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Published Date: 20/03/2015 (Friday)
The Council of the London Borough of Redbridge unanimously passed a motion last night (19th March 2015) calling on the British government and United Nations to deliver justice for the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against the Tamil people by the Sri Lankan government during the civil war. The motion also calls for a permanent practical solution addressing the root cause of the conflict that will meet the aspirations of the Tamil people in their home nation.
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Published Date: 11/03/2015 (Wednesday)
The BBC has reported that President Sirisena of Sri Lanka has said he will set up a domestic inquiry into the war crimes investigated by No Fire Zone and successive UN reports. But when asked whether he would grant permission for the UN investigators to visit the country he said no, claiming there is no need for the UN to be involved in conducting the investigations. The BBC also reported that he said he "doesn't believe" war crimes allegations against the military in the documentary No Fire Zone.
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Sinhala version of award-winning documentary No Fire Zone launched in the Palace of Westminster
Published Date: 10/03/2015 (Tuesday)
A new Sinhala version of award-winning documentary No Fire Zone was launched at a press conference on Tuesday 10 March at 10am in Room 21, Palace of Westminster. It was reported that that this multi-award-winning, Emmy-nominated feature documentary No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka produced in Sinhala language version will be seen as a direct challenge to the new government over its commitment to a free media.
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“Dont Shout at me. I Understand Your Issues” -Ranil Tells TNA
Published Date: 26/02/2015 (Thursday)
Hardline sections of the TNA are breathing fire against the new Prime Minister for the Government delays in releasing lands seized by the military in war time back to its original owners in the North and East. The two major regions being contested are Valikamam North in the Jaffna District and Sampur in the Trincomalee District. In Valikamam North, the army holds 6000 acres of land, originally belonging to private citizens. The Government announced two weeks ago that it would release 1000 acres back to the original owners. Since the announcement there is little progress.
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The World Bank reaffirms its commitment to support Sri Lanka
Published Date: 25/02/2015 (Wednesday)
World Bank Vice President for the South Asia Region Annette Dixon said the Bank would partner with the government to help shape and implement policies aimed at reducing poverty, improving shared prosperity and promoting sustainable growth. During her visit, Dixon met with President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe, the Finance Minister, and the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs.
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International monitoring of an internal investigation is a waste of time: Jaffna University Professors
Published Date: 24/02/2015 (Tuesday)
Thousands of Tamils affected by the war, staged a rally in Jaffna in the north of Sri Lanka against the postponement of the much awaited United Nation’s report on the killings of thousands of Tamils by the Sri Lankan Security forces. This rally was organized by the Jaffna University Professors and students, supported by Tamil political parties and groups in the region.
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President Maithripala Sirisena a new broom for Sri Lanka
Published Date: 24/02/2015 (Tuesday)
Maithripala Sirisena's surprise election as Sri Lankan President on January 8 has paved the way for a significant departure from the policies of his predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa. In acknowledgement of the support of members of disaffected minority groups, including Tamils in the north, Sirisena has undertaken to write down farmers' debt, increase the health and education budget, and fight corruption. Fifty or so political appointees to Sri Lankan diplomat posts have been recalled, including the High Commissioner to Australia, Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe.
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Mahinda Rajapakse visits Kathirgamam Murugan Temple
Published Date: 23/02/2015 (Monday)
Defeated Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is said to be harnessing supernatural as well as temporal forces in a determined bid to come back to power through the June parliamentary elections. Today, he made a ceremonial offering of a gold plated trisulam (a trident associated with Lord Siva) at the ancient Murugan temple in Kataragama (Kadirgamam) in South Lanka. Murugan or Skanda is the Lankan God of War.
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Northern Provincial Council Member Writes to Head of UNCHR on Accountability and Political Solution in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 23/02/2015 (Monday)
The Tamil people are highly disappointed and dismayed by your announcement on February 16, to delay the OHCR Investigation on Sri Lanka – OISL Report until September 2015. The Tamil people had been anxiously waiting with high hopes for the release of the Report, but this unexpected delay has caused serious concerns to the victimized Tamil population, and we strongly believe justice delayed is justice denied.
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UN deferral must be used to make Sri Lanka war crimes report stronger
Published Date: 22/02/2015 (Sunday)
This month, the UN Human Rights Council announced it would defer publication of a major report that investigates allegations of serious human rights violations and related crimes during the last years of Sri Lanka’s civil war. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, whose office had been entrusted with the task, had asked the council to delay the report’s release, originally scheduled for March, until September, based on a request by Sri Lanka\'s new government.
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India, Sri Lanka ink civil nuclear pact, agree to expand defence ties
Published Date: 16/02/2015 (Monday)
Taking the ties to a new level, India and Sri Lanka today inked a civil nuclear pact besides deciding to expand defence and security cooperation. This was announced after the talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena during which both the leaders expressed commitment to find a solution to the emotive fishermen issue by adopting a constructive and humanitarian approach.
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India seals nuclear energy pact with Sri Lanka, hopes to push back Chinese influence
Published Date: 16/02/2015 (Monday)
India sealed a nuclear energy agreement with Sri Lanka on Monday, its first breakthrough with the new government of the tiny Indian Ocean island where China has been building ports and highways in a diplomatic push in recent years. Under the deal, India will help Sri Lanka build its nuclear energy infrastructure, including training of personnel, the Indian foreign ministry said.
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North resettlement expedited
Published Date: 15/02/2015 (Sunday)
North resettlement process to be expedited, Minister of Resettlement, Reconstruction and Hindu Religious Affairs D. M. Swaminathan stated. He made these remarks yesterday (24) evening while talking to the Chief Minister of the Northern Province C. V. Vigneswaran.
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Sri Lanka: New Government Makes U-Turn To China
Published Date: 09/02/2015 (Monday)
When President Mahinda Rajapakse was toppled by a “peoples’ power” anti-corruption vote on January 8 there were messages from Western leaders and op-eds in newspapers in London, New York, Toronto and Oslo welcoming the success of another “regime change” campaign to overthrow a leader who was hostile to the West and cuddling with the Chinese.
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Statement on the Status of Tamil as a Classical Language
Published Date: 08/02/2015 (Sunday)
Professor Maraimalai has asked me to write regarding the position of Tamil as a classical language, and I am delighted to respond to his request. I have been a Professor of Tamil at the University of California, Berkeley, since 1975 and am currently holder of the Tamil Chair at that institution.
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Book Review: The Seasons o f Trouble
Published Date: 08/02/2015 (Sunday)
Two books that are reportage from the Sri Lankan civil war—the fighting ended in May 2009—were published this year. Samanth Subramanian’s This Divided Island, published four months ago, took a macro view of the war’s end and its aftermath; in his own words, “picked at a loose tile and found a stash of corpses buried underneath”. It meditated on the tug-of-war over memory between the state and the individual, and took both the Sri Lankan army as well as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to task. An engrossing micro view of the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka, which touches as well as unsettles the heart
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Published Date: 07/02/2015 (Saturday)
Rome with bread and circus-shows, Distracted citizens from their woes. Our rulers employ the ploys of Rome, To beguile the hoi-polloi at home With cricket, rugger, racing-cars, Lavish pageants and Bollywood stars. Highways, freeways, their priority need, To travel fast at breakneck speed,
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Published Date: 06/02/2015 (Friday)
Mr. Mohan Peiris claims that he never left, never resigned but was displaced. However when this matter was discussed in the National Executive Council, it was clear that Parliament never resolved to evict Ms Shirani Bandaranayke and never send such a resolution to the President’s office. Dinesh Gunawardena alleged that, “The Government’s action had undermined the authority of Parliament, as it overturned a decision taken by the Legislature. Only Parliament can remove the CJ and not the President. There is procedure laid down for this to be pursued, and it must be followed”. That is exactly the point. It was President Mahinda Rajapaksa who has violated this procedure by taking steps to remove Ms Shirani Bandaranayke without a removal notice from the parliament.
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Modi’s Dangerous Silence
Published Date: 06/02/2015 (Friday)
What will it take for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak out about the mounting violence against India’s religious minorities? Attacks at Christian places of worship have prompted no response from the man elected to represent and to protect all of India’s citizens. Nor has he addressed the mass conversion to Hinduism of Christians and Muslims who have been coerced or promised money. Mr. Modi’s continued silence before such troubling intolerance increasingly gives the impression that he either cannot or does not wish to control the fringe elements of the Hindu nationalist right.
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End of an era
Published Date: 05/02/2015 (Thursday)
There are an enormous number of lessons to be learnt from the presidential election held on January 8. I shall touch on a few that I think significant. The first is that in my opinion no previous such election had the historical significance that this one did. It needs very little reflection to realize that had Mahinda Rajapaksa won, this country would have been under a dictatorship for many generations to come. MR’s intention, it is alleged, was to hand the reigns over to his eldest son at the end of his third term.
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Tamil refugees look to return to Sri Lanka after regime change India, Sri Lanka have much to hash out before mass repatriation can begin
Published Date: 05/02/2015 (Thursday)
Subbiah Rajendran's eyes lit up as he spoke about the prospect of returning to his native Kilinochchi in Sri Lanka, which he left at the height of the civil war. For the past 25 years, this 53-year old has been leading a refugee's life in India. “We are hopeful of a better life after decades of suffering,” said Rajendran, who along with hundreds of others lives in Gummidipoondi refugee camp near Chennai, India.
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Published Date: 04/02/2015 (Wednesday)
We, the undersigned conveners on behalf of civil society organizations and individuals who have focused on human rights protection through the dark and dangerous days of the Rajapaksa regime, welcome the victory of Mr. Maithripala Sirisena in the 08th January 2015 Presidential Election and the formation of a new government. We look forward to a positive and constructive association with the new government to ensure an end to the culture of impunity which defined the Rakapaksa regime’s record on human rights, and to a new era of robust human rights protection in Sri Lanka with due respect for the rule of law, accountability and the national and international obligations the Government of Sri Lanka is bound by.
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Opening up? Sri Lanka's new government confronts legacy of war
Published Date: 03/02/2015 (Tuesday)
Sri Lanka’s new government says it will address outstanding concerns relating to the civil war that ended in May 2009, including allegations of human rights abuses, missing persons and political prisoners. The new administration, which came to power last month, appears to be willing to tackle sensitive issues that were effectively taboo under the previous administration. But activists warn only swift, decisive, action can reverse the legacy of pre-existing draconian measures.
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Australian activists halt asylum seeker deportation
Published Date: 03/02/2015 (Tuesday)
A Tamil asylum seeker’s eviction to Sri Lanka was halted by activists in Melbourne on Monday amid fears that his return could endanger his life. Three airline passengers refused to sit down on the plane until the man in question, Puvaneethan, was allowed to disembark. They had been representing the activist group Refugee Action Collective.
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Rehabilitating Displaced Tamils
Published Date: 02/02/2015 (Monday)
How long may we stay in another man’s land?” sang Kashi Ananthan, well-known Sri Lankan Tamil poet, in a poem which began with the words, “The parrot and the woodpecker may return to their nests without hindrance, but we the Tamil refugees may not”. Seven years have passed since the end of the Fourth Eelam War. President Mahinda Rajapaksa claimed that normalcy has returned to the Tamil areas; demining has been completed; internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been rehabilitated; but the return of the refugees from Tamil Nadu proceeded at a snail’s pace. According to statistics made available by the UNHCR office in Chennai, from 2008 to December 2014, only 7,008 refugees belonging 2,256 families have returned to Sri Lanka.
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