Associated Press: Tamils' hell two years after Sri Lanka’s war

Extracts from Krishan Francis ’ report for AP (see the full text here ): Sri Lanka is again a palm-fringed tourist paradise, the government says. But for Tamils living in the former war zone, it is still a hell of haunted memories, military occupation and missing loved ones . Hundreds of thousands remain homeless, and no effort has been made to reunite families separated two years ago during the final bloody months of the war between the now-defeated Tamil separatists and the ethnic Sinhalese-dominated government. A power-sharing program that President Mahinda Rajapaksa promised to enact...

What does the US debt crisis have to do with China's role in Sri Lanka?

An article by Professsor Minxin Pei in The Diplomat provides some answers. Much of the world has been watching the debt crisis in the United States with trepidation in recent weeks, but one actor has been particularly nervous: China. Why? China is the world’s biggest lender to the US. Prof Pei writes: “China is the largest single holder of US Treasury debt (roughly $1.1 trillion). In a nightmarish scenario of an American debt default, the prices of the Treasury bonds China has accumulated are bound to decline significantly. “[Furthermore,] 60 percent of China’s $3.2 trillion in foreign...

China state radio’s largest foreign audience is … Tamil

China Radio International’s Tamil service enjoys the widest reach of all its channels and Tamils comprise the state-owned broadcaster’s fast-growing overseas fan base. See the reports by The Hindu newspaper here and (video) here . See CRI Tamil's website here . The Tamil station now has more than 25,000 registered listeners - besides thousands of others who tune in casually every day - in Tamil Nadu and the rest of India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Germany, the United States and Japan. The Tamil station started broadcasting in 1963. Since then, it has continued to beam its...

US wants LLRC report discussed at UN rights council next March

The United States has formally told Sri Lanka that it wants the final report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) discussed at the 19th sessions of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva next March, the Sunday Times reported. After repeated extensions , the final report of the governemnt's LLRC is to be released in November. (See here what international rights groups think of the LLRC.) The demarche was delivered by the US Embassy in Colombo to the External Affairs Ministry last month but Sri Lanka has not yet responded officially, the paper said. An External Affairs...

Hope beyond reason

The body of a prominent Sri Lankan human rights activist missing since February last year has been found, the United Nations said Friday. Pattani Razeek, managing trustee of non-governmental organisation the Community Trust Fund, was exhumed by police on Thursday after a tip-off from two suspects arrested in relation to the case, the UN said. See AFP’s report here . Bizarrely, Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, urged Sri Lanka's authorities to "expedite" investigations and prosecute those involved in the crime. Whom does she think ordered Razeek’s...

TNA: The Tamil people demand 'full self rule', international investigation of war crimes

" The Tamil people’s demand is that they exercise full powers of self-rule within their homeland consisting of a merged North and East. Once again, the Tamil people have declared that they will not relinquish their political aspirations. "The Tamil people have – by ensuring the victory of the TNA – accepted and supported the recommendations of the UN [Panel’s report], which state that the government’s war crimes and human rights abuses require an impartial international investigation . "The TNA asks that this verdict of the Tamil people be respected and that the government accept and allow an...

Orgy of massacre, rape, torture and mutilation in final days

Below are extracts from a frontline Sri Lankan soldier’s eye witness account of what happened in the final days of the war in May 2009 (see Channel 4's report here ): "When I look at it as an outsider I think they're simply brutal beasts. Their hearts are like that of animals, with no sense of humanity.” "They shoot people at random, stab people, rape them, cut their tongues out, cut women's breasts off. I have witnessed all this with my own eyes. I have seen small children laying dead," he continued. "I saw a lot of small children, who were so innocent, getting killed in large numbers. A...

Killing spree after Gotabaya’s orders: Army eyewitness accounts

A Sri Lanka Army officer has given Channel 4 his account of how, following orders from Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa , the commander of the 58 Division, Brigadier Shavendra Silva (now Major General) gathered his officers in the closing days of the war and ordered them to take no prisoners when capturing the remainder of the enclave in which thousands of Tamils civilians and fighters were surrounded. This is what Brig. Silva, now Sri Lanka’s representative to the UN in New York, told his gathered troops: “This is a very decisive day for us because last night I got a call from the...

TYO marks Black July anniversary

Tamil youths in London, Paris and Sydney marked the anniversary of ‘ Black July ’ with activities to raise public awareness of the mass killings of Tamils in Sri Lanka. In recent days members of the Tamil Youth Organisation (TYO) in Sydney and London handed out leaflets at central locations, while in Paris they organised blood donations and participated in a march. See report and photos here .

British Tamils' remember 1983 pogrom victims

British Tamils held a candle light vigil Saturday evening opposite the Prime Minister’s official residence, 10 Downing Street, to remember victims of Sri Lanka’s 1983 ‘Black July’ anti-Tamil pogrom. See full report, photos here . A thousand people dressed in black and carrying black flags and Eelam national flags, held a vigil between 6 and 9 pm, with lit candles and banners commemorating the pogrom. For several hours before the vigil began, activists and supporters handed out leaflets in the surrounding Whitehall area. The events were organised by the British Tamil Forum (BTF).

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