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Tamil Guardian 25 May 2016
US selling warplanes to Nigeria would be a ‘mistake’ - NYT

Selling the Nigerian government warplanes would be a “mistake” said a New York Times editorial this week, as the West African country looks to purchase 12 jets from the USA.

Though current Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is “an improvement” over his predecessor, “he has not done enough to end corruption and respond to charges that the army has committed war crimes in its fight against the group,” said the editorial. “Selling him the planes now would be a mistake.”

It went on to note that the US State Department’s latest annual human rights report stated Nigerian security forces are alleged to have engaged in extrajudicial killings, torture and rape. Last month Amnesty International to call for an investigation into reports that Nigeria's military secretly buried more than 300 Shia Muslims in a mass grave.

The editorial also quoted Tim Rieser, aide to US Senator who wrote legislature banning US aid from reaching militaries accused of abuses as stating, “We don’t have confidence in the Nigerians’ ability to use them in a manner that complies with the laws of war and doesn’t end up disproportionately harming civilians, nor in the capability of the U.S. government to monitor their use”.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 24 May 2016
Britain to investigate cluster bomb usage in Yemen says defence secretary

Britain is investigating reports that cluster munitions have been used by a Saudi-led coalition in its on-going campaign against Houthi militants in Yemen, reports Reuters.

The British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond announced the formal investigation in parliament on Tuesday after Amnesty international on Monday said that it had documented Saudi use of cluster bombs in Yemen that had been manufactured in Britain in the 1970s.

Speaking in parliament, Mr Hammond said,

“The MoD is now urgently investigating the allegations that have been made.”

The British defence secretary added that Britain has ratified an international treaty prohibiting the use of cluster bombs and made it illegal to use or supply such bombs under British law.

 

Tamil Guardian 24 May 2016
‘Taliban should join reconciliation process’ – Obama

US President Barack Obama called on the Taliban to join the Afghan government “in a reconciliation process that leads to lasting peace and stability,” as he confirmed the death of leader Akhtar Mohammad Mansur in a drone strike on Saturday.

“Today marks an important milestone in our longstanding effort to bring peace and prosperity to Afghanistan,” said Mr Obama. “Mansur rejected efforts by the Afghan government to seriously engage in peace talks and end the violence that has taken the lives of countless innocent Afghan men, women and children.

“The Taliban should seize the opportunity to pursue the only real path for ending this long conflict - joining the Afghan government in a reconciliation process that leads to lasting peace and stability,” he added.

The strike, which took place inside Pakistan-controlled Balochistan, “sent a clear message to all those who target our people and our partners,” said the US president. “You will have no safe haven.”

[more]

Tamil Guardian 24 May 2016
Obama lifts arms embargo on Vietnam

US President Barack Obama has lifted a 50 year old arms embargo on Vietnam, in an announcement made at a joint press conference with the Vietnamese President in Hanoi on Monday, amid criticism from human rights groups.

Making the announcement, Mr Obama said the weapons sales will be made on a case-by-case basis and “will need to still meet strict requirements, including those on human rights, but this change ensures Vietnam has access to equipment it needs to defend itself”.

"Hearts can change and peace is possible," he added.

Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang hailed the move, stating it would bring an end to a “painful chapter” between the two countries.

Stating that the relationship between the two countries has “reached a new moment”, Mr Obama also denied that the decision was made due to any geopolitical concerns regarding China.

"The decision to lift the ban was not based on China or any other considerations. It was based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving towards normalization with Vietnam," he said.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 24 May 2016
Suspected Rwandan war criminal faces deportation from Canada
A former Rwandan soldier faces deportation from Canada, over allegations that he committed war crimes more than 20 years ago.

Canadian authorities carried out a pre-removal risk assessment on Henri Jean-Claude Seyoboka, which recommended he be deported to Rwanda and face trial for possible war crimes. A federal judge has upheld the assessment and denied a review.

"It is now time for him to face his past actions, and let justice run its course," said Federal Court Judge Danièle Tremblay-Lamer.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 23 May 2016
Myanmar asks for 'space' to address Rohingya issue
Myanmar's de-facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi asked for the country to be given "enough space" to deal with the Rohingya issue.

Speaking after a meeting with the US Secretary of State John Kerry, Ms Suu Kyi was quoted by the BBC as saying, "all that we are asking is that people should be aware of the difficulties we are facing and to give us enough space to solve all our problems."

Describing the term Rohingya as "emotive", last week Ms Suu Kyi had asked the new US ambassador to Myanmar to not use the term.

Mr Kerry's visit on Sunday came as Buddhist monks took to the street to protest against the use of the word "Rohingya".

“I want to tell John Kerry to review their policy of terminology. The term 'Rohingya' is not good for Myanmar,” a Buddhist monk and one of the protest organisers told Anadolu Agency. See here for more.
Tamil Guardian 23 May 2016
Taliban leader targeted in US drone strikes

Afghanistan's spy agency claimed that the leader of the Taliban Mullah Akhtar Mansour has been killed in a US drone strike in Baluchistan on Saturday.

The strike, which took place in Pakistani territory near the Afghanistan border, was carried out without the permission of the Pakistani authorities who were only told about the strike after it had taken place, reported an anonymous source to the New York Times.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry denounced the strike in the statement, calling it a violation of sovereignty.

Meanwhile US Secretary of State John Kerry said the Taliban leader had posed "a continuing, imminent threat to US personnel" since he took control of the organisation’s leadership last year. “We have long said that Mansour posed an imminent threat to us and to Afghan civilians,” he said. “This action sends a clear message to the world that we will continue to work with our Afghan partners.”

The strike signals a shift in policy from the US, after months of reported attempts to peace talks between the two sides.

It is also the first US strike in Balochistan, an area that Pakistan has refused to allow the US to attack in recent years.

Tamil Guardian 23 May 2016
Rwanda calls for more prosecutions for genocide, after Swedish conviction

Prosecutors in Rwanda called on governments across Europe to ensure genocide fugitives are prosecuted, following the successful conviction of a suspect for genocide in Sweden earlier this month.

Augustin Nkusi, spokesperson for the national prosecution body in Rwanda, praised the ruling but warned that genocide suspects still roam free across Europe.

“Twenty-two years down the road, it should be made clear to genocide suspects that they cannot escape justice forever,” he said. “We still have many genocide suspects in Europe roaming freely even with warrants for their arrest.”

[more]

Tamil Guardian 21 May 2016
Obama signs executive order on atrocity prevention

US President Barack Obama on May 18 signed an executive order to detect and prevent mass atrocities.

Mr Obama said the prevention of atrocities is a "core national security interest of the United States."

However some human rights groups expressed disappointment at the limitations of the order.

Tom Andrews, a former Democratic congressman who now heads United to End Genocide, said the Atrocities Prevention Board should have been made permanent years ago — and given significant authority to direct sanctions, USA Today reported.

"They talked about it happening in six months, and it’s been years," he said. "It doesn’t appear — at least from that — that preventing atrocities has been a significant priority of the administration. It’s good that it happened, but it’s very late."

See more here.

Tamil Guardian 21 May 2016
China warns Taiwan against pursuing independence
China warned the Taiwan's new president on Friday against pursuing independence.

Tsai Ing-wen, of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (CPP), won a landslide victory and was sworn in on Friday as Taiwan's first female president.

In her inaugral address, Ms Tsai urged Beijing to “set aside the baggage of history and engage in positive dialogue for the benefit of the people on both sides.”

Following her inauguration, China's Taiwan Affairs Office on Friday said in a statement:

"Today, our resolve to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity has not changed; our ability has strengthened. We will resolutely oppose any form of moves and plots towards Taiwanese independence and separatism."


[more]

 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
Editorial Tamil Guardian 18 May 2016
Enduring resistance
Seven years after the armed conflict ended in May 2009 and the height of Tamil genocide by the Sri Lankan state, Tamils this year mark May 18th with the weight of a UN report behind them. [more]

Tamil Guardian 19 April 2016
Accountability is imperative for peace
Editorial [more]

  Opinion
Tamil Guardian 24 May 2016
‘Human rights issues in North-East not settled’ - Penang Deputy Chief Minister
Human rights issues in the Tamil North-East have not yet been settled and the Sri Lankan government is yet to prosecute members of the armed forces responsible for war crimes, said P Ramasamy, the Deputy Chief Minister of Penang. [more]

Tamil Guardian 18 May 2016
‘An absence of transition in Sri Lanka’ – Kate Cronin-Furman
The failure to acknowledge crimes committed in Sri Lanka “is a continuing injury” to victims, writes human rights lawyer Kate Cronin-Furman in the Washington Post. [more]

Taylor Dibbert The Diplomat 17 April 2016
Sri Lanka's National Security Fearmongers
Sri Lankan police have recently uncovered ammunition, a suicide vest, and explosives in Chavakachcheri, a town in the country’s north. It’s widely (and realistically) believed that this is an old arms cache. [more]


  Feature
Tamil Guardian 22 May 2016
May 18th commemorated by Tamils worldwide
On Wednesday, May 18th, Tamils across the world marked the 7th year anniversary of the end of the armed conflict, which saw tens of thousands of Tamils massacred as Sri Lankan state forces drew in. [more]

Tamil Guardian 18 May 2016
Tamils mourn 7 years after 2009
Updated 22 May 2016 11:00 GMT  NPC Councillor T Ravikaran pays his respects at the Nandikadal Lagoon

Marking the massacre of tens of thousands of Tamils at the end of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka in May 2009, [more]

Tamil Guardian 14 May 2016
Danish parliament hosts conference on accountability for Sri Lanka's mass atrocities
A conference on international humanitarian and human rights law violations in Sri Lanka was held in the Danish Parliament this week. [more]


  Culture & Community
Tamil Guardian 22 May 2016
A poet's fearless death

Puthuvai Ratnathurai is an Eelam Tamil Revoluntary Poet. He was in charge of the Tamil Eelam Arts and Cultural Guild.  Mr Rathnathuai was last seen in the custody of the Sri Lankan military on 18 May 2009 in Mullivaikkal and to date his fate is not known.  He has written hundreds of poems. Here we publish just one such poem, [more]

Tamil Guardian 24 April 2016
American Tamils raise awareness of breast cancer in community
The Tennessee Tamil Sangam held an event last month to raise awareness of breast cancer and highlight the importance of early detection. [more]

Tamil Guardian 16 April 2016
London Tamil Market showcases very best of British Tamil business success
The two day exhibition held on 9th and 10th April 2016 included over 150 Tamil businesses and saw thousands of visitors coming through its doors. [more]



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