Sunday, 14 February 2016
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Tamil Guardian 14 February 2016
Sri Lanka not averse to international probe - Ranil

Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said his government was not averse to international participation in the country's touted accountability mechanism, however stressed that "final judgement will be made by the internal judicial system".

The prime minister, who was visiting a temple in Guruvayur, said officials from neighbouring countries such as India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh would be able to participate in discussions on war crimes, alongside representatives from the US and human rights organisations.

Mr Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka wanted to ensure that those responsible for civilian deaths are held to account, whether they were from the military or the LTTE, adding that the UN said it was possible that up to 40,000 people were killed in the last phase of the war.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 14 February 2016
Sri Lanka is overcoming obstacles internationally - President Sirisena

President Maithripala Sirisena said Sri Lanka was overcoming obstacles internationally, while some are making baseless accusations.

Speaking at an event in Polonaruwa, Mr Sirisena said that the government was not being influence, despite of what political opponents were saying.

The president also claimed that he can save former president Mahinda Rajapaksa and those who engaged in the war from the electric chair.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 14 February 2016
ICRC offers assistance to Sri Lanka to deal with families of missing persons
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has offered to assist the government families of those reported missing reports ColomboGazette.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the ICRC delegation in Sri Lanka have held a meeting to discuss an ICRC meeting entitled ‘Needs of the Families of Missing Persons in Sri Lanka: Living with Uncertainty.’

Chairing the meeting, the Deputy Foreign Minister said that Sri Lanka recognised the importance of dealing with the issues related to the families of missing persons.

The Head of the ICRC delegation in Sri Lanka Claire Meytraud said that the ICRC stands ready to provide all assistance to the government.

The ICRC report includes a detailed description of the needs of families, the existing resources available to them and their current coping mechanism.
Tamil Guardian 13 February 2016
No foreign influence says Sri Lankan president
The Sri Lankan president, Maithripala Sirisena on Friday reiterated that his government was not under any foreign influence.

Speaking at the opening of a concrete factory in Balangoda, Mr Sirisena was quoted by Colombo Page as saying his "government is not under any foreign influence as some politicians claim," stressing that the government "will not enter into any agreement that can endanger the local economy and the culture of the country."

"Even though some political leaders, states through various newspapers that there are foreign influences on Sri Lanka, there is no any type of influence and the present government had to face the results of their wrong actions," he added.

Tamil Guardian 13 February 2016
Jaya urges Modi to halt Sri Lankan navy's repeated arrests of Indian fishermen
The chief minister of the Tamil Nadu, J Jayalalithaa, on Firday urged the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to take action over the arrests of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy, after the latest arrest of 12 fishermen took place this week.

There is an "urgent and imperative need" to find a lasting solution to the situation she wrote in her latest letter to Mr Modi, the PTI reported.

"My Government stays committed to ensuring and upholding the traditional rights of fishermen from Tamil Nadu to fish in their traditional fishing waters of Palk Bay," her letter read.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 13 February 2016
Sri Lankan govt launches consultations process on reconciliation

The Sri Lankan government on Friday launched a consultations process, the 'Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms'.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 13 February 2016
Mahinda Rajapaksa to form new political party
Sri Lanka’s former president Mahinda Rajapaksa set up a coordinating office in the wake of announcing that a group of MPs loyal to him will form a new political party.

A large number of parliamentarians loyal to Mahinda Rjapaksa reportedly met at his residence this week to discuss the final details of the new party and finalised the name and party symbol reports Colombo Page.

The office is expected to facilitate the coordination of political affairs and public relations.

This week parliamentarians loyal to Mahinda Rajapaksa protested in parliament after the speaker refused to acknowledge them as a separate ‘joint opposition’ entity in parliament.
Tamil Guardian 12 February 2016
US announces funds to strengthen journalism in Sri Lanka

The US Department of State has announced funding for the strengthening of investigative journalism in Sri Lanka.

The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour (DRL) said in the announcement that there will be an open competition for the funds, worth approximately $500,000.

A key outcome of the successful project should include "increased coverage on reconciliation and transitional justice activities in the country."

"Strong consideration will be given to proposals that work to facilitate interaction among journalists and media institutions in the north/east and south as well as proposals that include an emphasis on women journalists," the announcement said.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 12 February 2016
Over 30,000 Tamils remain internally displced in Northern Province alone
Over 30,000 people in Jaffna alone were still internally displaced found a report by the Northern resettlement and rehabilitation committee.

The report which was handed over to the UN human Rights Chief during his visit to the North-East further found that over 5000 acres of land remained occupied by Sri Lanka’s army in Valikamam North.

According to the report at least 22 divisions in the Valikamam area had continuously been occupied by Sri Lanka’s army with a total of 45 being occupied since 1990.
Tamil Guardian 12 February 2016
‘Victims must feel justice is done’ – UN High Commissioner

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Al Hussein said victims of Sri Lanka’s armed conflict must feel that justice is done, no matter the form of accountability mechanism enacted.

Speaking to reporters at the end of his visit to the island earlier this week, Mr Al Hussein reiterated his office’s support for international involvement in accountability, stating:

“The suggestion of having an impartial and independent court is fundamental because it must address the needs of victims on all sides. And we thought by having international participation this can be guaranteed.”

With reporters reminding the human rights chief of comments from Sri Lankan leaders, who have repeatedly rejected foreign involvement, the High Commissioner noted that there “may be other views”.

However, he added that “certainly the victims views have to be brought into this discussion – and that’s why the consultation that the government has begun is all the more important that their views be taken into account”.

He continued to say:

There has to be set in motion a process to establish the truth, to establish a mechanism which will confirm or not whether there were systemic violations of a planned and organised manner and whether those thresholds then merit prosecution. All of this requires a step by step approach.”

“However in the end… whatever you do will be for nought if the victims themselves do not feel that justice is being done.”

[more]

 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
Tamil Guardian 01 December 2015
A flower, a flame and a flag

On November 27th candles were lit in an unprecedented number of events, commemorating those who died taking up arms for the Tamil liberation struggle. [more]

Tamil Guardian 07 October 2015
Inescapable truth
The adoption of a UNHRC consensus resolution on the UN report into Sri Lanka’s atrocities (OISL) has been welcomed by many as the first step in a long process to move Sri Lanka towards an era of justice and reconciliation through genuine accountability, [more]

  Opinion
Tamil Guardian 06 February 2016
Sri Lanka: Looking for a deal, not truth and justice – Frances Harrison
Deep rooted reform in Sri Lanka is not on the government’s agenda writes Frances Harrison, in a piece for Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka. [more]

Tamil Guardian 28 January 2016
Sri Lanka's constitution: What's in it for Tamils?
Sinhala politicians are hell bent on denying Tamils federal power sharing, so that they can control Tamils through a Sinhala majority parliament writes JS Tissainayagam in the Asian correspondent. [more]

Tamil Guardian 11 January 2016
Governments change, but the torturers stay the same - Frances Harrison
While the world hails “the new Sri Lanka” for committing to deliver accountability for the past, the same torturers and rapists are in place doing what they’ve always done writes author of Still Counting the Dead and former BBC correspondent Frances Harrison. Full article reproduced below. “These are not things you can tell your wife, [more]


  Feature
Tamil Guardian 11 February 2016
UN Special Rapporteur insists on importance of victim participation in Sri Lanka
File photo: Relatives of the disappeared met with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Jaffna last week, as Special Rapporteur Pablo de Greiff reiterated the importance victim participation in an accountability mechanism. [more]

Tamil Guardian 09 February 2016
UN Human Rights chief concludes visit to North-East
UN Human Rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein concluded a four-day trip across the Tamil North-East on Tuesday. Photograph: Mr Hussein on his visit to Nallur temple in Jaffna earlier this week. [more]

Tamil Guardian 05 February 2016
Protests in North-East as Sri Lanka marks Independence Day
Protests took place in every district across the Tamil North-East, as the Sri Lankan government celebrated Independence Day on Thursday. [more]


  Culture & Community
Tamil Guardian 27 January 2016
Tamil farmers honoured in Farmers' Festival

Farmers of the Northern Province were honoured with a Farmers Festival in Mullaitivu on Saturday.

The event was presided over by Chief Minister C. [more]

Tamil Guardian 29 December 2015
"As an artist I’m still dealing with being a refugee" - Interview with M.I.A.
Photograph MIA Universe

Tamil Guardian exclusive interview with rapper and musician M. [more]

Tamil Guardian 27 November 2015
Canadian Tamil youth commemorate Maaveerar Naal

 

On November 25th the Tamil Youth Organization (TYO) Canada, in partnership with the Tamil Students' Associations (TSAs) from several universities, [more]



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