The Sri Lankan government has failed to respond to a United Nation Committee Against Torture (CAT) report, which called for information on the “establishment of a judicial mechanism” to investigate torture and information on the role of a former Criminal Investigations Department head, confirmed a UN official this week. Sri Lanka had until December 2017 to respond to the report, which was issued after the state was discussed at the 59th session of the UN CAT in 2016. However, the Tamil Guardian confirmed with the United Nations this week that Sri Lanka is yet to provide a response, though several months has passed since the deadline. Other states such as Armenia, Ecuador and Turkmenistan, which were also discussed at the 59 th session, have responded to the global body as required.
‘Sri Lanka’s Disappeared’, a documentary filmed and produced by British Tamil students to highlight the struggle of Tamil families of the disappeared protesting across the North-East was screened for the first time to a sell-out venue in London last month, with more screenings planned across the UK as well as around the world. The film by the British Tamil youth-led media platform, ’47 Roots’, centres the voices of the women protesting, who share their hopes and expectations, as well as the challenges they have faced in their search for justice. Further analysis from civil society and journalists in the North-East and the diaspora also features in the documentary. The premiere screening at King’s College London attracted a full house with tickets sold out days before the event.
In his report published ahead of the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said the " authorities have not yet demonstrated the capacity or willingness to address impunity for gross violations and abuses of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law ", arguing the failure to show major progress in emblematic cases strengthens the argument for " the establishment of a specialized court to deal with the most serious crimes committed by State actors in the context of conflict.....
A uniformed Sri Lankan officer motioned a death threat to Tamils in London today, who were protesting against Sri Lanka's celebration of Independence Day. The officer ran a finger across his neck motioning the slitting of one's neck, whilst he stood in front of the Sri Lankan High Commission in London, next to embassy officials.
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 .