13 years today - Thousands of British Tamils occupy Parliament Square as Sri Lanka shells No Fire Zone

13 years ago today, thousands of British Tamils continuously occupied Parliament Square in London for 72 days as Sri Lanka intensifed its military offensive which led to the massacre of tens of thousands of Tamils in Mullivaikkal. An unprecedented number of British Tamils staged a sit in protest at Parliament Square following two weeks of of protests outside the Houses of Parliament to demand international action to end the Sri Lankan government's war efforts which targetted civilians in the so-called 'No Fire Zones'. Below is an extract from an eyewitness account: The occupation itself...

‘Protesting is not new to us… it’s new to them’ – A Tamil student reflects on the protest in Jaffna

As anti-government protests engulfed the south of Sri Lanka this week, Tamil students at the University of Jaffna have expressed their frustrations at how Sinhalese students had failed to join them at previous protests as they joined a rally through the Northern city on Monday. “Until now, the community in question have been hibernating,” said one Jaffna University student, speaking on the growing number of Sinhala students at the campus. “Only now, when their people have been submerged in problems, have they woken up, taking strategic action by joining us on the streets.” Though protests and...

Turmoil in Sri Lanka as entire cabinet resigns except Prime Minister Rajapaksa

Sri Lanka has been thrown into turmoil as all of the government’s cabinet ministers tender their resignation apart from Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, in the wake of protests as the island plunges into deepening political and economic crises.

Curfew in Sri Lanka as anti-government protests rock capital Colombo

A curfew has been imposed across parts of Colombo as the military is called to squash anti-government protests. Sri Lanka is currently facing its worst economic crisis in decades with routine power outages and shortages of essential items impacting the whole island. Today the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) announced that it would impose a 13-hour power outage across many parts of the island, as diesel fuel ran out, severely impacting power generation across many plants. However, a list released by the Public Utilities Commission detailed 191 areas across the country where power cuts would not be implemented, the President's House being one of them.

‘Oppress us with one hand and plead for our money with the other’ - Tamil diaspora reacts Rajapaksa's investment offer

As Sri Lanka’s president claimed to welcome the global Tamil diaspora to invest in the cash-stricken country, many across the world remain wary - particularly as corruption, human rights abuses and repression of the Tamil people continues on the island. "This is all just a farce," said Theepan*, a Tamil rights activist based in Switzerland. “After forcing us out of our homeland, torturing, raping and killing us, now the Sri Lankan state needs our help."

As power cuts hit Sri Lanka, a music festival lights up Colombo and ignites local anger

In the midst of Sri Lanka’s worst financial crisis in living memory, a massive music festival with international acts, pyrotechnics and thousands of people was held in Colombo on Saturday, even as locals endured power cuts and hours-long queues for basic supplies.

The bombing of hospitals – A war crime

As reports of a Russian airstrike on a hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine begin to surface, we take a look at what international law states on the targeting of hospitals and on when they have been hit in Sri Lanka.

In Pictures - Tamil women mark International Women’s Day with protests across island

Protests were held in Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya and Colombo today, as International Women’s Day was marked across the island with Tamil women leading demonstrations.

Russia and Belarus rush to Sri Lanka’s defence at UN Human Rights Council

As the United Nations Human Rights Council continued to discuss Sri Lanka today, several member states including the United States and Britain expressed “concerns regarding the continued lack of progress on accountability” for mass atrocities on the island. Whilst many states expressed concern at the situation in Sri Lanka, Colombo did however have some familiar defenders at the global body – including Russia and Belarus. Both states are currently under international scrutiny and widespread sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine. Russia however claimed that Sri Lanka had made “considerable...

What are thermobaric and cluster bombs? A look at their use by the Sri Lankan army

As Russia continues its offensive in Ukraine, it has been accused of launching deadly types of weaponry during its assault – thermobaric and cluster bombs. Both types of weaponry have been used around the world before, including in Sri Lanka. We look back at their deployment by the Sri Lankan military.