March 2017

On her own two feet, after Sri Lanka’s crippling war

11th March 2017 // 0 Comments

Selvanayagi lost her arms in Sri Lanka’s war 27 years ago Few students in Vadamarachchi, part of Sri Lanka’s northern peninsula, had heard of Visual Basic until Sebastian Selvanayagi started offering a course in it at her modest computer centre. “Even basic programming languages haven’t come to our village in a big way,” she said, entering a small room in her home, in Vetrilaikeni in Vadamarachchi East, where five desktop computers are kept. As her office assistant switched one of the systems on, Ms. Selvanayagi sat down and quickly typed the password with her toes. That is how she has been typing for more than 20 years now — placing the keyboard under the table — after she lost both her arms in intense shelling […]

The battle after the war

11th March 2017 // 0 Comments

Life continues to be a struggle for 45-year-old Kathir, a former Tamil Tiger combatant, and his family. Kathir was one of the 12,000 Tiger cadres who underwent a rehabilitation process soon after the end of the war. Kathir was lucky to be released after a year of rehabilitation. “I was disabled due to the war and therefore my time at rehabilitation centres was just one year,” he said. However, getting back to normal life was not as easy as Kathir had thought. “The people accepted me back into society. I never felt alienated by the people. But life was not the same,” he said. Describing his first year after being rehabilitated, Kathir says it was the most traumatizing part of his life. “It was a […]

Spiraling incidents of military intimidation in the North: Ruki Fernando

11th March 2017 // 0 Comments

There have been increased incidents of military intimidation in the last couple of weeks in areas like Pilakudiyirippu (near Keppapulavu), Paravipaanchan in Kilinochchi, and Puthukkudiyiruppu – former military held lands which have been released to former residents after sustained protests, human rights activist Ruki Fernando said. This culminated in the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) questioning Fernando during a visit to Pilakudiyirippu on March 9, he added. “I was talking to a few of the residents when two people in civilian clothing came up to me. They asked me who I was and why I had come. When I in turn asked them who they were, they informed me that they were from the air force camp next to the village,” Fernando said. He added […]

Sri Lanka’s Future With A ‘Karuna’ In Politics

11th March 2017 // 0 Comments

Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman for his latest move in forming a new political party, the Tamil United Independent Front -Thamilar Aikkiya Suthanthira Munnani. According to Karuna Amman, the purpose of forming a new party is to provide livelihood opportunities to former LTTE cadres and to assist widows of LTTE cadres and war victims. The party will be based in the East –Batticaloa- and be more focused on issues pertaining to the North and Eastern parts of the country and the people living therein. However, some sections of society believe people like Karuna Amman, who worked against the democratic process and particularly against the sovereignty of the country should not be part and parcel of a political party. Lacille de Silva – Former Secretary to […]

GTF wants UN rights body to closely monitor Sri Lanka

11th March 2017 // 0 Comments

The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) today welcomed the report on Sri Lanka by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights backed the observation that ‘stronger, tangible results needed to be forthcoming without further delay to prevent any further dissipation of hard-earned trust.’ While acknowledging the Sri Lankan Government’s constructive engagement with United Nations’ human rights mechanisms; visible progress on constitutional reform process; positive developments on the broader human rights agenda; and commendable efforts on consultations towards establishing transitional justice measures, the report was emphatic that the ‘fulfilment of transitional justice commitments has been worryingly slow and the structures set up and measures taken were inadequate to ensure real progress.’  The report was categorical that the Government has not moved fast enough with tangible measures – […]

UNP makes light of UPFA question on Tamil Diaspora using internet to spread racism

11th March 2017 // 0 Comments

By Saman Indrajith Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said in Parliament that a group of Joint Opposition (JO) members had joined hands with LTTE cadres to stage a protest against him while he was in Australia when the Deakin University conferred an honorary degree on him. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said that the JO activists and LTTE extremists had protested against him and they were together shouting at him using public address systems. The Prime Minister said so while responding to a question raised by UPFA MP Padma Udayashantha Gunasekera, who demanded to know what action the government would take against those who spread racism and promoted ethnic disharmony via the Internet. The MP said that there were propaganda campaigns aimed at spreading racism in violation […]

What Mangala Said (And Didn’t Say) At The UNHRC

11th March 2017 // 0 Comments

Last week, during the 34th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), and a full 17 months since Sri Lanka’s co-signing of Resolution 30/1, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera delivered a speech at a high-level segment in Geneva. Kicking off on an uncharacteristically sombre note, Samaraweera said: “Those of different faiths and beliefs, across gender, caste and creed, that constitute our country, worked together to gain Independence for our nation in 1948. That achieved, we failed to forge the perfect nation of individuals who all hold equal rights, working as one to achieve the heights our nation could attain.” “As a result, for 69 long years, we journeyed through pain, violence, loss of life and precious human resources, ruining chances of socio-economic progress. This […]

Tamil’s Have Come To The Very End Of Their Frustration

11th March 2017 // 0 Comments

By R. Sampanthan – R. Sampanthan I raised this question, because our people have come to the very end of their frustration. Today, in the blazing sun, in the rain when it is rainingand in the night when there is dew, they are protesting with their families. Their wives, their children, their infants are all joining in the protest and it is unbearable. This situation cannot continue. It must be brought to an end and we want the Government to realize and take very early action to bring this situation to an end. The Speech made by Leader of the Opposition and the Tamil National Alliance, R. Sampanthan on the 8th of March 2017: ආරක්ෂක හමුදා සන්තකව පවතින ඉඩම් මුල් අයිතිකරුවන් වෙත නිදහස් කිරීම படையினரின் வசமுள்ள […]

Kashmir Resolution & Colombo

11th March 2017 // 0 Comments

If the first shot to destablise Sri Lanka was fired after the re-election of Indira Gandhi in January 1980, ipso facto with disastrous consequences to the island, then the second shot may well be fired if the international community insists upon international jurists sitting in judgement over the island. This is in respect of Colombo’s war against Tamil terrorism, more specifically against LTTE terrorism, post-July 1987, where, in July ’87, all other Tamil terrorist groups, with the exception of the LTTE, laid down their arms, under the controversial Indo-Lanka Peace Accord. Currently, the international community, wearing the self righteous mantle of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), is sitting in judgement, not least over Sri Lanka, at its headquarters in Geneva over allegations of war […]

Sri Lanka faces international censure over police inaction

11th March 2017 // 0 Comments

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has come under renewed international criticism over police failures to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of what it calls “emblematic cases,” including the assassination of Lasantha Wickrematunga. The UN Human Rights Council received a report outlining systematic failure of Sri Lanka’s police to prosecute suspects in 11 high profile cases it considers emblematic of the culture of impunity even after the end of a decades-long war. The report buttressed its demand for international judges to try war criminals in Sri Lanka by pointing to police failures to investigate even the high profile cases. “A State’s capacity or willingness to address impunity for gross violations and abuses of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law can, in part, be […]

Sri Lanka clinches continued C’Wealth trade support in London

11th March 2017 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka has clinched continued support for its international trade work from the Commonwealth. Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen is representing Sri Lanka at the inaugural Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting (CTMM) that opened in London on 9th March.  Sri Lanka’s Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama and many other Trade Ministers from the Commonwealth joined the meeting. “I am pleased that talks with the Rt. Hon Patricia Scotland, Secretary-General of Commonwealth on March 9th in London were successful. We are set to receive continued positive support from the Commonwealth to our international trade work as a result”, the minister said and added: “Sri Lanka’s historic relations with the Commonwealth stands further enhanced with this pioneering London event. Especially the “Agenda […]

Adjournment Motion (TNA regarding lands belonging to…)

9th March 2017 // 0 Comments

Adjournment Motion To be moved at adjournment time on 8th March 2017: Whereas large swaths of lands belonging to private citizens were occupied by the armed forced when fighting came to an end in May 2009: Most of these lands were taken over from the civilians for security purposes. For instance civilians were evicted from several thousand acres of land in Valigamam North in order to protect the Palaly air base from artillery fire almost 25 years ago. But even after the fighting ended in 2009, only a fraction of that has been returned for civilian resettlement, while large tracts of land are still occupied by the military, which is engaged in farming and trade, including running tourist hotels, while the original occupants languish in […]

International Women’s day message From R Sampanthan Leader of the Tamil National Alliance

9th March 2017 // 0 Comments

Message on International Women’s Day   It is my privilege and honor to pen this word of greetings, marking International Women’s Day.  The contribution of women to our nation has been invaluable. However, unfortunately, women continue to face routine discrimination, harassment, and maltreatment in every corner of our society.  Moreover, women were also the most affected as a result of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka. For instance, the war snatched away the lives of their loved ones, leaving many widowed and without livelihoods. Still more, thousands of women continue, till date, to search for their family members who disappeared during and after the war. This matter requires urgent attention and action as it continues to make these women vulnerable to abuse and exploitation and impairs […]

At UNHRC, states call for timetable from Lanka on establishing reconciliation mechanisms

9th March 2017 // 0 Comments

Govt. officially announces co-sponsorship at informal session in Geneva  Several state delegations want new resolution to require Lanka to commit to specific timetable No aspects of 2015 resolution have been changed by new draft resolution says US US says draft resolution prepared in consultation with Govt. By Dharisha Bastians in Geneva The Sri Lanka resolution at the 34th Session of the UN Human Rights Council should contain a timeframe for implementation of transitional justice commitments the country had made in 2015, several member states said, when the first informal session on the draft resolution to promote reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka got underway in Geneva yesterday. During the informal session on the ‘zero draft’ of the resolution, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, […]

Budget 2017: Will Philip Hammond’s Critics Have The Last Laugh? How the jokes turned sour!

9th March 2017 // 0 Comments

It had all started off so well. As he delivered his first and last Spring Budget, it became rapidly clear that Philip Hammond had swapped his usual funereal tone for an upbeat tempo. Often eyed suspiciously by Brexiteer ministers for his Remainer scepticism about the sunlit uplands of quitting the EU, the Chancellor had sought to combine his safe-as-houses demeanour with a bit of gusto. Ditching the nervousness that highlighted his Autumn Statement, and perhaps taking his cue from the PM laughing like a drain in PMQs, Hammond instead leavened the statistics with jokes. Jokes about his own longevity in the job. Jokes about Jeremy Corbyn being stuck down a black hole (top trivia alert: Stephen Hawking and Hammond went to the same Oxford college). […]

Speaking Frankly About Sri Lanka and Accountability – The Huffington Post

9th March 2017 // 0 Comments

Taylor Dibbert, Contributor Sri Lanka’s compliance with an October 2015 UN Human Rights Council resolution is being hotly debated at the Council’s 34th session, which began in late February and will run through March 24. At this point, it looks as though another resolution on Sri Lanka will be passed later this month and that the Sri Lankan government will support such an initiative. While some people appear to be in favor of another resolution on Sri Lanka, others (for various reasons) are not. For example, some have argued that what’s really needed now is for the UN Security Council to refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court (ICC). It’s true that the Sri Lankan government has failed to implement a resolution it cosponsored. […]

Disturbing Report by WAN – Abuse of Women in the war affected areas in Sri Lanka

9th March 2017 // 0 Comments

Dear All, Today being the International Women’s Day, I wish to share with you all something that Otthulaippu is subscribing to.  I am sure you will all subscribe your time reading and forwarding this message to your family and friends to support this cause and raise awareness of plight of our unfortunate women and children in Sri Lanka ….. Thanks and regards Thilaka On behalf of Otthulaippu Otthulaippu.com http://www.uktamilnews.com/?p=24598 Dear Well-wishers, A damning report was released in August 2016 by Women Association Network (WAN)[i].  This report[ii] discusses the plight of women, who are facing various forms of cruelty and oppression at the hands of men, including their husbands in Northern and Eastern regions in Sri Lanka. They are victims of emotional, financial and sexual abuse […]

Toronto Event to discuss TGTE’s Challenge at the UN Against Sri Lanka’s 6th Amendment

9th March 2017 // 0 Comments

TORONTO, CANADA, March 7, 2017 Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) is pleased to invite you to the launching of its campaign to challenge Sri Lanka at the United Nations against Sri Lanka’s sixth amendment. The 6th Amendment criminalizes the peaceful advocacy for an independent state which is a violation of freedom of speech, thought and conscience and the right of self-determination, set out in articles 18, 19 and 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by Sri Lanka. The 6th Amendment does not prohibit calls for its repeal – as such this call for support is extended to lawyers practicing in Sri Lanka as well. Speakers: 1) Ms. Barbara Jackman, Human Rights Attorney. 2) Mr. David Matas: Human Rights Attorney. […]

Geneva Event: Sri Lanka Rejects Foreign Judges in Accountability Mechanism: What Next?

9th March 2017 // 0 Comments

In 2015 the UN Human Rights Council passed Resolution 30/1 on Transitional Justice in Sri Lanka. The Resolution calls for the “participation” of foreign judges. Since the term “participation” is covered in ambiguity, relevant stakeholders have interpreted it different ways according to their respective constituents. However, the UN High Commissioner’s repeated call for a hybrid court in the advanced copy of the Council’s Report and the Sri Lankan President’s immediate rejection of the idea of foreign judges constitute a paradigm shift. The issue has become sharpened raising the question of how a rollover resolution will be interpreted. The Side Event will explore the various scenarios such as time bound benchmarks, and also the consequences of a failure of benchmarks in terms of a referral to […]

As the World Celebrates International Women’s day, Tamil women are held in “Rape Camps”

8th March 2017 // 0 Comments

As the world celebrates International Women’s day on March 8th, Tamil women are held in Sri Lankan military run “Rape Camps” said Mrs. Balambihai Murugadas, Minister for Women’s Affairs, Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE). This is the latest chapter of the suffering of Tamil women, where over 90 thousand Tamil war widows and other women are forced to live among Security forces that abused them and killed their loved ones. A recent report by the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) published details of Sri Lankan Military run “Rape Camps”, where Tamil women are being held as sex slaves. The report states the following: “A senior officer came into the room and was asked to take his pick, like we were meat in a […]

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