Journalists in Jaffna protest for investigations into journalist deaths and media freedom

Journalists, media workers and their supporters gathered in Jaffna today on the anniversary of the death of journalist Nimalarajan to demand investigations into murdered journalists in Sri Lanka, media freedom and immediate implementation of the Right to Information Act, as Sri lankan police officers watched on. First gathering at a monument dedicated to slain journalists in Sri Lanka erected last year by the Jaffna Press Club, the group had a moment of silence to pay their respects to Nimalarajan and all the other journalists who were killed during and after the war. In a statement released...

Royal Borough of Kingston twins with Jaffna

The Royal Borough of Kingston in the United Kingdom has officially twinned with Jaffna, after a signing ceremony in London on Tuesday. Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran said the event was a "historic" occasion, as he addressed the ceremony attended by hundreds of locals. His comments were echoed by Councillor Kevin Davis, who spoke of how Kingston has twinned with other cities around the world, such as in Korea and Germany, that have also suffered the "tragic loss" of war. "One aspect is key... How can we support the reconstruction of Jaffna into a new democratic...

Jaffna conference marks 50th year since uprising against caste and untouchability

Marking the 50th year since the 21st October 1966 uprising against caste and untouchability in Sri Lanka, the Mass Movement for Social Justice held a conference today in Kokuvil, Jaffna. A series of academics and activists spoke about the history of the struggle against caste on the island and also about the ongoing perpetuation of caste-based discrimination and the disregard paid to it by Tamil political parties and leaders. Speaking about caste in the education system, one local activist, Ahalya, explained that while students from all different castes could now go to the same school, you...

British Tamil Conservatives host annual reception at party conference

The British Tamil Conservatives hosted their annual reception at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham on Tuesday. Held in the prestigious Castle Fine Art gallery, the BTC event has become a popular fixture in the conference calendar, and as customary was attended by several MPs and high-profile Conservatives who expressed their support for the Tamil community in their struggle for human rights.

Remembering Thileepan

Today marks 29 years since the death of Lt. Col. Thileepan, a political wing leader of the LTTE who fasted to death on hunger strike, appealing to the Indian government to honour pledges made to the Tamil people. Thileepan began his fast on the 15th of September 1987, with 100,000 people gathered around the historic Nallur Kandwaswamy Temple in Jaffna. As he began his strike he put forward 5 demands to the Indian government. See a video of his famous speech below. See an eye witness account of his protest written by Adele Balasingham here . Thileepan addressing the thousands who had come to...

Thousands take part in Ezhuka Tamil rally in Jaffna

Thousands of Tamils from across the North-East participated in the Ezhuka Tamil rally (Rise Up Tamil) in Jaffna today. The rally, which was organised by the Tamil People's Council, raised awareness about key issues of concern for the Tamil people, including ongoing militarisation and state sponsored Sinhala colonisation of the Tamil homeland, the need for an international investigation into mass atrocities committed against the Tamil people, the continued detention of Tamils under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the need for a political solution based on a federal model which recognises the Tamil nation and its right to self-determination. See full declaration here . Organisers estimate that approximately 10,000 people attended the rally, making it the largest Tamil rights protest since the end of the armed conflict more than 7 years ago. A procession from Nallur was joined by another from Jaffna University and gathered at Muttaveli for the main rally, which saw speeches from politicians and activists. As crowds gathered outside the famous Nallur temple, the arrival of Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran signalled the start of the rally. After Justice Wigneswaran cermeoniously broke coconuts, crowds marched thorugh the streets of Jaffna, holding placards and chanting slogans.

Flowers and prayers for victims of Nagarkovil massacre

Schoolchildren at the Nagarkovil Maha Vidyalayam clasp their hands in prayer, in remembrance of the children that were killed on the same spot 21 years ago. The 21 st anniversary of the Nagarkovil massacre was marked in Jaffna on Thursday evening. The parents of schoolchildren killed in the Sri Lankan bombing raid laid flowers on a monument at the site of the attack, as they remembered the lives lost in the massacre. On September 22, 1995, SLAF aircraft bombed the Nagarkovil Maha Vidyalayam school yard crammed with 750 children on their lunch break, killing 26 – of whom 12 were six or seven...

UN working group calls for international judges in Sri Lanka

The United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearances at a press conference in Colombo in November 2015. Photogrpah: Colombo Gazette. The United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearances said “international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators” to take part in a judicial accountability mechanism for human rights abuses, including disappearances. In a 22-page report released in Geneva today, the UN group reiterated the importance of including international actors in any accountability mechanism. “The road that leads to truth and justice is long but is the right one to...

The books of Visvamadu Library

In December 1995 the Sri Lankan army took control of Jaffna, which before that time had been held by the LTTE for many years. The Indian “peace keeping” force had briefly captured it in 1987. The armed resistance retreated into the Vanni area, situated below the Jaffna peninsula, covering about 7650 square kilometres. The Vanni, held by the LTTE from 1995, would go on to become the de facto state of Tamil Eelam until the start of the final offensive in 2008. The Visvamadu Library was built in 2006

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