Human Rights Watch today criticised the Sri Lankan government's failure to enact pledges to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act, releasing a 46 page report on ongoing and past abuses of detainees under the legislation. “The Sri Lankan government has been all talk and no action on repealing the reviled PTA,” HRW's Asia director, Brad Adams said. “Replacing this draconian counterterrorism law with one that meets international standards should be an urgent priority if the government is serious about protecting human rights.”
Today marks 25 years since the death of Sathasivam Krishnakumar alias Colonel Kittu, and nine other LTTE cadres, who committed suicide after being surrounded by Indian navy warships in 1993. Col. Kittu rose to public prominence as the LTTE’s Jaffna Commander from 1985-1987 and was based in the Paduvankarai region during the first phase of the war. He was later appointed head of the LTTE’s International Secretariat in London and was on his way home from the UK when his ship was intercepted. “ The former Jaffna Commander of the LTTE was on his way to meet the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran to brief him on the latest peace proposal arranged with the assistance of certain European countries to find a solution to the ethnic crisis in Sri Lanka ,” said a statement from the LTTE , released after his death.
Yesterday marked the 12th death anniversary of the late Tamil politician Joseph Pararajasingham, who was shot dead on Christmas Eve by armed government paramilitary men in 2005. Despite the present government's pledge of accountability and almost two years passing since the UNP-SLFP coalition came to power, no one has been held accountable for his death. Mr. Pararajasingham, who was a senior Tamil National Alliance (TNA) figure, and the MP for Batticaloa district, was shot and killed by two gunmen whilst he was attending Christmas prayers at the St Mary's church in Batticaloa town. His wife, Sugunam Pararajasingham was seriously wounded in the gunfire.
Today marks 11 years since the passing of Anton Balasingham, the chief negotiator and political strategist of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Mr Balasingham – or Bala Anna as he was fondly known – was deeply adored by the Tamil people. His charismatic addresses drew tens of thousands, as he untangled political analysis with razor sharp wit. Leading LTTE delegations through numerous negotiations, Bala Anna eloquently and forcefully articulated the rights of the nation. His intellectual prowess and political acumen earned him respect from all sides of the negotiating table. He remains an extraordinary theoretician and a formidable figure within the Tamil struggle. The special relationship he held with the Tamil Guardian is a bond that we remain deeply proud of today.
Tamils across the world on November 27 and preceding days held events to mark Tamil National Remembrance Day or Maaveerar Naal. Maaveerar Naal, which remembers those who sacrificed their lives in the Tamil struggle for freedom, is marked on November 27 yearly, in memory of the first death of a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadre in fighting - Lt. Shankar died in combat on November 27, 1982.
- Thusiyan Nandakumar, Jaffna. As the sun began to set over the Vanni last November, thousands of locals stood before the crumbled remains of gravestones at an LTTE cemetery in Kilinochchi. The graves had been bulldozed by the Sri Lankan military years before. Few had ventured to the site since, fearful of reprisals from security forces. But last year, with the military seemingly restrained, residents of the town cleared the rubble and constructed a makeshift monument with the remains. At 18:05 precisely, they lit lamps and played a song in remembrance of those buried there. It marked the first time since the brutal end of the armed conflict on the island that Tamils had gathered to publicly mark Heroes' Day – or Maaveerar Naal .
Sri Lanka faced pressure to deliver a time bound benchmarked action plan on full implementation of its commitments in United Nations Human Rights Council resolution 30/1 on reconciliation, accountability and human rights during its Universal Periodic Review. Making interventions during the interactive dialogue of Sri Lanka’s Universal Periodic Review, UN member states including Macedonia, Austria, USA, UK, Germany, Canada, Finland and Denmark called on the Sri Lanka to “produce an unambiguous timeline” detailing “adequate resources” for the full implementation of the resolution commitments...
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."
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...
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.