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. The United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said five days after the disaster that almost two thirds of those killed were in the Tamil homeland of the North-East .
Today marks the 10th death anniversary of the late Tamil politician Joseph Pararajasingham, who was shot dead on Christmas Eve by armed government paramilitary men in 2005. To this day no one has been held accountable for his death.
Eelam Tamils across the world mark Tamil National Remembrance Day 2015. Photograph - Maaveerar Naal remembered over the site of the demolished LTTE cemetery in PTK. UPDATED 28 Nov 2015 10:15 GMT
Students at the University of Jaffna held a demonstration calling the Sri Lankan government to account, after a school student committed suicide over the ongoing Tamil political prisoners crisis. @uthayashalin Demonstrators called for justice for the death of 18-year-old Rajeswaran Senthuran , who took his own life in protest at the Sri Lankan government's failure to release Tamil political prisoners. Rajeswaran Senthuran, a student at Kokkuvil Hindu College jumped in front of a train at Kondavil railway station near Jaffna.
US Ambassador Samantha Power with Chief Minister of the Nothern Province C. V. Wigneswaran in Jaffna earlier today. (Photograph Tamil Guardian) UPDATED 18OO GMT
The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UN WGEID) announced that it had discovered a “secret underground detention cum torture center” located in Sri Lanka and called on the government to reveal the existence of other such centers if any existed. Speaking at a press conference concluding the UN team’s visit to Sri Lanka, Ariel Dulitzky, said that the center most probably would have been used from 2010 according to dates scribbled in blood on the walls. "We saw the dates that some people wrote on the walls. Clearly some of the latest dates were from 2010. We believe that it is an important discovery that should be investigated. Our understanding is that people were held there for very long periods of time," said the UN official. The UN investigator added that there was a high probability of other torture sites existing on the island. Mr Dulitzky stressed that the impunity in which disappearances had taken place in Sri Lanka had caused deep wounds in affected communities in Sri lanka.
Updated 12:00 GMT Shops and businesses in Jaffna are closed in support of hunger striking Tamil political detainees, who demand to be released (Photo: @uthayashalin) Several towns across the Tamil-dominated North-East have nearly completely shut down in a hartal in support of Tamil political prisoners. Shops, restaurants, banks, schools and other institutions, owned by Tamils and Muslims are closed in Batticaloa, Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Mullaitivu, Trincomalee and Vavuniya, locals told the Tamil Guardian on Friday. President Maithripala Sirisena was forced to cancel a visit to Batticaloa, where he was due to take part in the opening of a court complex. Some business owners in Jaffna town and Nelliyadi opened their shops after they were threatened by unidentified individuals, however later took part in the protest action, despite the threats.
Photograph TamilNet 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. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' (OHCHR) report into Sri Lanka's atrocities (OISL) noted that Sri Lanka's military killed the LTTE's political head before it officially withdrew from the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) in 2008. It noted that the attack was preceded by a military budget that "had reportedly risen by 40 percent and the Army had tripled in size from 100,000 to 300,000, with almost an additional 5,000 troops recruited per month between 2005 and 2008". The death of Thamilselvan, who became the LTTE's top peace negotiator following the death of Anton Balasingham, was mourned across the world, with over 25,000 Tamils attending his funeral. Five other LTTE officials - Lt. Col. Anpumani (Alex), Major Mikuthan, Major Neathaaji, Lt. Aadchiveal and Lt. Maavaikkumaran - were killed along side Brigadier Thamilselvan, during the SLAF attack. The aerial bombardment targeted the residence of members of the LTTE's political division.
The Northern Province today said the month of November will be dedicated to planting trees. The project, which will see 500,000 trees planted, was inaugurated by Chief Minister Wigneswaran. TNA MPs Sritharan, Saravanapavan and Siddharthan, the NPC's agricultural minister Aiyngaranesan and education minister Gurukularajah, NPC Councillor Ananthy Sasitharan and several other officials attended the event in Semmani, alongside pupils from local schools.
On October 30, 1995, over half a million Tamil men, women and children fled their homes in Jaffna, ahead of a major military offensive by the Sri Lankan government led by Chandrika Kumaratunga, in what became known as the Jaffna Exodus. The entire town of Jaffna, the largest Tamil population centre in Sri Lanka, 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 manage, made their way to the neck of the Jaffna peninsula, before making the dangerous boat journey on to Kilinochchi.