Wednesday, 04 March 2015
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Tamil Guardian 04 March 2015
UN Security Council moves closer to imposing sanctions on South Sudan

The UN Security Council voted unanimously in favour of a resolution establishing a sanctions regime on warring factions in South Sudan, ahead of a deadline for the sides to reach a peace deal later this week.

The resolution voted in on Tuesday, stopped short of travel bans, asset freezes and preventing the purchase of more weapons, but threatens to punish those who interfere with the ongoing peace process.

All 15 UN Security Council members voted in favour of the resolution after it was proposed by the United States. US Ambassador Samantha Power said that "those who frustrate peace must begin to pay the price," adding the council was "sending a very clear signal to those who continue to choose war over peace - you will be held to account now as we urge you to compromise to reach an agreement and later when you are considering whether to follow through on its terms".

[more]

Tamil Guardian 03 March 2015
Iraqi army offensive to recapture Tikrit continues

The Iraqi army and Shi'ite militiamen have been engaged in fierce battles with Islamic State (IS) fighters in Tikrit, as they attempted to recapture the Iraqi city.

Whilst US airstrikes have not been reported to have been deployed, the Iraqi air force conducted several strikes since the offensive was launched on Sunday.

Reuters reported that Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani was at the battlefront. The commander had been assisting to co-ordinate Iraqi counter-offensives against IS, but Moeen al-Kadhimi, a leader of the Shi’ite militia known as the Popular Mobilisation force, told the BBC that the role he was playing was minimal.

“We receive our orders and instructions from the Iraqi military leadership, but we make use of the advice of the foreign advisers," said Mr Kadhimi.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 03 March 2015
Afghanistan must prosecute officials guilty of human rights abuses, says HRW

Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Afghanistan to hold officials and commanders guilty of human rights abuses accountable, in a report detailing police, intelligence, and militia forces' responsibility for rights violations.

In a report entitled, “‘Today We Shall All Die’: Afghanistan’s Strongmen and the Legacy of Impunity”, HRW said there was long standing impunity for rights abuses committed by figures connected to the Afghan government.

Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at HRW, said,

“The previous Afghan government and the United States enabled powerful and abusive individuals and their forces to commit atrocities for too long without being held to account.”


[more]

Tamil Guardian 03 March 2015
Israeli Prime Minister warns against Iran deal in speech to US Congress

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that a deal with Iran over a nuclear programme would see Iran "pave its way to the bomb", in a controversial speech to the United States Congress.

Mr Netanyahu said a deal would Iran would “inevitably lead to a nuclear armed Iran whose unbridled aggression will inevitably lead to a nuclear war”, adding that "Iran's regime is as radical as ever, the ideology is deeply rooted in militant Islam... it will always be an enemy of US".

The speech was criticised by US President Barack Obama who said that Mr Netanyahu had offered “nothing new” to progress towards containing Iran’s nuclear programme.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 02 March 2015
Countries must give impact to recommendations of Human Rights Council - Zeid Ra'ad al Hussain

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al Hussain stressed that international human rights law cannot be "trifled with or circumvented, but must be fully observed", at the opening of the 28th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

"Our discussions during this session will only be of some worth if every State represented here will take the recommendations of the Council, its Universal Periodic Review, and its expert mechanisms out of this room, and give them real impact where it matters – in your countries," he said in his first address since taking over from Navanetham Pillay last year.

Mr Hussain pointed out human rights are disregarded, and violated regularly by some states, who claim exceptional circumstances, picking and choosing between which rights to protect.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 02 March 2015
US warns Russia over Ukraine

US Secretary of State John Kerry said he warned Russia that it would face further sanctions if the conditions of the truce agreed in Ukraine last month were not met.

Speaking at the opening session of the Human Rights Council, Mr Kerry said the pro-Russian forces had a "piece-meal" approach to the ceasefire agreement, accusing them of only withdrawing heavy weapons from the front line in some areas.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in his address to the Council, said there had been "tangible process" with the ceasefire.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 02 March 2015
North Korea fires missiles as annual US-South Korea exercises get underway

The North Korea regime has fired two missiles as the annual US-South Korea drills began earlier today.

Officials in Seoul said two short-range missiles were fired into the ocean east of Korea, assumed to be in reaction to the joint drills.

While both the US and South Korea describe the drills as defensive, Pyongyang says they are a rehearsal for an invasion.

"If North Korea takes provocative actions, our military will react firmly and strongly so North Korea will regret it in its bones," Defence Minister Kim Min-seok said according to Reuters.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 01 March 2015
Former Peruvian minister accused of murder of journalist

A retired army general and former Peruvian minister has been accused of murdering a journalist 26 years ago and could be facing a fail term, according to a prosecutor.

Daniel Urresti, a former army general, widely tipped as a possible presidential candidate, is accused of orchestrating the murder of Hugo Bustios, a journalist who had been investigating human rights abuses, during the country’s conflict involving leftist militant organisation Shining Path.

Two former soldiers were convicted of his murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison. One of them accused Mr Urresti of being involved in the killing.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 01 March 2015
ICJ calls on Nepal to uphold no amnesty for war crimes

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) called on the Nepalese government to uphold a Supreme Court decision rejecting the possibility of amnesty for suspected perpetrators of war crimes and other human rights abuses.

“Nepal’s Supreme Court has once again firmly reasserted the right of the victims of human rights violations to seek justice,” said Sam Zarifi, ICJ’s Asia Director. “This bold and principled decision should finally end the cynical attempts by politicians from all Nepal’s major parties, as well as the military, to legislate impunity and shield themselves from accountability.”

The decision on Thursday by Nepal’s top court said two bodies set up to investigate abuses committed during the country’s civil conflict could not grant amnesty, overturning the power to do so after a mass petition by 234 victims.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 01 March 2015
Venezuela to restrict US diplomats

The Venezuelan government announced it will limit the number of US diplomats in the country.

President Nicolas Maduro said he wants a review and reduction of diplomatic staff and said some US politicians would be banned from entering Venezuela.

The president said he was forced to take these measures as the US government was meddling in the country and had 100 employees working in Venezuela, while only 17 Venezuelan officials were working in the US.

A list of banned politicians would include former president George W Bush, and Dick Cheney.

Mr Maduro said they had violated human rights and encouraged terrorism, particularly in Iraq and Syria.
Earlier this month the US imposed visa restrictions on unnamed Venezuelan officials it accused of human rights violations and corruption.

 
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
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]

Kumaravadivel Guruparan Tamil Guardian 14 January 2015
'Why Sirisena’s Victory is Not a Victory for Sri Lanka’s Tamils'
Despite Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena's surprise election victory, there is little to suggest change in government policy towards the island's indigenous Tamil and Muslim communities, [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 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]

Tamil Guardian 01 February 2015
Tamil teachers felicitated at ceremony in London

The Tamil Education Development Council held its annual awards ceremony last Sunday, celebrating the contribution of 250 teachers at Tamil schools in the UK. [more]



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