Sunday, 29 May 2016
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 Tamil Affairs
Tamil Guardian 29 May 2016
Sri Lankan police shoot at Tamil youth in Mullaitivu

Sri Lankan police on Saturday shot at a Tamil man in Mullaitivu after he demanded to see an arrest warrant.

Police in civil pictured with the gun used to shoot at the Tamil man

The 27 year old man, Vivekanandan Thijeevan was at home in the highly militarised Keppapilavu mode village when two police officers from the Mulliyawalai police station arrived stated they the magistrate had issued an arrest warrant for him.

When Mr Thijeevan demanded to see the arrest warrant prior to being taken in custody, one of the police officers who was dressed in civilian clothes fired two shots at his feet, before forcibly taking him into custody.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 29 May 2016
Sinhala farmers settled on state land in Batticaloa
Eastern Provincial Council officials say a "well-planned strategy" was underway to settle Sinhalese farmers on state lands with the backing of a Buddhist monk.

District Secretary PSM Charles and Agriculture Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council K.Thurairajasingham made the discovery during their visit to the border of Mathavanai and Mayilathamadhu, just within the borders of the Batticaloa district.

In Senkalady and Kiran Divisional Secretariats, state lands have also been acquired illegally and at least 300 families are living in temporary shelters. The construction of a Buddhist Vihara is also under way in the middle of the resettlements.

The Chief Monk of the Vihara told government officials that they had been living in these areas since 1967 and following the resumption of war in 2006, they displaced to other Sinahala areas. They claimed they resettle in their own lands three years ago and most of the families are engage in farming for survival in paddy fields located adjacent to the resettlements.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 29 May 2016
No foreign involvement in war crimes probe - Ranil

The war crimes mechanism mandated by a UN resolution last October will not include foreign participation, despite the binding resolution's call for international involvement in any accountability mechanism.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told senior army officials on Thursday that the judicial mechanism would be made up entirely of Sri Lankan judges, The Sunday Times reported today.

The final decision was conveyed to the army officials after months of speculation. President Maithripala Sirisena said in January that foreign judges will not be allowed to take part in any mechanism, however Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera in February said this was the president's "personal opinion", and that international involvement remained on the table.

The TNA is said to be unhappy with the decision by the government.

TNA leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan told the Sunday Times,

“The resolution was considerably watered down because the Government showed a positive attitude. We would request that the UNHRC resolution be implemented. There is no room for misunderstanding.”

Tamil Guardian 29 May 2016
Multimillion dollar projects in Polonnaruwa to go to China
Five projects in the Sri Lankan president's home town of Polonnaruwa are to be given to Chinese companies, despite the government's previous announcement of competitive bids, the Sunday Times reported.

A memorandum of understanding between the two countries was signed in April for projects including drinking water supply, infrastructure and an agro-econonomic centre, the paper added.

The projects will be funded by Chinese loans, dependent on Chinese companies, workers and goods being recruited.

The move, led by Mr Sirisena's office, is reminiscent of the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa's development of his hometown, Hambantota.

See more here.
Tamil Guardian 29 May 2016
Eastern province CM says everyone should apologise
The chief minister of the Eastern province, Nazeer Ahamed criticised the military's decision to boycott future events over the incident with the navy officer last week, calling instead for everyone to apologise.

Mr Ahamed told a navy officer to "just get out from here" at an event on May 20th in a school in Sampur.

In a letter to the prime minister and president, Mr Ahamed said the navy officer should apologise for his "grossly offensive conduct, an offence under the Penal Code", Colombo Page reported.

"I would not hesitate to express my unequivocal regret and apologies to all those who were present, including the staff and students of the school, the foreign dignitary and the concerned naval officer for my strong but justifiable reaction," he added.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 29 May 2016
Sri Lankan president defends land releases with talk of bolstering security
Sri Lanka’s president has defended the small scale release of land held by the military to their rightful Tamil owners in the North-East by pledging that national security “has been further strengthened”.

Speaking to a gathering of the Sri Lankan community in Japan, Maithripala Sirisena emphasised that “the national security of Sri Lanka has been further strengthened and it has not weakened in any way,” according to the President’s official media division.

He also “vehemently rejected the claims by some websites that the Government is betraying the security forces,” it reported.

Defending the release of land by his government in the Tamil North-East, the president assured the crowd that he has taken "every step" to ensure the national security. "There is no threat whatsoever,” he said. “We have taken every step to ensure the national security."

Mr Sirisena was responding to a question from the audience, with regards to criticism he has received for releasing the land – an issue that has seen dozens of protests by Tamils in the North-East in this year alone.

"They (the Tamils) have waited not one or two years but 27 years to get their lands back," Mr Sirisena said.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 28 May 2016
Sri Lanka approves controversial Indian housing project for North-East
The highly opposed option of building 65,000 prefabricated steel houses for displaced people in the North-East has been termed as a ‘fair solution’ by a University Panel in Sri Lanka, reports The Hindu.

A panel from the department of Civil Engineering at the University of Peradeniya, deemed that the housing project was suitable despite concerns raised by the Tamil National Alliance and the Northern Provincial Council.

Sections of the TNA have been opposing the house project for its lack of consultation with the Tamil community.

Wigneswaran slams 'dominating, domineering and hegemonic" attitude of government (02 Apr 2016)
TNA MP urges transparency in Sri Lankan govt's housing project (07 Apr 2016)

Sri Lankan minister dismisses Tamil concerns on 65K housing project (10 Apr 2016)
Tamil Guardian 28 May 2016
Jayalalithaa vows to support Tamil rights

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa says she will continue to press the central government in Delhi to get justice for Tamils in the North.

Responding to a letter by Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran congratulating her on her election victory, Ms Jayalalithaa said she would meet with the chief minister at a "mutually convenient time".

"As a Chief Minister of the state, I have taken steps to establish the rights of Sri Lankan Tamils during the last five years," she said.

"I wish to inform you that I will continue to take steps through the Centre for getting justice for Tamils living in the Northern Province."

Wigneswaran congratulates Tamil Nadu chief minister, hopes for action on Eelam struggle (19 May 2016)

Jayalalithaa says her party would work for separate Tamil Eelam (24 April 2016)

Tamil Guardian 28 May 2016
Buddhist monks protest over Eastern CM remarks
Sri Lankan Buddhist monks led a protest against the Eastern chief minister's comments to a navy officer, telling him to "just get out of here" at a civilian event.

Condemning the chief minister, who is a Sri Lankan Muslim, the monks and other Sinhala protesters chanted derogatory remarks against Muslims.



[more]

Tamil Guardian 28 May 2016
Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission issues guidance on treatment of arbitrarily detained prisoners
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) is to issue a directive on the treatment of people detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

The directives are aimed to regulate the arrest process, process to be followed after arrest and special measures related to the arrest of women and people under 18 years.

The directive comes as calls for Sri Lanka to repeal the draconian PTA that allows for indefinite arbitrary detention mount, amidst ongoing reports of torture in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has struggled to repeal the PTA  and release all Tamil political prisoners, which is seen as a key small confidence building measure with the Tamil community.



Tamil Guardian 28 May 2016
No confidence motion brought against SL finance minister
A debate on a no-confidence motion against Sri Lanka's finance minister Ravi Karunanayake has been scheduled in parliament on June 8.

The motion, brought by 37 members of the joint opposition, accuses the minister of "mishandling the economy and putting the country in an economic crisis", the Colombo Page reported.

Stating that the MPs had lost faith in the minister, the MP Bandula Gunawardena presented the motion to the Speaker and stated "the government obtained loans without making any records and it is difficult to serve as the Finance Minister without revealing the truth to parliament".

See here for more.
Tamil Guardian 28 May 2016
Eastern University students protest against attack on Tamil student

Tamil students at Eastern University staged a protest yesterday condemning the recent attack on a Tamil university student by Sinhalese students after he posted a picture commemorating the Mullivaikkal massacres on May 18 on a Facebook page.

The protesting students called on the university administration to take action against the perpetrators and to put an end to racially motivated attacks. The incident, which took place earlier this week, has seen no arrests and has seen the university authorities and Sri Lankan state condemned for its inaction and "partisan approach".


[more]

Tamil Guardian 28 May 2016
Japan to provide $340mn in loans to Sri Lanka

The Japanese government will provide Sri Lanka with loans worth over $340mn, for the construction of transmission lines and water supply facilities, according to a statement released by Japan.

"Prime Minister Abe expressed his intention to provide ODA loans, which amount to approximately 38 billion yen, for the construction of transmission lines in the North Central and Eastern Provinces and water supply facilities in the North Central Province, in order to further promote socio-economic development of Sri Lanka. The project of constructing transmission lines will allow the electricity generated at the power plants that Sri Lanka planned in the Eastern Province to be transmitted to the City of Colombo," the statement said.

The prime minister told President Sirisena, who is currently in Japan, that Sri Lanka will also receive two patrol boats, a part of their maritime security cooperation.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 27 May 2016
Military presence in North-East to derail youth
The Jaffna District Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian Sivagnanam Srithiran said that military presence in the North and east was a deliberate attempt to lead the youth into facets of a culture of violence so they have no time to devote to Tamil nationalism.

He further alleged the security forces stationed in the North were the cause of the dominance of a violent culture which had a demoralizing impact on the lives of Tamil youth.

Commenting on the Navy’s attempt to construct a new church on the island inlet of Kachchathibu he alleged that the act was an attempt to colonise the fishing island.

The construction of Buddha shrines across the North-East were part of a wider programme of Sinhalsiation of the North-East he added.
Tamil Guardian 27 May 2016
Former LTTE member arrested at Katunayake

Another former LTTE member was arrested by the Terrorism Investigation Department, TamilWin reported on Thursday.

Ayyathurai Mohandas, known as Athavan Master, was arrested at Katunayaka airport, in connection to the suicide vest, discovered by the military earlier this year.

Mr Mohandas, who was the LTTE head of intelligence for Mannar and Vanni, surrendered to the military in May 2009 and after going through its controversial rehabilitation programme, was reportedly made to work for the intelligence services.

The TID claims he led the group responsible for the suicide vest and says he was attempting to escape to India when he was arrested.

His house was visited by intelligence officers earlier this year, however he was said to have gone into hiding by then.

Tamil Guardian 27 May 2016
No arrests over Tamil student attack in East says TNPF
The Tamil National People's Front condemned Sri Lankan state's inaction and "partisan approach" over the racist attack of a Tamil student by Sinhala students at Eastern university.

"Forty-eight hours have elapsed since the student, who was a victim of a racist attack, lodged a police complaint however, until now, no one has been arrested," the TNPF said in a statement.

Tamil students have raised concerns that there has been ongoing intimidation of the victim in order to make him withdraw his complaint.

"Sri Lankan state machinery discriminates against Tamils. This practice of treating Tamils with partiality also continues under the present regime," TNPF added.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 27 May 2016
Sri Lanka’s ‘Office of Missing Persons’ lacks victim consultations – HRW

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticised the Sri Lankan government’s newly announced Office of Missing Persons’ (OMP), stating that the authorities had failed to sufficiently consult with victims in establishing the new mechanism.

“At the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva last year, the government had agreed to hold nationwide public consultations on all transitional justice mechanisms,” said a press release on Friday. “However, on May 24, 2016, Sri Lanka’s cabinet approved the new Office of Missing Persons without talking with the families who have long waited for justice.”

Sri Lanka’s OMP has already come under fire from Tamil organisations across the North-East who said the government had not shown any “genuine willingness to consult the victims”.

Noting that Sri Lanka’s long history of government appointed commissions into the issue of disappearances, HRW  went on to state that “various commissions of inquiry established by successive Sri Lankan governments in response to pressure from victims’ groups and others have produced reports that have largely remained unpublished and have not resulted in criminal prosecutions of those responsible”.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 27 May 2016
Councillor urges end to state sponsored Sinhala resettlement in Mullaitivu
The northern provincial councillor, Ravikaran on Thursday put forward a motion against the state sponsored Sinhala resettlement into Mullaitivu.

Putting forward the motion, Mr Ravikaran said Sri Lankan government's land policy was aimed at changing the ethnic make up of the region, and was contrary to the recommendations of its own reconciliation commission

Under the guise of the Mahaweli development project, land in Kokkilai, Kokkuthothuvai and Karunattenkeni were being seized by state authorities, leaving its rightful owners displaced, Mr Ravikaran said.

Tamils were also being forward to work for a very small daily wage under Sinhala masters who had seized control over their lands, he added.

 
 International Affairs
Tamil Guardian 28 May 2016
Turkish anger over pictures of US troops with YPG insignia

The Turkish government said it was "unacceptable" that US troops are donning the insignia of the YPG, the Kurdish movement in northern Syria, which it considers a terrorist organisation.

The photographs were published by AFP on Thursday, and picture US soldiers near Raqqa, with shoulder patches of the YPG insignia.

“To those who say they don’t consider the YPG to be the same as these terrorist groups, this is our response,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said. “This is applying double standards, this is being two-faced.”

On Thursday, the US Department of Defense said that " special operations forces when they operate in certain areas do what they can to, if you will, blend in with the community to enhance their own protection, their own security".

However another US officials later said the patches were "unauthorised".

“Wearing those YPG patches was unauthorized and inappropriate, and corrective action has been taken,” Colonel Steve Warren, the spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) who is based in Baghdad, told reporters at the Pentagon. “We have communicated as much to our military partners and military allies in the region.”

Tamil Guardian 26 May 2016
South Africa's parliament approves land expropriation bill
South Africa’s parliament on Thursday approved a bill allowing state expropriations of land to redress racial disparities in land ownership, reports Reuters.

A vast majority of South Africa’s land remains under white ownership.

The bill will enable the state to purchase land from private owners for ‘public interest’ in in an attempt to tackle the land appropriation that occurred during the apartheid regime.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) said land will only be expropriated after ‘just and equitable’ compensation had been paid out.

To date a third of the land targeted by the ANC for expropriation has been bought.
Tamil Guardian 25 May 2016
US selling warplanes to Nigeria would be a ‘mistake’ - NYT

Selling the Nigerian government warplanes would be a “mistake” said a New York Times editorial this week, as the West African country looks to purchase 12 jets from the USA.

Though current Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is “an improvement” over his predecessor, “he has not done enough to end corruption and respond to charges that the army has committed war crimes in its fight against the group,” said the editorial. “Selling him the planes now would be a mistake.”

It went on to note that the US State Department’s latest annual human rights report stated Nigerian security forces are alleged to have engaged in extrajudicial killings, torture and rape. Last month Amnesty International to call for an investigation into reports that Nigeria's military secretly buried more than 300 Shia Muslims in a mass grave.

The editorial also quoted Tim Rieser, aide to US Senator who wrote legislature banning US aid from reaching militaries accused of abuses as stating, “We don’t have confidence in the Nigerians’ ability to use them in a manner that complies with the laws of war and doesn’t end up disproportionately harming civilians, nor in the capability of the U.S. government to monitor their use”.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 24 May 2016
Britain to investigate cluster bomb usage in Yemen says defence secretary

Britain is investigating reports that cluster munitions have been used by a Saudi-led coalition in its on-going campaign against Houthi militants in Yemen, reports Reuters.

The British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond announced the formal investigation in parliament on Tuesday after Amnesty international on Monday said that it had documented Saudi use of cluster bombs in Yemen that had been manufactured in Britain in the 1970s.

Speaking in parliament, Mr Hammond said,

“The MoD is now urgently investigating the allegations that have been made.”

The British defence secretary added that Britain has ratified an international treaty prohibiting the use of cluster bombs and made it illegal to use or supply such bombs under British law.

 

Tamil Guardian 24 May 2016
‘Taliban should join reconciliation process’ – Obama

US President Barack Obama called on the Taliban to join the Afghan government “in a reconciliation process that leads to lasting peace and stability,” as he confirmed the death of leader Akhtar Mohammad Mansur in a drone strike on Saturday.

“Today marks an important milestone in our longstanding effort to bring peace and prosperity to Afghanistan,” said Mr Obama. “Mansur rejected efforts by the Afghan government to seriously engage in peace talks and end the violence that has taken the lives of countless innocent Afghan men, women and children.

“The Taliban should seize the opportunity to pursue the only real path for ending this long conflict - joining the Afghan government in a reconciliation process that leads to lasting peace and stability,” he added.

The strike, which took place inside Pakistan-controlled Balochistan, “sent a clear message to all those who target our people and our partners,” said the US president. “You will have no safe haven.”

[more]

Tamil Guardian 24 May 2016
Obama lifts arms embargo on Vietnam

US President Barack Obama has lifted a 50 year old arms embargo on Vietnam, in an announcement made at a joint press conference with the Vietnamese President in Hanoi on Monday, amid criticism from human rights groups.

Making the announcement, Mr Obama said the weapons sales will be made on a case-by-case basis and “will need to still meet strict requirements, including those on human rights, but this change ensures Vietnam has access to equipment it needs to defend itself”.

"Hearts can change and peace is possible," he added.

Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang hailed the move, stating it would bring an end to a “painful chapter” between the two countries.

Stating that the relationship between the two countries has “reached a new moment”, Mr Obama also denied that the decision was made due to any geopolitical concerns regarding China.

"The decision to lift the ban was not based on China or any other considerations. It was based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving towards normalization with Vietnam," he said.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 24 May 2016
Suspected Rwandan war criminal faces deportation from Canada
A former Rwandan soldier faces deportation from Canada, over allegations that he committed war crimes more than 20 years ago.

Canadian authorities carried out a pre-removal risk assessment on Henri Jean-Claude Seyoboka, which recommended he be deported to Rwanda and face trial for possible war crimes. A federal judge has upheld the assessment and denied a review.

"It is now time for him to face his past actions, and let justice run its course," said Federal Court Judge Danièle Tremblay-Lamer.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 23 May 2016
Myanmar asks for 'space' to address Rohingya issue
Myanmar's de-facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi asked for the country to be given "enough space" to deal with the Rohingya issue.

Speaking after a meeting with the US Secretary of State John Kerry, Ms Suu Kyi was quoted by the BBC as saying, "all that we are asking is that people should be aware of the difficulties we are facing and to give us enough space to solve all our problems."

Describing the term Rohingya as "emotive", last week Ms Suu Kyi had asked the new US ambassador to Myanmar to not use the term.

Mr Kerry's visit on Sunday came as Buddhist monks took to the street to protest against the use of the word "Rohingya".

“I want to tell John Kerry to review their policy of terminology. The term 'Rohingya' is not good for Myanmar,” a Buddhist monk and one of the protest organisers told Anadolu Agency. See here for more.
Tamil Guardian 23 May 2016
Taliban leader targeted in US drone strikes

Afghanistan's spy agency claimed that the leader of the Taliban Mullah Akhtar Mansour has been killed in a US drone strike in Baluchistan on Saturday.

The strike, which took place in Pakistani territory near the Afghanistan border, was carried out without the permission of the Pakistani authorities who were only told about the strike after it had taken place, reported an anonymous source to the New York Times.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry denounced the strike in the statement, calling it a violation of sovereignty.

Meanwhile US Secretary of State John Kerry said the Taliban leader had posed "a continuing, imminent threat to US personnel" since he took control of the organisation’s leadership last year. “We have long said that Mansour posed an imminent threat to us and to Afghan civilians,” he said. “This action sends a clear message to the world that we will continue to work with our Afghan partners.”

The strike signals a shift in policy from the US, after months of reported attempts to peace talks between the two sides.

It is also the first US strike in Balochistan, an area that Pakistan has refused to allow the US to attack in recent years.

Tamil Guardian 23 May 2016
Rwanda calls for more prosecutions for genocide, after Swedish conviction

Prosecutors in Rwanda called on governments across Europe to ensure genocide fugitives are prosecuted, following the successful conviction of a suspect for genocide in Sweden earlier this month.

Augustin Nkusi, spokesperson for the national prosecution body in Rwanda, praised the ruling but warned that genocide suspects still roam free across Europe.

“Twenty-two years down the road, it should be made clear to genocide suspects that they cannot escape justice forever,” he said. “We still have many genocide suspects in Europe roaming freely even with warrants for their arrest.”

[more]

Tamil Guardian 21 May 2016
Obama signs executive order on atrocity prevention

US President Barack Obama on May 18 signed an executive order to detect and prevent mass atrocities.

Mr Obama said the prevention of atrocities is a "core national security interest of the United States."

However some human rights groups expressed disappointment at the limitations of the order.

Tom Andrews, a former Democratic congressman who now heads United to End Genocide, said the Atrocities Prevention Board should have been made permanent years ago — and given significant authority to direct sanctions, USA Today reported.

"They talked about it happening in six months, and it’s been years," he said. "It doesn’t appear — at least from that — that preventing atrocities has been a significant priority of the administration. It’s good that it happened, but it’s very late."

See more here.

Tamil Guardian 21 May 2016
China warns Taiwan against pursuing independence
China warned the Taiwan's new president on Friday against pursuing independence.

Tsai Ing-wen, of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (CPP), won a landslide victory and was sworn in on Friday as Taiwan's first female president.

In her inaugral address, Ms Tsai urged Beijing to “set aside the baggage of history and engage in positive dialogue for the benefit of the people on both sides.”

Following her inauguration, China's Taiwan Affairs Office on Friday said in a statement:

"Today, our resolve to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity has not changed; our ability has strengthened. We will resolutely oppose any form of moves and plots towards Taiwanese independence and separatism."


[more]

Tamil Guardian 21 May 2016
Judge overules Spanish government ban on Catalan flags at football match
A court on Friday overturned the Spanish government's ban on Barcelona football fans from holding the Catalan flag at Sunday's Copa del Rey football cup final in Madrid.

The judge, Jesús Torres, said that as the Catalan flag does not incite "violence, racism, xenophobia or any other form of discrimination that goes against human dignity” a ban on carrying the flag would be "unconstitutional".

See here,
here and here.
Tamil Guardian 19 May 2016
Swedish court sentences man over Rwandan genocide
A 61 year old man was sentenced in Sweden this week for genocide committed in Rwanda in 1994.

Claver Berinkindi, who became a Swedish citizen in 2002 was sentenced to life in prison.

"This relates to participation in a large number of massacres during the 1994 genocide where the defendant had an informal role as a leader," the court said in a statement.

The conviction was welcomed by Rwanda's National Commission for the Fight against the Genocide (CNLG).


[more]

Tamil Guardian 13 May 2016
US to renew sanctions framework on Burma

The United States plans to renew the bulk of its sanctions against Myanmar when they expire next week, but will make some changes aimed at boosting investment and trade reports Reuters.

Officials close to the US Secretary of State John Kerry, said that an announcement extending a majority of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act IEEPA ahead of Mr Kerry’s visit next week.

By renewing the legal framework for sanctions even as it eases some measures, Obama will offer the private sector more breathing room while maintaining pressure on its military which still holds significant political power, reports Reuters.

US officials speaking on the condition of anonymity said, Burmese President Aung San Suu Kyi supported the extension of US sanctions.

“We are looking to take steps to demonstrate our support for the new democratically elected government of Burma.. and that we’re taking the necessary steps to ensure that they succeed, that they can carry on economic developments and reforms. At the same time we want to do  that in a smart, measured way that gives us a range of options and flexibility to respond appropriately going forward,” said the officials.

Tamil Guardian 12 May 2016
UK raises Irish dissident republican threat level

The UK raised the official threat level from Irish dissident republicans on Wednesday from moderate to substantial.

Announcing the change, the home secretary, Theresa May said the new level meant “a terrorist attack is a strong possibility and reflects the continuing threat from dissident republican activity”.

“The main focus of violent dissident republican activity continues to be in Northern Ireland, where they have targeted the brave police and prison officers who serve their communities day in and day out," she continued.

"The reality is that they command little support. They do not represent the views or wishes of the vast majority of people, both in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, who decisively expressed their desire for peace in the 1998 Belfast agreement and have been transforming Northern Ireland ever since."

“However it is sensible, given their stated aims, that the public in Great Britain should also remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police. But we should not be alarmed, and this should not affect how we go about our daily lives."
Tamil Guardian 10 May 2016
£10mn fine for showing disputed territory as outside India

The Indian government has threatened to fine mapmakers which show disputed territory as anything other than part of India £10mn, The Telegraph reports.

Twitter, Facebook and Google are involved in the controversy after mapping Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh as part of Pakistan or China.

“No person shall depict, disseminate, publish or distribute any wrong or false topographic information of India including international boundaries” the draft bill says.

Now, Google Maps users browsing in India are shown the entirety of Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh as part of India, and viewers in Pakistan and China will see it as their respective territory. International users are shown the areas as “disputed”.

See more here.

Tamil Guardian 09 May 2016
Aung San Suu Kyi refuses to use the term ‘Rohingya’

Myanmar leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi called on the United States not to use the term ‘Rohingya’ when referring to a persecuted Muslim population in the country, reports the New York Times.

Ms Aung San Suu Kyi’s spokesman U Kyaw Zay Ya said that during a meeting with the United States ambassador, the leader of Myanmar’s government advised against using the term to describe the population, who have long faced persecution at the hands of extremist groups from the majority Buddhist population, and are denied citizenship and the right to vote.

A recent report from the International State Crime Initiative at the Queen Mary University of London found that there was substantial evidence that the Rohinyga population are facing state-sponsored genocide.

“We won’t use the term Rohingya because Rohingya are not recognized as among the 135 official ethnic groups,” said the foreign ministry official, adding that “our position is that using the controversial term does not support the national reconciliation process and solving problems.”

US Ambassador Scot Marciel reportedly stoked controversy when using the term in a statement last month after a group of Rohingya Muslims died after their boat capsized in Rakhine state.

Mr Marciel responded to the controversy by stating “we would call them what they want to be called.”

“It’s not a political decision; it’s just a normal practice,” he added.

[more]

 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
Enduring resistance
Accountability is imperative for peace
No turning back
  Opinion
‘Human rights issues in North-East not settled’ - Penang Deputy Chief Minister
‘An absence of transition in Sri Lanka’ – Kate Cronin-Furman
Sri Lanka's National Security Fearmongers
  Feature
May 18th commemorated by Tamils worldwide
Tamils mourn 7 years after 2009
Danish parliament hosts conference on accountability for Sri Lanka's mass atrocities
  Culture & Community
A poet's fearless death
American Tamils raise awareness of breast cancer in community
London Tamil Market showcases very best of British Tamil business success



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