The Failed Promise of Reconciliation in Sri Lanka

As Sri Lanka continues to go back on its promises to investigate and prosecute atrocity crimes, alternative avenues for justice must be found, writes People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL) Advocacy Director, Mario Arulthas. “Nearly 10 years after the end of the conflict, reconciliation and a sustainable peace are far off – contrary to what President Sirisena claimed in his speech at the UNGA,” wrote Arulthas in The Diplomat this week. “Sri Lanka has repeatedly gone back on its promises to investigate and prosecute atrocity crimes,” he said, adding “the international community cannot...

Thileepan, Hunger and Remembrance: Why Do We Starve?

Starvation occurs in three phases. First, the body halts consumption of glucose, its primary energy source. Then, it scrapes away at fat deposits. Once those are depleted, it finally cannibalizes muscle mass to feed the brain. The body enters a delicate balancing act, substituting glucose for fat and eventually protein, until organ function is affected and results in death. The ultimate cause of death, in general, is cardiac arrest or the stopping of the heart. At its core, starvation is a process of desperate sacrifice.

Remembering The Sencholai Massacre — A Gendered Attack on Tamil Women

- Brannavy Jeyasundaram It was August 14, 2006; two years after the earth-shattering tsunami had ravaged Sri Lanka, leaving its people in destitute. The North-East was particularly vulnerable, with limited access to resources and deprivation of aid by the Sri Lankan government — despite being the worst-affected region . In this aftermath stood the Sencholai children’s home for orphans in Mullaitivu. In an effort to shift the dependence on state-sponsored relief, a ten-day workshop on first aid and disaster management was organized by the Mullaithivu and Kandavalai Principals Association. Over 400 young women between the ages of 17 and 20 years old were gathered at the home to learn how to provide for the suffering. At the beginning of day four, shortly after sunrise, four Sri Lankan air force jets dropped sixteen bombs over the home, killing 53 school girls and 3 teachers. Over 150 girls were seriously injured, suffering deep wounds, lost limbs, and severe burns. In a devastating irony, they had become the subject of their study.

Revisiting options for justice beyond the UNHRC on Tamil New Year - Paul Scully MP

Op-Ed by Paul Scully, MP Today Tamils living in the United Kingdom and across the globe will be welcoming a new year. It is a time to spend with loved ones, feast, exchange greetings and offer prayers at temples. Whilst it is a time for celebrating with family and friends and enjoying the festivities, it is also a time for reflecting on past achievements and looking towards the future with hope. In Britain, achievements and contributions of the Tamil community continues to grow. From academia to healthcare and from business to technology, Tamils contribute across sectors. As the Prime...

‘Sri Lanka's culture of impunity is a ticking time bomb’ – M A Sumanthiran

Tamil National Alliance MP warned that Sri Lanka’s “culture of impunity is a ticking time bomb,” as he criticised failure to ensure justice and accountability, in the wake of anti-Muslim violence last week. “Not once, but twice during my lifetime, the Sri Lankan government arranged for me, along with many other Tamils, to be transported to our place of origin in Jaffna during times when violence was being perpetrated against the Tamil community,” said the parliamentarian, in a column for the Sunday Observer. “Not once, but twice the Government acknowledged to me, and to all the Tamil people,...

Sri Lankan government and TNA failed to address ‘roots of political conflict’ – J S Tissainayagam

Tamil voters in the North-East last week, as Sri Lankan security forces look on. Sri Lanka’s ruling parties and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) have been “offering vacuous rhetoric on reconciliation instead of addressing the roots of the country’s political conflict”, writes J S Tissainayagam in the Asian Correspondent, leading to Sinhalese and Tamil voters to “distrust them as political actors”. “The voters conveyed just this at the polls” during last week’s local government elections, he continued. “ Resolution 30/1 adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in September...

Sri Lanka’s mothers ask international community to help find their children – J S Tissainayagam

The international community should demand Sri Lanka to investigate enforced disappearances and prosecute those responsible writes journalist J S Tissainayagam in a piece for Asian Correspondent. “Sri Lanka’s responses to questions on accountability for rights violations at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in November were evasive and packed with clichés,” said Mr Tissainayagam. “This should spur the international community to demand Colombo cooperate in investigating enforced disappearances (and other violations) and prosecuting those responsible. Failure to hold Sri Lanka accountable will...

Is Sri Lanka’s Tamil party selling out the Tamil people? – J S Tissainayagam

There is an “obvious gap” between the Tamil National Alliance’s (TNA) manifesto promises to the Tamil people in 2015 and the Steering Committee proposals it has accepted in 2017, said journalist J S Tissainayagam, in a piece for Asian Correspondent on Wednesday . The TNA has “asked voters to support its demand for a constitution based on shared sovereignty” said Mr Tissainayagam, whilst “the UNP and UPFA manifestoes unequivocally rejected a federal constitution”. Yet proposals released last month Sri Lanka’s Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly means the central government “will...

President Sirisena must not delay upholding his promises to protesting families of the disappeared any longer

Over the past 4 months, (primarily) women across all 8 districts of the North-East of Sri Lanka have commenced roadside protests with one simple goal – to see their children again. Sri Lanka’s 30-year long war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) resulted in over 60,000 enforced disappearances. Sri Lanka has the second-highest number of cases submitted to the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disapeparances – after Iraq (see here ). To date, the Sri Lankan government has failed to even criminalize enforced disappearances – most recently choosing to indefinitely postpone a debate about the bill to do so (see here ). Women across Sri Lanka and civil society are currently campaigning to get that bill to criminalize enforced disappearances back into parliament for debate and to be passed (see here ).

TG View: Dissecting the British Tamil vote - UK General Election 2017

The British General Election of 2017 has thrown up some surprising results. When the election was first called, few could have predicted the outcome. The ruling Conservative Party lost their majority in parliament and the Labour Party clawed back a massive deficit in the polls. The pundits were amiss with their predictions and many, including Prime Minister Theresa May, were left wrong footed by the results. Analysts from across the political spectrum have begun examining the vote and revisiting their engagement with the electorate, with questions being asked of how the Conservatives lost such a comfortable majority. Amongst the key demographics whose voting intentions will be closely scrutinised in the weeks to come, will be Britain’s ethnic minority groups. With many constituencies across the country having been heavily contested and hanging in the balance between the country's major parties, their role was crucial. British Tamils, who have a considerable presence in many of these constituencies, particularly in London, are one such influential group.