'Refugees are not in the same 'boat''

Harini Sivalingam, lawyer, community activist and PhD candidate at York University, wrote about the arrival of the Ocean Lady and Sun Sea in Canada ten years ago, carrying Tamil refugees who "fled horrors in their homeland in search of safety, security and stability." "Immediately upon arrival, these refugees were detained, locked up, and interrogated, many of them for lengthy periods of time. In the case of the MV Sun Sea (which arrived carrying 492 Tamil men, women, and children 10 months later in August 2010), families were separated, and children were detained." "In contravention of...

'Gotabaya may escape accountability by running for Sri Lankan president'

Sri Lanka’s former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa may evade accountability for war crimes if he wins next month’s presidential elections, warned Beth Van Schaack, stating that plaintiffs pursuing cases against him in the USA are “racing against time”. Van Schaack, the former Leah Kaplan Visiting Professor of Human Rights at Stanford Law School and former Deputy to the Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues in the Office of Global Criminal Justice at the US State Department, went on to state, “Should Gotabaya prevail in the election next month, justice may again be delayed for those...

'Sri Lanka still not safe for Tamils'

Chris Slee, a refugee rights activist in Melbourne and a founding member of the Tamil Refugee Council, wrote on how Sri Lanka continues to be an island where Tamils are under threat as the Australian government looks to deport a family of four this week. See extracts reproduced below. Read the full piece on Green Left here . On September 18 the Federal Court will hear an appeal by a Tamil family against their impending deportation from Australia to Sri Lanka. The family fears being sent back to Sri Lanka, because of their traumatic experiences there (Priya saw her fiancé burnt to death by...

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...

Pages