Blinken, Yang, Sri Lanka and the global competition for democracy

Photograph: US and Chinese delegations in Alaska this month. Earlier this month the United States and China publicly clashed, capturing global attention as the first face-to-face talks between the two superpowers since the Biden administration came into power, descended into a chaotic opening day. The meeting in Alaska saw US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken exchange sharp words with Yang Jiechi, director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission Office of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). “As US and Chinese officials landed in Anchorage this week, the temperature was well below freezing...

British parliament debates 'UK commitments to reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka'

Following widespread criticism of the draft UN resolution, which is seen to fall short on accountability, the British parliament held a debate on the country's commitments to Sri Lanka on issues of “reconciliation, accountability and human rights”. The resolution follows a damning report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, which highlights the deteriorating human rights conditions in Sri Lanka and urges international action to prevent future violations. The call to action includes imposing sanctions on senior Sri Lankan officials implicated in war crimes; to consider referring Sri...

Indian High Commissioner visits North-East ahead of crucial UNHRC vote

Gopal Baglay, the Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, made a trip to the North-East, the traditional Tamil homeland, ahead of a crucial vote on Sri Lanka at the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council Session (UNHRC) in Geneva. During his visit, Mr. Baglay conferred with parliamentarians of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) in Jaffna on Saturday, 13th March. The High Commissioner reportedly "reiterated India's consistent support for development & meaningful devolution in a united SriLanka to promote #progress , #peace , #equality , #...

Pursuing Accountability for Mass Atrocities: What Can the UN Human Rights Council Do?

A panel event about the ongoing 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council and what can the human rights body do to deliver justice and accountability for the Tamil people took place on Tuesday. Titled “Pursuing Accountability for Mass Atrocities: What Can the UN Human Rights Council Do?”, the discussion was organised jointly by People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL) and the School of Public Policy, University College, London.

British police draw batons on Tamil protestors in London

UK Metropolitan Police officers clashed with hundreds of Tamil protestors today in Kenton North-West London, outside the home of a British Tamil woman who has been on hunger strike for 16 days.

Remembering Dominic Jeeva

Famed Eelam Tamil and Dalit writer Dominic Jeeva passed away on 28 January 2021. Jeeva was the editor of Mallikai, a monthly journal on Tamil literature for more than four decades, and courageously narrated intersectioning tales of oppression and marginalisation on the island. We share below some excerpts of his work and words as a tribute to the renowned writer.

'Tweaked' UN resolution on Sri Lanka still falls short on accountability

An updated draft United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution on Sri Lanka was released this morning, showing some changes to the language of the text but still falling short on Tamil demands for an international accountability mechanism. The updated draft resolution now calls on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to "collect" as well as "consolidate, analyse and preserve” evidence that could be used in future war crimes trials. However, it has failed to implement UN High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet's recommendations which call on member states to consider...

‘Tamil lives depend on it’ – NGOs call for international action on Sri Lanka

Following the presentation of the damning report on Sri Lanka by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet’s damning on report on Sri Lanka, several NGO’s highlighted the prevailing impunity and lack of accountability for human rights violations in Sri Lanka and the failed domestic mechanisms; urging the council to take steps to refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and impose sanctions on known perpetrators. Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada Ms Harini Sivalingam speaking on behalf of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, highlighted the “deliberate failures” of the...

Through the Fire: Families of Disappeared March for Justice in Kilinochchi

Tamil families of the disappeared marched through Kilinochchi today, calling for justice for their forcibly disappeared family members, and for Sri Lanka to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The protesters marched bearing ‘thee-chatti’ (fire-pot) - clay pots containing live coals - on their heads, performing a traditional Tamil practice of penance or vow-fulfilment. The march marked 4 years since families of the disappeared began continuous roadside protests across the North-East, demanding the whereabouts of their family members, the majority of whom had been handed over to the Sri Lankan Army at the end of the armed conflict in May 2009. "We have been fighting non-stop for four years, and we have been waiting for our children to return for twelve years. Still there is no justice," one protester said. "That is why we carry black flags."

Draft UN resolution on Sri Lanka calls for war crimes evidence collection but falls short on accountability

A draft United Nations Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka has called on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights “to consolidate, analyse and preserve” evidence that could be used in future war crimes trials, as it noted the lack of accountability for mass atrocities through domestic mechanisms and called for enhanced “monitoring and reporting on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka”. The resolution, made public this morning, “notes the persistent lack of accountability through domestic mechanisms” and slams Sri Lanka’s newly announced domestic Commission of Inquiry...