All reports had to be run past a government-appointed Competent Authority for Censorship before publication. As the offensive began, death and displacement followed. On October 30, 1995, the entire town of Jaffna, the largest Tamil...

The fight for Jaffna – October 1995

Jaffna has been considered the cultural capital of Eelam Tamils for centuries, as well as being the crucible of the Tamil liberation movement and the armed struggle against Sri Lankan state operation which began in the 1970s following non-violent political campaigns. Following the 1983 'Black July' pogrom in Colombo, fighting began between Tamil militants and Sri Lankan troops within the Jaffna peninsula - first against the Sri Lankan military and in the late 80’s, the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF). When the Indian army withdrew in 1990, the LTTE assumed control of Jaffna, except for the...

Remembering the Jaffna exodus – 500,000 displaced

On the day 25 years ago, over half a million Tamil men, women and children fled their homes in Jaffna as the Sri Lankan military launched a military offensive to capture the peninsula, under the leadership of then president Chandrika Kumaratunga. On October 30, 1995, the entire town of Jaffna, the largest Tamil population centre on the island, streamed out in a mass exodus for the safety of the Vanni, which was then controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Walking for several miles east, crossing the Navatkuli bridge, the throngs of people, carrying whatever they could...

US ban on Shavendra Silva is ‘legal requirement’ says Pompeo

As US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Sri Lanka this week, he was asked repeatedly about a travel ban imposed on the head of Sri Lanka’s army Shavendra Silva over his role in overseeing war crimes. Earlier this year, Pompeo’s office announced a travel ban on Silva and his immediate family, “due to his involvement in extrajudicial killings” of Tamils. At the time, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said “this sends an important message to those guilty of committing war crimes, not only in Sri Lanka, but around the world”. “It is also a crucial signal for Tamil victims and...