Exam excellence defies oppression

Facing the pervasive climate of fear and militarisation with resilience and defiance, Tamil students in the North-East have exceled at recent national exams. Topping the national GCE mathematics examination in Sri Lanka, Kamalavasan, from Uduppitti American Mission College, achieved 3 As (3.1167 z points). The second highest grade nationally in Science was achieved by another Tamil student - Sanjayan. Their success has been praised by the Tamil nation the world over, from their home towns, to their peers across the diaspora. "To have achieved these grades is simply incredible", said Sophie...

Sixth anniversary of 'Trinco 5' killings

Photograph Tamilnet Six years have now passed since the execution of five Tamil students by Sri Lankan Security forces, while they spent an afternoon on the beach in Trincomalee. As of yet, no thorough investigation has been conducted into the murders and no-one has been arrested. The struggle for justice however, has not been given up on. Earlier this month, Amnesty International launched a “ Write-for-Rights ” campaign, highlighting the case of the “Trinco 5” and called for genuine investigations into this and the countless other human rights violations on the island. See the video below to...

London universities host 'Breaking the Silence 2011'

Students from universities across London held exhibitions at their campuses, raising awareness of the ongoing genocide of the Tamil nation. Displays of posters, banners and painting attracted hundreds of students throughout the awareness week, signing petitions calling for an investigation into war crimes and a boycott of the Sri Lankan cricket team. See our posts below: Imperial's Tamil society launch 2011's 'Breaking the Silence' City University hosts ‘Breaking the Silence’ ‘Breaking the Silence’ comes to King’s College London UCL and QMUL round up ‘Breaking the Silence’ London universities...

Tamils protest in Jaffna against disappearances

Relatives of missing hold up pictures (Pictures: TamilNet) Relatives of people that had disappeared during and after the war in Vanni staged a protest in Jaffna on Human Rights Day on Friday. Hundreds of soldiers and policemen across the peninsula harassed civilians in an attempt to intimidate and block the protest from going ahead, TamilNet reported. The protest is the latest sign of simmering anger and injustice felt by Tamils in the North-East. However, the growing defiance and peaceful protests staged by the Tamil people, continue to be repressed by the Sri Lankan government and ignored by the Sinhala press.

Eelam nation remembers

Eelam Tamils in Switzerland observed Remembrance Day on November 27th. Crowds stand underneath rows of 'kaarthikai poo' (Gloriosa lily), consisting of red and yellow balloons.

Armitage and Solheim on Sri Lanka's conduct, war crimes and the Tamil question

Expressing dismay at the “ chauvinistic attitude ” of the Sri Lankan state, former US Deputy Secretary of State said on Friday the international community was united in its criticism of Sri Lanka’s conduct in the north and east and that President Mahinda Rajapaksa would not be welcomed internationally unless conditions there improved. Speaking alongside Mr. Armitage at the launch of the Norwegian evaluation of Oslo’s peace process in Sri Lanka, and echoing his message, Norwegian minister for Environment and International Development, and former peace envoy, Erik Solheim also said the question of accountability for the mass killings of civilians in last phase of the war “will not go away ”, and that “ the only way the Sri Lankan state can reduce the impact of this is to reach out to Tamils and find a way of resolving the Tamil issue .” They were speaking in Oslo at the formal launch of the evaluation report on Norway’s protracted peace role in Sri Lanka, at which the question of Sri Lanka’s future was also discussed. Mr Armitage told the audience, “ I don’t think anyone disagrees that the Tamil people have been mistreated and are continuing to lack – across the board – fundamental freedoms, dignity , etc,” “Much to my dismay the government of Sri Lanka is still caught up in a chauvinistic attitude ,” “ I don’t think they’ve been far sighted enough in their approach to the north and east. There has been a somewhat lessening of violence there, somewhat lessening of the abductions and things of this nature, but not sufficient .” “From the US point of view we are quite dismayed at the lack of progress in human freedoms, human rights , etc, and I made that view known [to President Rajapaksa ].” “But what to do about it is the question." "[Firstly] the international community is generally coalesced around the fact that the north and the east particularly need protections , and the government of Sri Lanka has to move in that direction. … That is the united message the international community gives .

TNA delegation in Washington

A delegation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) comprising parliamentarians (l-r) Suresh Premachandran, M.A. Sumanthiran, Rajavarothayam Sampanthan and Maavai Senathirajah held two days of talks with US State Department officials and US Congresspersons this week. Photo TamilNet.

Australian detention centre suicide sparks outrage

A 27-year old Tamil man died last night after committing suicide in Sydney's Villawood detention centre, drawing the ire of many refugee advocacy groups who blame the Australian immigration system. The man was deemed to be a genuine refugee and was awaiting security clearance from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). He had been held in detention by Australian authorities for over 2 years after fleeing Sri Lanka, first at Christmas Island before being transferred to Villawood. Australia's Immigration Minister Chris Bowen confirmed that the man had recently requested to leave the centre to visit friends for the Hindu festival of Deepavali. The request was denied yesterday. The young man was found dead in his room at approximately 3am after a suspected overdose of sleeping tablets. It marks the sixth suicide of a refugee in Australian detention since last year, with four of them having occured at Villawood. The death has led to anger from many refugee advocacy groups who blame government policies of mandatory detention of having a profound detrimental effect on the lives of genuine refugees. Ian Rintoul, spokesman for Refugee Action Coalition told reporters, "How many more lives will it take before the government acts to end mandatory detention? "How absolutely tragic, but how telling, that an accepted refugee could feel despair enough to take their own life in a detention centre."

'Liam Fox is gone, Sri Lanka’s lost a friend'

From UK media on the resignation Friday of UK Defence Secretary Liam Fox: " Even though [Dr. Fox] has resigned, there are questions yet to be answered about his links to the Sri Lankan government . We have to make sure this sort of thing doesn’t happen again." - Emma Reynolds MP (Labour) "For Britain's Defence Secretary to have repeatedly visited Sri Lanka, at the regime's expense, and in the company of Werritty, a known lobbyist, sends completely the wrong signal about the need to investigate atrocities which took place there." - Alan Keenan , International Crisis Group See their comments to...

Fox resigns, but the questions remain

Following days of revelations, the British defence secretary Liam Fox resigned, admitting he had allowed the line between personal and government interests to "become blurred". Questions regarding the defence and military support extended to the Sri Lankan government during the Fox-Werritty era remain unanswered however.