Thursday, 26 March 2015
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Tamil Guardian 26 March 2015
Difficult road on accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka says Biswal

The US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal said whilst being encouraged by the new Sri Lankan government’s promises of reform, there remained tough challenges, including a difficult road ahead on accountability and reconciliation, as well as demilitarisation of the conflict affected areas.

Ms Biswal, who had visited Sri Lanka last month, made these comments before the US House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting on Tuesday, regarding the ‘US rebalance in South Asia: foreign aid and developmental priorities’.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 26 March 2015
Beijing tells Sri Lanka to protect Chinese companies

China on Thursday urged Sri Lanka to ensure the legitimate interests of its companies were protected during the Sri Lankan president’s official visit to Beijing.

"China's cooperation with Sri Lanka is based on mutual benefit and a win-win situation, without any political preconditions," China’s president, Xi Jinping was quoted by China’s state news agency, Xinhua, as saying.

He reportedly added that China wished to help Sri Lanka sustain its development.

His comments come amid ongoing uncertainty over Chinese projects in Sri Lanka, in particular, the Colombo Port City project, which the new Sri Lankan government said it would re-examine before allowing it to proceed.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 26 March 2015
Australian foreign minister discusses ongoing Tamil concerns with TNA and diaspora groups

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Global Tamil Forum (GTF) and Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) met with the Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop and department of foreign affairs and trade officials (DFAT) on Thursday, discussing ongoing Tamil concerns and the ground reality in the North-East.

“Good meeting with Tamil National Alliance MP Mr. Sumanthiran and Tamil Diaspora representatives on recent developments in Sri Lanka and support for reconciliation,” tweeted Ms Bishop following the meeting.

Representatives from the TNA, GTF and ATC also met with her opposition counterpart, Tania Plibersek, and the leader of the Australian Green party, Christine Milne, as well as addressing a forum attended by a cross-party group of parliamentarians, including the minister for immigration and multicultural affairs, Peter Dutton.

Tamil Guardian 26 March 2015
19th amendment faces criticism in parliament
The proposed 19th amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution, aimed at reducing powers of the executive presidency, was met by opposition when table in parliament on Wednesday.

The leader of Sri Lanka’s opposition the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) said that some provisions in the amendment, tabled by prime minister Ranil Wickrememsinghe, needed approval of the people.

The SLFP leader Nimal Siripala de Silva accused the current government of deviating from its pledge of making constitutional reforms by achieving a two third majority approval for legislative changes in parliament, reports Colombo Page.
Tamil Guardian 26 March 2015
Recent land concessions in Jaffna were authorised by previous government
Sri Lanka’s new president’s recent release of military occupied land in Jaffna had already been signed off by the previous president Rajapaksa, reports economynext.com.

Reports suggest that the hand over of the land had been signed by former president Mahinda Rajapaksa on January 6 2015.

Sri Lankan president grants release of 425 acres of army-occupied land in Jaffna (23 March 2015)
Tamil Guardian 25 March 2015
UK reiterates commitment to OISL investigation
The United Kingdom stated it remained committed to a Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) investigation into Sri Lanka’s (OISL), in an address to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday.

Speaking at the 28th session of the council, the UK said that it “remains committed to the OHCHR investigation as part of the process of addressing the grievances of those affected by the conflict and of achieving lasting peace and reconciliation.”

Stating that Britain had supported the deferral of the investigation report “on the clear understanding that this report will be presented and discussed no later than September 2015”, the UK went on to say,
“We welcome the new Sri Lankan government's commitment to establish domestic accountability and reconciliation mechanisms, as well as its undertaking to work with the UN. We therefore encourage the government to co-operate with the investigation and with other Council mechanisms.”
Tamil Guardian 25 March 2015
APPG-T chief encourages other councils to follow Redbridge's lead on Tamil justice call

The chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils, Conservative MP Lee Scott, said he was "pleased", Redbridge Council has taken the lead on calling on the UK and the UN to deliver justice for Tamils in Sri Lanka, and encouraged other councils to follow suit.

Lee Scott said “it is important that the entire population of this country is informed of the positive contribution that the Tamil community makes to this country and of the issues faced by their kith and kin in Sri Lanka. I am pleased that Redbridge has taken the lead on this and I would like to see other Councils follow suit”.

“On the day Redbridge Council passed this motion, I was at the United Nations in Geneva working to bring about the changes required in order to deliver justice, peace and a permanent political solution to the Tamil nation in Sri Lanka,” he added.

The leader of the Conservative Group in Redbridge, Councillor Paul Canal, who proposed the motion, said he was "grateful to have received cross-party support", in the Labour-led council.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 25 March 2015
Amnesty for Sri Lankan army deserters
The Sri Lankan army is to introduce a period of amnesty for all deserters, Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe told a media briefing at the Ministry of Defence on Wednesday.

The amnesty, which is to take place between April 2 to April 16, would allow all deserters who have been 'Absent Without Official Leave' for more than 6 months to receive an official pardon.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 24 March 2015
Sri Lanka Campaign launches 'Manifesto for Peace'
The Sri Lanka Campaign, in a report released on Monday, outlined a set of deliverables that it found be a prerequisite to peace on the island.

Stating that the needs of the survivors of the civil war had to be considered for a lasting peace in Sri Lanka, the report listed elements as part of a ‘Manifesto for Peace.”

These included:

1) The factual establishment of what took place in the final stages of the war, including the publication of a comprehensive list of the dead, with cause of death where possible, and the names of those detained and those still not accounted for.

2) Credible investigation and prosecution of senior political and military commanders of the Sri Lankan Army, and surviving members of the LTTE, for their role in the final stages of the war before a court with international oversight and jurisdiction.

3) The absence of the military from day-to-day life of Tamils in the north and east.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 24 March 2015
ICRC received over 16,000 requests to trace disappeared in Sri Lanka
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) confirmed receiving 16,100 requests to trace missing persons since 1990, in a statement issued following the conclusion of ICRC Director of Operations Dominik Stillhart's five-day visit to Sri Lanka.

Mr Stillhart, who met with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera on his trip, said "the ICRC’s experience from its work with families of missing persons in other countries is that their needs are multifaceted".

"Their priority is the need to know the fate and whereabouts of a missing relative, without which they have no closure and a mechanism which is distinct from an accountability process is required to address this need,” he added. “But they also have other needs such as psychosocial and economic support and administrative or legal concerns arising from having to resolve pension or property rights."

[more]

 
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
David Cameron Tamil Guardian 10 March 2015
Sri Lanka must seize this window of opportunity - David Cameron
Published 00:01 GMT Writing in the Tamil Guardian today, British Prime Minister David Cameron reiterated his commitment to ensuring those responsible for war crimes in Sri Lanka are held accountable and said he would press the country's new president, [more]

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]


  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 March 2015
A night to remember as Tamil comedy takes to the stage

  All photographs: Thamarai With Tamil variety shows having been a staple part of the British Tamil calendar for years, [more]

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]



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