India donates 175 fishing boats to IDPs in Mannar

The High Commissioner of India, Ashok K. Kantha, donated over 175 fishing boats fishing equipment to over 350 IDPs on Sunday, during a visit to Mannar. Addressing those present, Kantha said that India was also working towards building up a fishnet factory in Gurunagar, Jaffna, through the supply of 152 million rupees worth of equipment. Dr Rajitha Senaratne - Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, and Rishad Bathiyutheen - Minister of Industries and Commerce, were present at the event. For a detailed analysis of why Tamil areas remain underdeveloped well after the war’s end, see this...

Canada reiterates threat of CHOGM boycott

The Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, will not attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) unless Sri Lanka's human rights situation improves, said the Canadian foreign minister's spokesperson, Chrystiane Roy, when speaking to the Sunday Leader. Roy said, “Prime Minister Harper has clearly stated that unless there is significant progress on political reconciliation, accountability and respect for human rights in Sri Lanka, he will not attend the CHOGM hosted by Sri Lanka in 2013,” “Canada also notes the Secretary General’s comments and will work with the international community to ensure mistakes made in Sri Lanka are not repeated,”

Sri Lanka looks to Iraq for crude oil

The Sri Lankan government has announced that they are considering purchasing crude oil from Iraq, after US-imposed sanctions on Iran, the island’s main supplier of crude oil. The announcement follows the US Senate passing another wave of sanctions aimed at Iran’s energy sector. The country was estimated to have provided up to 92% of Sri Lanka’s crude oil prior to the sanctions being put in place. Foreign ministry secretary Karunatillaka Amunugama stated , "Oil in northern Iraq is similar to Iranian crude and could be refined (domestically), thereby reducing costs on the import of refined...

Army says it was deployed for 'security'

The head of the Jaffna Security Forces, Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, dismissed the widespread news at the Sri Lankan military, along with the police, were responsible for attacks at Jaffna university over Maaveerar Naal commemoration events, and on the editor of the Tamil newspaper, the Uthayan. Accusing Uthayan of attempting to discredit the military, Major General Hathurusinghe said : "It is wrong to allege that military personnel entered the Jaffna Campus on this day," "I believe that it was the police who were deployed for security in the university."

Jaffna University students arrested by Sri Lankan TID

Four students from Jaffna University have been transferred to Colombo after being arrested by the Sri Lankan Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) on Friday. The arrested students are: Paralingam Tharshananth (Secretary of the Jaffna Students Union) Ganesamurthy Sudarsan (Medical Faculty Student) Kangasundaraswamy Janamejeyanth (Arts Union President) Sanmugam Solomon (Final year Science Faculty Student) The arrests took place after a complaint against the students was lodged with Sri Lankan police by the government-backed paramilitary group Sri TELO. 7 students, including Tharshananth and...

Rs 100bn loss for Ceylon Petroleum Corporation

The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has incurred losses of over Rs 100bn, reported The Sunday Times. A senior official at the Ministry of Petroleum Industries said that the losses are due to arrears from state institutions and providing fuel at concessionary rates. The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) owes Rs 47 billion, SriLankan airline Rs 21 billion, the Defence Ministry Rs 14 billion and Sri Lanka Railway Rs 5 billion.

TAG - suppression of remembrance is an attempt to destroy national memory

In a statement published on Friday, Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) urged all foreign donors to demand the "immediate release of all students taken into custody following Tamil Remembrance Day", as well as the "witholding of further economic assistance and military cooperation until the government allows Remembrance Day to be marked by the families of the dead." See here for full statement, extracts reproduced below: "Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) condemns the violent repression of Tamil freedom of expression by the Sri Lankan military and police forces and the accompanying destruction of collective history. It is critical that these latest instances of State perpetrated violence be seen not in isolation but in the context of the systemic and structural persecution by the Sri Lankan State . These acts of violently destroying national memory may be viewed as one of the ‘different coordinated actions’ referred to in Raphael Lemkin’s definition of genocide. Lemkin defines genocide as a ‘a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of the essential foundations of the life of national groups .,. (where) The objectives of such a plan would be the disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups’

British Tamil youth condemn attacks on Jaffna students

Updated 01:00 BST 03/12/2012 Tamil university students from across the United Kingdom have released a joint statement criticising the intimidation which Jaffna University students faced in the days leading up to Maaveerar Naal and condemning the attacks on the student demonstration which followed. In a statement released on Friday, Tamil Societies from 16 British universities joined with Tamil Youth Organisation UK to call for the international community to demand the release of the arrested students, condemning the "brazen attempts by Sri Lanka to deny the Tamil nation of this basic right, through intimidation, aggression and sheer violence." See here for full press release. Extracts reproduced below: “It is unacceptable and reprehensible that any people or nation could be prevented by a government and its security forces from mourning and remembering its war dead. The recent events highlight more brazen attempts by Sri Lanka to deny the Tamil nation of this basic right, through intimidation, aggression and sheer violence.” “The United Nations and the international community must recognise that Sri Lanka is showing no progress or even intention of respecting its democratic obligations. Instead Sri Lanka is further demonstrating utter disregard for the rights of Tamils on the island, as well as its intent to silence and punish any voice of dissent from the Tamil nation.”

Canadian Tamil youth condemn Jaffna uni attacks

The largest coalition of Tamil youth groups and university Tamil Student Associations in Canada - the Canadian Tamil Youth Alliance (CTYA) has called for the removal of the military from the Tamil populated areas of the North-East. In a statement released on Friday, along side their British Tamil counterparts , the CTYA coalition said, 'Canadian Tamil Youth Alliance (CTYA) condemns the Sri Lankan military’s use of scare tactics in an effort to prevent students from freedom of expression and freedom of assembly . CTYA further vehemently condemns the unjustifiable attacks made by the Sri Lankan military on the Jaffna University students. “It’s quite disheartening to see that a so called democratic country is actively restricting the freedoms and basic rights of citizens. As our Canadian government has mentioned during several occasions, military should not be present in civilian activities at all ,” said Tharchini Vallepuram, a Director of CTYA. As Tamil youth, we stand in solidarity with the Jaffna University students in demanding that their rights and freedoms are upheld . We also stress that the safety and security of these students should not be undermined or endangered.

Global coalition of Tamil youth groups in solidarity with Jaffna uni students

Along with Tamil university societies and associations in the UK and Canada, a worldwide coalition of Tamil youth - the Global Tamil Youth League (T-League), condemned the attacks on Jaffna university students in a statement released on Thursday. "The Global Tamil Youth League (T-League) strongly condemns this act of violence against the Jaffna University student’s freedom to protest and demonstrate, as well as their right to freely commemorate Tamil Remembrance Day. As fellow students and youth, we support and stand with our brothers and sisters in Jaffna in demanding that their rights be respected and their safety is ensured and accounted for. This attack follows other similar attacks by the Sri Lankan Military including the attack on Paramalingam Tharsananth, the Student Union Secretary of Jaffna University during the May Massacre Remembrance event, and the recent Trincomalee attack against students at the Eastern University of Sri Lanka."