British lawmakers join Tamils in celebration of Pongal in Parliament

British parliamentarians from across the political spectrum joined the British Tamil community to celebrate the Tamil harvest festival of Thai Pongal, at events held at the Houses of Parliament this week. Over two days of celebrations, parliamentarians joined local Tamils in traditional celebrations involving musical performances, speeches and generous servings of sweet pongal. Several lawmakers highlighted the invaluable contribution that the Tamil community has made to life in the United Kingdom, as they too dressed in tradiaiotnal Tamil outfits and took part in festivities. “We have come...

Sri Lanka to release soldier from prison for massacre of Tamils

The Sri Lankan government is reportedly set to release a soldier who was sentenced to death over the massacre of eight Tamil civilians, according to an opposition parliamentarian who applauded the move. “Now we have got information that the government has taken measures to release 34 members of the intelligence and Sunil Ratnayake, as mentioned during the Gotabaya Rajapaksa election campaign,” said UNP MP Ajith Perera. “That is how a leader who does what they say works,” continued Perera. "Therefore I would like to extend my gratitude to president Gotabaya Rajapakse and Minister of Justice...

Brother, when the army caught me, I was only 17 years old.

S. Mahendran Prison Number Y-13139 “G” Ward, New Magazine Prison, Borella Colombo-09. September 16, 2007 Brother, even when I was 17, when I used to eat breakfast, I made rice balls out of the old rice, curd, sugar, salt and banana. Brother, when the army caught me, I was only 17 years old. I’ve been in prison for 14 years now. How many people have come here and gone? Nothing at all has changed. When I turned 19 I got sentenced a life sentence and 70 years in prison. When they sentenced me, I cried, Brother. Even when my mother tried to console me, I couldn’t bear it. She said, “you’re a man...

Tamil political prisoner arrested as teenager dies after 26 years imprisonment

The longest serving Tamil political prisoner who was arrested at the age of 17 in 1993 has died. Sellapillai Mahendran was arrested during a round-up in Batticaloa on September 27, 1993. Two years later, he was sentenced to 70 years in prison and life imprisonment based on a confession produced following a month of torture in detention. After appealing the conviction at Sri Lanka's Supreme Court, the 70-year sentence was reduced to 10 years but the life sentence was upheld. While some sources claim that his 1995 conviction was in connection with the alleged killing of 600 police officers in the East - an incident which took place three years prior when Mahendran was aged just 14 - his family said that they were never told the reason for his conviction.

Still searching for justice - 14 years on from Trinco 5 killings

On this day 14 years ago, 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. The case – known as the 'Trinco 5' – remains one of the highest profile killings in Sri Lanka to receive international attention, listed in 2014 by the then UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' report on the island as one of four ‘emblematic cases’ of the government's failure to ensure accountability and having been raised repeatedly in international forums.

Mullivaikkal survivor and daughter of disappeared achieves district top rank in A Level Commerce

A young Tamil woman whose family have been searching for their disappeared father since May 2009 has achieved top rank in the Mullaitivu district in this year’s GCE A Level Commerce results. Yalini Ravichchandran whose father disappeared in the final phases of the armed conflict found out she had obtained the highest marks in the district earlier this week when A Level results were released.

1000 days, how many more?

On February 20 2017, Tamil families of the disappeared started their roadside protest across the North-East, starting off in Kilinochchi, followed by Vavuniya, Trincomalee, Mullaitivu and Maruthankerny. Families of the disappeared marking 1000 days of their protest in Vavuniya It has now been over 1000 days since the beginning of their roadside protest but this has been preceded by decades of struggle and suffering. Tamil families have been determined to find out the truth about their loved ones despite facing increasing intimidation and surveillance by the Sri Lankan military and police. The...

Sri Lankan police protect sand miners and threaten protesting priest and villagers

Sri Lankan police threatened residents of a Mannar village including the local priest when they protested against Sinhalese people illegally extracting sand from the village. Residents of Thottaveli have for several years complained of illegal sand mining causing environmental damage to the area and leaving villages prone to flooding and soil erosion.

Remembering Bala Anna

Today marks 13 years since the passing of the chief negotiator and political strategist of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Anton Balasingham. Balasingham, or as he was fondly known among Tamils - Bala Anna, was widely respected and adored by the nation. His charismatic addresses in venues around the world drew tens of thousands, as he provided political analysis with sharp wit. Leading LTTE delegations through numerous negotiations, Bala Anna eloquently and forcefully articulated the rights of the nation. His intellectual prowess and political acumen earned him respect from all sides of the negotiating table. He remains an extraordinary theoretician and a formidable figure within the Tamil struggle. Bala anna's special relationship with the Tamil Guardian is a bond that we remain deeply proud of to this day.

One month of Gotabaya - abductions, assaults and intimidation

Just weeks into his tenure, journalists, activists and human rights defenders are increasingly fearful of Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government following incidents of journalist harassment; intimidation, interrogations and abductions across the island. Colombo has denied reports linked to many of these incidents, with government spokesperson Ramesh Pathirana denying state involvement in any intimidation of media personnel. "There is no reason for the government to carry out such activities,” he said. “These are baseless allegations.” Earlier today Rajapaksa gave assurances of...