'Give us our lands back!'- Tamils in Mannar send 5,000 postcards to Sri Lankan president demanding return of land

Tamils in Mannar have sent 5,000 postcards to Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe demanding the return of their land which is currently occupied by Sri Lanka's military. Tamils from five divisional secretariats including Mannar, Nanaddan, Musali, Manthai West and Madhu are campaigning for the return of their lands which are being used by the military for agricultural and commercial purposes. Earlier this month, villagers of Isaimalaithalvu in Mannar staged a protest demanding the Nanattan Divisional Secretariat hand over 46 acres of land presently held by the Sri Lankan Forest...

Core Group on Sri Lanka says recent legislation developments ‘give cause for concern’

Speaking at the 55 th session of the UN Human Rights Council, the Core Group on Sri Lanka said that the recent legislative developments on human rights, reconciliation, and civic space “give cause for concern”. The Core Group, made up of Canada, Malawi, Montenegro, North Macedonia, the United Kingdom and the United States, said that the recently announced Online Safety Act “has the potential to severely restrict online communication and could potentially criminalise nearly all forms of expression, creating an environment that has a chilling effect on freedom of expression.” The group called...

Sri Lankan police obstruct Santhan's funeral procession

A tense situation unfolded earlier today at Vavuniya Old Bus Station when Sri Lankan police stopped the vehicle carrying the remains of Santhan. Santhan's body was brought to Vavuniya this morning, and the vehicle carrying it entered Vavuniya Old Bus Station in order to allow the public to pay tribute. However, as the vehicle attempted to park, police intervened, stating that it couldn't stop there. They threatened to arrest the driver if the vehicle stopped, further instructing the driver to exit the vehicle. Locals accused the police of creating a hostile atmosphere during a time of...

Santhan’s final journey marked by tributes to his life and sacrifice

The final journey of T Suthendraraja, known as Santhan (55), one of the seven convicts freed in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, began in the town of Vavuniya this morning. The casket bearing his remains was transported from the Poraalihal Welfare Association in Vavuniya on Sunday morning amidst a sombre atmosphere filled with farewells and floral tributes.

EDITORIAL - Rewarding authoritarianism

After yet another week of political turmoil in Sri Lanka, with the president accused of overriding the constitution and appointing a man the Supreme Court found personally participated in torture as the head of police, one might have imagined the authoritarian path the regime is trudging down was clear to all. Not so in Washington. One of the US State Department’s most senior officials flew into the island last week and declared that, despite the ramping up of repression, they would be looking to send yet another vessel to the Sri Lankan navy. The move sends a troubling message across the island and around the world. At a time when US foreign policy is coming under intense scrutiny, it seems as if authoritarianism is being rewarded in Sri Lanka once more.

Sri Lanka seeks five month-hold on bondholder suit

Sri Lanka is seeking a five-month hold on a lawsuit filed by a bondholder over the country’s historic debt default, telling a New York federal judge that it wants more time to negotiate with private creditors. The island nation was sued in July 2022 by Hamilton Reserve Bank Ltd., which sought full payment on more than $250 million of Sri Lanka’s dollar bond that was due that month. The bank says it holds more than 25% of the bonds, which would likely enable it to block any modification of the notes. On Friday, Sri Lanka sought an extension of a delay of the lawsuit that was granted in...

Sri Lanka rejects UNHRC resolution once more, but calls for action on Gaza

Sri Lanka's Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry told the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) his government once again rejected a resolution that calls for a hybrid accountability mechanism to prosecute for war crimes committed against Tamils, but also called for action on the “existential threat to the people in Gaza”. Delivering his oral statement at the 5th Meeting of the 55th regular sessions of the UNHRC, Sabry said “Sri Lanka rejects extensive external evidence gathering measures established following the resolution 46/1 and 62/1," which he claimed "will have wide-ranging...

13-year-old Tamil boy swims across Palk Strait to raise awareness of environment conservation

13-year-old Harikaran Dhanwat, a student of Hindu College Trincomalee, has successfully attempted to swim 31.5 km across the Palk Strait to raise awareness of the need to protect marine resources and conserve the environment. Supported by Trinco Aid Foundation, this was the first time that Harikaran attempted the swim. He started his journey from Dhanushkodi in Tamil Nadu on March 1 and reached Thailaimannar in Tamil Eelam on the same day. The new Consul General for India in Jaffna Shri Sai Murali was also present at the event to congratulate him.

Brampton City Council approves design for Tamil Genocide monument

After three years of anticipation, the final design for the Tamil Genocide Memorial in Chinguacousy Park has been approved by the Brampton City Council. The monument, standing at 4.8 metres tall and made of stainless steel, will serve as a permanent reminder of the genocide faced by the Eelam Tamils at the hands of the Sri Lankan state during the armed conflict, particularly in its final stages in 2009. The inspiration for the memorial came after the Mullivaikkal memorial at Jaffna University, which was erected in 2019 to honour the Tamil lives lost in the genocide, was destroyed. This act of...

Switzerland denies supporting Sri Lanka's latest commission on reconciliation

In a recent parliamentary session, Swiss MP Fabian Molina of the Social Democratic Party grilled the Swiss government over its engagement with Sri Lanka regarding human rights violations and the establishment of new mechanisms to address them. In response, the Swiss government stated that it currently has no intention of supporting such a commission. According to the Swiss government, the Swiss embassy in Sri Lanka, along with the South African and Japanese embassies, has presented a list of proposals to Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe aimed at building confidence and promoting...

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