Monday, 25 May 2015
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Tamil Guardian 24 May 2015
Ongoing war crimes in Ukraine conflict says Amnesty International

Ongoing war-crimes were being committed by both warring sides of the conflict in Ukraine conflict found an Amnesty International report into the situation.

Amnesty’s program director for Europe and Central Asia programs, John Dalhuisen, said,

“Prisoners on both sides have been beaten and subjected to mock executions. We have also documented summary killings of those held by separatist groups. It is a war crime to torture or deliberately kill captives taken during conflict.”

The outlined accounts of torture and detention by former prisoners who were stabbed, kicked and deprived of sleep for days. The investigators interviewed over 30 former prisoners of war, including 16 held by Pro-Kiev forces and 17 by separatists, reports Deutsche Welle.

Tamil Guardian 22 May 2015
UN to investigate executions in Mali

The UN said on Friday that it was in the process of investigating reports of serious human rights abuses in Mali, which included the mass execution of civilians in northern Mali during clashes this week.

The clashes between, Tuareg separatist militants and pro-government paramilitary groups in the north of the country killed at least six civilians and aid workers on Thursday, reports Reuters.

The militants alleged that the pro-government militia rounded up nine people, including two people from international aid agencies, and then executed them.

The Malian government rejected accusations that its troops were involved in the atrocities.

In a statement released on Friday, Mali’s government said,

“The government is surprised by allegations of abuses on the population attributed to armed forces following the events. The government rejects such accusations.”

The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, a coalition in the separatist movement, citing its sources on the ground in Tin-Hamma,

“The execution took place in public, at the town’s cattle market and the bodies were still exposed in the public square as of 1500GMT”

Tamil Guardian 22 May 2015
FARC withdraws from ceasefire following government air raids
FARC militants in Colombia officially withdrew from a unilateral ceasefire after government troops killed 26 of its militants.

An announcement made by the organisation on its website, blamed the Colombian government’s actions for its withdrawal from the ceasefire, reports Al-Jazeera.

The organisation, condemning the attacks, on Friday, said,

“The suspension of the unilateral ceasefire was not in our sights, the incoherence of Santos’ government has achieved it”

The militants further called on the Colombian government to re-declare a ceasefire to protect the negotiations that were taking place in Havana.

The FARC militants were killed in a bombing raid and ground combat by the Colombian armed forces in a FARC military stronghold.

Violence in the region escalated after FARC militants killed 11 government soldiers, in what they called a case of self-defence.

 

Tamil Guardian 21 May 2015
UN concerned with diversion of civilian humanitarian aid in Syria

The United Nations children’s fund (UNICEF) expressed concern at reports that emergency food and humanitarian aid was not reaching civilians in Syria due to theft by combatants.

Speaking to press on Thursday, UN spokesperson Farhan Haq, said,

“UNICEF is extremely concerned at reports that some of its humanitarian supplies in Syria have not reached their intended destination.” In a time when so many children in Syria are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, it is absolutely vital that aid reaches children and families in need and not get diverted.”

The Syrian National Coalition of rebels accused the Syrian army its allied fighters of stealing relief aid and distributing to their troops.

Tamil Guardian 21 May 2015
German court wants harsher punishment for Rwandan geoncide case

Germany's Federal Court of Justice said a Rwandan man already sentenced for being an accessory to genocide could face life in prison, after it ruled that he was also guilty of perpetrating genocide, Reuters reported.

Onesphore Rwabukombe, who has lived in Germany since 2002, was a mayor in north Rwanda at the time of the 1994 genocide, in which an estimated 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by dominant Hutu forces in 100 days.

He was jailed by a court in Frankfurt for 14 years, after the ethnic Hutu, was found guilty of overseeing and assisting the murder of at least 450 men, women and children at the Kiziguro church compound in east Rwanda, but not of killing anyone himself.

However Germay's highest court has now ruled that he did actively take part in killings.

Witnesses in the original case described him driving militia men to the site of the massacre in his own pick-up truck and ordering the attackers to "get to work".

"The statements do not only prove the objective offence of being an accessory to genocide but also those of perpetration," said the higher court.

Man sentenced in Germany’s first Rwandan genocide trial (18 February 2014)

Tamil Guardian 21 May 2015
US admits child deaths in Syrian air strikes

The US has admitted for the first time its air strikes in Syria caused civilian deaths, after reports that two children died in an air strike last year.

"We regret the unintentional loss of lives," said Lieutenant General James Terry, head of the US-led campaign.

The admission by the government came after an investigation into the incident was conducted by US military authorities, directed by Lt Gen Terry.

A statement on the investigation said the Pentagon conducted a "thorough assessment, review and validation process" and concluded the target buildings were being used exclusively for military purposes.

"The coalition continues to take all reasonable measures during the targeting process to mitigate risks to non-combatants and to comply with the principles of the Law of Armed Conflict," Lt Gen Terry said.

See more here.

Tamil Guardian 20 May 2015
Philippines promises refuge for asylum-seekers stranded on boats

In a statement on Tuesday the government of the Philippines has offered refuge to asylum-seekers stranded on boats in the Andaman Sea. Herminio Coloma, a spokesperson for the President said the Philippines would continue its tradition of extending “humanitarian assistance” to “ ‘boat people’” and “continue to do [their] share in saving lives under existing and long-standing mechanisms pursuant to our commitments under the [UN] convention.”

While the Philippines is a long way off from where many of the boats are currently stranded, it is thus far the only South-East Asian country to step forward and offer a possible haven for the asylum-seekers, many of whom have been stranded on boats for months. Joe Lowry, spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration said, “It is a hopeful sign. We hope the governments in the region would lift their game as well.” Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand have now turned back boats, adopting a strict policy on refusing entry to ships carrying asylum-seekers.

However, despite their governments’ policies, another group of 370 Rohingya and Bangladeshi asylum-seekers was rescued by a group of Indonesian fishermen today. This latest rescue included at least 50 women and children, who were reported to have been stranded at sea for weeks with no food or water.

Currently, ministers from Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia are attending emergency talks in Kuala Lumpur to address the crisis. Myanmar, which by most accounts is the largest source of the asylum-seekers in question, is not in attendance.

Tamil Guardian 20 May 2015
Deadly clashes in Eastern Ukraine

Fighting erupted between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday, killing four Ukrainian soldiers. Gennady Moskal, governor of the Luhansk region bordering Russia stated on his website that separatists initiated fire on government positions.

Technically, a ceasefire has been in place since February, however, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said last week that at least 83 Ukrainian servicemen had been killed since then. It is unknown how many casualties the separatists have suffered.

In an interview with the BBC on Tuesday, Poroshenko said, “this is not a fight with Russian-backed separatists, this is a real war with Russia.” He said that while he did not trust Vladimir Putin, he had to have faith in diplomacy.

Tamil Guardian 20 May 2015
North Korea cancels Ban-Ki Moon’s visit
North Korea has cancelled a planned visit by UN Secretary-General, Ban-Ki Moon a day before it was scheduled. Mr. Ban had planned to visit an industrial park in the Kaesong economic zone that is jointly run by South Korea and North Korea.

In comments at a forum in Seoul the secretary general said that no explanation was given and the move was “deeply regrettable”.

Mr. Ban, a former foreign minister for South Korea, would have been the first UN Chief to visit North Korea in 20 years. In his initial announcement of the meeting he stated he would use it to “urge North Korea to co-operate with the international community for the Korean Peninsula and for peace and stability".
Tamil Guardian 19 May 2015
US willing to consider rolling back 'pro-democracy' programmes in Cuba
A senior US official suggested that Washington could modify pro-democracy programmes in Cuba that had been objected by Havana, reports Reuters.

Speaking or press on Tuesday, the State Department official said,

“The democracy programs have changed over time, and they will continue to change over time to reflect a reality, whether that reality is on the ground in Cuba or in the United States. We always have to be cognisant of making sure that when we’re supporting the Cuban people, we’re doing it in a way that is the most effective.”

The comments came ahead of a fourth round of talks between the US and Cuba that is set to take place in Washington on Thursday. 

US approves ferry services to Cuba (06 May 2015)

Cuba welcomes US terror list decision (15 Apr 2015)

 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
Editorial Tamil Guardian 18 May 2015
Struggle for remembrance
Illustration by Keera Ratnam May 18 is etched deep into the conscience of the Tamil nation. [more]

Tamil Guardian 07 May 2015
The British Tamil ballot
With the United Kingdom approaching the 2015 general election this week, voters throughout the country will once again be carefully considering their choices at the polls. [more]

  Opinion
Tamil Guardian 18 May 2015
Chief Minister's statement delivered at May 18 remembrance event in Mullivaikkal
Chief Minister’s Statement relating to the death of our dear ones during the last stages of the war on this Anniversary date - 18.05.2015

Today is the day of remembrance of those relatives of ours who died during the last stages of the war. This day brought forth sad and grief stricken news about our people six years ago which wrenched the hearts of not only Sri Lankan Tamils but also those residing abroad. This day is thus a significant emotive day for us.

The Mullivaikal incident left indelible marks on the collective human conscience of our people. Human rights’ denied, [more]

TGView Tamil Guardian 13 May 2015
At home and abroad: accountability, reconciliation and Sinhala Buddhism

Sri Lanka announced recently that it would launch a domestic probe to investigate war time mass atrocities in time for the release of the UN mandated investigation due in September. [more]

Jared Genser Washington Post 10 May 2015
Preventing atrocities now — and in the future

Jared Genser is an associate of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University. This article was first published in the Washington Post on April 24, 2015. [more]


  Feature
Tamil Guardian 18 May 2015
Tamils remember May 2009 massacre amid surveillance by Sri Lankan intelligence officers
[more]

Tamil Guardian 18 May 2015
Revisiting May 2009 - Civilians walk into SL camps after thousands killed in night of shelling, surrendering LTTE leadership killed, Tamils blockade Westminster
Photograph: War without witness [more]

Tamil Guardian 07 May 2015
UK parliamentary candidates detail their views on the Tamil question
Final report of British parliamentary candidate responses to Tamil Guardian survey [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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