Desmond Tutu and the Tamil liberation struggle

Last month, anti-apartheid leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu passed away aged 90. We take a look at his association with the Tamil liberation struggle and calls for justice, equality and accountability in Sri Lanka.

Fear across Tamil diaspora after Sri Lankan military demands approval before marriage

Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence has declared that all marriages between Sri Lankan citizens and foreigners will now require military approval, sparking fears across the more than million-strong Tamil diaspora over its ties to the homeland. The new law, which came into effect from January 1, 2022, requires all foreign nationals who are seeking to marry Sri Lankan citizens to obtain a “Security Clearance Report”. An in-depth health declaration must also be submitted to the military, with details ranging from HIV status to any history of kidney disease. The Sri Lankan military insists that the new measures are for “national security” purposes.

Remembering Major Sothiya

Today marks 32 years since the passing of Major Sothiya, the commander of the LTTE's first female unit. Maria Vasanthi Michael, known by her nomme de guerre ‘Sothiya’, was born on 20 September 1963. She first joined the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 1984. A formidable fighter, Sothiya took part in many battles, as female cadres began to take part in combat operations from 1986 onwards. Extracts from Adele Balasingham’s ‘Women Fighters of Liberation Tigers’ below document some of Sothiya’s achievements on the battlefield. “On one occasion the Sri Lankan army penetrated between two...

Forests, another frontier of Tamil resistance

The Sri Lankan military has undertaken massive deforestation of parts of the Tamil homeland since the end of the armed conflict. Sharing images from Google Earth on Facebook, Kilinochchi journalist M. Thamilselvan illustrated the loss of forest cover surrounding army camps on the east side of the A9 road between Mankulam and Murikandy in the Mullaitivu district.

Sri Lanka’s Indo-phobia and Gammanpila’s U-turn - A closer look at the Trinco oil deal

The Sri Lankan government has signed a long-awaited agreement with India that will allow New Delhi to restore at least 75 oil tanks in the eastern city of Trincomalee this week. Sri Lanka’s energy minister Udaya Gammanpila “claimed that 85 of 99 tanks will be under Sri Lankan control which were under Indian control”. A closer look at the deal, however, reveals a slightly different picture.

Still searching for justice - 16 years on from Trinco 5 killings

This week marks 16 years since five Tamil students were summarily executed by Sri Lanka's Special Task Force, whilst they spent an afternoon on the beach in Trincomalee. To date no one has been held accountable for the murder.

2021 - A year of defiance

As 2021 draws to a close, Tamil Guardian reflects on some of the most significant moments across this past year. This year started off with an attempt by Sri Lanka's security forces to destroy a Mullaivaikkal monument held at Jaffna University. Tamils responded by launching large-scale protests, sit-ins and a hartal across the North-East despite the continued surveillance, intimidation, and threats of violence by Sri Lanka's security forces. The month was marked with unprecedented unity across the North-East as major Tamil political leaders, Tamil civil society actors and Tamil survivor...

Remembering the waves - 17 years on from the tsunami

On December 26th, 2004, over 35,000 people perished during the catastrophic tsunami that hit the coasts of the North-East and South of the island of Sri Lanka.

Revisiting the Mirusuvil massacre

This week marked 21 years since the Mirusuvil massacre, where Sri Lankan soldiers murdered eight Tamil civilians in Jaffna, including three children, before dumping their bodies in a mass grave. Earlier this month, the US State Department announced that Sunil Rathnayake, one of the soldiers involved in the massacre, would be barred from entry to the United States over his role in the killings.

University of Colombo graduates snub Rajapaksa backed monk

During a graduation ceremony, students at the University of Colombo refused to accept their degree certificates from the newly appointed University Chancellor, and Rajapaksa-aligned, Buddhist monk Muruththettuwe Ananda. The act of protest follows a statement by the University of Colombo’s Science Teachers’ Association (UCSTA) expressing their opposition to Ananda's appointment as Chancellor. The UCSTA highlighted that “even though the Chancellor’s role is mostly ceremonial, the person who holds the position ideally should have a track record of flawless professional and personal integrity,...

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