Genocide the Tamil people in Srilanka

Monday, January 31, 2011

United Nations must intervene to protect Sri Lanka's media

(CPJ-January 31, 2011)Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon must press the United Nations to address the string of uninvestigated and unprosecuted attacks on journalists and media houses under the government of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ responded after an early Monday morning arson attack on the offices of the independent Sri Lankan website Lanka eNews in the Malabe suburb of the capital, Colombo. Staff members told CPJ that everything in the offices had been destroyed, although no one was injured in the 2 a.m. raid. The outspoken website posted pictures of the destruction.

"The litany of arson attacks, assaults, disappearances, and outright killing of journalists that have gone unaddressed under President Mahinda Rajapaksa make it necessary for the international community to act," said Bob Dietz, CPJ's Asia program coordinator. "The responsibility falls to the United Nations to lead an effective international response to a government that has failed to protect journalists, and is itself a viable suspect in many of these acts."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

SRI LANKA: The anniversary of Prageeth's disappearance and the Galle Arts Festival

Prageeth Eknaligoda's wife and a small group of faithful supporters met representatives of the United Nations yesterday on the occasion of the first anniversary of Prageeth's disappearance. That the family had to meet representatives of the United Nations and not representatives of the Sri Lankan state is symbolic. It is after any hope has been lost of a genuine inquiry into Prageeth's disappearance that the family had to resort to the United Nations to seek its help. The nation itself was little concerned about this disappearance. The people of Sri Lanka have become accustomed to such tragedies. Such is the psychological conditioning of the nation. Powerlessness before cruelty is the condition in which the citizen lives his or her life. Meanwhile an Arts Festival is being celebrated in Galle. Some may say that the two events, the disappearance and the festival have no connection. And many will treat the situation as having no connection. That too reflects the mentalities that have grown in the midst of repression and violence that affects the nation. In such circumstances life and art are disconnected. The so-called arts try to be oblivious to the actual realities of life and try to create a festival even when the people are facing the funeral of the freedoms. Such disconnectedness is again the condition under which the people live in Sri Lanka.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sri Lanka: Stonewalling on Wartime Abuses

(New York-Human Rights Watch) The Sri Lankan government refuses to investigate alleged war crimes despite growing evidence of widespread atrocities during the civil war that ended in 2009, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2011. The government has threatened and intimidated journalists, opposition politicians, and civil society activists, and has consolidated President Mahinda Rajapaksa's grip on power by extending executive power over previously independent government commissions, Human Rights Watch said.

The 649-page World Report 2011, the organization's 21st annual review of human rights practices around the globe, summarizes major human rights trends in more than 90 nations and territories worldwide. In Sri Lanka, the report says, the government rejected domestic and international calls for an independent international investigation into allegations of war crimes by government forces and the defeated rebel Tamil Tigers.

Download the complete report > [PDF, 4 MB]

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sri Lankan president under scrutiny for war crimes

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is reportedly on a personal visit to the U.S., prompting calls from an international human rights group that he be investigated for his alleged role in torture and war crimes.

Mr. Rajapaksa is commander in chief of Sri Lanka's armed forces, which along with the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), face allegations of war crimes during the decades-long conflict on the South Asian island.

Under international law, military commanders may face criminal charges if they knew, or should have known, of such crimes being committed by their subordinates, according to Amnesty International.

"The United States has an obligation under international law to investigate and prosecute people who perpetrated war crimes and grave human rights violations such as extrajudicial executions, torture and enforced disappearances," said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific director.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rising ethnic nationalism in Sri Lanka targets minorities for abuse

Download the complete report [PDF] - MRG (Minority Rights Group International)Human rights violations in Sri Lanka continue unabated against ethnic Tamils and Muslims who fear an increasingly nationalist government, a new report by Minority Rights Group International says. Nearly two years after the end of the war, minorities face daily repression and marginalisation in politics and development policies, particularly in the country's north and east, documents the report. The report titled ‘No war, no peace: the denial of minority rights and justice in Sri Lanka’ includes groundbreaking first-hand research from the north and east of the country, including areas that international and national media and NGOs have limited access to. ‘Despite the end of the war, many Tamil and Muslim minorities in Sri Lanka continue to live in fear, ’ says Mark Lattimer, Executive Director of MRG.

Amnesty International Calls on the United States to Investigate Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapksa During his Surprise Visit to the United States

(Amnesty International Press Release) The United States should investigate Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapksa, who arrives on a surprise visit to the United States today, for his alleged role in perpetrating torture and war crimes, Amnesty International said today. Rajapaksa reportedly left Sri Lanka early Wednesday morning with a delegation of 20 bound for the United States. "The United States has an obligation under international law to investigate and prosecute people who perpetrated war crimes and grave human rights violations such as extrajudicial executions, torture and enforced disappearances," said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific director.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sri Lanka is wasting the peace dividend

(From Globe and Mail)

The government of Sri Lanka is squandering an important opportunity to build lasting peace. Though its treatment of Tamils has been substantially moderated since the civil war’s end 18 months ago, President Mahinda Rajapaksa is still engaging in some oppressive policies toward them.

After nearly three decades of civil war, reconciliation between the country’s Sinhalese majority and Tamil minority was never going to be easy. But Mr. Rajapaksa, whose three brothers are also in government, must do more to quell ethnic tensions.

The government’s “Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee,” which is looking into claims the army killed tens of thousands of Tamil civilians and soldiers in the last phase of the war, lacks credibility.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

146,679 Vanni people missing within a year of war: Bishop of Mannaar(Sri Lanka)

[ TamilNet Jan 12 ]

According to records of the SL Government Agent offices of Mullaiththeevu and Ki’linochchi districts, the population of Vanni was 429,059 in October 2008. The total number of people who got into SL government control after the war was 282,380, according to UN update as of 10 July 2009. “Due clarification should be made regarding what happened to 146,679 people, which is the discrepancy between the number of people who came to government controlled areas between October 2008 – May 2009 and the population reported to be in Vanni in early October 2008,” said the Catholic Bishop of Mannaar, Rt. Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph in his submission to the LLRC Saturday. The Bishop has also raised the issues of militarization, colonisation, land grab, Sihalicization, Buddhicisation and civil as well as human rights abuses that take place in the Tamil land following the war. Full text of the submission of the Catholic Bishop of Mannaar to the LLRC

Monday, January 10, 2011

Have you ever seen a Commission like this?

Yesterday, the LLRC travelled to Mannar. Women who had lost their husbands and children and the families of those who had disappeared gathered in large numbers at the venue to make representations to the LLRC. The people were in tears as they narrated their problems and concerns to the Commission. They made representations to the LLRC in the belief the Commission would address their concerns. But…Do you see what is happening…

The person who should be recording the representations is asleep. Do you see he is sleeping as if he is exhausted after engaging in hard work? Will these people ever understand/know the difficulties faced by the Tamils. Sinhalese are not even willing to listen to the people who approached the Presidential Commission in the belief they would obtain relief. The other members of the Commission are not prepared to wake the sleeping Commissioner for fear of disturbing his slumber.

The Sinhalese have no respect for the Tamils. This illustrates the sad plight of the Tamils who believe in the government only to be repeatedly let down/cheated.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Newspaper editor’s murderers still at large two years later

[ Reporters Without Borders ]

Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunga, a courageous, talented and iconoclastic journalist, was shot dead in Colombo by a death squad two years ago tomorrow. His murder is still unpunished.Reporters Without Borders is appalled by the fact that the Sri Lankan government is doing nothing to solve this murder and in fact is clearly preventing the truth from coming to light. By blocking the investigation and by fostering a climate of impunity and indifference, the government has become an accomplice. Wickrematunga’s murder dealt a major blow to media freedom in Sri Lanka.

The press freedom organisation voices its support for the editor’s family and colleagues, including his widow, Sonali Samarasinghe, and his brother, Lal Wickrematunga, who are themselves journalists.

“We urge President Mahinda Rajapaksa to launch an exhaustive criminal investigation by requesting the assistance of international experts, so that the person responsible for this horrible murder can be identified,” Reporters Without Borders said.,39252.html

Friday, January 7, 2011

Lawmakers: Violence returns to northern Sri Lanka

[Jan 7, 2011, Washington Post]
Sri Lanka's former war zone is again seeing unexplained killings, abductions and rapes despite tight security in the region, lawmakers said Thursday. A group of ethnic Tamil lawmakers submitted to Parliament a list of 15 serious incidents that they say occurred in the northern Jaffna peninsula in the past two months. They asked the government to explain how such crimes could take place considering the area's security situation. The area is the cultural heartland of ethnic Tamils and was a stronghold of Tamil Tiger rebels before their 26 year campaign for an independent state was put down by the military in 2009. About 50,000 government troops have been stationed on the peninsula since.

First land, now food: Sri Lanka’s powers-abetted genocide progresses unabated

[TamilNet] In its innovative model of inspiring the entire world on genocide, the Sri Lankan state has decided to deploy its occupying military to cultivate 40, 000 acres of abandoned land in the country of Eezham Tamils, after uprooting them in the war and not allowing them to resettle. The program is being implemented under the directions of SL President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, according to SL military media. The SL colonial governor in the north, Maj. Gen. G A Chandrasiri said this week that the government would cultivate black gram on 19,786 acres, groundnuts on 7,231 acres, red onions on 4,709 acres, green chillies on 4,329 acres and cowpea on 4,729 acres. The SL Army will also buy produce of farmers cultivating near its sprawling estates, and it will sell vegetables in Colombo at ‘concessionary’ rate to control market prices.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fifth Anniversary of Trincomalee Students execution

As relatives of the five Trincomalee students, who were shot dead execution style by Sri Lanka soldiers on January 2nd 2006, prepare to remember the fifth anniversary and mourn the death of their children, Dr. Kasipillai Manoharan, the father of Ragihar, one of the students killed, appealed to international rights groups including the UN Human Rights Commission to investigate the crime and to provide justice to his lost son and his friends who were killed. Information, recently made public, from the US embassy in Colombo, which has highlighted that ruling Rajapakse family sanctioned extra-judicial killings in the NorthEast, adds further obligation to international human rights watchdogs to take steps to advocate independent international investigations into war crimes.