Saturday, 28 November 2015
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Tamil Guardian 28 November 2015
Russia announces suspension of visa-free regime with Turkey
Russia announced on Friday that it will suspend its visa-free regime with Turkey effective January 1, a continuation of retaliation for the downing of a Russian fighter jet by Turkish air forces earlier this week. 

Since Tuesday’s incident, Russia has already restricted tourist travel from Turkey, stranded Turkish trucks at the border, confiscated large quantities of Turkish food imports and started preparing a set of broader economic sanctions.

Turkey for its part refuses to apologize for the plane incident. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Russia should apologize for violating Turkish airspace, with Turkish military saying that the Russian jet had been in Turkish airspace for 17 seconds before it was shot. However, Erdogan has made attempts unsuccessfully to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the incident.

Russian Foreign Minisiter Sergei Lavrov said that Putin was unwilling to speak to Erdogan at the moment because “we have seen that the Turkish side hasn’t been ready to offer an elementary apology over the plane incident.”

It is reported that Erdogan plans to try and speak with Putin at the climate summit in Paris next week but also has been quoted saying during a speech in Bayburt, Turkey, “It is playing with fire to go as far as mistreating our citizens who have gone to Russia.” “We really attach a lot of importance to our relations with Russia…We don’t want these relations to suffer harm in any way.”
Tamil Guardian 27 November 2015
Burundi is at risk of genocide warns US Special Envoy
The US Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa warned that Burundi is at risk of genocide thought it was “not yet present reality”, amidst ongoing unrest in the country.

In an interview, Thomas Perriello said that the crime of genocide is a risk, stating, “We have seen very dangerous signals from senior government officials about what makes this conflict more ethnic in nature”.

“But its also for the government and others to note that genocide is not the only serious international crime,” he added. “There is torture or extrajudicial killing that is still a serious crime. So we certainly continue to track ethnic language but also look at additional crimes.”

Mr Perriello said the recently announced sanctions “are the latest in a series of steps by the United States, the European Union, the African Union and the United Nations to ensure consequences for... repressive acts”.

“We want to get the peace process started so the people of Burundi have the chance for peace and for an open democratic society that they so clearly desire and there will consequences for those who push in a different direction,” he added.

See his full interview here.
Tamil Guardian 25 November 2015
Russian MPs submit bill to criminalise Armenian genocide denial

The Russian opposition party has submitted a bill in parliament that will criminalise the denial of the Armenian genocide, carried out by the Ottoman Empire over a century ago.

"We have just submitted a bill on responsibility for failure to acknowledge the fact of a genocide of Armenians by Turkey in 1915," said the leader of Russia's opposition A Just Russia party, Sergei Mironov.

Those who deny that the killings constituted genocide can face a fine of up to $7,500

The move is likely to inflame tensions with Turkey, who deny that it was a genocide, the day after the Turkish air force shot down a Russian jet near the Syrian border.

Tamil Guardian 25 November 2015
US sanctions business entities helping Syrian government trade
The US sanctioned a Syrian businessman who it accused of facilitating oil sails between the Islamic State and Syrian government, reports Reuters.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the US treasury Department said  that three other individuals, including a Russian Bank had also been sanctioned for providing support to the Syrian government and its supporting businesses.

George Haswani, who was accused as being the middleman for Islamic State and Syrian oil deals had already been sanctioned by the European Union in March.

Responding to the sanctions, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabokov, criticising the sanctions on Russian businessmen, called on the US to stop playing “geo-political games.”
Tamil Guardian 25 November 2015
Refugees at Greece-Macedonia commence hunger strike

A group of Iranian refugees at the border between Greece and Macedonia have sewn their lips shut, going on a hunger strike to protest controversial new immigration policies enacted by several Balkan governments. The new measures passed first by Slovenia, but quickly adopted by Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia, block access to any asylum-seekers that cannot prove citizenship from Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq, classifying asylum-seekers from all other countries as “economic migrants.”

A spokesperson for the refugee advocacy group, Are You Syrious, told Al Jazeera on Tuesday, “[a]t this moment the worst situation is at the Idomeni border crossing in Greece, where at least 2,000 Iranians, Moroccans and other nationals are stranded after the border was closed for everyone except Syrian, Afghan and Iraqi refugees.”

Rados Djurovic, director of the Belgrade-based Asylum Protection Centre, told the Independent, “[t]o classify a whole nation as economic migrants is not a principle recognized in international law.” (link:)

As of mid-November, Human Rights Watch has reported that an unprecedented 800,000 asylum-seekers had reached Italy and Greece, with many of them attempting to continue their journeys to safety through the Balkans.

Tamil Guardian 25 November 2015
US airstrike against MSF hospital due to 'avoidable human error'
An investigation into the United States air strike against a MSF (Doctors Without Borders) hospital in Afghanistan last month found the incident was due to "avoidable human error".

Addressing journalists in Washington on Wednesday, the senior US General John Campbell reiterated the "US forces would never intentionally (strike) a hospital."

"The report determined that the US strike upon the MSF trauma centre in Kunduz city, Afghanistan, was a direct result of human error, compounded by systems and procedural failures," General Campbell said.

"US forces directly involved in this incident did not know the target compound was the MSF trauma centre. The medical facility was mis-identified as a target," he added.


Tamil Guardian 24 November 2015
US urges Russia to focus attacks on Islamic State
US President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande called on Russia to focus its attacks in Syria on Islamic State militants following the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey’s air force.

Noting that the United States did not have enough information yet to form conclusions on the incident, the US president said future situations could be avoided if Russia stopped attacking “moderate” Syrian rebels battling the Assad regime.

Speaking after a meeting with the French President, Mr Obama said,

“This points to a ongoing problem with the Russian operations in the sense that they are operating very close to a Turkish border and they are going after moderate opposition that are supported not only by Turkey but a wide range of countries.

Calling on Russia to direct its energy towards Islamic State forces, he added “some of those conflicts and potential mistakes or escalation are less likely to occur.”

Earlier today, NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg offered support for Ankara and rejected that the incident happened outside of Turkey's borders, reports Reuters.
Tamil Guardian 24 November 2015
United Nations Special Rapporteur calls Paris attacks a crime against humanity

United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights denounced the attacks in Paris earlier this month, stating that they “may constitute a crime against humanity”.

 “These attacks may constitute a crime against humanity and certainly one which viciously and deliberately targeted sites of arts and leisure where people come together to enjoy their cultural rights,” said Karima Bennoune in apress release last week. 

She added that civil society around the world must “unite in exposing and opposing the fundamentalist ideology motivating such atrocities, as many have done in Muslim majority countries for years, and to support those resisting such fundamentalist assaults on cultural life on the frontlines from West Africa to South Asia and beyond”.

“I would like to emphasize the global equality of victims and the unavoidably international nature of the struggle against those who seek to deliberately kill civilians and culture itself, and above all to divide the human family,” she concluded. 


Tamil Guardian 24 November 2015
EU backs Western Sahara’s ‘right to self-determination’

The European Union reiterated its support for a "just, lasting and mutually political solution, which will allow the people of Western Sahara to exercise their right to self-determination".

The High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said the EU "follows closely the human rights situation in Morocco", and added "the EU will take no action that may undermine” the efforts of UN chief Ban Ki-Moon in the region.

See more from here.



Tamil Guardian 24 November 2015
Turkish forces shoot down Russian aircraft in Syria

Turkey's forces shot down a Russian Su-24 plane by the border with Syria on Tuesday.

Turkey, which is a NATO member, stated the plane entered its air space. This has been denied by Moscow.


Tamil Guardian 07 October 2015
Inescapable truth
The adoption of a UNHRC consensus resolution on the UN report into Sri Lanka’s atrocities (OISL) has been welcomed by many as the first step in a long process to move Sri Lanka towards an era of justice and reconciliation through genuine accountability, [more]

Tamil Guardian 21 September 2015
Road To Reckoning

The release of the long awaited OHCHR investigation into Sri Lanka (OISL) report last week is a monumental moment for the victims of mass atrocities on the island and all those who continue to work towards seeing justice served. [more]

PEARL Tamil Guardian 22 November 2015
UN Confirmation of Sri Lanka Torture Camp Raises More Questions - PEARL
The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UN WGEID) confirmed Wednesday what Tamils in Sri Lanka have known for many years: the Sri Lankan state runs secret detention camps in which it holds and tortures Tamil detainees. [more]

Taylor Dibbert The Diplomat 20 November 2015
Samantha Power Must Recalibrate Washington’s Sri Lanka Rhetoric
Samantha Power, America’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), is in India and Sri Lanka from November 18 – 23. In India, she’s set to meet human rights activists, members of civil society and senior government officials. [more]

Taylor Dibbert Tamil Guardian 15 November 2015
Monitoring of Sri Lanka critical to discern government's commitment to healing war wounds - Taylor Dibbert
Continuous monitoring of Sri Lanka's transitional justice plan is vital in discerning how committed the new government is to the commitments made at the United Nations Human Rights Council , warns Taylor Dibbert in the Huffington Post. [more]

Tamil Guardian 26 November 2015
'Have we not lost enough lives for our rights?' - Jaffna Uni protests in tribute to student who committed suicide

Tamil Guardian 22 November 2015
US Ambassador Samantha Power visits Jaffna

Tamil Guardian 18 November 2015
UN confirms existence of secret torture camps in Sri Lanka, calls on gov to reveal other possible locations
Location of a secret torture camp in Trincomalee - International Truth and Justice Project Sri Lanka report [more]

  Culture & Community
Tamil Guardian 27 November 2015
Canadian Tamil youth commemorate Maaveerar Naal


On November 25th the Tamil Youth Organization (TYO) Canada, in partnership with the Tamil Students' Associations (TSAs) from several universities, [more]

Tamil Guardian 24 November 2015
Tamil students commemorate Maaveerar Naal in London
Photograph: Tamil Guardian Tamil students across the UK convened at University College London (UCL) to commemorate the Tamil nation’s day of remembrance Maaveerar Naal. ##### The event, [more]

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]

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