Today marks the 8 years since the murder of five Tamil students, committed by Sri Lanka's Special Task Force, whilst they spent an afternoon on the beach in Trincomalee.
56 Tamil organisations from across the world have rejected a domestic Sri Lankan inquiry into human rights abuses and called for an international investigation into genocide, in a joint New Year message. The signatories to the statement, which span across 10 different countries, jointly noted there was an overwhelming mandate for an international investigation expressed in the recent Northern Provincial Council elections, and fully committed themselves to working towards an independent investigation into the crime of genocide. The statement, signed by many youth organisations and political parties, is released as talk of a South African style ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’ have emerged from the island. Notably, organisations from South Africa, Malaysia, Australia, UK, India, Canada, USA, Mauritius, New Zealand, Sweden all jointly signed the statement.
Published 22:39 GMT The Sri Lankan government's heightened repression of any acts of remembrance commemorating fallen LTTE cadre, in the run up to this year's Maaveerar Naal (Heroes' Day) on November 27th, has been met with Tamil defiance. The Sri Lankan government and military's clamp down on remembrance events in the run up to Maaveerar Naal this year has been particularly severe, coming only days after Sri Lanka received a battering in the international spotlight over its treatment of Tamils, and weeks after prolific and undiminished Tamil nationalism was evidenced at the polls. The head...
As part of our series - 'Tamil Nadu activists speak out' - on the growing activism in Tamil Nadu on the Eelam Tamil issue, Tamil Guardian caught up with leading activists across the state. Students from Loyola College started a hunger strike calling for a international independent investigation into genocide in March 2013, in a move that sparked mass student protests across Tamil Nadu. Interview with Loyola College Students (12 November 2013) The Tamil Youth and Student Federation is an organisation that has campaigned against the genocide of Eelam Tamils and also sought to tackle issues...
Last updated 00:49 GMT 16 Nov 2013 Cameron meets Uthayan journalists in Jaffna British Prime Minister David Cameron made a historic visit to Jaffna on Friday, during which he met with journalists and staff at the Uthayan newspaper, displaced people at a refugee camp and Tamil political leaders. Mr. Cameron pointedly left the much vaunted Commonwealth summit just after it was officially launched to travel to Jaffna, having arrived in Colombo the previous night from his visit to India. He is the first foreign leader since 1948 to visit Jaffna, once Sri Lanka’s second wealthiest city after Colombo, before decades of armed conflict and discriminatory state policies. Jaffna has been under government control since 1995. The symbolic move boosted Tamil morale in a city gripped by an all pervasive military presence which prevents many from resettling in their army-occupied homes and terrorises political, civil society and media activity. It also infuriated the Sri Lankan government, particularly his planned visit to the Uthayan, press reports said. Mr. Cameron flew to Jaffna by military plane, after the Sri Lankan government cancelled all flights to the north earlier this week, to be confronted by what he later described as "incredibly powerful" images. The first of these came at the outset of his visit, when Mr. Cameron's vehicle and those of accompanying British journalists were mobbed by relatives of people ‘disappeared’ by Sri Lankan security forces in Jaffna, desperate to seek his help in locating the missing. Mr. Cameron had been meet in the library with Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, accompanied by Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R. Sampanthan and TNA parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran. Police struggled to hold back hundreds of people waiting for the Premier to arrive, and as his convoy left the library, they broke through the cordon to thrust pictures of their loved ones against vehicle windows, Britain’s ITV reported . Others pressed photographs and petitions into the hands of the foreign journalists. See below a video of the chaotic scenes taken by The Telegraph journalists from inside their vehicle. Saro Sripavan, mother of three, told The Hindu she has been looking for her husband for seven years now. “He was working as manager in a cooperative society and went missing in 2006. Till date, I have no information about him,” she said, looking at his photograph. “Every time someone important comes to Jaffna, we all assemble and try to highlight our concern, but ultimately I know only I have to look for my father,” said her son Sripavan Daneesh, who works as a sales executive. Speaking to Tamil Guardian later in the evening, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam of the Tamil National Peoples Front (TNPF), reflected on what he had seen at the protest through out the day. "They [relatives of the disappeared] have lost it all and have nothing else left to lose," said Mr. Ponnambalam, "but they still hope, because that is all that they can do and t hat is what drew them out in such numbers, despite the security forces." He explained, "the agony and pain that the parents, children and relatives of the disappeared and those surrendered does not end here. What we saw today was a transcendental agony which forms part of their daily existence." Describing the moment when hundreds of protesters rushed forwards and broke through the police blockade, Mr Ponnambalam said, "even the security forces could not contain their pain." "Despite so many broken promises by the world and its leaders, these people still come for these protests hoping that one day they will be able to hear about their loved ones whether dead or alive." Mr. Cameron was also confronted by a state-sponsored demonstration condemning international pressure over Sri Lanka’s war crimes. (See the BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson’s revealing report here ).
One of the largest corporate donors to Britain's Conservative Party, and a key sponsor of the Commonwealth business event in Colombo this week, has been shown to have close links to the family of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. According to Corporate Watch , Hastings Trading e Serviços Lda, a company owned by the Lyca Group, bought a 95% share in a dormant firm registered with Rajapaksa's nephew, Himal Lalindra Hettiarachchi as reported by the Sunday Leader in 2009. The company went on to receive a key license to operate cutting-edge wireless broadband frequencies in Sri Lanka, forcing the state-owned telecoms company to merge. Lycamobile has donated over £530,000 to the Conservative Party since 2007, becoming one of its largest corporate donors. The firm is also one of the Gold Sponsors of the Commonwealth Business Forum, currently underway on the sidelines of the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka. Deals worth more than $2bn are expected to be sealed during the forum, according to the Colombo government.
Tamil students across UK universities began getting ready for the ‘Breaking the Silence’ genocide campaign this week, as the British Prime Minister is set to attend the Commonwealth leaders' meet in Sri Lanka. The campaign, which has now become an annual event that takes place each November in a number of UK universities was set up to 'break the silence' on genocide of Tamils in the North-East after the events of 2009.