Saturday, 28 March 2015
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Tamil Guardian 27 March 2015
Boko Haram head quarters retaken by Nigerian army

Nigeria’s army announced it has recaptured the town of Gwoza, thought to be the headquarters of Boko Haram.

The group have suffered a serious of setbacks in recent months and have lost a large amount of the territory it held since Nigeria's neighbours, Cameroon, Chad and Niger sent troops to help it earlier this year.

"These successful operations have culminated in the dislodgment of terrorists from towns and communities in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states," military spokesperson Chris Olukolade said.

A lot of arms and ammunition were recovered and "a massive cordon and search has commenced to locate any of the fleeing terrorists or hostages in their custody", he added.

Tamil Guardian 26 March 2015
Global asylum claims in industrialized countries rise 45% in 2014
In their annual report on asylum claims in 44 industrialized countries released today, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) found that the number of asylum claims globally rose by 45% from 2013 to 2014.

There were approximately 866,000 asylum claims filed in 2014 - the second highest figure since the early 1980s when the UNHCR started systemically collecting statistics.

The report explains the overall increase as the result of, “[a] combination of armed conflict, deterioration of security or humanitarian situation and human rights concerns in a number of countries – notably the Syrian Arab Republic.” Syria went from being ranked 20th as a source of asylum-seekers in 2010, to 1st in 2013 and 2014.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 26 March 2015
Chadian policemen sentenced to life for torture

Seven former policemen in Chad have been sentenced to life imprisonment for torture, in the first trial of former president Hissene Habre's accomplices.

Under Mr Habre's rule from 1982 to 1990 thousands of people are thought to have been killed and tortured. He is currently being held in Senegal awaiting a war crimes trial.

The men policemen sentenced include Mahamat Djibrine, described by investigators as one of the "most feared torturers in Chad", and Saleh Younouss, a former senior official in Mr Habre's notorious Directorate of Documentation and Security Directorate (DDS).

"Finally, finally, the men who brutalised us and then laughed in our faces for decades have got their comeuppance," Clement Abaifouta, an ex-political prisoner who now heads an association for Habre's victims, is quoted by Reuters.

Tamil Guardian 26 March 2015
Saudi Arabia leads air strikes against Houthi rebels as President Hadi flees

The Saudi air force has led air attacks on Houthi rebels in Yemen, as Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi left the country and arrived in Riyadh.

Iran has described the air strikes as "dangerous", while Saudi Arabia said it was "defending the legitimate government" of President Hadi.

Reports say at least 13 civilians died in air strikes in the capital Sanaa.

On Wednesday, the Saudi ambassador to the US, Adel al-Jubair, announced the beginning of the air strikes.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 26 March 2015
OHCHR highlights 'obligation to prosecute' after investigations into disappeared persons
The Chief of Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination of the OHCHR highlighted the obligation to persecute violations of international humanitarian law at an event presenting the ‘Good practice guide for the use of forensic genetics in investigations into human rights and international humanitarian law violations’ at the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday.

Panellists at the event included the Permanent Representative of Argentina (H.E. Ambassador Alberto D’Alotto), the Deputy Head of Operations of ICRC (Christophe Martin), the Chief of Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination of the OHCHR (Mona Rishmawi), along with several experts on forensic genetics involved in the drafting process.

In her presentation Ms Rishmawi made clear that states have an obligation under international human rights law and international humanitarian law to investigate gross violations of human rights, of which enforced disappearances is one. She said that this obligation to investigate was “very closely tied” to the “obligation to prosecute” and “the right to truth” and that the right to truth included the right to know what happened to the person, the circumstances under which the disappearance occurred, the gross violations of rights, the status of progress made, results of identification processes, and the identity of perpetrators.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 25 March 2015
Human Rights Watch launches 'Votes Count' website monitoring countries’ voting record at Human Rights Council
Human Rights Watch launched a new website, ‘Votes Count’ to monitor and make available countries’ voting records on issues concerning international human rights violations.

The website looks at the voting record of countries in the Human Rights Council (those that have been members since 2012) and also provides an analysis of their contribution to addressing human rights violations on the ground and in particular countries.

Julie de Rivero, the Geneva director at Human Right Watch said in a press release announcing the project,
“In the past, governments have been shielded by the distance between Geneva and their capitals, and the belief that few observers monitor the positions they take” and that ‘Votes Count’, “gives citizens and journalists access to monitor and act on their governments’ performance.”
Human Rights Watch noted that the project was being launched ahead of a few closely watched resolutions, including an investigation into mass atrocities in Sri Lanka.

See the full press release here.
Tamil Guardian 25 March 2015
US supports Iraqi controlled forces and militia with airstrikes
A US led coalition of warplanes launched their first airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq, in collaboration with Iraqi forces working with Iran backed militia on the ground, reports Reuters.

The decision to support the campaign to take Tikrit back forms the biggest collaboration between Iraqi forces, militia and the US in the fight against Islamic state militants to date.

A senior US commander, General James Terry said the strikes by the US Led coalition were intended to aid, “Iraqi forces under Iraqi command.”
Tamil Guardian 24 March 2015
US slows military withdrawal from Afghanistan
US President Barack Obama on Tuesday approved requests by the Afghan government to slow down the removal of US troops from Afghanisatan, reports Reuters.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Barack Obama said,

“It was my assessment as commander in chief that it made sense for us to provide a few extra months for us to be able to help on things like logistics.”

Ghani expressed gratitude to the US military that died fighting the Taliban, adding that they “must not die in vain” and “leave a behind a legacy of a stable Afghanistan.”
Tamil Guardian 24 March 2015
India overturns controversial social media expression law

The Indian Supreme Court has overruled a controversial law which enabled the prosecution of people for comments on social media networks.

The Supreme Court decided section 66A of the Information Technology Act was unconstitutional.

"Section 66A is unconstitutional and we have no hesitation in striking it down," news agency AFP quoted Justice RF Nariman as saying in court.

"The public's right to know is directly affected by section 66A," he said.

The law was challenged after two women were arrested for posting and liking a comment on Facebook, criticising the response of Hindu fundamentalist politician Raj Thackeray.

See more on the BBC here.

Tamil Guardian 24 March 2015
Canada to extend air strikes against ISIS to Syria

The Canadian government has announced it will extend its airstrikes against ISIS into Syrian territory.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canada would not seek "express consent" of the Syrian regime.

"Instead, we will work closely with our American and other allies, who have already been carrying out such operations against ISIL over Syria in recent months."

"The government recognises that ISIL's power base, indeed the so-called caliphate's capital, is in Syria," Mr Harper said in the House of Commons.
[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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