Friday, 22 August 2014
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 Tamil Affairs
Tamil Guardian 21 August 2014
TNA MP condemns government for arrest of Tamil students
Tamil National Alliance MP Suresh Premachandran has slammed the Sri Lankan government for the arrests of Tamil students at Sabaragamuwa University, following an attack at the Southern university earlier this month.

Premachandran stated that "everyone is aware of the incident at the Sabaragamuwa University,” adding, “The police spokesperson has told the media that he tied his hands to his back himself and self-harmed.”

Commenting on the arrest of the second Tamil student, Uthayan quoted Premachandran as going on to say,
"Fellow student Yoganathan Nirojan, from Vavuniya was arrested for visiting the injured student, and he has been released on bail by Colombo Magistrate court. Is meeting a fellow student a crime? Do the police not see it as a humanitarian norm? Why was he arrested? All activities of police have political influences."

[more]

Tamil Guardian 21 August 2014
Diaspora and foreign states are threats to country – Sri Lanka’s UN rep

Sri Lanka’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva Ravinath Ariyasinha has highlighted the Tamil diaspora as a potent danger to the country and accused western countries of turning a blind eye to their activities.

“While we have defeated the LTTE in Sri Lanka, the organization, its ideology and its operations are very much alive in a number of western countries. Immediately, this remains a challenge to speeding up the pace of reconciliation in Sri Lanka, and eventually, a potent danger to Sri Lanka as a rising nation,” Aryasinha said while speaking at the Sri Lankan Army’s Defence Seminar 2014.

“Even as most countries have acted with understanding and have respectfully shared concerns and been able to contribute to the processes of reconciliation in a tangible manner, unfortunately particularly a few Western countries fuelled by political motivations and electoral compulsions have continued to relentlessly pursue Sri Lanka,
[more]

Tamil Guardian 21 August 2014
Sri Lanka owes $2.6 billion to one Chinese bank

The Sri Lankan government has borrowed $2.6 billion from China’s state-owned Exim Bank, between 2009 and 2013, reports Ceylon Today.

Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Sarath Amunugama said in parliament yesterday that the money was used for various development projects on the island, including Hambantota Port, Katunayake Expressway, Norochcholai Coal Power Plant, Railway projects, Northern Province electricity and road development projects, Southern Expressway and electricity projects in the Uva and Eastern Provinces.

China's loans to Sri Lanka over the past four years totalled nearly $4 billion.

The loans are repayable over a 14 to 20 year period, at interest rates ranging from 1.53% to 6.5%, much higher than usual rates for infrastructure loans from the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank.

China’s loans to Sri Lanka reach nearly $4 billion (04 May 2014)

Who benefits from Chinese loans to Sri Lanka? (21 November 2010)

Tamil Guardian 21 August 2014
Sinhala settlements intended to destroy Tamil nation – TNA
The TNA’s Selvam Adaikkalanathan said that the continued settling of Sinhalese in Tamil areas is intended to destroy the Tamil nation.

The MP said that Sinhala families are being settled in many Tamil villages in Vavuniya and that these government-assisted activities are intended to change the demographic make-up of the local population, accusing the government of only looking to benefit their own community, the
Uthayan reported.

Mr Adaikkalanathan highlighted the village of Puliyankulam, where 300 Sinhala families are being settled, taking advantage of the fact that a large part of the native Tamil population were displaced, due to the armed conflict and have not yet been resettled.

The MP further said that Periyappuliyankulam, an area with recent Sinhalese settlements is seeing development, including new houses and roads, but nearby Kallikulam, where Tamils were resettled 4 years ago, nothing was done for the local community.

The settlements were acts of ethnic cleansing against the Tamil nation, he charged, adding that the TNA condemned these activities.
Tamil Guardian 21 August 2014
Tamil political prisoners on hunger strike over mistreatment

Three Tamil political detainees in Anuradhapuram Prison have been on hunger strike for 8 days, after ongoing mistreatment by Sinhala inmates, a source close to the family of one of the men told the Tamil Guardian.

The source said Sinhala prisoners have been physically attacking and verbally abusing them, and have also taken their food portions on a near daily basis, adding that the Tamils have now been refusing to eat for 8 days, demanding to be transferred back to their original wing.

The men, all being held without charge since May 2009, were transferred into a Sinhala wing of the prison, after a dispute with another prisoner.

Tamil Guardian 21 August 2014
Sinhalese becoming a minority warns SL Minister
The Sinhala community will become a minority in Sri Lankan within a century warned the Sri Lankan minister Champika Ranawaka, the Asian Mirror reports.

"It will take another 160 years to double the population of the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka," said Ranawaka, the minister for technology and research, and leader of the government's coalition partner, the JHU.

Warning that the population rates amongst different ethnicities was asymmetrical, he stated that the growth of the Sinhala population was slowest.

His comments echo that of Minister Mervyn Silva who said in June that the "Sinhala race is rapidly becoming a minority".


[more]

Tamil Guardian 21 August 2014
Australian High Court to hold special hearing over asylum seekers detention at sea
An Australian High Court is to hold a special hearing in October over the detention of asylum seekers at sea.

The legal team representing 157 Tamil asylum seekers who were held at sea for over 4 weeks and then brought to a detention centre in Western Australia before being transferred to Nauru, have challenged the legality of such a detention.

The hearing has been set for October 14 and 15 by Justice Kenneth Hayne.

“What Australia does on the high seas does affect international law and the approach of other countries,” George Newhouse, a lawyer for the asylum seekers told the Guardian.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 20 August 2014
'LTTE groups' encouraging students to protest says Gotabhaya
Sri Lanka's Defence Minister Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said groups linked to the LTTE were attempting to "create further problems in Sri Lanka" and pose a potential terrorist threat, the Business Standard reports.

"Some of these groups are trying to reorganise within Sri Lanka and mobilise people to once again take up their extreme left wing causes. There is information that some of these groups have started to establish ties to LTTE-linked agents to create further problems in Sri Lanka," he was quoted as saying.

"Some of their activities include radicalising students and encouraging them to take to the streets in various protests. Though such activities are still in their early stages, they pose another serious national security concern that must remain a consideration," he added.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 20 August 2014
Suicide rate in Jaffna increases since end of armed conflict
The number of suicides in Jaffna has increased since the end of the armed conflict in May 2009, according to statistics compiled by the Professor of Psychiatry at Jaffna University.

Data gathered by Dr Daya Somasundaran showed that in 2009, when the armed conflict was at its peak, the suicide rate in the Northern Tamil peninsula was 15 per 100,000. However, since the armed hostilities ended, the suicide rate has risen sharply to 25 per 100,000 in 2011. The figure dipped slightly in 2012, but by 2013, was back at its highest level.

The New Indian Express that Dr Somasundaran said during the war there was “a strong social support system” as “under the Lankan military siege, civilians clung together”. Since the end of the fighting though, “social cohesion and social support systems began to wear thin as families got splintered.”

Somasundaran reportedly went on to add that collective rehabilitation was needed for the Tamil population, since they experienced the trauma of war as a collective. Acts such as mourning, he added, had to be done collectively.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 20 August 2014
Indian Prime Minister to discuss solution to fishermen issue
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is holding a meeting tomorrow to explore a solution to the repeated arrests of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, according to reports.

A senior government official told PTI,
"The PMO has called a meeting tomorrow to deliberate on India-Sri Lanka fishermen issues like illegal poaching and welfare of Indian fishermen among others."
Frequent attacks on Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy has led to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Jayalithaa writing several letters to the Prime Minister, expressing her concern and calling for a “strong and robust" response to the arrests.

The Prime Minister's announcement that he will discuss the issue comes as 11 fishermen associations in Tamil Nadu declared they would “lay siege” to Pamban road, which connects Ramneswaran to mainland India. The fishermen are protesting against the continued detention of Indians by the Sri Lankan government and demand that their boats, which the Sri Lankans are refusing to release, be given back to them.

See more from the Hindu here.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 20 August 2014
Girl raped by soldier in Mannar
A Sri Lankan army soldier has sexually assaulted a Tamil girl in Mannar, the Uthayan reports.

The incident occurred when the girl went to buy rotti (flat bread) at a shop run by the army, by the army camp.

Locals report seeing the girl being taken into bushes by the soldier.

A case has been filed at court, with a court order having been issued for the soldier's arrest. The officer in charge has also been requested to attend court.

The girl, who has not been identified, has been admitted to Vavuniya Hospital following her ordeal.
Tamil Guardian 20 August 2014
Modi to meet TNA delegation
A delegation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will be travelling to New Delhi to meet with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 23, The Hindu reports.

The delegation will be headed by the TNA leader R. Sampanthan, and will include five senior members.

According to the paper, the delegation will also meet with India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, as well as the possibility of a meeting with the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa.

See here for more.
Tamil Guardian 20 August 2014
Sri Lanka should cooperate with UN inquiry – Ban Ki-moon

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asked Sri Lanka to cooperate with the inquiry, led by the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Speaking at the UN’s daily press briefing, his spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said the Secretary General “fully supports” High Commissioner Navi Pillay and commended the leadership she demonstrated “to assist Sri Lanka in advancing accountability and reconciliation”.

“The Secretary General encourages Sri Lanka to cooperate with the inquiry led by the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, that was established by the Human Rights Council. He reiterates the importance for the Government and the people of Sri Lanka to constructively engage with the entire UN system as it would help the country make constant progress development, lasting peace and protection of Human Rights,” Mr Dujarric further said.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday said Sri Lanka will deny visas to investigators from the OHCHR.

Tamil Guardian 19 August 2014
Sri Lanka will deny visas to UN investigators says President
Sri Lanka will deny visas to investigators from the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights due to conduct the UN inquiry into mass atrocities in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan President said on Tuesday.

“We will not allow them into the country,” said Mahinda Rajapaksa when speaking to the Foreign Correspondents Association, whilst adding that the domestic investigation panel had been strengthened to carry out its own investigation, reports Reuters.

Disregarding any future findings from the UN investigation, Rajapaksa, said,

“I don’t think anybody will take it [the UN investigation] seriously, other than the people who want it.”


[more]

Tamil Guardian 19 August 2014
Rajapaksa says no to devolving police powers... again
The Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has once again reiterated the government's stand against the devolution of police powers to provinces on the island.

Colombo Gazette reports that when meeting with a group of foreign correspondents on Tuesday morning, Rajapaksa “insisted that police powers will not be devolved to the provinces under any circumstances.”

[more]

Tamil Guardian 19 August 2014
'National security is stronger than ever' – Commander of the Army

The Sri Lankan Commander of the Army stated that national security on the island was “stronger than ever” as he addressed a military conference being held in Colombo this week.

The Commander, Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake, said that even though the island now had the “incentive of peace... this should not be interpreted in any way as letting down our guard.”

He went on to add,
“Our national security is stronger than ever... Today we are much smarter, more vigilant and possess greater responsive capability to deal with threats to national security.”
In his opening address at the seminar, reportedly attended by representatives from over 50 countries, Ratnayake also said Sri Lanka had learnt “the value of national security and the will to pursue it at any cost.”

[more]

Tamil Guardian 19 August 2014
Government appoints 5th expert to commission after rejecting UN inquiry
The Sri Lankan government has appointed a 5th international expert to its commission on disappearances, a law expert from Pakistan, Ahmer B Soofi.

The news of the appointment, tweeted from the President's Twitter account, comes as the President also announced that international investigators with the OHCHR Investigation into Sri Lanka (OISL) Would be denied visas into the country. See more here.

Earlier this month the President appointed an Indian human rights activist, following the appointment of three experts last month.

Despite the high profile appointments, President Rajapaksa has emphasised that the experts will not have any investigative power. See here for more.

Tamil Guardian 19 August 2014
International pressure for human rights probe harmful to Sri Lanka - GL Peiris
The Sri Lankan Minister of External Affairs said that international pressure on Sri Lanka to probe human rights violations and foreign funding for 'capacity building' were harmful to the country, reports Colombo Page.

"Because of the intensity of this pressure there is a disincentive to engage in earnest in a domestic process. Because of the conviction that far more is forthcoming by the application of pressure at an international level. And that is why this international pressure is not only not helpful, but is absolutely harmful," said GL Peiris at a Ministry of Defence seminar, on Monday, in Colombo.



[more]

 
 International Affairs
Tamil Guardian 21 August 2014
Switzerland sends peacekeepers to UN mission in Western Sahara
Swiss authorities have announced that six more unarmed military personnel are to join a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara, as Sahrawi President Mohamed Abdelaziz called for greater access to international observers.

Swissinfo.ch reported that the six were part of a UN mission supervising a 1988 ceasefire between the Moroccan government and the Polisario Front group fighting for an independent Western Sahara.

The move comes as Sahrawi President Mohamed Abdelaziz wrote to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, saying,
“the expulsion of international observers by the Moroccan authorities and the blockade imposed on a territory, which is under the UN responsibility, does not only represent a flagrant violation of international law but also an insult to the international community.”
See more from All Africa here.
Tamil Guardian 21 August 2014
Clashes at Liberia Ebola protests

Protests have hit the Liberian capital Monrovia, after a quarantine was imposed to halt the spread of Ebola.

Police opened fire on the protestors, leaving four people injured. Liberia is the worst affected country in the current crisis, with at least 576 deaths.

The protestors said the quarantine, enforced with a heavy police presence and barbed wire, stopped them from obtaining food and working.

A total of 1,350 have died in four countries, Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

South Africa meanwhile has banned the arrival of non-citizens from West African countries affected by the deadly virus. Senegal has suspended flights with the countries and closed its border with Guinea.

The African Union has announced it will send a special team to the West African countries, including volunteer doctors, nurses and other medical personnel.

Tamil Guardian 21 August 2014
'We will not forget what happened' US warns Islamic State as air strikes continue
The United States has warned that the killers of American journalist James Foley will be brought to justice, as they continued to carry out air strikes against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq on Thursday.

US Attorney General Eric Holder, stated that the Department of Justice had opened a “criminal investigation” into the killing, adding,
“Those who would perpetrate such acts need to understand something. This Justice Department, this Department of Defence, this nation – we have long memories and our reach is very wide. We will not forget what happened, and people will be held accountable, one way or the other.”

[more]

Tamil Guardian 21 August 2014
UN shelter camps in South Sudan deemed inhumane, China calls for immediate ceasefire
The conditions faced by over 40,000 people sheltering in a UN camp in South Sudan are in humane warned Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF).

“People are living in conditions that are barely compatible with life and are incompatible with human dignity. What we have now is a 1.5 sq km camp in the middle of the largest grass swamp in the world, so it’s not a place you would chose. It’s not fit for human habitation – at least not for 40,000 people,”, the Guardian reports an emergency coordinator for MSF as saying.

Child Soldiers used by both Sides in South Sudan

South Sudan’s army has used child soldiers in recent conflict with oppositions forces and is in violation of international law, said Human Rights Watch today.

“South Sudan’s army has returned to a terrible practice, once again throwing children into the battlefields. Civilian and military leaders should immediately remove all children from their ranks and return them to their families,” said the Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

The statement said that government forces had used child soldiers in during recent fighting in August.

China presses South Sudan for immediate ceasefire


China’s foreign minister demanded an immediate ceasefire and political dialogue in South Sudan, reports Reuters.

“An immediate ceasefire is a precondition for a return to peace and stability in South Sudan,” said the Chinese Foreign minister in a meeting with his South Sudanese counterpart.

“Opening a political dialogue is the only way for South Sudan to achieve national reconciliation,” said Wang Yi.
Tamil Guardian 21 August 2014
Britain to send fighter jets to combat Boko Haram amidst Nigerian army mutiny
The British government announced today that it would be sending three RAF warplanes to help locate Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by the Boko Haram militants.

The fighter bombers will help Nigerian authorities track the movement of militants, a government source told The Times.

The announcement comes as Northern Nigeria’s riot police training academy was captured by Boko haram militants today and Nigerian soldiers refused to fight the Boko Haram militants until they received better equipment. 

“The Nigerian army is not ready to fight Boko Haram”, a soldier told the BBC.
Tamil Guardian 21 August 2014
Philippines government agrees to review MILF self-rule proposal
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a separatist militant group in the Philippines submitted, a final proposal for self-rule which was agreed upon by the government, reports Reuters.

“As agreed upon by the parties, the MILF submitted the final draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law to the Office of the Executive Secretary yesterday evening,” the presidential adviser on the peace talks, said the presidential adviser to the peace talks.

“As further agreed upon, the latest draft has been submitted to the president for his review. Further discussions may be held based on the guidance of the president,” said Tersita Quintos Deles.

The two sides signed a deal earlier this year in March to end over five decades of conflict.

Tamil Guardian 21 August 2014
3 senior commanders killed by Israel says Hamas
The Israeli military has killed three senior Hamas military commanders in air strikes on Thursday, said Hamas.

Raed al-Attar, Mohammed Abu Shamala and Mohammed Barhoum, described by Hamas as the "founding generation" of Hamas' military wing, Qassam Brigade, were killed in the southern Gazan town of Rafah.

Raed al-Attar and Mohammed Abu Shamala were considered to be two of the most senior commanders.

A security source told the Jerusalem Post on Thursday "this strike represents a very significant intelligence achievement, and an intelligence infiltration."


[more]

Tamil Guardian 21 August 2014
Coup leader appointed Prime Minister in Thailand
The leader of Thailand's military coup in May was appointed prime minister on Thursday.

General Prayuth Chan-ocha, who ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in a bloodless coup, was appointed by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) and pledged to form an interim government to supervise reforms as well as three phase path towards reconciliation. However, power is widely considered to stay with the military junta.

"Nobody had any problem. Nobody disagreed," Prayuth reportedly said after the vote on Monday.

191 out of 194 members voted in favour of Prayuth's appointment. He was the only candidate fielded.

See here, here and here.


Tamil Guardian 20 August 2014
UN to deploy full CAR peacekeeping force in September
The United Nations peacekeeping operation in the Central African Republic will reach full deployment in the region by the 15th of September 2014,  the UN Security Council heard today.

The Special Representative of the Secretary General , Barbacar Gaye said that the presence of United Nations military, police and civilian personnel would be essential in bringing about an immediate improvement in people’s lives an create an environment for ‘sustainable peace’ to develop, reports AllAfrica News.

 The announcement comes as a Red Cross worker was killed and at least 31 civilians injured by violence that erupted after residents of the PK-5 neighbourhood accused EU forces of killing a man on Tuesday.
Tamil Guardian 20 August 2014
Germany to arm Kurdish military
Germany is prepared to arm Kurdish fighters battling Sunni insurgents in northern Iraq, said the German Defence Minister on Wednesday.

“We are prepared, in principle, to provide weapons and ammunition within our means,” said Ursulla von der Leyen, reports the Associated Press.

A spokesperson from the German Defence Ministry said that a decision on the type and quantity of arms would be decided within a week.
Tamil Guardian 20 August 2014
US condemns journalist's killing by ISIL, pledges justice
The United States condemned the killing of an American journalist, James Foley, by Islamic State militants, after a video was released showing Foley being beheaded.

"The United States of America will continue to do what we must do to protect our people. We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done and we act against ISIL, standing alongside others," President Barack Obama said at a press conference on Wedcnesday.

"The people of Iraq, who with our support are taking the fight to ISIL must continue coming together to expel these terrorists from their community," he added.

The video which was sent as "A message to the US", included an audio message by an ISIL militant, speaking in English with a distinctly British accent, which warned the US that more Americans would be killed if air strikes in Northern Iraq did not cease.

Condemning the killing as "barbaric and brutal", the British Prime Minister David Cameron told the BBC it was "deeply shocking" that a British citizen may be responsible.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 19 August 2014
2013 the deadliest year for aid workers so far – UN
The United Nations says that 2013 has been the deadliest year on record for humanitarian workers across the globe, with 155 aid workers were killed, 171 were seriously wounded and another 134 were kidnapped.

In a report released to mark the World Humanitarian Day, the UN said that 2013 had seen a 66% increase on the previous year. Three-quarters of these attacks took place in five countries; Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan, Pakistan and Sudan.

See the full report here.

Louis Belanger, spokesperson for the UN on World Humanitarian Day, told Al Jazeera,
"The reasons behind this increase in deaths can be explained by the facts that warring parties in several ongoing conflicts are simply ignoring the rules of war. This erosion of respect for the Geneva Conventions and International Humanitarian Law, at times leads to aid workers being deliberately targeted."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon called the increase in attacks “an outrage”, adding “Too many people have died or suffered from deliberate attacks.”

World Humanitarian Day, a tribute to humanitarian workers across the world, marks the anniversary of the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad in 2003 which killed 22 people.
Tamil Guardian 19 August 2014
UNHCR launches aid effort for Northern Iraq, fighting at Mosil Dam continues, IS threatens to attack US soil
The United Nations agency for Refugees (UNHCR) is launching a major aid operation to reach over 500,000 people displaced by fighting in Iraq, reports the BBC.

The UNHCR said that it would send its goods at services to the northern region of Iraq through the Kurdish capital city of Irbil from Wednesday morning.

The aid announcement came as fighting to recapture the Mosul Dam from the Islamic State militants continued.

The Islamic State (IS) warned today that, it would launch attacks on American soil if the US continued to use air strikes on IS militants.
Tamil Guardian 19 August 2014
UN mission in South Sudan attacked by opposition militants as talks in Uganda commence
The United Nations Mission to South Sudan (UNMISS) condemned live gunfire by the opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) militants near a UN base in Bentiu, that left one child injured.

A statement by the mission said that the UN mission sustained gunfire for 30 minutes which penetrated accommodations and office blocks.

The shooting comes as a high level delegation from the faction arrived in Uganda for discuss the withdrawal of Ugandan troops from South Sudan and involvement in the peace talks.
Tamil Guardian 19 August 2014
Gaza truce breaks down, Israel launches air strikes in response to rocket fire
16:58 BST

The truce between Israel and Hamas was interrupted by rocket fire into Israel, followed by Israeli air strikes into Gaza, hours before it was set to end as negotiators in Cairo strove to build a longer lasting ceasefire.

The Israeli military said it launched air strikes "targetting terror sites across the Gaza strip" in response to 3 rockets striking Southern Israel, which it says was launched by Hamas.

"This rocket attack was a grave and direct violation of the ceasefire," a spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister, Mark Regev, said, reports Reuters

Hamas has at present not claimed responsibility for the attack. According to the BBC, shortly before the rocket fire a spokesperson for the organisation had said however: "If Netanyahu doesn't understand... the language of politics in Cairo, we know how to make him understand."

The resumption in violence comes hours after a truce, initially agreed for 3 days before being extended by 5 days, was extended by another 24 hours.

Tamil Guardian 19 August 2014
Israeli restrictions preventing evidence collection of Gaza war crimes say rights groups
International human rights organisations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have said Israel's restrictions on Gaza are preventing the collection of evidence for a war crimes inquiry.

Speaking to Reuters, representatives from both groups said their staff are yet to receive permits, despite requesting them and lobbying the Israeli and Egyptian government for over a month.

According to Israel the permits have not been handed out as both groups do not have adequate paperwork, reports Reuters.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 19 August 2014
Rohingya excluded from Burma census

The nationwide census conducted by the Burmese regime deliberately excluded Rohingya Muslims, independent observers charged.

The Myanmar Census Observation Team said the government rejected census forms from those who self-identified as Rohingya, the Myanmar Times reports.

"The exclusion of the Rohingya/Bengali population from the census enumeration poses serious methodological problems," a report from the 47-member census monitor group said.

"The resulting undercount will not only have a negative impact on the census results at the state and region levels but also at the national level if the missing population is not included, based on a proper count."

The government does not recognise the term Rohingya, referring to the people as Bengalis.

UN officials said they avoid the term Rohingya in public, for fear of stirring tensions between majority Buddhists and the Muslims.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 19 August 2014
Kurdish protestor killed in clashes as Turkey removes PKK statue

Turkish security forces have killed a Kurdish protestor, after demonstrations against the removal of a statue of Mahsum Korkmaz, the founder of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The statue was unveiled in a PKK cemetery last week, in the Kurdish city of Lice, to mark the 30th anniversary of the first attack by the group, which is banned as a terrorist organisation in the country.

The PKK is a Kurdish political and military organisation that fought in an armed struggle against the Turkish state for the cultural and political rights and for self-determination for Kurds in Turkey. Since 2013 there has been a ceasefire between the PKK and Turkish state. 

Protestors gathered to stop Turkish security forces from removing the statue, resulting in clashes. Twenty-four year old Mehdi Taşkin died after reportedly being shot in the head, according to the Turkish daily Hurriyet.

The Kurdistan Communities' Union (KCK), an umbrella organisation which includes the PKK, slammed the military operation to remove the statue and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), of recently re-elected Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“It is obvious that the AK Party is playing with fire,” KCK said in a statement.

“The attack on Korkmaz's statue, [in] the cemetery of martyrs and … firing bullets on residents amount to dynamiting an already non-existent process and an atmosphere of ceased hostilities,” the KCK said.

 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
Significance of Aluthgama
Silences between the shouts
Inducing fear
  Opinion
‘Legal Avenues to Prosecute a US Citizen for War Crimes—The Case of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’
Review: 'This Land Belongs to the Army'
'Sri Lanka’s Scapegoat for its Own Terror'
  Feature
14 Aug 2006: 53 Tamil school girls killed by Sri Lankan air strike on children's home
Call for submissions as 'OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka' begins
Black July 1983 remembered
  Culture & Community
Tamil youth mark Black July raising awareness of ongoing genocide
Tamil Eelam defeats Darfur United
Sápmi defeats Tamil Eelam in closely contested match



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