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Tamil Guardian 03 July 2015
International community ‘must maintain fullest scrutiny of Sri Lanka’ say NGOs

A coalition of international non-governmental organisations has called on ambassadors of UN Human Rights Council Member States to maintain scrutiny of Sri Lanka on issues of justice and accountability.

In a letter written to ambassadors on Friday, the organisations said that despite a delay in releasing the report of a UN investigation into mass atrocities committed during the final phase of Sri Lanka’s armed conflict, there is “serious concern that there has been no visible progress in these areas till date”.

“In the last few months, the government has expressed its categorical unwillingness to allow international investigations within Sri Lanka, and has thus far not publicly demonstrated real cooperation with the UN High Commissioner by providing access to information relevant for the report,” said the letter.

Signatories of the letter included Forum Asia, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Conectas Direitos Humanos, Human Rights Law Centre, International Commission of Jurists, International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism, International Service for Human Rights and the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 03 July 2015
BBS pledges to safeguard Buddhism and Sinhalese people

Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) vowed to focus on safeguarding the Sinhalese people and Buddhism, in a press conference held by the organisation’s general secretary on Friday.

Announcing the political agenda of the Bodu Jana Peramuna (BJP), the political wing of the BBS, Galagodaatte Gnanasara said the party’s “objective and the ideology would focus on safeguarding Buddhism, the Sinhalese community and the country from the threats they were facing”.

“There is political instability in the country at present,” said the monk, stating that the BJP, which will be contesting in the upcoming elections would “put the country first”.

Furthermore, it would attempt to field a Buddhist monk in every one of the districts it is contesting in, announced Gnanasara.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 03 July 2015
Mahinda to contest elections under UPFA

Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa will contest in the upcoming general elections under the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), reports Ceylon Today.

The news comes as current president Maithripala Sirisena said that Mahinda Rajapaksa would not be allowed to contest in the upcoming elections under the SLFP section of the UPFA.

Maithri denies Mahinda nominaation reports (02 Jul 2015)

Mahinda to be nominated by UPFA (30 jun 2015)

Tamil Guardian 03 July 2015
North-East Tamil organisations urge UN Human Rights chief to act

Several prominent Tamil civil society groups from across the North-East have urged the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussain to “act swiftly” to prevent the “undermining” of the inquiry into Sri Lanka’s mass atrocities conducted by his office.

In a letter to the high commissioner, the 15 organisations, led by the Tamil Civil Society Forum, said the government has not consulted with victims in initiating a process to design a domestic justice mechanism, noting that Mr Hussain urged Sri Lanka to do this.

“We write to state with regret that we are unaware of any such process of consultation that the Government of Sri Lanka has initiated with the victims. A huge majority of these victims as you are aware are from the Tamil community and the government has not had any consultation at all with the Tamil community in the design of a mechanism,” it said.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 02 July 2015
SLMC to contest with UNP in parliamentary elections
The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) will sign a MOU with the United National Party (UNP) to contest in the upcoming parliamentary elections, said the party leader.

Rauff Hakeem, after meeting with the UNP leader and prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, told press that the SLMC had decided that it was in its best interests to contest with the UNP.

Tamil Guardian 02 July 2015
BBS accuses Sri Lanka of selling North-East land to 'pro-LTTE' Tamil diaspora

The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) warned that there were plans underway by the government, to sell areas of strategic importance to national security in the North-East to “pro-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam” groups in the Tamil diaspora for US$450 million.

The General Secretary of the organisation, Galagodaththe Gnanasara, added that  Sri Lanka’s government was allowing people to rally against the Sinhalese military in the North-East, stating,

“The situation in the North is tragic. The army is relegated to the camps.”

The country is being governed by “Tigers, the Central Intelligence Agency and Mossad,” he added.

BBS will represent Sinhala community – Gnanasara (30 Jun 2015)

BBS to contest elections as BJP (29 Jun 2015)
Tamil Guardian 02 July 2015
Maithri denies Mahinda nomination – reports

Sri lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena is reported to have refused to allow his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest the forthcoming general elections on an SLFP ticket, Ada Derana quotes political sources in Colombo.

Mr Rajapaksa had announced on Wednesday amidst huge fanfare that he would contest the elections in August, without specifying which party he would run for.

The DailyMirror reported that pressure to refuse Mr Rajapaksa's nomination was exerted by senior SLFP figures, including former president Chandrika Kumaratunga.

If confirmed, the refusal to nominate the former president through the SLFP, may pave the way for a split in the SLFP, which is currently divided between Sirisena and Rajapaksa supporters.

Tamil Guardian 02 July 2015
Sri Lanka will continue borrowing – Central Bank Governor

The governor of Sri Lanka’s Central Bank on Wednesday rejected demands to stop foreign borrowing until after the elections, scheduled to be held on August 17.

UPFA MP and former foreign minister GL Peiris in a letter to the secretary to the ministry of finance and the governor Arjuna Mahendran called on them to "act in the best public interest and ensure that the management of public finance, the economy and external debt will not be permitted to get further deteriorated during the ensuing 6-8 weeks."

Mr Mahendran, in a letter to The Island, responded that the continuing borrowing could save the treasury money.

"The Department of External Resources has solicited proposals on direct US Dollar term loans to the Government of Sri Lanka from reputed international financial institutions. These direct loans are expected to be contracted at, as the letter states much lower rates of interest than what the Treasury could reasonably obtain through the issuance of Sri Lanka sovereign bonds and thus save the Treasury considerable sums of money,” the letter said.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 02 July 2015
Navy declares amnesty for deserters

The Sri Lankan navy has declared a general amnesty for deserters, a statement by the defence ministry said.

The amnesty will start today and run till the end of September this year. The Sri Lankan air force declared a general amnesty for all deserters last week.

An earlier amnesty in March saw 12,060 deserters return to the military.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 01 July 2015
Six Tamil village officers sent for 'rehabilitation' at military camp

At least six Tamil village (GS) officers in the Northern Province have been called for  rehabilitation at a military camp in Sri Lanka.

The Tamil village officers, who work in the district of Kilinochchi, have been advised to attend the rehabilitation programme to keep their jobs. Some of the officers called for the rehabilitation programme are mothers of new born babies, reports Tamilnet.

A request for the Tamil officers to present themselves to the Poonthoaddam military detention camp has been made by Sri Lanka’s military. The reason for the request provided to locals was that they were related to former LTTE cadres.

Tamil man arrested and sent for 'rehabilitation' (01 Jul 2015)

Sixteen Tamils in north-East arrested over past 100 days (04 may 2015)

Only 200 LTTE cadres in custody - SL justice minister (09 Jun 2015)

Former LTTE cadres are being intimidated - Bishop of jaffna (09 Apr 2015)

Tamil Guardian 01 July 2015
Tamil man arrested and sent to CID for 'rehabilitation'
A Tamil man returning to Sri Lanka at Katunayake International airport has been detained by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), said the former Batticaloa MP P Ariyanendran.

The family of the detained was told that 30 year old Konespapillai Kugadesan was a former LTTE member and had been detained for further rehabilitation. The arrest occured on June 27.

Mr Kugadesan surrendered to the Sri Lankan army in 2006 and went to work in the Middle-East after being released.

UK to deport 22 year old Tamil asylum seeker (04 June 2015)

Sixteen Tamils from north-East arrested by Sri Lanka over past 100 days (04 May 2015)

Tamil Guardian 30 June 2015
Right to self-determination fundamental for all communities says GTF
The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) spokesperson, in an interview with Ceylon Today, said that the organisation had always stood for a political settlement for the Tamil national question and stressed that self-determination is a fundamental right for all communities.

Calling on Tamils to vote for the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in the upcoming parliamentary elections, Suren Surendiran, said,

“TNA has stood for various elections in the North and East under several manifesto commitments and overwhelmingly on those elections without any exceptions.”

Responding to questions on whether GTF had dropped commitment to the right to self-determination of Tamils, Mr Surendiran, said,

“The right to self-determination is a fundamental right of every human being, be it Tamil, Sinhalese, Muslim, Malay, Burgher or Chinese. Negotiations haven’t even started as yet. How could anyone conclude or accuse of anyone taking any sides.”

Responding to questions on whether the GTF had dropped calls for an international accountability mechanism in Sri Lanka, Mr Surendiran said,

“GTF sees addressing accountability in a credible way that satisfies the victims as fundamental to building sustainable and durable reconciliation between communities.”

The GTF has recently faced criticism within the Tamil community on the island and in the diaspora over non-inclusive meetings with the TNA and Sri Lankan government.

Singapore meeting faces criticism over lack of transparency (07 Apr 2015)

TNA spokesperson denies knowledge of London meet (09 Jun 2015)

Government confirms meeting GTF in London (11 Jun 2015)

Tamil Guardian 30 June 2015
BBS will represent Sinhala community – Gnanasara

The General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena, Galagodaaththe Gnanasara, said the new party launched by the Buddhist group would contest the general election with the main objective of representing the Sinhala community.

“While we have many small parties representing the Tamils and the Muslims, we do not have any one representing the Sinhalese. A lot of people are against monks entering parliament but we are doing so as today the political culture in Sri Lanka is very bad,” Mr Gnanasara said.

The monk said that Tamil and Muslim parties are pressuring the government, calling for a change.

“Today more than 50% of Sri Lankan parliamentarians are uneducated. The politicians are all two faced. Minority parties representing the Tamils and Muslims are pressurizing the government. We need to change all this,” he said.

BBS to contest elections as BJP (29 June 2015)

Tamil Guardian 30 June 2015
We will protect Rajapaksas from war crimes probe - UNP

The United National Party (UNP) reiterated that it would not allow an international war crimes inquiry to investigate former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and former army chief Sarath Fonseka.

Speaking to media on Monday, Deputy Minister of Justice Sujeewa Senasinghe said the world “is aware of the fact that our leaders and the armed forces have carefully conducted this war to save the civilians”.

“We will not allow any international probe against Mahinda Rajapaksa, former Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Sarath Fonseka,” Minister Senasinghe said, according to the Colombo Mirror.

“We give that pledge. Nobody can play fool with us and ours is an independent democratic country. We pledge that we will not allow our leaders or the armed forces to be tried before international tribunals”.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 30 June 2015
Mahinda to be nominated by UPFA

The UPFA has agreed to nominate former president Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest the election on its ticket.

UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha, SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva informed Mr. Rajapaksa about President Sirisena’s decision earlier today, the Daily Mirror reported.

Mr Rajapaksa is reported to be vying to be selected as the party’s prime ministerial candidate, but faces opposition from the members of the SLFP who are with the current government.

The former president said he will make an announcement regarding his future political plans on Wednesday.

Tamil Guardian 30 June 2015
World Bank lends $165 million to Sri Lanka

The World Bank has approved a US$ 165 million loan to Sri Lanka to help improve access to drinking water and sanitation.

The districts of Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Monaragala, Kegalle and Ratnapura, will see an increase in access to piped water services and improved sanitation, said the World Bank in a press release on Friday.

The World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Francois Clottes, said,

“The World Bank is happy to further support the sustained achievements in the water sector and to join the Government and other stakeholders in efforts to improve access to and delivery of this vital commodity.”

The credit is from a lending arm of the World Bank, the International Development Association (IDA).

Tamil Guardian 29 June 2015
Resettlement minister criticised for failing to meet displaced residents of Vali North

The Sri Lankan minister for resettlement, D. M. Swaminathan, has been criticised for failing to meet directly with displaced residents of Valikamam North, during a visit to the High Security Zone on Monday.

The minister visited the area with a research team including former members of parliament, to discern the needs of resettlers and to tour areas marked for release from the High Security Zone.

Angered by the team's failure to meet with them in order to hear their concerns and needs directly, displaced residents of Valikamam North accused the minister of conducting the visit purely for electioneering purposes.

Earlier this month, Valikamam North's residents, most of whom have been living in welfare camps or staying with friends and family, marked 25 years of displacement after the creation of the High Security Zone.

Tamil Guardian 29 June 2015
Government won't convince diaspora before taking meaningful steps - TNA MP

The TNA's Batticaloa MP P Ariyanenthiran said in parliament on Friday that the new government will not be able to convince the Tamil diaspora of its intentions unless it takes meaningful steps to address Tamil issues. 

He said the government should release Tamil political prisoners and find the disappeared before developing its contacts with the diaspora.

"In January this year only the president has changed, apart from that nothing has changed," the MP said.

"Every government in the past as given false promises to the Tamils in the country. They have not solved the political problems or the humanitarian issues. However without addressing those problems the government is making arrangements to invite Tamil diaspora and is expecting assistance from them to develop the country is ridiculous," he said.

"Unless the government takes meaningful steps to solve the political and the humanitarian problems of the people in the North-East, it won't succeed in convincing the Tamil diaspora."

 
 International Affairs
Tamil Guardian 03 July 2015
South Sudan criticises UN sanctions
The UN Security Council decision to impose sanctions on military commanders from both sides of South Sudan’s conflict could derail the peace process, said the country’s foreign ministry spokesperson.

Questioning the effectiveness sanctions, Mawien Makol Ari, said,

“For the UN to insist on sanctions, I think is not going to be a helpful thing. This country doesn’t need sanctions. What this country needs is support from the region, from the international community so that we come up with a peaceful solution, as soon as possible, to alleviate the suffering of the people of South Sudan.”

Travel bans and asset freezes on Six South Sudanese military commanders where imposed by the UN Security Council on Wednesday.

Fighting continues in the region, with the UN expressing concern that displaced civilians amy face a cholera outbreak.

UN finds mass rights violations in South Sudan, calls for unfettered access and accountability (01 Jul 2015)

South Sudan expels UN relief coordinator (01 Jun 2015)

UN warns of famine in South Sudan, China urges ceasefire between warring parties  (26 May 2015)

Tamil Guardian 03 July 2015
UNHRC passes resolution calling on Israel-Palestine parties to cooperate with ICC to end impunity
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed a resolution on “ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalam,” with 41 votes in favour, 5 abstentions and one vote against.

The resolution, passed on Friday, calling on all parties involved to cooperate with the International Criminal Court 2014 Gaza conflict to expressed grave concern over reports regarding “serious human rights violations and grave breaches of humanitarian law.”

The resolution stressed the need to “without delay” end the Israeli “occupation” and condemned the “long-standing systemic impunity for international law violations” that allowed for the “recurrence of grave violations without consequence.

India, for the first time on a resolution based on the Israel-Palestine conflict, abstained from voting.
Tamil Guardian 02 July 2015
Islamic State destroys ancient artefacts from Palmyra

Islamic State has been destroying statues and artefacts from the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra which the group captured in May.

A 2000 year old lion statue outside of the city's museum was destroyed on Saturday, reported Syria's antiquities director, Maamoun Abdelkarim.

IS also published images of combatants grinding to dust classical busts and statues, reportedly found being smuggled in Aleppo.

The group regards monuments and statues as idolatrous and has destroyed several sites associated with pre-Islamic and early Islamic civilisations in Iraq and Syria.

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, spoke out against cultural destruction at Chatham House on Wednesday, saying “culture has always been the victim of war – as collateral damage, from direct targeting, from looting.”

Ms Bokova said “cultural cleansing is an attack against the people of Iraq and Syria - it is an attack against the humanity we all share,” and accused Islamic State of attempting to destroy the memories and identities of the region's peoples.

Tamil Guardian 02 July 2015
Malaysia seeks UN-backed tribunal to prosecute downing of airliner in Eastern Ukraine

On Thursday Malaysia informed the UN Security Council that it would be seeking a UN-backed tribunal to prosecute those suspected of being responsible for shooting down a passenger airliner last year in eastern Ukraine.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 was shot down in July last year with 298 passengers on board, crashing in Ukrainian territory held by Russian separatists. Ukraine and some Western powers have accused Russia of supplying the missile rebels allegedly used to shoot down the airliner. Russia has denied these accusations and diplomats speaking on condition of anonymity have said that Russia views Malaysia’s move as premature.

The President of the UN Security Council for July, New Zealand's U.N. Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, informed the press that Malaysia intends to present a proposal for the tribunal to the Security Council. "They are seeking to find a mechanism to deal with criminal accountability in relation to the downing of the aircraft," he said. He reported that it is a joint proposal between Malaysia, Australia, the Netherlands, Belgium and Ukraine.

Currently the Netherlands is leading the multi-national investigation into the crash, while Russia has also deployed its own investigators.

Tamil Guardian 01 July 2015
Islamic State launches escalated attacks in Egypt’s Sinai province

The Islamic State appears to have escalated its attacks in Sinai, launching simultaneous attacks on multiple military checkpoints Wednesday morning. Egyptian military officials claimed that 100 militants and 17 soldiers were killed in the attacks but local newspapers reported much higher numbers for soldier casualties.

The Islamic State’s Egyptian affiliate, Sinai Province, claimed responsibility for the attacks saying they targeted more than 15 security sites and launched 3 suicide bombings.

Unlike previous attacks by IS in Egypt’s North-Eastern province, this time they appeared to try to advance after the attacks instead of retreating. The BBC reported it as one of the “largest coordinated assaults yet by militants in Sinai.”

While militants in the North-Eastern Sinai province have attacked Egyptian military forces for years, the scale and number of attacks have steadily increased since the army ousted former Egyptian President Morsi in July 2013.

Also on Wednesday, security officials reported that nine members of former President Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood had been killed in a police raid in western Cairo.

Tamil Guardian 01 July 2015
UK defends draft resolution on Srebrenica genocide at UN
Britain defended a draft United Nations Security Council resolution commemorating the Srebrenica massacre of 1995 at the UN on Wednesday.

Britain’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Matthew Rycroft, defending the resolution at a memorial service for the Srebrenica massacres, said,

“This is the moment for the Security Council to show through the resolution that we are committed to making ‘never again’ a reality.”

The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, told the event that the Srebrenica genocide must never be forgotten, adding,

“Those who deny genocide in Srebrenica today only embarrass and humiliate themselves. Let me simply appeal to all gathered here that the resolve induced by the horror of Srebrenica be extended not only to commemorating the past, but to do far more to prevent genocide and mass atrocities in the present>”

The UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia ruled the massacre, which was the worst mass killing on European soil since World War Two, a genocide.

Russia’s deputy UN Ambassador Petr Illichev accused the British draft resolution as being “devise” as “it focuses on only one aspect of the conflict.” Russia is producing a counter resolution, which he described as “more general and more reconciling.”

Serb Republic slams UK draft resolution on Srebrenica genocide  (10 Jun 2015)

UK to draft UN Security Council Resolution on Srebrenica genocide (09 Jun 2015)

Tamil Guardian 01 July 2015
UN finds mass rights violations in South Sudan, calls for unfettered access and accountability
South Sudanese armed forces could have committed widespread human rights abuses in recent intensified fighting across the region, found a new report by the United Nations mission in South Sudan, (UNMISS).

A report released on Tuesday accused the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) of killing civilians, looting and destroying villages and displacing over 100,000 people.  

Human rights abuses including the rape and immolation of women and children were recorded in the testimonies of 115 victims and eyewitnesses from different counties.

Emphasising the need to ensure accountability, the UN Secretary General’s representative, who also leads the UN Mission to South Sudan, Ellen Margrethe Loj, said,

“Revealing the truth of what happened offers the best hope for ensuring the accountability for such terrible violence and ending the cycle of impunity that allows these abuses to continue. We call on the SPLA to fulfill its commitment and allow our human rights officers unfettered access to the sites of these reported violations.”

“The recent upsurge has not only been marked by allegations of killing, rape, abduction, looting, arson and displacement, but by a new brutality and intensity. The Scope and level of cruelty that has characterised the reports suggests a depth of antipathy that exceeds political differences,” said the UNMISS report.

Tamil Guardian 30 June 2015
Islamic State behead two civilian women

Two women, accused of "sorcery", in Syria have been beheaded by Islamic State, in the first such executions of female civilians by the group.

“The Islamic State group executed two women by beheading them in Deir Ezzor province, and this is the first time the Observatory has documented women being killed by the group in this manner,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, chief of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Both women were executed with their husbands, each couple being accused of "witchcraft and sorcery".

Islamic State has previously decapitated Kurdish female fighters' corpses and stoned civilian women to death on accusations of adultery, the Observatory said.

Read more from AFP.

Tamil Guardian 30 June 2015
Islamic State threatens Hamas
Islamic State militants threatened to overrun the Gaza Strip after accusing Hamas of being insufficient in enforcing religion, reports Reuters.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Islamic State militants said,

“The rule of sharia (Islamic law) will be implemented in Gaza, in spite of you. We swear that what is happening in the Levant today, and in particular the Yarmouk camp, will happen in Gaza."

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Israel’s intelligence minister, Israel Katz, accused Hamas of partnering with Islamic State, stating,

“There is cooperation between them in the realm of weapons smuggling and terrorist attacks. The Egyptians know this, and the Saudis. At the same time, with Gaza, ISIS has been flouting Hamas. But they have a common cause against the Jews, in Israel or abroad.”

Tamil Guardian 30 June 2015
ICC Prosecutor restates commitment to bringing justice in Sudan

In a briefing to the UN Security Council on Monday, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda restated her office’s “unshakeable” commitment to bringing “independent and impartial justice” for the people of Sudan. This statement comes six years after the first issuance of a warrant by the ICC for the arrest of Sudan’s President, Omar al-Bashir, for alleged war crimes including genocide in Darfur.

Dismissing “detractors and naysayers” of the efficacy of ICC warrants, Bensouda pointed to President al-Bashir’s recent visit to South Africa: “Omar Bashir's rapid departure from South Africa proves that the warrants of arrest against him are as valid as they were when issued; that they remain in full force and effect, and that my Office is committed to ensure they are executed.” She called on courts in other countries to look to the South African courts’ swift action as an example.

However, Bensouda also called on the Security Council to take action on the situation saying, "It is long overdue for you to heed the cries of the victims of rape and sexual abuse, torture, mass displacement and other inhumane suffering Darfurians continue to endure."

She reiterated that the Council had a “vital” role to play in achieving “peace and justice” in Sudan:

“If there is no follow-up action on the part of the Security Council, any referral by the Council to the ICC…would never achieve its ultimate goal, namely, to put an end to impunity. Accordingly, any such referral would become futile.”

Tamil Guardian 29 June 2015
Somalian troops killed in Al Shabab attack

At least five Somalian soldiers were killed in an attack on their base by Al Shabab militants in Kismayo.

Some of the soldiers were beheaded after the militants briefly took control of the camp, witnesses told AFP.

Last week over 50 Burundian peacekeepers from the African Union were killed in an attack by the militant group.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) has more than 20,000 troops in the country, but is now withdrawing from some of its smaller outposts in southern Somalia, residents have told the BBC Somali service.

Tamil Guardian 29 June 2015
Chad violence killls police

Five members of Chad's police force were killed in a raid on a militant weapon's cache in N'Djamena.

Officials say six militants also died in an explosion, as they refused to surrender and blew themselves up.

The Chadian government has blamed Nigerian armed group Boko Haram for recent violence in the country, with a bomb attack in the capital in May killing 33 people.

The militants had threatened Chad for taking part in armed operations against it in neighbouring Nigeria.

Tamil Guardian 29 June 2015
Egypt prosecutor killed in car bomb

Egyptian prosecutor Hisham Barakat was killed in a car bomb earlier today.

Mr Barakat, who has sent thousands of opponents of President Sisi to prison in a crackdown on supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, died of his injuries in hospital.

"He [Mr Barakat] has passed away," Justice Minister Ahmed al-Zind told AFP news agency.

At least three civilians were also killed, local media reported.

Tamil Guardian 28 June 2015
Judge orders seizure of Falkland assets

An Argentinian federal judge has ordered the seizure of assets of companies who are drilling for oil in the Falkland Island region, claimed by Argentina as its territory.

Tierra del Fuego judge Lilian Herraez ordered the authorities to seize boats and other assets worth $156m of Premier Oil Plc, Rockhopper Exploration Plc, Falkland Oil and Gas Ltd, Noble Energy Inc and Edison International Spa.

Three of the companies are British, one American and one French.

The Falkland islands are British territory and in a 2013 referendum among the 3,000 residents showed unanimous support for remaining British.

Tamil Guardian 28 June 2015
US warns Kosovo that it will not block Russian war crimes prosecution push

The United States warned Kosovo that it would not block Russian attempts to establish a United Nations tribunal to investigate alleged war crimes by ethnic Albanian fighters, after Kosovo failed to establish a war crimes tribunal.

The US Embassy in Kosovo said it was "deeply disappointed" by the failure of Kosovo’s parliament to pass a vote that would have seen a special court set up to try former Albanian fighters with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) on charges of war crimes.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 27 June 2015
Swiss extradition of war crimes suspect to Bosnia angers Serbia
Swiss authorities have extradited a former Bosnian Muslim commander accused of war crimes to Bosnia instead of to Serbia, where he is wanted over similar charges.

The decision to send 48 year old Naser Oric to Bosnia instead of Serbia has angered Serb authorities, who called the decision "politically motivated” and “all but fair.”

Last year, Serbian authorities issued an international warrant for his arrest and Mr Oric was arrested by Swiss authorities whilst trying to cross into France some two weeks ago. As soon as Serbian authorities filed a request for his extradition though, the Bosnian government followed suit, announcing it had launched its own investigation into alleged war crimes.

Swiss authorities decided to send Mr Oric to Bosnia over Serbia, stating the decision had been made in “simplified proceedings”.

"For Serbia, it means that the war crimes issue is not a matter of justice but of politics," said Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic.  Mr Oric, who stands "accused of the worst war crimes, has thus been practically released," he added.

However the Bosnian government reacted differently, hailing the decisions as "the only correct and fair" one. Bakir Izetbegović, the Bosniak member of the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said Serbia’s move was "another attempt of Serbian justice to mistreat our citizens, despite the accords and protocols (on cooperation of two countries in war crime cases) failed".

[more]

Tamil Guardian 27 June 2015
Kosovo rejects war crimes court
Kosovo’s parliament failed to approve measures to set up a special court to try former fighters accused of war crimes.

The vote, which fell short by 5 votes, was backed by the United States and the European Union, who alleged that former ethnic Albanian fighters with the Kosovo Liberation Army were guilty of war crimes.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 27 June 2015
Armenian genocide recognition is ‘irreversible’ says Armenian FM
Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan said the recognition of the Armenian genocide is an “irreversible” process, paying tribute to states that have recognised it.

In a joint press conference with Czech foreign minister Lubomir Zaoralek, Mr Nalbandyan highlighted recent statements made by the German president and Belgian Prime Minister, adding that they “deserve high evaluation”.

“All this proves that the Armenian genocide recognition process is irreversible,” continued Mr Nalbandyan.

[more]

 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
Struggle for remembrance
The British Tamil ballot
Demanding demilitarisation
  Opinion
‘In Defence of Diaspora and Sri Lanka's Invisible Victims’
Tamils struggle for freedom in Sri Lanka’s ‘new democracy’
Chief Minister's statement delivered at May 18 remembrance event in Mullivaikkal
  Feature
Witnesses from No Fire Zone testify at UNHRC event on disappearances in Sri Lanka
TAG Eyewitness Account: Shanthi's Story
Pon Sivakumaran remembered in North-East
  Culture & Community
A night to remember as Tamil comedy takes to the stage
'Super Singer Junior' audiences stunned by song dedicated to Eelam Tamils
Denmark Tamil schools compete in Malathy Cup football tournament



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