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Tamil Guardian 19 December 2014
Maithripala manifesto released: vows to prevent international justice mechanisms and protect SL sovereignty
Photograph: BBC Sinhala


The common opposition candidate for Sri Lanka's presidential election next month, Maithripala Sirisena, released his election manifesto on Friday, setting out his vision for "compassionate governance and a stable country". The manifesto, following on from the joint opposition's election campaign pledges to date, fails to address key Tamil concerns of accountability, justice and the right to self-determination.

Pledging to protect every citizen from international justice mechanisms targetting individuals responsible for mass atrocities against the Tamil people during the armed conflict against the LTTE, Maithripala said that he would disseminate an image of Buddhism as that of non-violence amongst the West in order to improve, what he described as, Sri Lanka's poor international image at present.

Reiterating his commitment to the "stability, security and sovereignty of the country", Maithripala pledged that he would not change any aspect of the constitution that would potentially be detrimental to these aspects and that he would not change anything that required a referendum.

Extracts relating to key Tamil issues are published below:


Accountability and justice for mass atrocities against the Tamil people

"No international power will be allowed to ill-treat or touch a single citizen of this country on account of the campaign to defeat terrorism."

 


[more]

Tamil Guardian 19 December 2014
Army strength increased in 'significant manner' claims Lieutenant General
Sri Lanka's army Commander, Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake hailed the military increase in “strength”, whilst addressing troops in Colombo this week reports Colombo Gazette.

“The Army and its strength has increased in a significant manner in the past three decades and the organization has proved itself to be an integral and indispensable force to be reckoned with,” said Ratnayake. “It has performed arduous tasks which is impossible for others and won commendation from all quarters.”

Ratnayake went on to say that various “international elements” were attempting to destabilise Sri Lanka, but Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother, the defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, had made them “ineffective”.
Tamil Guardian 19 December 2014
Leaked CIA report analyses Sri Lanka's assassination of LTTE leaders
A leaked United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) report warned of the negative effects that assassinations could have, recommending targeted strikes that could exploit leadership divisions and a combined counterinsurgency strategy.

The report, compiled in 2009, analyses the impact of  "high value targeting" (HVT) in conflict scenarios across the world, including in Sri Lanka.

Entitled “Best practises in Counterinsurgency: Making High-Value Targeting Operations an Effective Counterinsurgency tool” the report stated that HVT operations may,
“by eroding the ‘rules of the game’ between the government and insurgents, escalate the level of violence in a conflict, which may or may not be in a government’s interest.”
The report noted that the Sri Lankan government had used “antibunker bombs” to target LTTE leaders  in 2007 and 2008, adding
“Geocoordinate information provided by a former bodyguard of Prabhakaran’s contributed to an accurate Sri Lankan military bombing raid that killed LTTE political spokesman S.P. Tamilchelvan and other LTTE leaders on 2 November 2007, according to a clandestine source with whom a relationship was just beginning.”

[more]

Tamil Guardian 18 December 2014
There is no point in replacing Rajapaksa with another 'Rajapaksa' - TNPF
The Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) called on the Tamil people to boycott Sri Lanka's presidential election next month, stating that the policies in relation to the Tamil question of the common opposition coalition did not differ from that of the ruling regime.

"There is no doubt that every Tamil person wants an end to this regime's policies - that of targetting the Tamil nation," said the TNPF President Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam at a press conference on Thursday.

"However, what is important is that there is an end to the atrocities being committed. It is not merely to oust Mahinda Rajapaksa. The key aim of every Tamil person is to put an end to the things that he is doing."

"From our point of view, the most important question is to what extent will a new regime, brought in by someone new, provide progress to the Tamil nation."

"In order to defeat the Rajapaksa regime, what kind of person do we need to bring? Do we need to defeat Rajapaksa as an individual, or do we need to defeat his policies?"

"As far as we are concerned, it is not Mahinda Rajapaksa as an individual that is the problem, but his policies. If the next person [to assume the presidency] is going to follow his same policies then what is really taking place here is not the change of a regime, ie. that of policies, but merely a personality change."


"Our party's humble request to the Tamil people is that the wisest thing to do at present would be to stay away from this election. At no point in the future should it be said that the Tamil people willfully gave a mandate to destroy the Tamil nation."


[more]

Tamil Guardian 18 December 2014
India attaches 'highest importance' to safety of fishermen says Swaraj
India's Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj stated the Indian government attaches the “highest importance” to the safety of Indian fishermen, as reports of attacks by the Sri Lankan Navy continue to take place.

Speaking in the Lok Sabha last week, Swaraj responded to a question on the harrassment and abduction of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy by saying,
“At the outset, let me take this opportunity to reiterate, in no uncertain terms, that Government attaches the highest importance to the safety, security and welfare of Indian fishermen.”

[more]

Tamil Guardian 18 December 2014
Rajapaksa claims TNA signed 'secret deal' with opposition candidate
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa claimed that the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has made a “secret deal” with opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena at an election rally in Chilaw this week.

Rajapaksa stated that a team from the TNA, which included parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran, had formulated the deal with Sirisena, ahead of the presidential elections next month.

“We are watching these things very closely. These things need to be revealed,” said Rajapaksa.

Speaking at the rally, he added that organisations overseas wanted to see him defeated at next month's polls, so that he can be taken to the International Criminal Court.

However, Rajapaksa said,
“As long as the Sri Lankan public are here they will not allow me to be taken to the Hague.”
Tamil Guardian 17 December 2014
JHU local government members leave to back Rajapaksa
More than half of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) party's local government members have left to back incumbent Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa at the upcoming presidential polls.

Western Provincial Councillor Udaya Gammanpila, who had earlier announced his support for Rajapaksa last week, was joined by 17 of 29 local government members who defected to the ruling UPFA coalition.

Gammanpila said that a new party with the defectors would be formed, adding,

"Our party is founded on policies that are our foundation. We have suddenly strayed towards an alliance with the United National Party and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. There is a void in society for a Buddhist political party."

"We will also discuss with the Bodu Bala Sena and Sihala Ravaya. We have had discussions with leaders of Buddhist organizations, and so far the reactions have been positive," continued Gammanpila.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 17 December 2014
Opposition reiterate rejection of UN inquiry
Common opposition Presidential candidate, Sirisena, at rally today. Photograph BBC Sinhala


A former cabinet minister, Rajitha Senaratne, who crossed over to join the common opposition platform led by Maithiripala Sirisena, reiterated their rejection of an international inquiry into mass atrocities against the Tamil people, in an interview with The Hindu on Thursday.

Stating that the opposition would strengthen domestic mechanisms, Senaratne stressed that they would "settle our matters in our country".


[more]

Tamil Guardian 17 December 2014
Government aligned paramilitary members attack NPC councillors


Members of the government aligned paramilitary group, the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP), attacked Northern Provincial councillors at a Jaffna District Coordinating Committee meeting, on Tuesday morning.

At least two councillors sustained injuries and were sent to hospital, as government forces failed to protect the assaulted northern provincial councillors.

Northern Provincial Council members that protested the EPDP MP Douglas Devananda’s political canvassing against the Tamil National Alliance and Northern Provincial Council during the development meeting were attacked by uninvited EPDP paramilitary party members, sources at the meeting told the Tamil Guardian.




[more]

Tamil Guardian 16 December 2014
Kumaratunga claims '75%' of war victory
The former Sri Lankan president, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, claimed responsibility for finishing 75% of the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during her tenure.

Speaking at an interview in her residence, Kumaratunga, who plays a key role in the common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena’s election campaign, said,

“How can one deny it?  Our people do not believe in falsehoods.  Are our people a bunch of donkeys to believe in untruths? Nearly 75 per cent of the areas controlled by Prabhakaran were liberated under my government. I do not lay claim to be the President forever by boasting of gains on the war front.”

Sri Lanka must vote to ensure 'war victory' maintained says Rajapaksa (15 Dec 2014)

 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
Tamil Guardian 27 November 2014
A legacy for generations

Twenty-five years ago today, the Tamil nation’s day of remembrance - Maaveerar Naal, was first commemorated at an event in the Vanni. Today, the commemoration of the nation’s fallen heroes has spread across the world, [more]

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]

  Opinion
Sinthujan Varatharajah Tamil Guardian 27 November 2014
Topography of terror and exile

 Where do we carry our dead when our soil is stolen and our oceans were turned into impenetrable walls and borders? Where do we take our grief when our kovil bells are forced into silence and our mourners made illegal? Where do we sing our songs of sorrow and resilience when our lips have been sealed? We carry them afar. We carry them in our suitcases across the sea.

Five years after the end of war, [more]

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]


  Feature
Tamil Guardian 14 December 2014
Remembering Bala Anna - the Voice of the Nation

Mr. Anton Balasingham, the chief negotiator of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and an extraordinary theoretician within the Tamil struggle, [more]

Tamil Guardian 28 November 2014
Maaveerar Naal 2014 commemorated worldwide
Maaveerar memorial unveiled in Essen, Germany. Last updated - 23:43 GMT, 01 Dec 2014 [more]

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]


  Culture & Community
Tamil Guardian 14 December 2014
Youth Tamil footballer to train with top English Footballing Association scouts
A young Tamil footballer from Ilford, will have the opportunity to train with Premier League talent scouts after winning a national football competition last month. [more]

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]



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