SL Minister urges boycott of Google

Addressing a public meeting in Colombo, Sri Lankan government Minister Wimal Weerawansa has called for a boycott of all American products, including the use of Google. The Minister also called for a boycott of brands such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, KFC and McDonalds. Weerawansa pledged to the crowd that he would personally stop using Google products, stating , "We must show our protest even in a small manner to U.S. for the ill-treatment they are throwing at us." " We should boycott American products in order to show them the strength of our nation, they will feel the effects of our actions. I also...

The Tamil people must lead their struggle

The Tamil people should not keep quiet anymore. Their mass organisations and civil groups should realise their duties and the fact that the unfolding scenario has no room for individual issues. It is futile for the Tamil political leadership, positioning itself against the aspirations of the people, to again and again get trapped in the old ways of polity. The next stage should be a mass struggle.

The stakes of Sri Lanka's strategy - and why only an international investigation will suffice

“ What is happening in Sri Lanka is a systematic genocide. It has been happening for the last 60 odd years. What happened in the last stages of the war was taking that genocidal project to its extreme. “It has been three years since the war ended. There are several steps that are being taken currently that carry on the structural genocide of our people. What is happening in Sri Lanka ... is the dismantling of the existence of the Tamils as a distinct nation of people. “That is what is happening and it is that what has to be investigated and our belief is that if there is any prospect of...

Sri Lanka censors text messages

Sri Lanka’s government has extended its censorship to text messages, reports BBC Sandeshaya . News outlets that send SMS alerts to customers must now get prior approval from the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS), if the messages are related to national security, the military or the police.

Group of 51 Indian NGOs urge Malaysia to back UNHRC resolution

An umbrella body named the Group of Concerned Citizens (GCC), representing fifty-one NGOs based in India, has urged Malaysia to support a resolution on war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan security forces. In a statement, GCC's coordinator, K Arumugam said that Malaysia should not support Sri Lanka as it did in 2009. Highlighting Malaysia's role in condemning human rights violations in Bosnia, Palestine, Southern Thailand and Philippines, the GCC coordinator said, "Why the double standard in our foreign policy when it came to Sri Lankan Tamils?" "If Malaysia votes against the resolution, it...

‘A child is summarily executed’

Writing in the Independent, Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields Director Callum Macrae has revealed some of the new evidence of summary executions that they have uncovered whilst making their follow up documentary, “ War Crimes Unpunished”. Extracts have been reproduced below. See the full piece here . For more information on the upcoming documentary “ Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished ”, see here . It will be broadcast on Channel 4 this Wednesday the 14th of March at 10.55pm. “A 12-year-old boy lies on the ground. He is stripped to the waist and has five neat bullet holes in his chest. His name is Balachandran Prabakaran and he is the son of the LTTE leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran. He has been executed in cold blood. Beside him lie the bodies of five men, believed to be his bodyguards. There are strips of cloth on the ground indicating that they were tied and blindfolded before they were shot – further evidence suggesting that the Sri Lankan government forces had a systematic policy of executing many surrendering or captured LTTE fighters and leading figures, even if they were children. ” “In one incident, legally significant because it is well documented, two international UN workers leading the last UN overland food convoy became trapped near a temporary hospital in a village primary school in Uddiyakattu, in the first of the government's No Fire Zones.” “With the help of other civilians they began to dig bunkers to provide some protection from incoming shellfire. As was standard practice, one of the UN workers, an Australian called Peter Mackay, took precise GPS co-ordinates of the site, and these were supplied to the government. But if that had any effect, it was certainly not the desired one. Over the next couple of days the camp was subjected to a massive, sustained barrage of incoming shellfire, much of it falling directly on or near to the UN bunker. Dozens were killed – and many more horrifically injured. It was all photographed by the UN workers .” “In a sense, it was just one relatively small incident in the ongoing carnage of the war, but it is potentially significant because it provides specific evidence linking the Sri Lankan government's chain of command to knowledge of targeted attacks on civilians – attacks that appear to constitute war crimes .”

States debate resolution on Sri Lanka

States debated the draft resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday, during an informal session chaired by the US ambassador, Eileen Donahoe. Rejecting the consultation as a "farce", Sri Lankan officials refused to engage in any dialogue on it. Whilst alliances such as the European Union, represented by Denmark, and states such as France, the UK, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, Germany and Norway welcomed the initiative, states including China, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Philippines, Algeria and Egypt on behalf of the states of the Non-Aligned Movement (...

Sexual abuse rapidly escalates in Jaffna

Girls as young as 7 years old have been sexually abused in Jaffna, as cases of sexual violence against women and children continues to rise according to health officials. Describing an “ alarming rise ”, in sexual abuses cases in the Jaffna peninsula the Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) of Jaffna Teaching hospital Dr Sivaruban said that there were 32 incidents of child abuse and sexual abuse in the last two months alone, with at least 9 of classed as “ serious and cruel sexual abuses ”. Dr Sivaruban told BBC Sinhala , " There were 102 cases of sexual abuse reported in Jaffna in 2010 and it has...

‘Should England’s cricket team tour Sri Lanka?’

As England’s cricket team departed for their tour of Sri Lanka, Channel 4 questioned England coach and former Zimbabwean cricket Andy Flower, on whether England should be playing against Sri Lanka, at the team's press conference on Saturday. See his report below. Channel 4 News Foreign Editor Ben De Pear also questioned England’s decision to tour the island commenting that Sri Lanka had, “ allegations of perhaps the most serious war crimes and crimes against humanity committed this century. ” “The England players management, and the journalists following the team will find it difficult to talk openly about these subjects in the country, let alone report them; the country has one of the worst records in the world for press freedom and does not tolerate criticism.” “This morning they seemed perturbed again when questioned by Jonathan Miller about the allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka.”

'India should assert leadership at UNHRC'

Writing in the Indian Express, Maja Daruwala, director of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, has called on India to assert leadership at the UN Human Rights Council and call for accountability in Sri Lanka. Extracts have been reproduced below. See the full piece here . " The time has come for India to be bolder and more confident on human rights at the international level. Its growing stature in international affairs demands this leadership position. The current session of the UN Human Rights Council presents India with an excellent opportunity to move towards a foreign policy that truly befits the world’s largest democracy. It should seize the opportunity and vote in favour of accountability in Sri Lanka." " Unfortunately, the proposed resolution does not go far enough. It will not immediately call for direly needed international investigations — a bitter disappointment. In this context, the proposed resolution must not preclude future UNHRC efforts that demand justice, accountability and international investigations in Sri Lanka. The resolution should be voted on only as a first step in the right direction, and not as a final step to water down scrutiny or as a tactic to delay urgently needed justice in Sri Lanka. " "From India’s point of view, the resolution is saying nothing that India has not ostensibly been asking of Sri Lanka both publicly and privately — real accountability and soon. A stable, well-governed neighbour is in India’s interest as a regional power. Stability requires that alienated populations experience justice for the past and in the future. Denials, diplomatic spin and cosmetic efforts that paper over past misdeeds cannot achieve this. Today, only a negative peace exists in Sri Lanka. "