Saturday, 28 February 2015
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Tamil Guardian 28 February 2015
We will conduct domestic war crimes inquiry 'if required' says Sri Lanka's justice minister
Sri Lanka's justice minister said the country was prioritising reconciliation, and would conduct a domestic inquiry into allegations of war crimes committed against the Tamil people during the final stages of the armed conflict only "if required".

The government, led by Maithripala Sirisena, pledged in its pre-election campaign to launch a domestic inquiry.

However, in an interview this week to
BBC Sinhala, the country's justice minister, Wijayadasa Rajapakshe, said: "We are ready to conduct a domestic inquiry if required."

"Previously, the agreement with the international community was that the LLRC would be the domestic mechanism and that the international mechanism would be based on the Darusman report. The current problem arose after the Darusman report. We are trying to prioritize reconciliation—how to mend the broken link between the Sinhala and Tamil people. Our objective is to take necessary steps that would not harm reconciliation," he said, adding that the government was in discussions with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) regarding this.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 27 February 2015
Sri Lankan navy arrests 86 Indian fishermen
The Sri Lankan navy has arrested 86 fishermen from Tamil Nadu of the coast of Mullaitivu in the North-East of the island and seized 10 of their boats, reports the Hindu.
The arrest comes after Sri Lanka postponed talks that were scheduled to take place with India regarding the contentious issue of arrests of fishermen, ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the island.
However the Hindu reported Fisheries Secretary Nimal Hettiarachchi as saying,
“Our new government has prioritised its 100-day programme, so we do not have time to work on this at the moment.”

[more]

Tamil Guardian 27 February 2015
Tamil refugees should stay in India - JHU

The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), a key party in the ruling coalition led by President Maithripala Sirisena, said it would oppose the resettlement of Tamil refugees from the North-East who fled to India during the armed conflict, reported the Daily Mirror.

Speaking to media on Friday, national organiser Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said according to an agreement Sri Lanka signed with India's ambassador to Colombo JN Dixit in 1986, India would grant citizenship to the recent Tamil refugees while Sri Lanka agreed to grant citizenship to Tamils of Indian origin, who have lived on the island for decades.

Mr Warnasinghe said if refugees were resettled in their homes in the NOrth-East, this agreement would be breached.

“TNA parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran has said Tamil refugees living in India should be resettled in Sri Lanka but such a move will be a breach of the agreement signed in 1986,” he said.

Tamil Guardian 27 February 2015
Truth before political solution - Sampanthan

The leader of the Tamil National Alliance, R Sampanthan said truth over mass atrocities committed during the conflict in the North-East must be established before negotiations to find a political solution to the Tamil question can be held.

During talks with South Africa's Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Namoindia Mfekoto, Mr Sampanthan and fellow TNA MP MA Sumanthiran welcomed South Africa's initiative towards resolving the political issue, reported Ceylon Today.

"With the cooperation of the international community, the TNA is prepared to engage in a peace process with the new Lankan government mediated by the South African Government. South Africa should insist on the Lankan government to reveal the truth with regard to the alleged war crimes," Mr Sampanthan said.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 27 February 2015
We will welcome Chinese investors, Sri Lanka's foreign minister tells Beijing


Sri Lanka's foreign minister, Mangala Samaraweera said that his government would welcome Chinese investment during a visit to Beijing on Friday.

His visit comes as doubs remain over whether the new government will allow China's proposed Colombo Port City development project, agreed to by the former Sri Lankan government, to go ahead as planned.

Stating that the issue was not explicitly discussed, Mr Samaraweera said that Sri Lanka would not make any decision on Chinese projects without consultation with China, reported Reuters.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 27 February 2015
Tamil Nadu delegation secures $4 billion foreign investment ahead of global forum in Chennai
A Tamil Nadu delegation visiting Singapore, Japan and South Korea, led by the chief secretary in the industries department of Tamil Nadu, secured $4 billion of a $ 16 billion foreign investment target set by the Tamil Nadu State.

A Global Investor’s Meet (GIM), with the aim of raising $16 billion foreign investment into Tamil Nadu is scheduled to take place in Chennai later this year, reports the
economictimes.com.

The Tamil delegation as held a series of meetings with public and private sector officials in the there countries, whilst promoting the GIM – which will be held from May 23-24 this year.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 26 February 2015
HRW tells Sri Lankan president to press ahead on rights reform
The New York based rights group, Human Rights Watch, urged Sri Lanka's new president to "advance a reform agenda to address past and ongoing human rights problems in the country" and stressed the need for accountability for violations of international law during the armed conflict in a letter sent to the president on Thursday.

Stating that the government had undertaken important new initiatives, HRW said in a statement accompanying the letter, "however many important human rights concerns still need to be addressed".

"Among them are the use of torture by police, the protection of minority communities, the independence of government oversight committees, and the repealing of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). Holding accountable those responsible on both sides for violations of international law during Sri Lanka’s long civil war is crucial for the country’s future," the rights group added in a statement on Thursday.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 26 February 2015
Young Tamil found dead in Batticaloa

The body of a young Tamil man was found on Thursday in Eerakulam, Batticaloa, reported Battinews.

Nallathambi Vijikaran, 20, who hails from Siththandi, was reported missing by his family three days ago.

Mr Vijikaran, whose brother Nallathambi Nithiyananthan is a journalist, was staying at his family's house in Eerakulam when he went missing. His parents identified the body, which was found at Idakkaali riverside in the town.

As police failed to arrive in time to inspect the crime scene, the body had to be left at the riverside overnight and will only be removed on Friday.

Tamil Guardian 26 February 2015
Tamil orgs reject Sri Lanka's Commission on Missing Persons, call for international mechanism
The Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF) and Welfare Organisation for the Forcibly Disappeared Persons, announced that they would be boycotting Sri Lanka’s presidential Commission on Missing Persons, stating that a “credible inquiry”  can “only be achieved through international means.”

Questioning the credibility of previous sittings at the Presidential Commission, the statement, released on Thursday, said,


“no results whatsoever have been forthcoming from such inquiries. Recent reports suggest that one of the international experts so appointed was also hired by the then Sri Lankan Government to advise them on how to handle international community pressure on human rights issues, clearly pointing to a conflict of interest in his appointment as an expert.” 

[more]

Tamil Guardian 26 February 2015
JVP opposes UNP-SLFP national government
The JVP this week said it would oppose any move towards a national government ahead of Sri Lanka's parliamentary election, stating that such a move was an attempt to deprive the electorate of the right to vote.

On Sunday, the president's media office announced that the opposition party, SLFP had agreed to form a national government.

"If there is a real need for a national government that may be formed after the next general election. We won’t be party to any such move. We also oppose any move to deprive the people of their right to elect a new government at a general election," JVP leader, Anura Kumara Dissanayake said however, insisting that a parliament should be dissolved in April and a fresh general election be called.


 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
Tamil Guardian 27 February 2015
Demanding demilitarisation

The streets of Jaffna saw historic scenes on Tuesday. The largest demonstration since the massacre on the beaches of Mullivaikal 6 years ago took place, [more]

Editorial Tamil Guardian 17 February 2015
Awaiting Justice

The UN Human Rights Council’s decision to give the new government 6 months to cooperate with the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL), in view of gathering more information, [more]

  Opinion
J. S. Tissainayagam Tamil Guardian 17 January 2015
Will Sri Lanka's new president be held to international standards of justice?
In view of the Sri Lanka's new president's closeness to the last stages of the armed conflict, serving as acting defence minister for the final two weeks, [more]

Madura Rasaratnam Tamil Guardian 15 January 2015
Reality Check: Sri Lanka's New Government
Sustained international pressure is needed to ensure that the new Sri Lankan government works towards accountability, justice and reconciliation on the island, [more]

Kumaravadivel Guruparan Tamil Guardian 14 January 2015
'Why Sirisena’s Victory is Not a Victory for Sri Lanka’s Tamils'
Despite Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena's surprise election victory, there is little to suggest change in government policy towards the island's indigenous Tamil and Muslim communities, [more]


  Feature
Tamil Guardian 24 February 2015
Thousands protest in Jaffna rejecting domestic probe, demanding release of UN report
Photograph Tamil Guardian [more]

Tamil Guardian 17 February 2015
Continuing militarisation of Tamil school children across North-East

(All photos: Sri Lanka Army)

The Sri Lankan military continues to involve itself in activities involving school children and their education, [more]

Tamil Guardian 16 February 2015
Human Rights Council gives Sri Lanka 6 months to cooperate with UN inquiry
March 2014 - UN Human Rights Council mandates investigation into mass atrocities against Tamils in Sri Lanka. Photograph Tamil Guardian [more]


  Culture & Community
Tamil Guardian 22 February 2015
'Super Singer Junior' audiences stunned by song dedicated to Eelam Tamils
A 15 year old Canadian Eelam Tamil singer, Jessica Judes, stunned audiences of the widely popular Tamil Nadu singing competition - Super Singer Junior on Saturday, [more]

Tamil Guardian 21 February 2015
Denmark Tamil schools compete in Malathy Cup football tournament
Tamil schools across Denmark came together for the Malathy Cup football tournament on February 14. [more]

Tamil Guardian 01 February 2015
Tamil teachers felicitated at ceremony in London

The Tamil Education Development Council held its annual awards ceremony last Sunday, celebrating the contribution of 250 teachers at Tamil schools in the UK. [more]



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