Tamil paper Uthayan attacked in northern Sri Lanka BBC News Asia 03 April 2013
Masked men in northern Sri Lanka have attacked the offices of a Tamil newspaper and beaten its staff. The owner of the pro-opposition Uthayan paper said six masked men entered the building in Kilinochchi before dawn. Two members of staff were badly injured and property damaged, he said. It is the fourth time this year that Tamil-language newspapers or their distributors have been attacked in Sri Lanka, which is one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists. (read more)
UN’s Adama Dieng Urged to Release Sri Lanka Genocide Report: TGTE By EIN Presswire - New York 27 March 2013
1) Attempts to issue a statement on Sri Lanka was prevented: UN Internal Review report. 2) 70,000 Tamil civilians killed in five months: UN Internal Review report. 3) TGTE issues worldwide action alert urging Mr. Dieng to make public Sri Lanka Genocide report.
Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) have urged Mr. Adama Dieng, the UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, to release all the reports and research pertaining to the Genocide and other serious crimes committed against the Tamil people in the island of Sri Lanka. (read more)
Sri Lanka Criticizes UN Resolution on War Abuses By Bharatha Mallawarachi, Associated Press 22 March 2013
A Sri Lankan government minister criticized a United Nations resolution that calls on the island nation to thoroughly investigate war crimes allegedly committed during its civil war, saying Friday that it attempts to divide the country.
The comments by Dalas Alahapperuma, minister of youth affairs, came a day after the U.N. Human Rights Commission approved the U.S.-backed resolution. The resolution followed a U.N. report alleging Sri Lanka's government may be to blame for tens of thousands of civilian deaths during the military campaign to defeat the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels. (read more)
Pro-government demonstrators have been protesting outside the US embassy denouncing the resolution. (Photo by AFP)
UN passes resolution against Sri Lanka rights record By Charles Haviland, for BBC 21 March 2013
The UN's Human Rights Council has passed a resolution highly critical of Sri Lanka's record.
The resolution encourages Sri Lanka to conduct an independent and credible investigation into alleged war crimes.
Correspondents say the US-sponsored resolution has been watered down compared with earlier drafts.
Sri Lanka's army defeated separatist Tamil rebels after a brutal 26-year war in 2009, but it is the final phase of that war which has come under scrutiny. (read more)
As DMK Fumes, Tamil Nadu Boils By Vibhuti Agarwal, India Real Time 19 March 2013
Thousands of students across the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu have launched protests, including hunger strikes, to press India on Sri Lanka.
Specifically, they want India to move a resolution in a United Nation’s human rights forum later this month against its southern island neighbor for Sri Lanka’s alleged war crimes against Tamils.
More than 500 students have been arrested across the state in the last three days “for fasting, picketing and boycotting classes,” the state’s police commissioner, S. George, told India Real Time Tuesday. (read more)
Tamil activists and supporters of the DMK at a protest against Sri Lankas alleged wartime abuses in Chennai, March. Photo by Arun Sankar
U.N. Rights Council to Vote on Resolution on Sri Lanka By Nick Cumming-Bruce, New York Times Published: March 18, 2013
GENEVA — The United Nations Human Rights Council is preparing to vote this week on a resolution that urges Sri Lanka to deliver on its promises to investigate allegations of mass civilian slaughter in the army campaign that crushed a rebel group in May 2009, and expresses growing international concern over a lengthy catalog of continuing atrocities.
The resolution, sponsored by the United States, calls on Sri Lanka to investigate possible violations of international human rights laws — polite diplomatic shorthand for growing evidence that soldiers killed tens of thousands of civilians in the campaign that crushed the rebels, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. It also cites reports of abuse that has continued since then, including extrajudicial killings, torture, forced disappearances, intimidation and violent reprisals against journalists and human rights activists.
Without some accountability for the civilian deaths, the United States and its supporters argue, there will be no lasting reconciliation to allow Sri Lanka to turn a corner on a civil war that dragged on for 26 years as the Tamil Tigers unleashed extremes of violence to win autonomy for the mainly Tamil northern and eastern parts of the island from its overall Sinhalese majority. (read more)
Tsering Topgyal, Associated Press
UN rights chief faults Sri Lanka probe of alleged wartime abuses By Associated Press, Washington Post 13 February 2013
GENEVA — The United Nations’ top human rights official on Wednesday faulted Sri Lanka for failing to investigate reports of widespread killings and other atrocities toward the end of its bloody quarter-century civil war.
In her report to the 47-nation U.N. Human Rights Council, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay also said opposition leaders are still being killed or abducted and the government has made no arrests or prosecutions in cases of disappearances.
In May 2009, the government — dominated by the ethnic Sinhalese majority — defeated Tamil Tiger rebels who were demanding an independent Tamil nation after decades of perceived discrimination. (read more)
Credit: Erik Fogg
Genocide Watch: Sri Lanka By Genocide Watch 27 March 2012
Ceylon gained independence on February 4, 1948. When a new constitution was adopted in 1972, the country changed its name to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. The majority of the Sri Lankan population belongs to the Sinhalese ethnicity, which is largely Buddhist, while Tamils, who are Hindus, represent the largest minority. In the 1980s ethnic tensions between Sinhalese and Tamils arose, because of Sinhalese discrimination against Tamils regarding jobs, education and politics. This discrimination resulted in disparities in income and development. Before independence, Tamils had received preferential treatment fro colonial jobs, resulting in resentment by Sinhalese..
In 1983 the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, better known as Tamil Tigers) attacked government troops for the first time. It marked the beginning of an enduring violent insurgency. The goal of the Tamil Tigers was establishment of an independent Tamil state in the northern and eastern region of Sri Lanka (see map). The Sri Lankan armed forces were supported by an Indian peacekeeping operation. In 2002 both sides agreed to a cease-fire, but the peace did not last. Violence erupted again in 2005. The conflict eventually came to an end in May 2009 when the Sri Lankan armed forces defeated the Tamil Tigers. The political branch associated with the Tamil Tigers, Tamil National Alliance, have now denounced their secessionist claims in favor of a federalist state.
The period from 1983 to 2009 is commonly referred to as the Sri Lankan civil war, during which approximately 100,000 people died according to estimates of the United Nations, and hundreds of thousands of people were internally displaced or fled to neighboring countries. Both parties to the conflict committed atrocities. The Tamil Tigers organized bloody attacks on police, military and civilian targets. Their tactics included ambushes and suicide bombers, and they were notorious for their use of child soldiers.
Sri Lankan troops committed war crimes during the final phase of the Tamil rebellion from January – May 2009. The Tamil Tigers aggravated the atrocities by using civilians as human shields. A recent report of an investigative panel of the United Nations confirmed that the Sri Lankan troops deliberately targeted civilians, hospitals and aid workers, arbitrarily executed prisoners, and committed mass rape, all contrary to the Geneva Conventions which have been ratified by Sri Lanka (read more).
From January – May 2009 at least 7,934 persons died, of which 550 were children younger than 10, but real figures probably amount to tens of thousands victims –most sources speak of approximately 40,000 casualties. No one has been hold accountable. Instead, the Sri Lankan government has relied upon one of the typical forms of denial: substituting reconciliation efforts that do not address the crimes committed (read article on the denial of genocide by Gregory Stanton).
Persecution of Tamils by the Sinhalese government continues today. The Sri Lankan government continues to commit forced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and physical intimidation, including murder and torture, of Tamils and journalists. Because of these human rights abuses Human Rights Watch has called upon the British government not to deport Tamils to Sri Lanka (read more).
Sri Lanka has not signed the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. As long as there is no accountability for the massacres that occurred during the Sri Lankan civil war, there can be no sustainable peace among the ethnic communities, a failure confirmed by Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson (read more). An international Commission of Inquiry should investigate the atrocities committed by both sides in the conflict, and the Sri Lankan government should arrest and try those who committed war crimes. However, it is unlikely that the current Sri Lankan government will make such a commitment.
Sri Lanka is at stage 5 of the 8 stages of genocide, developed by Genocide Watch: Polarization. Genocide Watch fully supports the resolution of the U.N. Human Rights Council and urges the Sri Lankan government to investigate the final months of the Sri Lankan civil war. Furthermore, Sri Lanka should immediately end any persecution of Tamils.
Genocide Watch recommends watching an internet video on Sri Lanka's Killing Fields by Channel 4, but beware of disturbing images (free registration is necessary) at: http://srilanka.channel4.com/index.shtml