Beneath the Ashes: Remembering Black July and the Violence Before 

This year marks 36 years since the Black July pogroms. The brutal state-sponsored violence by Sinhala mobs lasted a week and saw the death of at least 3,000 Tamils, destruction of 5,000 shops, and displacement of over 150,000 Tamils. At least 500 Tamil women were raped and many families were burned alive. It also prompted the first large exodus of Tamils: 500,000 fled the island, giving seed to a global Tamil diaspora. The Black July pogrom carried all the hallmarks of genocide: most notably, mobs were armed with voter registration lists distinguishing Tamils as targets of violence. In this...

Tamil Survivors of Genocide Deserve Justice in their Lifetime

Twenty-nine years ago, Vellupillai Viyazhamma’s son, V. Ranjan, was forcibly disappeared. Viyazhamma appeared before multiple commissions and inquiries over the years, refreshing her trauma each time in a desperate attempt to find answers to her endless question — what happened to my son? Last week, Viyazhamma passed away in Keppapilavu. At least twenty-one mothers, including Viyazhamma, have died in their pursuit to learn the truth about their disappeared loved ones. Earlier this month, the Sri Lankan military claimed it did not receive any surrendering Tamil fighters during the final stages...

‘Fighting hatred with hatred’ in Sri Lanka – The Economist

Sri Lanka has responded to the Easter Sunday attacks by “terrorising Muslims” said the Economist this week, stating that Sri Lankan leaders “stand disgraced”. “After decades of civil war (which pitted the ethnically Sinhalese, Buddhist majority against largely Hindu Tamils), one might expect Sri Lankans to be wary of demonising minorities,” the Economist said. “Alas, many are doing just that. Since the bombings in April, police have not just randomly arrested Muslims, who are about 10% of the population, but responded lackadaisically to repeated mob attacks against Muslims and Muslim-owned...

Reflections from Mullivaikkal: Memories live on

As part of a series marking the atrocities of Mullivaikkal,​ we invited activists, journalists, and writers from around the world to share their experiences and reflections a decade on.

Reflections from Mullivaikkal: From the Ashes

As part of a series marking the atrocities of Mullivaikkal,​ we invited activists, journalists, and writers from around the world to share their experiences and reflections a decade on.

May 18 Declaration - Mullivaikal

The Mullivaikal Remembrance Public Forum, the collective responsible for organising remembrance activities in the North-East on the tenth anniversary of the Tamil genocide made a declaration on May 18, calling for the continued unity of the Tamil nation to struggle for justice and self-determination. This year marks the tenth year since the Mullivaikal massacre in May, 2009. The unitary Sri Lanka state that is constructed on Sinhala-Buddhist ideology perpetrated structural genocide against the Tamils phase by phase since its independence in 1948, and this still continues in the post-...

‘Sri Lanka, the top holiday destination for 2019, is polluted by torture and lies’

Sri Lanka, the country that the Lonely Planet declared as the top destination of 2019, is a “holiday paradise is polluted by torture and lies,” wrote Freedom from Torture's policy and advocacy director Steve Crawshaw in The Independent last week. “This failure to confront, let alone prosecute, past crimes provides the climate in which torture and other abuses continue today,” said Crawshaw. “Torture survivors who have received rehabilitation treatment from Freedom from Torture tell us repeatedly of the importance of seeing those who have committed torture brought to account.” “Our new report...

‘Why has Sri Lanka’s Transitional Justice process failed to deliver?’

The Sri Lankan government has made “empty promises” on transitional justice and its willingness to tackle impunity, which is “evidenced by a litany of failures”, write Yasmin Sooka and Frances Harrison for the London School of Economics’ South Asia blog this week.

Signs of Resistance

The history of the Tamil people in the island of Sri Lanka after Western colonisation is a history of oppression by the chauvinist Sinhala-Buddhist state. Because of strength and resilience, the Tamil people acted against this oppression with resistance. This goes from peaceful protest for equal rights to a militant fight for a separate state. Tens of thousands of Tamil civilians and combatants lost their lives throughout the armed conflict.

‘UK Shredding Sri Lankan skeletons in the closet’

Photograph: A UK mercenary pictured training Sri Lankan soldiers in the 1980s. JDS Lanka Britain’s Foreign Office plans to shred dozens more files about its relationship with Sri Lanka, in addition to the hundreds of diplomatic it has already destroyed, writes Phil Miller in JDS Lanka this week. “I found, from British air force files that had survived the shredder, that a senior British intelligence officer made two visits to Sri Lanka in 1979 to advise how to deal with the Tamil militancy,” writes Miller. “In 1980, a British special forces training team visited Sri Lanka to help set up an army commando unit.”

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