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Tamil Guardian 23 November 2014
Who is Maithripala Sirisena?
Last week the former secretary general of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and minister of health, Maithripala Sirisena, was announced as the common opposition candidate for the upcoming presidential elections.  

Sirisena and Rajapaksa embrace during Sri Lankan government celebrations on May 19 2009 Photo: lkwebnews.com

The politician has been one of the more vocal SLFP politicians over the past few years.

Endorsement of action against pro-opposition SLFP politicians

Sirisena, in 2007, endorsed the sacking of government ministers in the SLFP who were seemingly supportive of the opposition United National Party (UNP) in Sri Lanka.

Support for ending 6 year ceasefire with LTTE

In 2008, the minister, rejected calls to uphold a ceasefire with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that had been in place for 6 years.

“The government will not go for a ceasefire with the LTTE. We will not have any form of discussion with the LTTE,” said Sirisena, after the 6 year ceasefire was broken in 2008.

Alleges that TNA and opposition candidate working for 'terrorist' demands

In 2010, Sirisena alleged that the Tamil National Alliance and the, then opposition candidate, General Fonseka, had betrayed Sri Lanka to ‘terrorist’ demands by pledging to withdraw armed forces from the North, dismantle the High Security Zone, re-merge the North East, release LTTE suspects and give autonomy to the province.

Commends India's protection of Sri Lankan sovereignty at UNHRC

Commenting on the 2012 United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution, Sirisena commended India  for making amendments to the resolution that safeguarded Sri Lanka from “the interferences of UN bodies,” adding that no intrusions should be imposed without consent of the Sri Lankan government.

Accuses NGOs of working against Sri Lanka at UNHRC

Sirisena went on to allege that a Catholic NGO, Caritas SEDEC, was instigating protests and working against Sir Lanka at the UNHRC.

Accuses TNA and UNP of working to re-establish LTTE

Later that year, the SLFP general secretary went on to accuse the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the opposition UNP of assisting “LTTE activists” to help re-establish the LTTE.

Repeatedly rejects UNHRC resolution for investigation into Sri Lankan crimes

 In 2014, Sirisena repeatedly rejected the UNHRC resolution mandating an international investigation into Sri Lankan war crimes and crimes against humanity, stating that the SLFP “rejects the resolution against Sri Lanka moved at the UN Human Rights council.”

“The SLFP said that these invasive forces who ruled Sri Lanka from 1505 to 1948 are conspiring against the country based on the misleading information provided by the LTTE rump overseas, when Sri Lanka is in the process of rebuilding the country through national reconciliation process with the end of terrorism,” he added in March 2014.

Condemns NPC calls on Sri Lanka to allow UN officials to North-East

Sirisena, also expressed concern over a Northern Provincial Council resolution that called for Sri Lanka to allow access to UN investigators.

“All provincial councils including the Northern Provincial Council have pledged to act within the constitution of Sri Lanka. They cannot violate it,” warned Sirisena in Sepetember 2014.

TNA to decide on common opposition candidate endorsement (23 November 2014)

SLFP general secretary to be common opposition candidate (21 Nov 2014)

Common candidate must pledge end to militarisation and land grabs in Tamil areas - TNA (13 Nov 2014)
Tamil Guardian 23 November 2014
Sri Lankan parties urged to refrain from using pope in political campaigns
The director for the media and information center for the Pope’s visit to Sri Lanka in 2015, urged political groups to refrain from using cut outs of the Pope in their campaigns for the presidential elections.

“It has been brought to our notice that the political posters and cut outs with the picture of the Holy Father have come up in some places in the country.  We earnestly request respective authorities and persons to remove those political posters and cut-outs immediately and urge all the political groups to refrain from using either the Holy Father or His visit to Sri Lanka for the political campaign of the presidential election," said Rev Cyril Gamini Fernando.

Vatican confirms Pope Francis visit to Sri Lanka  (14 November 2014)
Tamil Guardian 23 November 2014
Sri Lanka arrests 14 Indian fishermen
Sri Lankan authorities have arrested 14 Indian fishermen, claiming that they were poaching in Sri Lankan waters.

The Sri Lankan navy also took into custody three fishing trawlers that belonged to the fishermen. The Indian Consulate in Jaffna is reportedly in touch with the arrested fishermen and has said that they are likely to be produced before the Kayts Magistrate.

Meanwhile a group of 20 Indian fishermen were chased away by the Sri Lankan navy on Sunday whilst fishing in the Palk Strait. 

[more]

Tamil Guardian 23 November 2014
TNA to decide on common opposition candidate endorsement
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is to meet on Monday to decide on whether to endorse the common opposition candidate, former general secretary of the SLFP, Maitripala Sirisena.

The TNA leader, R. Sampanthan told BBC Tamil, a decision had not been taken so dar, and would be taken shortly.

"His views are welcome, but we haven't come together as a party to discuss this," Sampanthan said on Friday, adding that there was a need to obtain the views of the Tamil people.

Meanwhile, TNA MP Mavai Senathiraja told Ceylon Today:

"The TNA will be meeting on Monday to decide on its stance with regard to the new political developments in the South. We have to act cautiously in taking our decisions. The TNA will even meet the people in the North and East before arriving at any decision."
 
TNA MP Suresh Premachandran, told the newspaper, that "support will be extended to whoever addresses the issues of Tamil people in the country".


[more]

Tamil Guardian 22 November 2014
Ambassador Sison confirmed for top UN posts

The US Ambassador for Sri Lanka, Michele Sison, has been confirmed as the deputy representative of the United States to the UN and the UN Security Council, and the representative of the US at the UN General Assembly.

President Barack Obama had nominated Ambassador Sison to the post, along with several other key appointments, in July.

“These dedicated individuals bring a wealth of experience and talent to their new roles and I am proud to have them serve in this Administration. I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come,” the president said at the time.

Obama nominates Ambassador Sison for key UN post (09 July 2014)

Tamil Guardian 22 November 2014
No Fire Zone documentary wins BRITDOC Impact award

The ‘No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka’ documentary was one of 5 documentaries to win a BRITDOC Impact prize on Friday.


The awards, held by the non-profit BRITDOC (British Documentary Foundation), honour documentaries that have had significant impact in work towards social change and justice.

"We're thrilled to be celebrating these five fantastic films, not only bringing great stories to communities but bringing about real world change. It doesn’t get better than this," said Jess Search, Director of BRITDOC, to the Huffington Post.

No Fire Zone stands a chance to win another award worth $5,000, the Netflix High 5, which will be awarded to the production team that gets the highest number of support tweets.

A vote for the No Fire Zone documentary to win the award can be placed by sending a tweet containing “#NetflixHi5 to @nofirezonemovie” by Monday night.

Humanitarian activist Queen Noor of Jordan in a blog post congratulated the film makers for the award and said the "shocking" documentary  played a "crucial role" in the UN Human Rights Council's decision to "order an independent review of the death of 70,000 civilians".

The documentary was earlier nominated for an award by The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Emmy), which takes place in the US next week.

No Fire Zone documentary nominated for Emmy awards (13 October 2014)

Tamil Guardian 22 November 2014
Foreign actors attempting to destabilise Sri Lanka through common candidate says SLFP
A group of senior members of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) described Maithripala Sirisena's adoption of the common candidate role as a foreign attempt to destabilise Sri Lanka.

The comments were made during a media briefing convened by the former party of Sirisena, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) , reports dailymirror.lk.

"What happened yesterday is a link in the chain of foreign conspiracies that seek to destabilize this country. There have been certain countries that have pumped money into this scheme through their embassies to establish a puppet regime in Sri Lanka. We warn them to put a stop to these activities,” said a government minister, Dullas Alahapperuma.
Tamil Guardian 22 November 2014
UNHRC credibility eroding - Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan government has questioned the credibility of the UN Human Rights Council, over its decision to pursue an independent inquiry into mass atrocities in Sri Lanka, despite its objections, reported Colombo Gazette.

Permanent Representative to the UN in New York Palitha Kohona said at the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly that the UNHRC is increasingly politicised and warned that it was losing its credibility.

He told the session that the government feels that a few countries have been selected for adverse attention by the council, while others in a comparable situation are being ignored.

Tamil Guardian 22 November 2014
Posters commemorating Maaveerar Naal emerge at Jaffna university
Posters commemorating Maaveerar Naal have gone up around Jaffna university campus this week, reports Nam Thesam.


“Our tearful respect to our martyrs who sacrificed their lives for our nation to bloom and to our people killed by state terrorism,”
said the posters.

“Our fallen martyrs' dream will come true, Tamil Eelam will be born tomorrow."


The posters have appeared as the Sri Lankan military increased its presence across the North-East, as Maaveerar Naal, or Heroes Day, approaches.

The Jaffna University teachers' union condemned the ramped up security presence last week (see here).

In previous years, Sri Lankan authorities shut down Jaffna University as Maaveerar Naal approached and Sri Lankan security forces have stormed the campus, attacking and arresting Tamil youth as they lit candles in an attempt to mark the remembrance day.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 21 November 2014
Tamil Nadu asked to ban celebrations of LTTE by BJP's Swamy
Tamil Nadu politicians who called for the birthday of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leader, to be celebrated were threatened with calls for arrest under the National Security Act, on Friday.

India’s Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) politician in Tamil Nadu, Subramanian Swamy, urged India’s Home Minister to issue a directive to the Tamil Nadu government to ban the celebration of Vellupillai Prabhakaran’s birthday, reports
Colombo Page.

“These celebrations are being organised by MDMK leader Vaiko. MDMK must be ejected from the NDA and Vaiko should be locked up under the National Security Act,” Swamy said in a press release.


Speaking on plans to commemorate the LTTE leader, Vaiko earlier said, “Celebratory chants should reverberate the cause of Tamil Eelam on that day.”
 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
Editorial Tamil Guardian 27 October 2014
Impeding justice
The Sri Lankan government’s announcement of restrictions on foreign passport holders travelling to the North is a brazen and calculated attempt to obstruct evidence collection for the UN inquiry into mass atrocities, [more]

Editorial Tamil Guardian 22 September 2014
Thunderclap
The eyes of the world were on Scotland last week, as the Scottish people voted in a historic referendum on independence. The majority of Scots (55%) chose to keep their homeland as part of the United Kingdom with the promise of more devolved powers, [more]

  Opinion
Tasha Manoranjan Tamil Guardian 17 November 2014
Gendered Genocide: Sri Lanka’s War Against Tamils
  The following address was delivered by Tasha Manoranjan, a graduate from Yale Law School, and founder and director of People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL), [more]

Arani Kumaran Tamil Guardian 30 October 2014
Review: 'Sri Lanka's Secrets: How the Rajapaksa Regime Gets Away with Murder'
'Sri Lanka's Secrets: How the Rajapaksa Regime Gets Away with Murder' by Trevor Grant, is a powerful book, [more]

Tamil Guardian 01 October 2014
'Why Sri Lanka's detention of Balenderan Jayakumari is so sinister' - Callum Macrae
Documentary maker Callum Macrae says Sri Lanka has continued with its “particularly sinister” arrest and intimidation of possible witnesses to a United Nations investigation into mass atrocities in Sri Lanka – including of Tamil disappearances activist Balendran Jayakumari - in a piece in the Huffington Post. Macrae, [more]


  Feature
Tamil Guardian 23 November 2014
Who is Maithripala Sirisena?
Last week the former secretary general of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and minister of health, Maithripala Sirisena, was announced as the common opposition candidate for the upcoming presidential elections. [more]

Tamil Guardian 02 November 2014
Remembering Thamilselvan 7 years on
S. P. Thamilselvan, the head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam's (LTTE) political wing, was assassinated by the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) on November 2nd, 2007. [more]

Tamil Guardian 30 October 2014
30 Oct 1995: Jaffna exodus as Tamils flee for Vanni ahead of SL military advance
On October 30, 1995, over half a million Tamil men, women and children fled their homes in Jaffna, [more]


  Culture & Community
Tamil Guardian 16 November 2014
Breaking the Silence Journal 2014: Cardiff University
Cardiff Tamil Society kicked off this year's Breaking the Silence campaign by holding a week long exhibition, [more]

Abi Gunarajah Tamil Guardian 01 November 2014
Tamil students inspired to excel at UKTSU's Careers Network 2014
 Photography - Soozana Pvan Over 100 Tamil students and top professionals from several key industries came together for the UK Tamil Students Union's (UK TSU) careers event - Careers Network 2014 on October 30.   Part of UKTSU's Careers Development Scheme, [more]

Tamil Guardian 25 October 2014
Barts and London University Tamil Society host language workshop
The Barts and the London University Tamil Society and the university's Language and Culture Society, joined forced to host a ‘Basic skills in the Tamil language’ workshop on October 6th. [more]



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