Genocide the Tamil people in Srilanka

Saturday, December 18, 2010

US lawmakers urge Sri Lanka rights probe

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Dozens of US lawmakers on Friday urged a global probe into alleged rights violations by Sri Lanka in the last stages of its civil war, saying Colombo's own efforts do not ensure accountability.

In letters to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 17 senators and 30 members of the House of Representatives called for the United States to seek a United Nations role investigating last year's finale of the Tamil Tiger insurgency.

Canada silent on Sri Lankan war crimes

(Amarnath Amarasingam, In early 2009, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. President Barack Obama, and U.K. Foreign Secretary David Miliband all called for an end to hostilities in Sri Lanka, noting that civilian lives were being “lost on a large scale.” Members of the Tamil diaspora around the world also took to the streets to shed light on the conflict, but the international community remained largely silent. As if recognizing the need for the marketing of conflicts in today’s geopolitical landscape, Miliband stated that civilians in Sri Lanka are the victims of “what at the moment is a war without witness.”

While many human rights organizations sounded the alarm about war crimes committed by both the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan government during the final push of the war, new evidence is coming to light. Though there may never be a full record of the abuses carried out by the Sri Lankan government or the Tamil Tigers against civilian populations in Sri Lanka, a particularly disturbing video of what appears to be Sri Lankan soldiers indiscriminately shooting Tamils was broadcast by Britain’s Channel 4 News on Nov. 30.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sri Lanka Tamils concerned over national anthem

COLOMBO (AFP-Mon Dec 13) – Sri Lanka's Tamils expressed concern on Monday over a media report suggesting that the government was set to ban singing the national anthem in their language.

The main Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), said it was seeking clarification from the government, which is dominated by the majority Sinhalese ethnic group.

"At a time when the government is talking about ethnic harmony and national integration, this national anthem is an unwanted issue," TNA legislator Suresh Premachandran told AFP.

"If we can't sing the anthem in Tamil, we will be driven to boycott the anthem."

The Sunday Times newspaper in Colombo reported that the cabinet of President Mahinda Rajapakse decided last week to order that only Sinhala should be used for the anthem.

The government's information department and the president's office were unable to confirm the report when contacted by AFP.

Separatists battled for a homeland for Tamils in the north of the Indian Ocean island for nearly 40 years.

Their violent campaign was finally crushed last year by government forces, but a legacy of polarisation and mistrust remains between the communities and Rajapakse made reconciliation a plank of his re-election campaign in January.

Language and discrimination were key issues used by the Tamil Tiger separatists to gain popular support for their campaign.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

New video evidence of alleged Sri Lankan war crimes requires UN investigation – Media Release

(Amnesty International Canada) Video footage allegedly showing evidence of war crimes by Sri Lankan soldiers in the closing days of the war against members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) underlines the need for an independent investigation by the United Nations, Amnesty International said today. Footage aired this evening by the UK’s Channel 4 News television, allegedly reveals new details about the location, date and time of the events, the military units involved in the incident and the identity of at least one victim. The Channel 4 video was allegedly filmed in northern Sri Lanka in May 2009 and appears to show Sri Lankan soldiers executing prisoners. A portion of the five-minute video was aired last week, but the remainder was considered too graphic. Channel 4 released a similar, but shorter, video segment in August 2009. “The video footage seen in full is extremely disturbing and includes what appears to be a number of naked male and female bodies, many of them blindfolded and bound, depicting what seems to be cold blooded execution of prisoners – if true, this would constitute a war crime,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific program director. “The Sri Lankan authorities have categorically rejected this and previous videos as fraudulent and dismissed out of hand reports that its forces engaged in war crimes. This position is increasingly difficult to defend. An investigation must be undertaken to explore alleged war crimes by all sides in the conflict.” Channel 4 has identified one of apparent victims as Shoba, alias Isaippiriya, a young Sri Lankan Tamil woman and LTTE media worker whose body was featured in video footage first aired on 30 November. Amnesty International has received independent confirmation about the identity of the dead woman.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sri Lanka: Army Unit Linked to Executions

(New York- HRW) - New evidence links the Sri Lankan army's 53 Division to the alleged summary execution of prisoners on May 18, 2009, during the final hours of the 26-year armed conflict in Sri Lanka, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch repeated its call for the United Nations to undertake a full investigation into wartime abuses by both government forces and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Human Rights Watch has obtained a longer version of a video broadcast on November 30, 2010, by British Channel 4, and photographs of the same incident from other sources. The videos and photos show what appear to be the summary execution of prisoners by government troops. At least a dozen dead bodies are visible.

Sri Lanka video is 'astonishing evidence'

A leading war crimes lawyer tells Channel 4 News the video apparently showing men taking part in executions in Sri Lanka is "astonishing evidence" and the United Nations must act.

Last week, Channel 4 News screened new footage showing an alleged massacre of Tamil prisoners in Sri Lanka.

New evidence has since emerged over the possible identities of one of the victims as well as on which soldiers may be responsible. The video has been sent to the United Nations panel which is currently investigating whether to hold an international inquiry on what happened during the 26-year war in Sri Lanka.

Channel 4 News spoke to war crimes lawyer Julian Knowles of Matrix Chambers about the video and what could happen next.

Can I ask you what your initial view is of what this video, what we've learned from evidence contained in it, what it says to you about possible war crimes?

What you've got here is clear evidence of the execution of unarmed combatants or civilians. It doesn't matter which they are, they're both prohibited under the Geneva Convention and they are both ranked as what we call a grave breach of the Geneva Convention so they are crimes in international law.

And whether these are combatants or whether they're civilians, their hands are tied, they're blindfolded, there's no evidence of any weapons, so we clearly have executions here which are a crime in international law and one of the most serious crimes.

And does the fact that we now know pretty much exactly when it happened and roughly the location, does that have a bearing on a possible future trial?

The evidence that you've uncovered with this video, and what this video shows, is absolutely crucial in the forensic process because it allows you to identify the troops on the ground, the unit which they are from, their local commanders and the higher level commanders. Because if you know the region, the Sri Lankan government will know what troops it had and at what time. So because you know the date and because you know pretty precisely the location, the Sri Lankan government, if it had the will, would be able to identify who is responsible for these executions and that would obviously be crucial in any trial, if you want to put on trial both the soldiers who actually pull the trigger and the commanders who gave them the order to do so.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sri Lanka: Deported asylum seekers face torture, jail

(By Lee Yu Kyung,greenleft) “Mum’s dead”. The gloomy faced Sujendran Gunesekaram greeted me, as we met in person for the first time. His mother died of a heart attack on September 5, after suffering for three years.

Sujendran is a 27-year-old Sri Lankan Tamil originally from Muttur in Trincomalee, the war-hit town in the east. He was one of 254 asylum seekers on the Australia-bound boat Jeya Lestari that moored off at the port in Merak, Indonesia in October 2009.

The Indonesian navy intercepted the boat after Australia’s then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to request it.

Sujendran wanted to reach Australia at any cost. But he returned to Sri Lanka in November last year solely because of his ailing mother. “I would have not returned at all, unless my mother was not greatly ill”, he said.

However, on arrival Sujendran couldn’t go straight to his mother. He didn’t expect what would happen next.

Taken to the ‘4th floor’

Monday, December 6, 2010

New evidence emerges on war crimes committed on Isaippiriyaa

The gruesome killing of 27-year-old LTTE journalist Shoba (Isaippiriyaa) is a clear case of war crime committed by Sri Lanka Army, as evidences come forth indicate. Isaippriyaa never went for any kind of military training. She was exempted by the LTTE from such training, as she was a patient of Rheumatic Heart Valvular Disease, says a medical practitioner who was working in Vanni and who has personally seen her taking Echo Cardiogram test conducted by visiting US and Australian cardiologists. Until 8 May 2009 she was working as a volunteer in the Mu’l’livaaykkaal makeshift hospital. She was taken by SLA on 23rd or 24th of May 2009, while staying in D8/ Zone 4 of the Cheddiku'lam internment camp, according to the wife of the medical practitioner, a media worker who was also interned in the camp at that time.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sri Lankan detainees “resettled” in appalling conditions

(By Subash Somachandran,World Socialist Web Site)Following the defeat of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May last year, the Sri Lankan government detained about 280,000 Tamil civilians from the northern Vanni region in huge military-controlled camps. After many months of incarceration, in violation of their fundamental legal and democratic rights, detainees were later “resettled” in designated areas or consigned to “transit camps”. According to the government, around 20,000 people are still living in the military-run detention camps.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Woman victim in Channel-4 video identified as Journalist Isaippiriya

(TamilNet) One of the women victims, stripped naked, hands tied behind back, and shot dead, as seen in the video footage that has recently reached Channel-4 has been identified as 27-year-old Shoba, with nom de plume Isaippiriya, who worked as media specialist with the LTTE, according to the TamilNet Vanni correspondent who recently reached a free country in the West. “I am able to learn through those who have been at Mu'l'livaaykkaal in the final days of war, that Shoba remained unarmed and did not take part in combat," the Vanni correspondent told TamilNet, adding that Shoba lost her 4-month-old baby girl, named Akal, in the last stage of the war. TamilNet refrains from publishing the cruel video, but instead publishes a video footage of Isaippiriya as a reporter from LTTE's O'liveechchu video magazine.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sri Lanka 'war crimes' video: who are these men?

Channel 4 News reveals images of the men caught on camera apparently taking part in executions in Sri Lanka, actions a top lawyer has branded "war crimes". Can you help identify the men involved?

The UN has told Channel 4 News that the Sri Lanka apparent execution video, broadcast on Tuesday, deserves further investigation.

The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Professor Christof Heyns, said: "It is shocking indeed, and clearly deserves more investigation," he said.

Mark Ellis, Executive Director of the International Bar Association (IBA), told Channel 4 News the video was prima facie evidence of war crimes being committed. - WikiLeaks renews accusations over Sri Lanka war crimes - Reuters - Rajapakse, brothers responsible for alleged War Crimes in Sri Lanka, says leaked US cable - TamilNet - Sri Lanka leader Mahinda Rajapakse 'guilty' of war crime - The Australian

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

UN: Sri Lanka 'war crimes' video needs investigation

The United Nations tells Channel 4 News new footage of the alleged massacre of Tamil prisoners in Sri Lanka "deserves more investigation", as Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse visits London. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse is in London as new war crimes allegations surface Last night, Channel 4 News broadcast an extended Sri Lanka execution video, apparently showing government troops executing Tamils in the last few weeks of the Sri Lankan civil war.