November 2015

SRI LANKA, BEYOND THE FACADE

22nd November 2015 // 0 Comments

SRI LANKA, BEYOND THE FACADE November 21, 2015 viruben nandakumar The 18th May 2009 marked the end of a horrific civil war between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government. In Matara and Colombo the end of the war was marked with victory parade and triumphalist celebrations. During a speech Rajapaksa said, ‘We are not celebrating victory in a war, we are celebrating peace’. Yet, is this an accurate depiction of Sri Lanka? Is Sri Lanka at peace? Over half a decade has passed and yet Sri Lanka has continuously failed to address the human rights abuses and allegations war crimes. These crimes include the deliberate shelling of no-fire zones, execution of captured combatants and the sexual abuse and slaughter of civilians. Whilst these crimes are […]

Mystery surrounds death of ex-LTTE member in Sri Lanka

22nd November 2015 // 0 Comments

[TamilNet, Saturday, 21 November 2015, 15:18 GMT] A 40-year-old former member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who witnessed a four-member squad attempting to murder a person at Moon’raam-piddi on Friday, was found dead Saturday morning with his neck tightened by a piece of cloth, news sources in Mannaar said. Mystery surrounds his death as the family and those close to him have dismissed suicide as the cause of his death. The deceased was identified as Thanapalasingham Veerasingham, a father of three, who was living at Moon’raam-piddi in Iluppaik-kadavai of Maanthai West in Mannaar. Thanapalasingham was sleeping in front of his house, as he was to leave for fishing Friday morning around 4:00 a.m., the family said. Thanapalasingham Veerasingham Thanapalasingham was not found […]

Malaysiya urges international community to continue pressure on Sri Lanka

22nd November 2015 // 0 Comments

The international community has been urged to continue to put pressure on the Sri Lanka government and the United Nations (UN) to ensure the alleged wrongs endured by Tamils during the civil war are righted. Malaysian MP Lim Kit Siang said no efforts should be spared until the Tamils in that country were restored to their human rights and the truth. He said the reconciliation process as called for by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) investigation into Sri Lanka (OSIL) should be justly and meaningfully completed. “The future lies in concrete and meaningful steps in Sri Lanka supported by the international community which upholds justice, truth and reconciliation,” he said today in his keynote speech at the International Forum […]

Govt. vows to unearth Rajapaksas’ hidden $ billions

22nd November 2015 // 0 Comments

Will take time, not as easy as nabbing common pickpockets – Mangala by Zacki Jabbar The government says it would find the billions of dollars that the Rajapaksas had allegedly hidden in  many foreign countries, no matter how long it took. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera addressing a news conference in Colombo last week said he was speaking with responsibility about “the billions of dollars that the Rajapaksas including the birthday boy had stashed away in foreign lands.” “They know what we are talking about. Catching big time professional crooks who have covered their tracks very well takes time. It’s not as easy as nabbing common pickpockets. But we are determined to find every dollar regardless of how long it takes because the rightful owners are […]

TNA demands answers on Trinco underground cells

22nd November 2015 // 0 Comments

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) today demanded answers from the authorities on the underground secret cells at the Trincomalee navy camp, in light of an admission by former navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda that those cells were used to detain people. In a highly charged speech in Parliament today during the debate on the 2016 budget, Parliamentarian M A Sumanthiran questioned as to why people like Karannagoda are not being investigated over the cells. Sumanthiran quoted Karannagoda as telling the media yesterday that the cells were part of the British colonial era and was used when he was the navy chief to detain suspects, but not torture them Sumanthiran said that the authorities must investigate where those people detained at the cells are now and if they were […]

10 Navy Officers exposed on Gotha’s Secret Camp in Trincomalee

22nd November 2015 // 0 Comments

Sooka’s organisation ready to share details on cells More details have surfaced on the secret cells said to have being in operation at the Trincomalee Navy camp, including the names of the Navy officers alleged to have been involved in taking detainees to the site. The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, which concluded a visit to Sri Lanka last week, said that the detention cells at the Trincomalee Navy camp could not have been in operation without the knowledge of the top officials. Now an organization led by Yasmin Sooka, a former member of the UN Expert Panel on Sri Lanka, also known as the ‘Darusman panel’ says it has the names of the Navy officers involved in transporting detainees to the Trincomalee camp. […]

Controversy Over Tamil Political Prisoners

22nd November 2015 // 0 Comments

by Ashanthi Warunasuriya The controversial issue of Tamil political prisoners has become a key topic in society in relation to reconciliation. With the recent protest demanding the release of  223 Tamil political prisoners, who have been kept behind bars for a long time, a hartal  was held in eight districts of the North and  Eastern provinces of the country. Minister Mano Ganesan had urged the government to release these prisoners immediately as promised by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to give bail to political prisoners according to the due process. After the case was taken in up at the Magistrate’s Court, the issue was subjected to a major debate between the law enforcement officers and the legal representatives of the suspects. At that time the former […]

Awaiting Justice ForTrinco Five

22nd November 2015 // 0 Comments

The bright white sandy beach in Sri Lankan’s northeastern town of Trincomalee is as beautiful as any urban seafront anywhere. It was midday in October, with the sun too high and hot for tourists and local residents alike. A young Sri Lankan raised in New Zealand told me she had bravedthe undertow for a swim, unaware nor having any reason to be aware of the cold-blooded murders there nearly 10 years ago.  On the evening of January two, 2006, while many people celebrated the New Year on the beach, five ethnic Tamil students were fatally shot at point-blank range near the road running parallel to the shore. Two others were seriously wounded.The local authorities quickly claimed the victims were Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam insurgents […]

Why No One Complained About the Torture Chambers in Trinco Naval Base to Paranagama?

22nd November 2015 // 0 Comments

The Chairman of the Sri Lankan Presidential Commission on Disappearances and War Crimes, Justice Maxwell Paranagama, says that none of the witnesses who appeared before the panel complained about the existence of torture chambers in the Lankan naval base at Trincomalee. He was reacting to the observation of the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances that they had seen a secret underground detention cum torture center in the Trincomalee naval base. “The UN Working Group should have gone to these places un-announced. Given advance notice, witnesses are tutored by interested parties, ” Paranagama told on Friday. “However, we are studying the UN group’s report and will issue a press release early next week,” the retired Lankan judge said. The UN team said that […]

Samantha Power in SL

22nd November 2015 // 0 Comments

US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power arrived in Sri Lanka this afternoon for a three-day official visit. Ambassador Samantha Power is the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet. She formerly served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the National Security Council. During her visit, Ambassador Power will highlight the United States’ commitment to strengthening the bilateral partnership, and she will underscore U.S. support for the country’s efforts toward reconciliation, accountability, and lasting peace in the aftermath of a devastating civil war. In Colombo, she will meet with senior government officials, community leaders, civil society groups, and youth. Power will also travel to the northern city […]

Major diaspora orgs are de-proscribed, while dozens of Tamils remain on ‘terror’ list

22nd November 2015 // 0 Comments

The Sri Lankan government has de-proscribed 8 out of the 16 organisation, while 155 individuals remain proscribed, out of the original 424. In a gazette notification dated November 20, the government amended the list it initially published in March last year. Proscribed De-proscribed LTTE British Tamil Forum Tamil Coordinating Committee Canadian Tamil Congress Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation Australian Tamil Congress World Tamil Movement Global Tamil Forum Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam National Council of Canadian Tamils Tamil Eelam People’s Assembly Tamil National Council World Tamil Relief Fund Tamil Youth Organisation Headquarters Group World Tamil Coordinating Committee The gazette notification describes the proscribed groups as being involved in terrorism related activities and financing terrorism. However, some of those groups, including the Tamil Coordinating Committee and the Transnational Government […]

Sri Lanka Lifts Ban On GTF, BTF, TYO And Individuals

22nd November 2015 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO: By a gazette extraordinary issued on Friday, the Sri Lankan government lifted the ban on several outfits and individuals previously thought to have been working for the LTTE. On March 21, 2014, 16 organizations and 424 individuals were proscribed under the UN Act No: 45 of 1968. But the latest gazette notification bans only eight organizations and 155 individuals.  In a NEW gazette notification dated 20th November 2015, the government amended the list it initially published in 21st of March 2014. The DE-LISTED organizations are: Global Tamil Forum (GTF); British Tamil Forum (BTF); National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT); Tamil Youth Organization (TYO); World Tamil Coordinating Committee (WTCC); Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC); Australian Tamil Congress (ATC); Tamil National Council (TNC). Organizations which are STILL BANNED […]

Gota says intelligence unit responsible for abductions and killing!

21st November 2015 // 0 Comments

Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced during the time of Rajapaksa regime military intelligence unit members used white vans to abduct people Responding to the question raised by the Sinhala newspaper on white van abductions former defence secretary added, Are questioning about the activities of intelligence unit? Did they use white vans to abduct people in 88 and 89 periods? ,Gotabaya asked and went on to say suspects and criminals were abducted by the white vans, Gotabaya Rajapaksa said. He also noted, Van which is used by the intelligence unit to arrest LTTE members, criminals and underworld group members was commonly known as white van. During the time of JVP period did they use black vans to abduct young girls and boys? People forgot the […]

The relatives of the disappeared still intimidated

21st November 2015 // 0 Comments

The United Nations Organization asserts that still there are intimidations imposed against the relatives of the people disappeared. The organization said that they received credible information’s when they met the relatives of the people disappeared during their tour of Sri Lanka. A specialist team consisted with Bernard Duhaime, Tae-Ung Baik and Ariel Dulitzky told this during a media communiqué held in Colombo following their ten day tour. The UN team said that this cannot be accepted in a democratic society. The delegation said that they met 200 relatives of the people disappeared. When the BBC inquired this from the foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera about the latter said the UN delegation disclosed this allegation when they met him. The minister said although it is not the […]

3 Navy Men arrested over Secret Camp

21st November 2015 // 0 Comments

Two officers and a rating have been arrested for questioning in connection with the UN-exposed secret camp within the Trincomalee naval base, ‘radiogagana.com’ reports. A senior official said on condition of anonymity that the Navy was assisting the CID investigation but He declined to identify the arrested persons.  The ITJP said in June 2015 that Lt. Commander K.C. Welagedara was the head of the the torture site known as ‘Gota’s camp’ until 2010, after which Lt. Commander Ranasinghe took over. Meanwhile, the government says there no longer exists a secret camp as claimed by the UN working group on enforced and involuntary disappearance. Foreign affairs ministry spokeswoman Mahishani Kolonne told the media yesterday (19) that the government has informed the UNWGEID of is preparedness to investigate […]

ONLY IN SRI LANKA – ‘Tiger’s missing family reappears after more than five years’

21st November 2015 // 0 Comments

By Mohamed Haniff Members of a family who surrendered to the armed forces in 2009, had been dropped at their residence in Varani, Jaffna last week by some unknown persons, Leader of the Democratic People’s Liberation Front (DPLF) Dharmalingam Siddharthan said yesterday “They are the wife and three children of prominent LTTE cadre Vinayagam,” Siddharthan said, pointing-out that “Vinayagam’s wife had surrendered to the armed forces with her children at the end of the war in May 2009, and gone missing ever since and her whereabouts were not known to her relatives for the last six years.” Police spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekera, contacted for comment, said the Kodikamam Police OIC who had confirmed to him that the Police Station there had not got any such […]

First and only CM of NE Provincial Council attempts to bring Tamil parties together

21st November 2015 // 0 Comments

By Mohamed Haniff The first and only Chief Minister of the North East Province Annamalai Varatharaja Perumal said yesterday that he found all Tamil political parties did not have a common agenda. “I’m now just an ordinary citizen, leading a very simple life. And this small man is making small attempts wherever possible in uniting Tamil political parties in a bid to make them adopt a common stand when they addressed issues concerning the Tamil people,” Perumal said in a brief interview with The Island. The former Chief Minister said Nov. 22 would be an important day for the Tamils in the North and East as he had organised an event to commemorate the birth anniversary of EPRLF leader K. ‘Ranjan’ Padmanabha. It would be […]

Mahinda plays ‘Racist Card’ again.

21st November 2015 // 0 Comments

The release of Tamil Political prisoners held for more than 15 years on suspicion of helping LTTE  was an election pledge and the government was only honouring git, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa told the media in Kandy on Thursday. Rajapaksa was in Kandy to pay his homage to the sacred tooth relic and call on the prelates of Malwatte and Asgiriya, where he played his usual racist statements to gain the support of the Buddhist leaders. The ex-president who lost to a unknown member of his ministries was in Kandy after attending religious observances in Anuradhapura the previous day to mark his 70th birthday. He met Anunayaka Thera of Malwatte Ven. Dr. Niyangoda Sri Vijithasiri and Deputy Secretary General of Asgiriya Maha Vihare and Director […]

Jayalalithaa seeks Modi’s help to secure release of 14 Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody

21st November 2015 // 0 Comments

CHENNAI: A day after 14 Tamil Nadu fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lankan navy for crossing the International Maritime Border Line (IMBL), chief minister J Jayalalithaa on Friday sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his immediate intervention. “It is unfortunate that, in yet another incident, 14 fishermen who set sail from the Rameswaram and Mandapam fishing bases in Ramanathapuram district on three boats were apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy in the late hours of November 18. They have been taken to Kankesanthurai, Sri Lanka,” said Jayalalithaa in the letter. The chief minister also said on November 8, four fishermen on a motorised country boat who drifted and got stranded on the Sri Lankan shores due to engine failure were yet […]

SRI LANKA – EXPERT PANEL NOMINATED TO MONITOR TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE MECHANISMS FROM VICTIMS’ PERSPECTIVE : TGTE

20th November 2015 // 0 Comments

The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (“TGTE”) has nominated a panel of five legal experts to monitor the design and implementation of the transitional justice mechanisms in Sri Lanka, including the judicial measures to investigate and prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide (“Monitoring Accountability Panel” or “MAP”). Following the Report of the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka, dated 16 September 2015, and the UN Human Rights Council Resolution on ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka,’ dated 1 October 2015, the Sri Lankan Government undertook to establish accountability mechanisms to address the crimes committed during the Sri Lankan armed conflict. These will include a special criminal court with foreign judges and prosecutors. The MAP will provide independent monitoring, advice, and recommendations, […]

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