NPC member Ravikaran scatters flowers at Nandikadal lagoon at sunrise Nine years ago, the Eelam Tamil nation faced the largest massacre of its people by Sri Lankan state forces across the decades of genocide. May 18 has come to be marked as 'Tamil Genocide Day' by Eelam Tamils across the North-East and around the world. Today, we at the Tamil Guardian stand with the Tamil people in remembering the tens of thousands massacred during the final stages of the armed conflict and reiterate the Tamil people's demand for justice.
The leader of the British opposition Jeremy Corbyn committed to including fundamental Tamil issues in any future election manifesto whilst speaking at a Tamil genocide memorial event, organised by Tamils for Labour. The remembrance event, which took place on Wednesday at the Houses of Parliament, was chaired by Sen Kandiah of Tamils for Labour and Siobhain McDonagh MP. Speaking at the Mullivaikkal massacre remembrance event Mr Corbyn said, “If there isn’t truth, justice, reconciliation. There isn’t of the rights of people (Tamil) to determine their own future then problems are being laid...
Photograph: In this image released by the military, a Tamil man waves a white cloth in the air as he is surrounded by Sri Lankan soldiers in Mullivaikkal on May 17th 2009. Marking 9 years since the Sri Lankan military onslaught that massacred tens of thousands of Tamils, we revisit the final days leading up to the 18 th of May 2009 – a date remembered around the world as ‘Tamil Genocide Day’. The total number of Tamil civilians killed during the final months is widely contested. After providing an initial death toll of 40,000, the UN found evidence suggesting that 70,000 were killed. Local census records indicate that at least 146,679 people are unaccounted for and presumed to have been killed during the Sri Lankan military offensive.
An attendant on a North-bound train sexually harassed a Tamil woman and racially abused, and attempted to physically attack, male Tamil passengers who tried to intervene. The attendant on Train 4077 from Mount Lavinia to Chunnakam on Monday moved seats behind the woman and groped her. The woman moved seats to which the attendant followed her. Other passengers intervened when the woman shouted, following which the attendant became more aggressive and racially abusive towards the male Tamil passengers.
Villagers from Iranaitivu staged a massive protest this week, sailing to their island which is occupied by the Sri Lankan military and marching to their homes, refusing to leave until they are guaranteed their land will be returned to them. In a striking and daring demonstration on Monday some 300 Tamils sailed to the island, which has been occupied by the Sri Lankan navy for years. Villagers marched from their protest site on the Kilinochchi district mainland to the coastline where their fishing boats had docked.
A ground-breaking report from the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) has identified 56 individuals in Sri Lanka’s notorious Special Task Force (STF) who should not be deployed as UN peacekeepers, including an officer currently serving in Africa accused of involvement in extrajudicial killings. The report is “based primarily on the testimony of Sinhalese security force witnesses” many of whom were involved in abductions themselves. The witnesses have supplied ITJP with names of commanding officers, alongside photographs, map coordinates and “detailed sketches of torture sites,” said the organisation. Former Tamil paramilitaries allied to the Karuna, Iniyabharathy and Pilliyan factions who worked alongside Sri Lankan security forces also provided testimony and evidence. It details how STF officers abducted, tortured and executed Tamils, conducted false flag operations to deceive ceasefire monitors and committed sexual violence. One STF troop described the abductions his team carried out in Colombo as “like a horror film”. Others details horrific incidents of deliberating making Tamil civilians dig in heavily mined areas knowing that they would be killed or eating a meal and drinking arrack whilst they burnt bodies of Tamil victims.
The Sri Lankan Army released 683 acres of land from the Vali North high security zone after 28 years of occupation, although of the three village divisions released no village has been returned in its entirety and army camps remain dotted among the released homes. Those who were able to return, returned to find their old homes and infrastructure completely demolished.
The Sri Lankan government has failed to respond to a United Nation Committee Against Torture (CAT) report, which called for information on the “establishment of a judicial mechanism” to investigate torture and information on the role of a former Criminal Investigations Department head, confirmed a UN official this week. Sri Lanka had until December 2017 to respond to the report, which was issued after the state was discussed at the 59th session of the UN CAT in 2016. However, the Tamil Guardian confirmed with the United Nations this week that Sri Lanka is yet to provide a response, though several months has passed since the deadline. Other states such as Armenia, Ecuador and Turkmenistan, which were also discussed at the 59 th session, have responded to the global body as required.
‘Sri Lanka’s Disappeared’, a documentary filmed and produced by British Tamil students to highlight the struggle of Tamil families of the disappeared protesting across the North-East was screened for the first time to a sell-out venue in London last month, with more screenings planned across the UK as well as around the world. The film by the British Tamil youth-led media platform, ’47 Roots’, centres the voices of the women protesting, who share their hopes and expectations, as well as the challenges they have faced in their search for justice. Further analysis from civil society and journalists in the North-East and the diaspora also features in the documentary. The premiere screening at King’s College London attracted a full house with tickets sold out days before the event.
In his report published ahead of the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said the " authorities have not yet demonstrated the capacity or willingness to address impunity for gross violations and abuses of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law ", arguing the failure to show major progress in emblematic cases strengthens the argument for " the establishment of a specialized court to deal with the most serious crimes committed by State actors in the context of conflict.....