“To stay quiet is as political an act as speaking out.”
Arundhati Roy, Author and Activist
The plight of the silenced can only be alleviated when enough are listening. Those suffering in Sri Lanka are stifled from speaking. Please lend them your voice.
This section contains addresses of key policy makers and news agencies along with sample letters and useful guides.
This section contains a timeline depicting the historical background of the Sri Lankan conflict. Spanning from the pre-colonial era to present day events, the timeline allows the user to gain valuable insight into the causes of this conflict. (Launch Flash Timeline...)
Short documentary on Black July and links to other related videos. (view feature video...)
|Tamil Abductions: An SBS Dateline production on the recent abductions of Tamils in Sri Lanka.|
|Sivaram: Violence against Journalists (Part 2, Part 3): Film about the silencing of free speech through death and intimidation.|
|Shadow War: The emergence of 'paramilitaries' and their impact on the cease fire.|
Articles on the recent acts of persecution against the Tamil minority. (complete list of articles...)
|Touched by Tragedy: An Australian medical doctor teaching in the North East puts forth his first-hand view of the situation. pdf|
|I am not a Terrorist: The high price Tamils are forced to pay for basic human rights.|
|No Middle Way for Militant Monks: The role played by the Buddhist clergy in this conflict.|
A flash animation containing a series of observations depicting the events of July 1983 and its implications. Many of the quotes in this section are sourced from independent journalists and international witnesses.
There are several accounts of Tamils attributing their escape from death to their Sinhalese and Muslim neighbours. We are grateful to those who risked their own lives to allow Tamils to hide in their homes.
The 1983 anti-Tamil pogrom produced an exodus of Tamils who fled to all parts of the world. Our appreciation extends to countries, such as Australia, for welcoming them, and providing a safe home to live in.
We appreciate your thoughts, suggestions and queries. Please send us your feedback.
Articles related to the current plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka
We are grateful for our sources - a rare breed of unbiased reporters and journalists.
'Release' Shantha Fernando: Souced From BBC: Human rights activists have called upon the authorities to immediately release Christian Council Secretary Shantha Fernando who was arrested under anti-terrorism laws.
Sri Lanka says British aid destined for Tamil civilians could be cover for weapons: Sourced from The Guardian: Celebrities and politicians gather in London to publicise humanitarian voyage. Campaigners who have collected 400 tonnes of food and medical aid for the 150,000 Tamil civilians trapped by the fighting between the Sri Lankan army and the Tamil Tigers have reacted angrily to claims from Colombo that the aid mission could be a cover for supplying weapons to the rebels.
This is not a war on terror. It is a racist war on all Tamils: Sourced From The Guardian: A colossal humanitarian tragedy is under way in Sri Lanka, and the silence from India is shameful. The world must step in
Sri Lanka: No Let-Up in Army Shelling of Civilians: Sourced From The Sri Lankan army, despite government denials, is indiscriminately shelling the “no-fire zone” in northern Sri Lanka where thousands of civilians are trapped by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Human Rights Watch said today, citing new information from the region. More than 2,700 civilians have reportedly been killed over the last two months, and the number of casualties rises daily.
Sri Lankans face humanitarian crisis trapped in ‘no fire zone’, warns UN: Sourced From The Guardian: UN figures show there are more than 60 deaths a day due to army bombardment and more than 3,000 lives have been lost since the end of January. The doctor in charge of the makeshift hospitals in the No Fire Zone, T Sathiyamoorthy, told the Guardian that civilians were being “repeatedly shelled for no reason”.
Sri Lanka can no longer be ignored: Sourced from Christian Aid - UK:
Christian Aid say there is a danger the lack of credible information coming out of Sri Lanka, due to limited access for journalists and aid workers, will create international public apathy for the plight of the Sri Lanka’s trapped civilians.
Resentments in Sri Lanka Reflect Challenges to Peace: Sourced from The New York Times: The homeless Tamil refugees camped in shanties here provide a hint of the difficulties and divisions that lie ahead as the Sri Lankan government fights what it says is a final battle to end a 25-year separatist insurgency.
Immense surgical and mental health needs in Sri Lanka’s conflict area: Sourced from MSF: The camps are very crowded: there can be 600 people living in a large basketball court. They are surrounded by barbed wire and people are not allowed to leave or communicate with people from other camps. They are not allowed to receive visitors, and it is common for families to be split between several camps, with a man in one camp and his wife in another for example…Many people in the camps are experiencing acute mental health distress which, at present, is not being addressed. People have been very affected by the traumatic experiences they have been through, both in the Vanni and during their flight…In the camps, they have no jobs or schools. There is literally nothing for them to do except wait. They have lost all autonomy. Their lives are on hold with constant fear about the safety of their loved ones.
Sri Lanka fury at ‘aid coalition’: Sourced from BBC: The Sri Lankan government has attacked what it calls a “vicious coalition” of aid and humanitarian agencies for their actions over the country’s civil war.
Sri Lankan army ranks media freedom low priority: Sourced from The Australian: THE sign on the army spokesman’s wall rang the first alarm bells. Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara had pinned his statement of faith to a map used to brief journalists visiting Sri Lanka: “It’s the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press,” it began. It went on to say the soldier, not politicians, “ensures our right to Life, Freedom and the Pursuit of Happiness”.
Why Canada’s Tamils are upset: Sourced from National Post: The freedom we enjoy in Canada is precious to me. I state this at the outset, because I grew up in a country where freedom is a rare commodity, and the slaughter of innocents is common…I am ecstatic that this great nation has given me a rebirth. I am Canadian first; my loyalty is non-negotiable. Yet the constant suffering of the people and the families I left behind troubles me…While we debate about which protestors were waving which flags, lives are being lost…Regardless of how one feels about the Tamil Tigers, Canadians must speak up against Sri Lankan government savagery. It is the only position that is consistent with our own democratic ideals…For the sake of the Tamils still living in Sri Lanka, I hope that Canadians will spare them a thought, and force our government to raise its voice against an ongoing tragedy.
Civilian misery in northern Sri Lanka: Sourced from BBC: While war rages in north-eastern Sri Lanka, aid agencies say that the outside world is still largely ignorant of the miserable conditions endured by civilians caught up in fighting between the security forces and Tamil Tiger rebels.
UN document : 2,683 civilian killings this year in Sri Lanka: Sourced from Inner City Press
Sri Lanka rejects U.N. allegations on civilian deaths: Sourced From Reuters:
Sri Lanka’s government rejected on Saturday U.N. allegations that soldiers had killed more than 2,800 civilians as unsubstantiated and based on sources allied with the Tamil Tiger separatist rebels. Colombo’s angry reaction came after U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on Friday that both sides may have committed war crimes, and soldiers had shelled no-fire zones and areas packed with thousands of civilians.
Colombo’s Secret War on Terror: Sourced from Wall Street Journal: Far from healing racial tensions between the Tamil minority and Sinhalese majority populations, Mr. Rajapaksa has whipped up Sinhalese nationalism as part of his campaign against the Tigers. Credible accusations of human-rights abuses against the authorities suggest that after the war the same discrimination against Tamils that created the civil war in 1983 will persist.
Angilee Shah is a free-lance journalist based in Los Angeles. Reporting from Colombo, Singapore and Los Angeles for this story was made possible by a fellowship from the South Asian Journalists Association. This article was co-authored by a journalist who must remain anonymous for safety reasons.
The Age: Inclusion the way to real peace: Sourced From The Age: “…through much of 2006, when a small group of uniquely qualified Americans and a former Australian high commissioner quietly tried, working with the highest levels of the Sri Lankan Government, to build capacity for statesmanship and progress before peace talks with the LTTE scheduled for Geneva in October of that year. As it turned out, Sri Lanka’s leaders only pretended to listen, and so doomed a country and a people once so full of promise to more mindless death and destruction, the worst of which may yet be to come,” writes Howard Debenham, Australian high commissioner to Sri Lanka from 1992 to 1994.
Sri Lanka - Amnesty condemns ‘war without witnesses’ as journalists prevented from reporting the conflict: Sourced From Amnesty International: Amnesty International’s Sri Lanka researcher, Yolanda Foster, said: “Without a free media able to express alternative views and offer the opportunity for public scrutiny, abuses can flourish under a veil of secrecy and denial. ‘Sri Lanka’s climate of impunity for attacks on the media has made it impossible to get an accurate impartial picture of what is happening in the country. By threatening journalists with the risk of arrest, and failing to protect them from attack, the government is failing its citizens.’
War-weary Sri Lanka dares look to future: Sourced From Financial Times : “We call the soldiers an occupying army. They are not from this place and they don’t speak the language,” says a senior Tamil public figure in the nearby city of Batticaloa.
Sri Lankan conflict due to ‘repressive’ govts: Canada: Sourced From AFP : The 37-year conflict raging in Sri Lanka was borne out of “repressive” governments in Colombo, Canadian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said Thursday
Stop Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war: Sourced from The Guardian, UK: There are also reports that particularly lethal cluster-bombs, banned white phosphorous and multi-barrelled rocket launchers have been fired on the civilian population.…In many cases, the killings have been what independent observers would define as genocide, with whole communities killed in a form of ethnic cleansing.
Privacy Goes Public in Sri Lanka: Sourced from The Washington Post:For many women, the fear of checkpoints has been heightened by stories of rape and harassment at the hands of those supposedly trying to restore order...Padmini Ganesan, 65, a Tamil schoolteacher, said many Tamil women remember the 1996 case of Krishanthi Kumaraswamy, an 18-year-old student who...when she tried to cross a checkpoint in the northern city of Jaffna...was gang-raped and strangled by Sri Lankan soldiers and a police officer, according to published reports at the time..."Every Tamil remembers the Krishanthi case," Ganesan said. "For us, the checkpoints are sort of a slow-motion thing, the trauma and the fear that we go through.
Sri Lanka patients tell of shooting, shelling and trapped relatives: Sourced from Reuters : "Tamil Thebora, a one-year-old girl who was injured in northeastern Sri Lanka’s war zone, sits on a bed in the Lady Ridgeway hospital in Colombo, as he mother stands nearby, Feb. 25, 2009. Additional information on where the girl is from and how she was injured was blocked by a hospital official who said that all 15 children who came to this hospital from the war zone were injured because of Tamil Tiger rebel fire."
Sri Lanka's war zone - an insider's testimony: Sourced from The Telegraph UK: Peter Foster of the Telegraph, UK unveils a communication that he received from a veteran international aid worker, which exposes the true inconsideration of the Sri Lankan government and army towards the Tamil civilians.
“This attitude towards the UN and its humanitarian mission has very serious implications - not just for the suffering displaced people on the ground who need an effective aid-operation - but because it gives the world another reason not to take at face value the ‘good intentions’ of the Sri Lankan government… The fear...is that the final settlement will be so discriminatory and demanding of subservience from the Tamil minority that it will amount to a piece of ethnic suppression/cleansing in all but name…Not even in Kosovo in 1998 (before NATO came in) were the Serbs so disrespectful of international UN staff as is the Sri Lankan Army.”
Buddhist Supremacy: Sourced from The Buddhist Channel: An analysis comparing Buddhism and politics in Thailand to that in Sri Lanka by Doug Bandow [Vice President of Policy for Citizen Outreach, former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan and author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire].
“Thai monk Mettanando Bhikkhu warns his nation against following Sri Lanka, where Buddhist nationalists formed a political party, joined the governing coalition, and worked against peace negotiations with Tamil guerrillas…Although many forces are to blame for Sri Lanka’s descent into civil war, Buddhist nationalism has inflamed the conflict…Buddhism has a special place in Sri Lankan politics; officials pay fealty to Buddhist clerics after assuming power, and the military has incorporated Buddhist rituals into its ceremonies.”
U.S Senate inquest hears horrors facing Tamil Civilians in Sri Lanka: Sourced from Voice of America News: “We received several detailed accounts from people who stayed within the safe zone, and these accounts suggest that the shelling by Sri Lankan forces killed dozens if not hundreds of people inside there” - Anna Neistat, senior researcher for Human Rights Watch
“Many Tamils have been abducted and have simply disappeared. It is sad to say that it is almost a certainty that these attacks have been carried out by elements of the government. Impunity seems total. Nobody has been prosecuted for any of these incidents” - Jeffrey Lunstead, a former U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka
Genocide in Sri Lanka: Sourced from Boston Globe : THE BARRAGE of media reporting of the grim conflict in Sri Lanka has captured popular imagination, but has overlooked the grisly Sinhalese Buddhist genocide of innocent Hindu or Christian Tamil civilians by a US dual citizen and US green card holder. The two should be investigated and prosecuted in the United States.
Robert Evans MEP: Who can protect Tamil civilians caught in the conflict? Sourced From The Independent: Whilst the Sri Lankans claim that they are merely trying to eliminate terrorism, the real victims are, as ever, the civilians trapped by the fighting. All the evidence suggests that unless the international community acts very soon, about a quarter of a million people could be caught in a ghastly bloodbath. The Sri Lankan government has urged Tamil civilians to come over to their side for protection, but there is a strong reticence and fear of such a move.
Medecins Sans Frontieres Field News: “People arrive here in a state of extreme anxiety and fear…Young children and elderly travelling with their caretakers claim they were separated at a checkpoint. The caretakers or family members who were healthy were forced to go to camps, while those wounded and sick had to go to the hospital…Patients were told they would go to the hospital for a few days and then go back to the Vanni again. But later they heard they couldn’t go back…People regretted coming here, saying they would prefer dying with their family to being in a camp…Children at the hospital are unaccompanied. They scream and call out for their mothers. Elderly people are on their own.”
Sri Lankan government orders doctors out of conflict zone: Sourced from BBC: BBC Sinhala Service reports “The ministry of health has issued orders to doctors and other health staff to leave Mullaitivu district immediately“
Sri Lanka rejects British envoy: foreign minister: Sourced from AFP:
Sri Lanka on Thursday rejected the appointment of former defence minister Des Browne as a special envoy to the island, accusing London of interfering in its internal affairs.
Barbed wire villages raise fears of refugee concentration camps: Sourced from The UK Times: Sri Lanka was accused yesterday of planning concentration camps to hold 200,000 ethnic Tamil refugees from its northeastern conflict zone for up to three years — and seeking funding for the project from Britain...It also says that it will be compulsory for people fleeing the area to live in the camps until the army — which will guard them — has screened them, hunted down the Tigers and demined the area. The camps will be ringed with barbed wire fencing and, while those with relatives inside will be allowed to come and go after initial screening, young and/or single people will not be allowed to leave, it says.
Sri Lanka civilian attacks denied: Sourced from BBC: The Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels have both denied accusations of inflicting civilian casualties in the north-east.
BBC suspends Sri Lanka FM reports: Sourced from BBC The BBC World Service is to stop providing radio news to Sri Lanka's state broadcaster because of what it calls "deliberate interference".
Sri Lanka risks becoming next Zimbabwe, widow warns: Sourced from The Guardian UK Sri Lanka is on the road to a "Zimbabwe-style dictatorship or rule by a military junta like that of Burma" committed to snuffing out dissent, according to the widow of Lasantha Wickrematunga, the crusading Sri Lankan editor who was shot dead last month.
U.N. experts decry 'climate of fear' in Sri Lanka: Sourced from Reuters Sri Lanka's journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders are living in fear and need better protection from violence, United Nations investigators said on Monday.
12 Count Genocide Indictment Charges Filed Against Top Sri Lanka Officials: Sourced from Ein News: A 12-count indictment on charges for genocide was filed with Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice yesterday, against Sri Lanka's Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Sarath Fonseka. Bruce Fein, former deputy asst. attorney general during the Reagan Administration, filed the indictment yesterday under the U.S. Genocide Accountability Act of 2007 (GAA). Both are charged with command responsibility for genocidal deaths perpetrated by their subordinates in the Sri Lankan security forces.
Hundreds of protesters stone Red Cross offices in Colombo: Sourced from The UK Times: An angry mob stoned the offices of the Red Cross in Sri Lanka's capital today as the government accused it of sowing panic by ordering 35,000 body bags for civilians killed in the campaign against the Tamil Tiger rebels.
Sri Lanka rejects international call for ceasefire with Tamil Tigers: Sourced from The Guardian UK: Sri Lanka snubbed the international community's call for a ceasefire today, saying troops would not suspend their offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels despite reports of a growing civilian death toll.
Bombs close last hospital in Sri Lanka's war zone: Sourced from The Independant UK: Hundreds of thousands of civilians caught up in Sri Lanka's civil war have been left without a medical clinic after the last working hospital in the war zone was evacuated yesterday when it came under fire from artillery shells and cluster bombs.
The United Nations warned Friday of a food crisis in Sri Lanka's north: Sourced from The Guardian UK: Emilia Casella, a spokeswoman for the World Food Program, told reporters in Geneva that the entire population of Vanni is facing a food crisis. Some 250,000 people there are completely dependent on humanitarian aid, but WFP has not been able to get a supply convoy into the conflict zone since Jan. 16, she said. A convoy that was supposed to enter during a four-hour "humanitarian window" Thursday could not go because the agency did not receive the necessary clearance from government officials, she said. The earliest they would be able to send in another convoy is next Thursday, she said. "We don't have any more stocks to be distributed, and our staff are essentially hiding at the moment," Casella said. WFP has 16 staff members and 81 dependents in the Vanni area. Despite growing concerns over the fate of civilians, the government has rejected calls for a cease-fire to allow them to escape the fighting.
Patients killed in cluster bomb attack on Sri Lankan hospital:Sourced from Guardian, UK: Gordon Weiss, a spokesman for the UN, said the region's only remaining hospital in Puthukkudiyiruppu was evacuated early this morning after 16 hours of shelling that included a cluster bomb attack. A dozen patients were killed in the shelling, which both sides deny came from them, although reports suggest air strikes were used against the hospital. Only the Sri Lankan army has such capability.
Sri Lanka 'callous' over trapped civilians: rights body: Sourced from AFP: Sri Lanka's government is showing a "callous indifference" towards civilians trapped in fighting with Tamil Tiger rebels by refusing to guarantee their safety, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday. The New York-based watchdog said a statement by the Colombo government that it could not be responsible for the security of civilians outside designated safety zones was contrary to international law.
Humanitarian inaccess to Tamil areas of the North: Map (as of 28 Jan 2009): provided courtesy of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Sri Lanka shelling kills 52 civilians: Sourced from AAP: At least 52 civilians were killed in the past day's fighting between Tamil rebels and government forces in northern Sri Lanka, while cluster bombs struck the war zone's last functioning hospital on Wednesday, the UN said. UN spokesman Gordon Weiss told reporters that 52 civilians were killed and 80 wounded in fighting on Tuesday inside and outside a government-designated safe zone where it had pledged not to strike. It is the first time cluster bombs are reported to have been used since a Norwegian-brokered ceasefire broke down in 2006 and the government launched its offensive. It was not clear who launched the cluster bombs. Weiss said the hospital area was also hit over the past day by airstrikes, likely by the government's air force because the Tamil Tigers have no air capability left.
Top US Senators worried over Sri Lanka violence: Sourced from AFP: Kerry and Lugar said they were "deeply troubled" by the government's recent threats to expel aid agencies, diplomats and foreign journalists seen as supportive of Tamil rebels. Sri Lanka does not allow independent media free access to the island's conflict zone and to the camps housing those displaced civilians who have managed to flee the fighting. "Reporters have already experienced physical attacks and intimidation, including the latest brazen assassination of renowned journalist Lasantha Wickrematunga," Kerry and Lugar said.
Images show many dead, wounded in Sri Lanka war: Sourced from Associated Press: A mother and father lay on the floor, their two young children cradled between them. Floral pillows and other bedding were strewn about: They were apparently sleeping when an artillery shell hit their makeshift shelter in northern Sri Lanka, instantly killing them all.
Attacks on Sri Lanka hospital kill nine: Sourced from The Age:
Three artillery barrages have struck a hospital in Sri Lanka's chaotic war zone, slamming into its pediatrics ward and its women's wing and killing nine patients, the Red Cross says. Dr Thurairajah Varatharajah, the top government health official in the area, said the shells in at least two of the attacks on Sunday appeared to have been fired by the Sri Lankan army.
Sri Lankan official warns diplomats, CNN, BBC: Sourced from Associated Press:
Sri Lanka warned Western diplomats, foreign journalists and aid groups Sunday that they would be "chased" out of the country if they appear to favor the Tamil Tiger rebels. Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa singled out the ambassadors of Switzerland and Germany, and television networks CNN, BBC and Al-Jazeera in his criticism of foreigners, accusing them of being biased.
UN : Babies caught in Sri Lankan crossfire: Sourced from CNN: A "handful" of United Nations staff members are working around the clock to save a growing number of children caught in heavy crossfire between government forces and Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka's volatile northeast, a U.N. spokesman said Saturday. Children as young as 4 months old are being treated in local hospitals for shrapnel injuries and other "wounds of war," spokesman James Elder told CNN.
M.I.A. Goes to War: Sourced from The Daily Beast: Sri Lankan sensation M.I.A. has been nominated for both a Grammy and an Oscar this year, but she would rather talk about being labeled a terrorist in her own country. She sat down with The Daily Beast's Toure to talk about her hit single, "Paper Planes," why Kanye West might induce her into labor at the Grammy Awards, and how she "isn't trying to be like Bono."
Blood on many hands as Tamil Tigers' insurrection faces military defeat: Sourced from The Sydney Morning Herald: ...But you have to wonder what military victory will do to the Sinhalese, how they will treat their Tamil and Muslim minorities and whether they can move beyond the sinister political culture that's been implanted by the reaction to rebellion.
Sri Lanka rejects ceasefire calls: Sourced from Aljazeera: Sri Lanka has said there will be "no ceasefire" with Tamil Tiger fighters, despite growing international fears over the fate of 250,000 civilians trapped by the fighting. Mahinda Samarasinghe, Sri Lanka's human rights minister, rejected calls for a ceasefire on Friday, vowing to continue the military offensive against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Sri Lanka denies civilian crisis: Sourced from BBC: Sri Lanka's government has denied Red Cross and UN reports of a major humanitarian crisis in the north, where troops are fighting Tamil Tiger rebels.
UN: staff came under fire in Sri Lanka 'safe zone': Sourced from Associated Press:
Dozens of U.N. workers and their relatives spent a terrifying night huddling in hastily built bunkers as artillery fire pounded a civilian "safe zone" in Sri Lanka's war-wracked north, according to an internal U.N. memo. The memo, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, said the artillery shells killed nine civilians in a nearby bunker and were apparently fired by government forces.
Media freedom under threat in Sri Lanka: US sourced from AFP: According to official figures, nine journalists have been killed in the past three years, while 27 have been attacked. The government has promised investigations, but no one has been brought to justice.
Sri Lanka Presses Rebels, but at a Mounting Cost: Sourced from The New York Times: There have been at least 11 Sri Lankan aerial attacks on or near hospitals inside the rebel-held areas between Dec. 15 and Jan. 15, according to a United Nations official who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak with the media.
Sri Lanka troops allegedly kill 30 in 'safe zone': Sourced from Associated Press:The Sri Lankan military shelled a hospital and a village inside a government-declared "safe zone" for displaced families Thursday, killing at least 30 civilians, health officials said.
World Report on Sri Lanka: Sourced from HRW:
Sri Lanka: a voice cries freedom from beyond the grave: Sourced from The Telegraph: Lasantha Wickrematunge, 50, was stabbed and shot to death in broad daylight last Friday as he drove to work at The Sunday Leader, the liberal Colombo-based newspaper he edited...Just like all the other state-sanctioned killings in Sri Lanka, the promised investigation will be an unholy sham. His killers won't be caught and 'we'll never know', who did it.
Why the conflicts in Gaza and Sri Lanka will continue: Sourced from The Age:
The bases of insurgents may be destroyed, but their grievances demand real solutions. AS SRI Lankan Government soldiers occupied the Tamil Tigers' stronghold of Kilinochchi, Israeli soldiers began to enter Gaza. One case represents a separatist movement in perhaps the final throes of a failed struggle for independence; the other the administration of a territory about to be pushed from power.
BBC World Service and Sunday Leader newspaper censored: Sourced from Sunday Leader: "We are worried by the increase in direct and indirect censorship in Sri Lanka," Reporters Without Borders said. "Coming after a broadcast media bill reintroducing news censorship, the selective blocking of BBC and Sunday Leader reports is disturbing. The authorities must accept the free flow of news even when it contradicts what officials are saying and irritates certain politicians."
UN must focus on genocide prevention, group says: Sourced from International Heald Tribunal: On the group's "red alert" watch list of the countries of most concern for genocide are Sudan, Myanmar, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.
S Lanka's 'Somalia conditions': Sourced from BBC:A UN official in a rebel-held area of northern Sri Lanka has said that conditions for displaced people there are "as basic as in Somalia".
Plight of Sri Lanka's war widows: Sourced from BBC:Women's rights activists argue that widows are still suffering despite the government recapturing the east from the Tamil Tigers more than a year ago...Although the government has identified the problem, activists say it lacks the commitment to help these women to rebuild their lives.
Sri Lankan Army Is Pushing for End to 25-Year War Against the Tamil Rebels:
Sourced from NY Times: Despite pressure from its allies, the government has yet to present a serious proposal on how Sri Lanka, a polarized multiethnic country of 21 million people, will be governed. At the nub of the war is the question of political rights of the Tamil minority...Extortion, abductions and extrajudicial killings continue in government-held areas, and pro-government militias are usually blamed.
Sri Lanka's 'white van syndrome': Sourced from BBC:But in the pursuit of victory and in order to exert control over the recently captured east, the government has controversially turned to former Tamil Tigers who changed sides...It has now become a political party, and in an alliance with the government, was elected to head the Eastern Provincial council. Human rights groups have accused the TMVP of widespread human rights abuses, including abductions and extrajudicial killings.
Murder, abductions rise in 'liberated' Sri Lanka: rights group: Sourced from AFP:
COLOMBO (AFP) — A leading human rights group on Tuesday accused a pro-government militia in eastern Sri Lanka of being behind a worsening wave of killings and child abductions.(Read more...)
SRI LANKA: Plight of persecuted Tamils worsens: Sourced from News Weekly:
The silence of Western media and government has emboldened the majority Sinhalese to embark on a renewed campaign to dispossess and kill the Tamil people. Dr John Whitehall reports.
Sri Lanka says no to EU rights probe for trade deal:Sourced from Reuters:
Sri Lanka said on Monday it will not allow a European Union investigation into rights abuses before renewing a trade preference that has helped boost the Indian Ocean nation's garment industry. The European bloc has, since July, repeatedly warned it may not renew the
"GSP Plus" trade scheme after it expires in December because of continuing human rights abuses stemming from Sri Lanka's civil war with the separatist Tamil Tigers. "What the cabinet has decided is not to agree with investigations that are required by the EU to renew GSP Plus," Minister of Export Development and International Trade G.L. Peiris told reporters.
'Drop' in S Lanka press freedom: Souced from BBC:
"Sri Lanka is one of the world's most dangerous countries for
reporters...The country has become the first in the world to use
anti-terror legislation to punish reporters"
In pictures: Agony of Sri Lanka's displaced: Sourced from BBC: On 8 September 2008 the Government of Sri Lanka ordered all UN and international aid agencies to vacate the Tamil areas of the northern Sri Lanka and banned foreign aid into these areas. More than 200,000 Tamil civilians have been displaced in these region due to fighting and human rights groups fear a blood bath as the Government of Sri Lanka announced an aggressive military attack into the region. Furthermore, with no international witnesses to comment on ground realities, there is a serious threat of misinformation being publicised by the Government of Sri Lanka.
'Pain' of Sri Lanka aid pullout: Sourced from BBC: Fears of a humanitarian crisis are mounting in northern Sri Lanka as troops press ahead with an offensive to capture territory from Tamil rebels. A week ago the UN and other agencies pulled out of the area, where more than 200,000 people are displaced by fighting. Here one aid worker describes how hard it was to leave.
Sri Lanka orders aid agencies out of north: Sourced from ABC: "So this situation is likely to become a bloodbath in the next several weeks" - Paul O'Callaghan, Director of Australian Council for International Development.
Ban voices alarm at increased violence in northern Sri Lanka: Sourced from UN: [Sri Lanka] has requested that United Nations relief workers relocate from areas witnessing conflict. Mr. Ban "reminds all concerned of their responsibility to take active steps to ensure the safety and freedom of movement of civilians, allowing humanitarian organizations to do their work in safety, as well as to reach persons affected by the fighting who need humanitarian assistance."...In today's statement, Mr. Ban pointed to the need to follow international humanitarian law, particularly the principle of proportionality and the selection of military targets. "He emphasizes strongly the importance of a negotiated settlement to the political problems facing Sri Lanka."
A Genocide Inquiry? Sourced from Washington Times: Bosnia has its Radovan Karadzic, Sudan has its Omar Bashir and the United States could have its Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. He is a United States citizen serving as Sri Lanka's Sinhala Buddhist defense secretary who may be complicit in an ongoing genocide against Sri Lanka's Tamils.
S.Lanka's worsening human rights could hit economy - EU: by Shihar Aneez, Reuters. Sri Lanka's failure to address human rights concerns, including a "frightening" number of abductions, could cost the island nation a lucrative trade concession, the European Union said on Friday...Human rights groups have said around 150 people, most of them ethnic Tamils, were abducted in the first half of this year, most from the capital Colombo. (Read more...)
UN: Sri Lanka's Defeat a Victory for Human Rights Council: sourced from Human Rights Watch. UN member states enforced the standards they established for the new Human Rights Council by not re-electing Sri Lanka to the body today. Domestic and international human rights advocates who had opposed Sri Lanka's re-election to the council said the vote was a victory for human rights standards and for victims of abuse in Sri Lanka. (Read more...)
Nobel Prize Winners tell UN: Vote Sri Lanka off Human Rights Council: sourced from Human Rights Watch. Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize from three continents called on UN members to reject Sri Lanka's candidacy for the UN Human Rights Council, the NGO Coalition for an Effective Human Rights Council said today. Nobel laureates Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel of Argentina, and Jimmy Carter of the United States each published statements urging opposition to Sri Lanka because of its abusive human rights record. (Read more...)
Carter Center Press Release, 16 May 2008. The Carter Center calls on the General Assembly not to re-elect Sri Lanka to the Human Rights Council in the upcoming Council elections. Recently adopted reforms of the former Commission on Human Rights, including competitive elections, call for the conduct of a government to be a factor in whether it is selected for a seat on the Council. (Read more...)
No right to be there: by Desmond Tutu
"With a terrible record of torture and disappearance, Sri Lanka doesn't deserve a seat on the UN human rights council. It should be voted out," says the first black South African Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, in a comment that appeared on the daily Guardian, U.K., May 15th edition. (Read more...)
Human rights abuses in Sri Lanka flourish under veil of secrecy: by Amnesty International. On Press Freedom Day, Amnesty calls attention to the ongoing media repression occuring in Sri Lanka. (Read more...)
Call for the protection of Sri Lankan media workers: by Amnesty International. "At least 10 media workers have been unlawfully killed since the beginning of 2006. Another has allegedly disappeared in the custody of the security forces, while others have been tortured and arbitrarily detained under emergency regulations granting the government sweeping powers..." (Read more...)
Sri Lanka slams door on rights monitors after UN blow: AFP. "Sri Lanka's hawkish government on Thursday angrily ruled out allowing foreign monitoring... The war-torn country's foreign minister also blamed the diplomatic drubbing on what he alleged was an anti-government conspiracy by international rights groups in league with Tamil Tiger rebels...[and]said international NGOs "representing the LTTE carried out the campaign against us" and had "maybe bought votes" against Sri Lanka at the United Nations. (Read more...)
Tamils are forced out at gunpoint amid claims of ethnic cleansing: By Jeremy Page, The Times. The Sri Lankan Government was accused yesterday of ethnic cleansing after armed police stormed workers’ hostels in the capital, Colombo, during the night and forced hundreds of ethnic Tamils to leave town. (Read more...)
Misery and death stalk Sri Lanka's North: By Somini Songuta, The New York Times. The nights are broken again by artillery fire across the black lagoon. The road out of this peninsula has been closed since last August, making the area nearly inaccessible. Today, though food and fuel manage to arrive... (Read more...)
Disappearances in Sri Lanka - Human Rights Watch Report
"President Mahinda Rajapaksa, once a rights advocate, has now led his government to become one of the world's worst perpetrators of enforced disappearances. The end of the ceasefire means this crisis will continue until the government starts taking serious measures." - Elaine Pearson, Deputy Asia Director at Human Rights Watch. (Read more...)
Karuna Group Abducts Children for Combat: By the Human Rights Watch. With the complicity or willful blindness of the Sri Lankan government, the Karuna group has abducted and forcibly recruited hundreds of children in eastern Sri Lanka. (Read more...)
Missing bullet mystery over Sri Lanka's murders: By Jeremy Page, The Times. A single bullet could hold the key to last year’s murder of 17 Sri Lankan aid workers, which the government and Tamil Tiger rebels still blame on each other. (Read more...)
And then they came for me...: By a Sinhalese journalist, The Sunday Leader. Secular Sinhalese hung their heads in shame last week as government storm-troopers rounded up the Tamil citizenry of Colombo and herded them into buses, to be taken to God knows where. (Read more...)
Sri Lankan Tamils in fear amid Colombo crackdown: AFP. Every time 16-year-old Suresh Subramanium steps out of his home in Sri Lanka's heavily-guarded capital, his father says a silent prayer for his son's safe return. (Read more...)
Sri Lanka: The Endless War: By Simon Robinson, Time. Like her country, Sinnathambi Jeevatharsini is beauty torn. Just 9 years old, she has long black hair tied up in two loose knots on either side of her head, and a smile that explodes across her face, as if someone has switched on a spotlight. (Read more...)
Buddhist extremists attack Christian-run children's home in Sri Lanka: By Daniel Blake, Christian Today. Christian Solidarity Worldwide has reported of attacks by extremist Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka on a children's home in the country run by the Dutch Reformed Church. (Read more...)
Sri Lanka won't accept human rights monitors: By Bharatha Mallawarachi, Sydney Morning Herald (15/10/2007). SRI LANKA has rejected calls for a United Nations human rights monitoring mission to the island, as the UN's rights chief voiced concern over alleged widespread abuses. (Read more...)
Sri Lanka rights activists quit panel in protest over killings: AFP (15/10/2007). Four top Sri Lankan activists have quit a human rights panel in protest over the government's failure to stop extra-judicial killings, abductions and illegal arrests, one of them said. (Read more...)
Will the Human Rights Council pull Sri Lanka out of its state of lawlessness: AHRC (20/09/2007). The Asian Human Rights Commission reiterates that "Sri Lankan government is neither willing nor capable of seriously and competently investigating gross abuses of human rights." (Read more...)
Child recruitment continues as hostilities escalate in troubled island nation: UNICEF (27/04/2007). UNICEF press release stating that the Karuna faction is not acting in good faith with regards to ending child recruitment. (Read more...)
Amnesty International calls on UNHRC to address violations: Amnesty International (04/11/2007). Public statement by Amnesty International outlining the growing concerns over press freedom, protecting citizens and combating impunity. (Read more...)
Impunity for enforced disappearances in the Asia-Pacific region must end: Amnesty International (30/08/2007). Amnesty International has documented a worrying increase in enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka in recent months, with at least 21 people reportedly disappeared in August in Jaffna district alone. (Read more...)
Once seen as neutral, aid workers fight perceived bias: By Peter Apps (31/08/2007). In conflicts such as Iraq and Afghanistan, Western aid workers are at risk because of perceived alignment with coalition forces, while elsewhere in the world, from Ethiopia to Sri Lanka, governments accuse them of backing insurgents. (Read more...)
Damning report on disappearances and killings compiled: By Gihan Chikera. At least 547 civilians have been killed and 396 gone missing in government controlled areas in Sri Lanka this year, a report compiled by three leading Civil Society Organizations has revealed. (Read more...)
Sri Lanka's escalating war of words over aid security: By Peter Apps, Reuters (16/08/2007) Aid workers under threat in Government controlled areas. Sri Lankan officials blame aid agency for the massacre of it's employees. (Read more...)
UN Chief backs relief official against Sri Lanka: By Evelyn Leopold, Reuters (16/08/2007). A Sri Lankan Government official accuses U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs of being a 'terrorist'. (Read more...)
Holmes factually correct - UN: BBCSinhala (16/08/2007), UN Secretary General, Farhan Haq said that Sri Lanka in the year 2006 was placed second worst country in the world for humanitarian work. (Read more...)
Dangers to life posed by the collapse of the rule of law: AHRC (14/08/2007). Statement from the Asian Human Rights Council stating that Sri Lankan Government has failed one of its basic functions; to provide security for the people. (Read more...)
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