Note 1:

The riots of 1915 erupted between Sinhalese Buddhists and a Muslim community, called Coast Moors, recently arrived in Ceylon from India and primarily engaged in trade and money lending….
Kearney, R. N.: The 1915 riots in Ceylon – a symposium; Introduction. Journal of Asian Studies, Feb.1970, vol.29, no.2, pp.219-222.

"…From a communal clash up-country, disorders spread into six of Ceylon’s nine provinces, causing the deaths of 140 people, the arrests of 8736, imprisonment of 4497 and at a cost of Rupees 7,000,000. British-Ceylonese relations were severely impaired and Sinhalese nationalism suddenly came of age. It happened, but why?….
Muslims had been in Ceylon since the eighth century, a composite group of Arabs, Persians and Muslimized Indians who came to be known as Ceylon Moors. The most recent arrivals, Indian Moors from Cochin and Malabar coast labeled ‘Coast Moors’, earned an undesirable reputation among Sinhalese while the older order of Ceylon Moors lived at peace among the Sinhalese, even attaining the status of headmen in some Kandyan villages. The charges against the Coast Moors were that they were unscrupulous, alien (some compared them to Jews; others, in 1915, to Germans), and they loaned money at usurious rates. De Souza notes that before the 1915 riots, Sinhalese had boycotted Coast Moormen’s boutiques (general merchandise shops and food counters) as a warning to them to desist from attempting to seduce Sinhalese girls. He also noted that the buying public of Ceylon blamed the Coast Moors for creating artificial increases in the prices of necessities…."
Blackton, C. S.: The action phase of the 1915 riots. Journal of Asian Studies, Feb.1970, vol.29, no.2, pp.235-254.


Note 2:

There is a strong Marxist showing in the first parliament. Fearing a left-wing take-over, the Government decides to nullify their presence in the parliament by cutting off their main support base: the poor. In the Citizenship Act of 1948, the Tamils of Indian Decent (mainly plantation workers) are disenfranchised of their citizenship and stripped of their voting rights.

The arbitrary disenfranchisement serves not only to cut down the political power of the left leaning parties, but also cut down voting power of the Tamils. The Indian Tamils made up 13% of the total population. The Indigenous Tamils made up another 20%. At the time of independence, the minority as a whole had 33% of the parliamentary vote. After the introduction of the Citizenship Act, that was reduced to 20%. The Sinhalese had more than the 2/3 majority at every parliament, effectively cutting off any say that the Tamils could have on any policies that would affect them.

Note 3:

The Official Language Act of 1956 was passed and specified that all Government and official communication should be conducted in Sinhalese. This was against the constitution of Sri Lanka which explicitly protected the minorities from being disadvantaged on the basis of language and religion.

“The Bandaranaike government had directed that unless a Tamil public servant passed a proficiency test in Sinhala in stages over three years, his annual increment would be suspended and he would eventually be dismissed.”
- Walter Schwarz: Tamils of Sri Lanka - Minority Rights Group Report 1983

Members of the Federal Party, primarily Tamil Parliamentarians and around 300 Tamil volunteers, took up Satyagraha (silent protest), exercising their undoubted constitutional right, protesting against the imposition of the Sinhala Only Bill. However, protesters were set upon by Sinhalese rioters, incited by the Buddhist clergy and nationalist organisations. The violence soon spread throughout Colombo and Tamils found walking on the streets or traveling on buses and trains were grabbed and assaulted. Around 150 people, including women and children, were killed during the race riots of 1956.

All this occurred with the tacit approval of the police and army that had surrounded the area. Not a single action was taken against the perpetrators. The Tamils learnt that day that they could not rely on their own government to protect their rights to speak out. It was the first indication that the protection of the Law did not extend to them.


Note 4:

Men, woman and children were massacred and hacked or burnt alive. It began as a Government instigated attack on the Workers Trade Union Federation but turned towards Tamils. The “58 riots” displaced thousands of Tamils.

Trains were derailed by armed thugs and prominent Tamils delegates, traveling to a Federal Party convention were taken out and massacred. Over the next few days the violence spread to many parts of the North Central and eastern provinces. Bands of Sinhalese armed with guns and swords attacked Tamil villages and set fire to houses.

"The outbreak of violence began when a train, presumed to be carrying Tamil delegates to the meetings, was derailed and its passengers beaten up by ruffians. The next day Sinhalese laborers set fire to Tamil shops and homes in nearby villages... Arson and beatings spread rapidly to Colombo. Gangs roamed the districts where Tamils lived, ransacking and setting fire to homes and cars and looting shops. Individual Tamils were attacked, humiliated and beaten. Many were subjected to torture and some killed outright..."
- Prof. Howard Wriggins; 'Ceylon-Dilemmas of a New Nation'; Princeton University Press.

"On the night of May 25 (1958)... almost simultaneously, on the government farms at Polonnaruwa and Hingurakgoda, the thugs struck remorselessly. The Tamil labourers in the Polonnaruwa sugar cane plantation fled when they saw the enemy approaching and hid in sugar cane bushes. The goondas wasted no time. They set the sugar cane alight and flushed out the Tamils. As they came out screaming, men, women and children were cut down with home made swords , grass cutting knives and katties or pulped under heavy clubs."
- Tarzie Vittachi; Emergency 58; Andre Deutch, London, 1958.

Nearly a hundred Tamils were believed to have been slaughtered in Polonnaruwa that night. There were accounts of rioters ripping open the belly of a woman eight months pregnant leaving her to bleed to death. Many victims were forced to watch their sisters or wives or daughters assaulted before they too were killed along with the rest of their families.

On May 26, the rioting spread to Colombo and the city suburbs. Planned, organised rioting was particularly evident in Colombo. In order to avoid identification rioters were transported to and fro from one part of the city to another in trucks, with gang leaders flitting about in cars overseeing the operations. Tamil-owned buildings had been marked out in chalk beforehand. They were all eventually looted or set on fire.

Tamil home destroyed by
Sinhalese mobs (1958)

A Tamil home burnt by
Sinhalese mobs (1958)

three3.jpg (52230 bytes)
A Hindu Temple attacked
by Sinhala mobs in Colombo (1958)


Note 5:

"...Nothing aroused deeper despair among Tamils than the feeling that they are being systematically squeezed out of higher education. They have complained particularly of the system of 'standardisation' in force after 1972, in which marks obtained by candidates for university admission are weighted by giving advantage to certain linguistic groups and/or certain districts..."
- Walter Schwarz: Tamils of Sri Lanka - Minority Rights Group Report, 1983

"The Government should re examine its policies on university admissions with a view to basing admission on merit rather than on racial grounds…Tamil and Sinhalese young people alike will then have equal rights to university education on the basis of capacity rather than on race. One of the major points of tension among many Tamil youth has been the implicit racial quota under present university admission policies which has barred many competent youths from pursuing higher education."
- Virginia Leary: Ethnic Conflict and Violence in Sri Lanka - Report of a Mission to Sri Lanka on behalf of the International Commission of Jurists, July/August 1981

Srimavo introduces a new constitution, with which the minority protection clause 29 in the 1948 constitution, that provided protection to all minorities against discrimination disappears.

She cuts off negotiations with the Tamil political leader Chelvanayakam. The Language Act came into effect in 1961 and the Tamil leadership responded by calling for non-violent agitation. The peaceful protesters were again targeted by government troops and were attacked with rifle butts, belts and clubs.  Jaffna came under virtual army occupation. All communication links from the rest of the world were cut off. The postal, telegraphic and telephone services were suspended along with buses and trains. Soldiers ran rampage by looting stores, and killing civilians under the pretence of enforcing a curfew.

Students killed by army in Jaffna

Civilians injured in an attack by policemen


Note 6:

State violence was not just limited to attacks against Tamils but also against revolutionary parties. In 1971 a rebellion by JVP, a militant Guevarist organisation, was suppressed in the most ruthless fashion with almost 15 000 killed. There were widespread reports of rape and torture by the armed troops during the crisis.


Note 7:

The Tamil youth movements had abandoned the legal course of action, reasoning that if every law since independence had been targeted at subjugating the Tamils, why should the Tamils then obey those laws? Increased attacks against the police and political figures resulted in even greater restrictions and further anti-Tamil riots.


Note 8:

The most significant aspect of the 1977 election was that the TULF, with their platform for a separate state had won 18 seats gaining the position of the opposition party in Parliament. They had won all seats in the North and East of Sri Lanka. Effectively this meant that the Tamils of Sri Lanka had voted for separation.

The elections in 1977 also brought on another episode of anti-Tamil riots in which over 300 people were killed. Tamil owned property was destroyed on a grand scale, displacing over 40,000 Tamils who became permanent refugees fleeing to the North.

'The murders (of Tamils) are said to have been committed by police either acting without orders or with the connivance of the police'
- Sir John Foster Q. C., David Astor, Robert Birley, Louis Blom-Cooper, James Fawcett, Dingle Foot & Michael Scott; The London Times, 20 September 1977.

I heard the A.S.P. (Asst. Superintendent of Police) shouting 'shoot them like dogs. It is either they or we'...
- M.R. Joseph, witness at the Sansoni Commission, (Sessional Paper No. VII-1980; p 97)

"A tragedy is taking place in Sri Lanka; the political conflict following upon recent elections, is turning into a racial massacre. It is estimated by reliable sources that between 250 and 300 Tamils have lost their lives."
- Sir John Foster, David Astor, Robert Birley, Louis Blom-Cooper, James Fawcett, Dingle Foot, Michael Scott; London Times, 20 September 1977

Two Tamils murdered and thrown in a ditch (1979)


Note 9:

'If any state could virtually declare war against a section of its own people, and do it unashamedly, it happened in Sri Lanka this year. Imagine a rowdy band of reserve policemen being brought all the way from the south to the Tamil capital city of Jaffna, and in the unusual presence in the city of two Cabinet Ministers, setting fire to the biggest cultural possession of the Tamils - the Public Library housing 95,000 volumes, some of them rare manuscripts...'
- Prof. Virginia A Leary; Ethnic Conflict and Violence in Sri Lanka; Report of a Mission to Sri Lanka on behalf of the International Commission of Jurists (July-August 1981)

Burnt out Jaffna Public Library

"... It is clear that the subsequent violence in July and August which was directed against Sri Lanka Tamils in the east and south of the country and the Indian Tamil tea estate workers in the central region, was not random. It was stimulated, and in some cases organized, by members of the ruling UNP, among them intimates of the President."
- The Observer, London, 20 September 1981

Jaffna Business District
Bombed Out by Sri Lankan Army

SIX.ht3.jpg (28317 bytes)
Our Lady of Refuge Church Shelled
by Sri Lanka Army


Note 10:

The Sri Lankan Government justified that this was a spontaneous backlash by the Sinhalese people to the killing of thirteen Sinhalese soldiers in the north by Tamil guerrillas (LTTE -Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam,) fighting for an independent state Tamil Eelam comprising the North and Eastern parts of the Island.

"Clearly this was not a spontaneous upsurge of communal hatred among the Sinhala people - nor was it as has been suggested in some quarters, a popular response to the killing of 13 soldiers... It was a series of deliberate acts, executed in accordance with a concerted plan, conceived and organised well in advance."
- Paul Sieghart; 'Sri Lanka: A mounting tragedy of errors'; International Commission of Jurists Report, March 1984

Tamil owned properties were looted and burned down by organised Sinhala mobs. Youths were stripped naked and taunted by mobs, drenched in petrol then set alight. Sri Lankan Troops and police either encouraged or joined the rioters. It was the beginning of what the Tigers call the First Eelam War, a full-blown civil war. 

An estimated 100 000 Tamils in Colombo alone and over 175 000 elsewhere were rendered homeless.

''Foreign aid for the relief of Tamils is failing to reach the refugee camps where it was needed. Instead foreign aid and essential medical supplies are being stored in government depots. The government stores are full but the food is not being distributed.''
- London Observer, 7 August 1983

The accounts of the violence that had occurred during Black July are too numerous and harrowing to be recounted here. The rioters had managed to identify these properties using voter enrolment lists provided by government officials.

There are accounts of families being burnt alive together as they attempted to flee in their cars, of a mini-bus filled with people being torched as hundreds of onlookers watched on, of fathers being butchered and axed in front of their wives and children, of youth being stripped naked in the streets and taunted by Sinhalese mobs and then being drenched in petrol and set alight.

There were reports of army trucks being used as battering rams to get through locked gates and of organised transportation of rioters from other parts of Lanka into Colombo using military facilities.

Eye witness accounts and excerpts from form articles that appeared following the anti-Tamil pogrom:
''Eye witnesses and victims reported that on the streets cars were stopped by gangs and the people inside were asked whether they were Sinhalese or Tamil. Some Sinhalese words are extremely difficult for people who do not speak the language fluently to pronounce, people were tested by being made to pronounce these words. The mobs were also demanding to see identity cards to establish whether or not people were Tamils... People identified as Tamils as a result of the questioning were told to get out of their cars and their cars were set alight... In cases where any resistance was offered, killings were likely to take place... It was reported by many people that in some instances students from Buddhist schools followed on behind the first rioters and that some Buddhist monks were seen amongst the gangs''
- Patricia Hyndman, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of New South Wales and Secretary, Lawasia Human Rights Standing Committee Report -Democracy in Peril, June 1985

“Others were cut down with knifes and axes. Mobs of Sinhala youth rampaged through the streets, ransacking homes, shops and offices, looting them and setting them ablaze, as they sought out members of the Tamil ethnic minority... A Sri Lankan friend told me by telephone last night how he had watched horrified earlier in the day as a mob attacked a Tamil cyclist riding near Colombo's eye hospital, a few hundred yards from the home of Junius Jayawardene, the nations 76 year old President. The cyclist was hauled from his bike, drenched with petrol and set alight. As he ran screaming down the street, the mob set on him again and hacked him down with jungle knifes.."
- London Daily Telegraph, 26 July 1983

''The shells of (Tamil owned) businesses line Galle Road, the main waterfront thoroughfare advertising the names that marked them for destruction. Lakshmi Mahal, pawbroker, or Ram Gram stores and florist.. Damage estimates are uncertain and incomplete, but the total economic loss has been placed at $300 million.''
- New York Times, August 1983

''All over the city by mid-morning lorries jammed with young men shouting anti Tamil slogans, were moving into Tamil areas and into shopping centres picking out Tamil shops... Petrol was siphoned from cars into buckets and plastic bowls to speed the work of arson.. By noon Colombo resembled a city after a bombing raid. Smoke obscured the sun, main roads were blocked by burnt out vehicles.. The rioting surged into the heart of the city. In area after area Sinhalese rioters systematically picked out Tamil homes and shops, whether occupied or empty, and looted and destroyed them...''
- Guardian, 26 July 1983

''A tourist told yesterday how she watched in horror as a Sinhala mob deliberately burned alive a bus load of Tamils... Mrs.Eli Skarstein, back home in Stavanger, Norway, told how she and her 15 year old daughter, Kristin, witnessed one massacre. 'A mini bus full of Tamils were forced to stop in front of us in Colombo' she said. A Sinhalese mob poured petrol over the bus and set it on fire. They blocked the car door and prevented the Tamils from leaving the vehicle. 'Hundreds of spectators watched as about 20 Tamils were burned to death'. Mrs. Skarstein added: 'We can't believe the official casualty figures. Hundreds may be thousands must have been killed already."
- London Daily Express, 29th August 1983

''Considerably more people died during the recent violence in Sri Lanka than the 380 deaths the government there has admitted to according to an aid organisation. Dr.Sjef Teuns, General Secretary of Novib, the leading private development aid organisation in the Netherlands… accused the Sri Lanka government of serious human rights violations against the Tamil population and called the Dutch government to reconsider its development aid policy towards the country.''
- London Times, 22 August 1983

'Official estimates are just under 400 killed. These estimates are conservative. Unofficial estimates are as high as 1500 to 2000. It is probable that many bodies were not at first discovered because they were burned in houses. Also some bodies were hidden and buried privately by people who were frightened by the prospect of further reprisals should the bodies be discovered, or scared to attract attention to themselves by reporting the deaths. At the date of our departure from Sri Lanka, September 1st, there were many people still missing or not accounted for.''
- Patricia Hyndman, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of New South Wales and Secretary, Lawasia Human Rights Standing Committee Report -Democracy in Peril, June 1985

"Tamil owned businesses account for between 50 and 60 percent of the commercial life of the capital and they have been destroyed - scientifically extracted from among their neighbours and burned."
The London Times, 2 August 1983

''A most distressing aspect of the vandalism was the burning and the destruction of the houses and dispensaries of eminent Tamil doctors - some with over a quarter of a century of service in Sinhala areas...''
- Eye witness account, Sri Lanka: Racism and the Authoritarian State - Race and Class, Volume XXVI, A.Sivanandan and Hazel Waters, Institute of Race Relations

"Smoke from hundreds of shops, offices, warehouses and homes blew idly over Colombo yesterday. Any business, any house belonging to or occupied by a Tamil has been attacked by gangs of goondas and the resulting destruction looks like London after a heavy night's attention from the Luftwaffe. The sharp smell of destruction fills the nostrils and the roads beneath the feet crunch with broken glass. Cars and lorries lie at ungainly angles across the footways. In Pettah, the old commercial heart of the city, row after row of sari boutiques, electronic dealers, rice sellers, car parts stores, lie shattered and scarred... government officials yesterday estimated that 20,000 businesses had been attacked in the city."
- The Guardian, 28 July 1983

''About 100 industrial plants were severly damaged or destroyed, including 20 garment factories. The cost of industrial reconstruction was estimated at 2,000 million rupees (£55 million). This did not include damaged shops.''
- The Guardian, 9 August 1983

"I am not worried about the opinion of the Jaffna people... now we cannot think of them, not about their lives or their opinion... the more you put pressure in the north, the happier the Sinhala people will be here... Really if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy."
- President J.R.Jayawardene, Daily Telegraph, July 1983


Note 11:

St Peters Church and St Peters school in Navaly are bombed. The death toll eventually rises to 120 Tamils (including 13 infants) are found dead.

"Thirteen babies were among the 65 dead found under the rubble of a Catholic church bombed by the Sri Lankan air force, an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) official said on Tuesday. ICRC field coordinator Dominique Henry said…the military, which said it was not aware of any church being bombed, had dropped leaflets warning civilians in the rebel-held peninsula to seek refuge in temples and churches to minimise the chance of death or injury in air strikes… "This is really a violation of humanitarian law if a civilian area has been deliberately targeted,'' Henry said, adding that he had no information on whether the attack was deliberate or an accident.
- Reuter 11 July 1995

President Kumaratunga covers up Navali massacre:
'The ICRC says all kinds of things." she [President Kumaratunga] said.
- Reuter, 4 August, 1995

"After hundreds of civilians heed the Sri Lankan army's advice to seek refuge in St.Peter's church at Navali, an airforce plane bombs the building killing more than 120 people... Operation Leap Forward began at dawn on July 9 and the military warned civilians to clear the south west of its base at Palaly, recommending churches and temples as shelters. At 4.30 p.m. an Argentine made Pucara fighter flew toward the Navali church, 3 km outside the combat zone, and bombed the sanctuary and adjacent courtyard…Most…were women and children, many of whom were killed immediately. Others had limbs blown off. Survivors were brought by tractor to the town of Jaffna 6 km away, but the Jaffna Teaching Hospital and its lone surgeon weren't prepared. They soon ran out of bandages, antibiotics and beds. "The treatment was crude", said Subramaniam Jebanesan, the Protestant Bishop of Jaffna, who rushed to the hospital to help. "Limbs that could have been saved had to be amputated".
- Time Magazine 31 July 1995


Note 12:

The graves were revealed by a soldier sentenced to death by a court in Colombo for the (rape and) and murder of a teenage Tamil school girl - "We didn't kill anyone. We only buried bodies. We can show you where 300 to 400 bodies have been buried," Cpl. Dewage Somaratne told the Court July 3.

He has said prepared to identify the graves of Tamil youths who allegedly disappeared in Jaffna when government troops took control of the peninsula after driving out the LTTE from their stronghold.

To date, no thorough investigation has taken place.


Note 13:

April – Continual aerial bombing and shelling by the government against the Tamil and Muslim Tamil civilians of Trincomalee starts a new upsurge of displacement

Mr. Vigneswaran, President of Tricomalee District Tamil’s People’s Forum and leading campaigner for peace and rights of the oppressed Tamils, is assassinated between two military checkpoints.

4 May - 7 Tamil students are killed by an attack launched by the government.

“Tamil people are gripped with fear and insecurity due to the alarming escalation in killings and abductions in the North East, including Jaffna, and in the South. People are scared of a major war exploding at any time. I appeal to the International Community to urgently intervene to pressure the parties involved to reduce the threat of war. In particular, the warring parties should be pressured to implement the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) as agreed by both parties in Geneva".
Reverend Thomas Soundaranayagam, Bishop of Jaffna, May 2006

14 May – 8 Tamil civilians are killed by the Sri Lankan Navy in Allaipiddy. Observations by the Norway led Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission (SLMM) implicate the Sri Lankan Army.

"We have very strong indications that at least part of the government troops have been involved in these killings."
- Jouni Suninen, Finnish ex-army officer and head of monitors' northern Vavuniya office, 11 May 2006, Reuters

8 June – A family of four, including two children aged 7 and 9 are found to be murdered by Sri Lanka Navy. The 27 year old mother was raped, and the 7 year old son was disemboweled before being killed. The father was a carpenter and it is believed that his tools were used to torture the victims.

A mass grave is excavated in Kopay Tharavai. A similar one was found in 1996, in close by Chemmani. 

Amnesty International reported on 9 June 2006 on 8 Tamil men who disappeared a month before. Villagers blame the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.

Amnesty International, the Nordic Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission (SLMM) and Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development have expressed concern over the evidence against the Sri Lankan Armed Forces’ involvement in Tamil civilian killings.

4 August – State security forces kill 17 civilian aid workers of French aid agency, Action Contre La Faim (Action Against Hunger). All except one are Tamil. They were allegedly killed execution-style. These murders are the worst serious crime against humanitarian aid workers since the 2003 bomb attack on the UN compound in Baghdad.

International truce monitors are “convinced that there cannot be any other armed group than the [Sri Lankan] security forces who could actually have been behind the act” and ruled it “as a gross violation of the CFA [ceasefire accord] by the security forces of Sri Lanka”.

The Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission (SLMM) further noted “very strong indications of the involvement of the security forces in the act despite their denial”, and could not “find the reasons for the restrictions of movements into the said areas…thereby strongly indicating the GoSL’s [Government of Sri Lanka’s] eagerness to conceal the matter from the SLMM”.

The GoSL and its security forces have also been found guilty of other Tamil civilian deaths including the murder of infants and women, bombing and opening fire into churches - “shooting indiscriminately [in a church]…where hundreds of Tamils were taking shelter…killing five people and wounding dozens” (The Age, 19/06/2006).

International truce monitors find that the Sri Lankan Army conducted “deliberate, planned and co-ordinated offensive military operations”, and despite “international human rights…[and] humanitarian laws…the vast majority of attacks have been directed or resulted in death and serious injuries to civilians”, and “convinced that there can be no other than GoSL security forces or other armed elements with the support and assistance from the GoSL security forces…[who can] bear responsibility for killing and injuring LTTE cadres and civilians caught in [these attacks]” and ruled that this was a “gross violation of the CFA by the GoSL”.

14 August – Sri Lanka Air Force bombed an orphanage killing 61 Tamil school girls and 15 Tamil civilians. The government denied an attack on the orphanage, saying they had targeted an LTTE training facility. However, after visiting the site in LTTE controlled district of Mullaitivu, UNICEF found no evidence to support military claims that dozens of children killed in a Sri Lankan air force bombing were Tamil Tiger cadres.

"These were children from surrounding schools in the area who were brought there for a two-day training workshop on first aid.”
Joanna van Gerten, UNICEF Sri Lankan representative, 8 August 2006, AFP

“International truce monitors and UN staff said they had found no evidence the site was used as a military base… Junko Mitano [of UNICEF] told the BBC it had confirmation children had been killed in Mullaitivu.”
14 August 2006, BBC

August - A children's home run by the Dutch Reformed Church is attacked by a 200-man mob, accompanied by extremist Buddhist monks.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a human rights organisation specialising in religious freedom, reported that the mob attacked the home, then, planted a Buddhist flag on the roof. They assaulted staff, threatened to kill "the house parents" and warned that if they did not leave the premises, they would be "burned alive".

November - Sri Lankan Air Forces bomb grounds near a hospital in an established Tamil civilian area, killing 5 civilians (BBC,2/11/06).

8 November – Sri Lankan Air Forces bomb a Tamil refugee camp in eastern Sri Lanka killing 65 civilians and injuring 300 more, an act confirmed by the Scandinavian led Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission, and condemned by Amnesty International (AFP,8/11/06).

"It is appalling that the military should attack a camp for displaced people -- these are civilians who have already been forced from their homes because of the conflict."

Pro-Tamil politician, Nadarajah Raviraj, was shot dead outside his family home. He belonged to the same political party from which another pro-Tamil politician was assassinated last year as he attended mass on Christmas Eve.

The security forces in Sri Lanka have sent back food supplies sent to refugees in the LTTE-held areas in the east
- 17 November, BBC

13 November – UN finds the Sri Lankan Government to be responsible for recruiting Tamil children as soldiers to fight against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

"One very disturbing element that confronted us ... has to do with the complicity and participation of some elements of the government's security forces in the forcible abductions by Karuna of children (in the east)."
Alan Rock, 13 Nov 2006, Reuters

"Alan Rock, a special adviser to the UN representative for children and armed conflict, said the government forces had forcibly rounded up young Tamil children to fight." BBC,13/11/06.

December - Tamil civilian deaths mount and the internally displaced begin to increase rapidly.

Vaharai region succumbs to heavy offensive by the Sri Lankan government. The "United Nations and Norwegian truce monitors [have] voiced grave concern for 35,000 civilians trapped by the fighting" (AFP, 12/12/06) and "thousands of displaced are now crammed in to temples, schools and welfare camps…many with little more than the clothes on their backs and living on food handouts" (Reuters 18/12/06).

Displaced Tamils are denied aid with the government restricting access of NGO's

"Zones under LTTE control are inaccessible…Authorities don't want NGO's to get through"
- Eric Fort, head of ACF (AFP, 7/12/06).

"The management of access to humanitarian aid is obviously part of Colombo's strategy in the conflict"
- Gabriel Trujillo of Doctos without Borders (AFP, 7/12/06).

"certain ruling politicians seemed to have 'a strategy of preventing the presence of international actors'"
- Mr Eric Chevallier, Director of International Missions (AFP, 7/12/06).

"United Nations is deeply concerned about the indiscriminate shelling of civilian residential areas, leading to death, injuries and evacuation of communities" and that "all fundamental rights are currently being breached…[and] the critical need of the moment is the protection of these desperate civilians"
- Mr Amin Awad, acting UN resident representative and humanitarian co-ordinator (BBC, 12/12/06)


Note 14:

2 January - Sri Lankan military offensive on Mannar district has left 14 Tamil civilians dead, six of whom were children.

"Today’s killings…during the aerial bombardment of the LTTE-controlled coastal village of Illupaikadavai in Mannar District by the Sri Lankan Air Force, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. A number of children were reported killed and at least 35 other civilians injured."
UN News Centre, 02/01/07

"I could not find any Tamil Tiger base in that vicinity. It was a small fishing community. The injured and killed were civilians."
Bishop Joseph, (BBC, 02/02/07)

24 January – Human Rights Watch releases a publication highlighting the Sri Lankan government’s collusion in forced recruitment of Tamil children by the Sri Lankan Army and paramilitary forces to fight against the LTTE.

"Government Complicit in Forced Recruitment of Young Tamils"
Human Rights Watch, New York, January 24, 2007

4 May - four students, aged 17 to 18 years, are abducted from their homes. Their family members blame the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.

Death threats are issued to 270 Tamil students of Jaffna University after a protest demanding the release of the abducted students takes place. [View related video]

June - Tamil Catholic priest, Reverend Fr. Thiruchchelvan Jim Brown is found murdered.

The Parish Priest and his aide Wenceslaus Vinces Vimalathas, aged 34 and 38 respectively, had disappeared on 20 August 2006 after being interrogated by the Sri Lankan army at an army checkpoint.

Amnesty International released a statement "urging the authorities to conduct an independent and impartial investigation…[and] make the findings public" whilst "expressing concern at…a pattern of 'disappearances'…emerging again in northern Sri Lanka, and calling on the authorities to put a halt to this practice immediately".

DNA testing on a mutilated torso packed in a military sand bag, found at Pungkudutheevu sea, on 14 March 2007, has now confirmed it belonged to the disappeared Catholic priest Rev Fr. Thiruchchelvan Jim Brown.

1 June – Men dressed in Sri Lankan police uniform abduct two Tamil Red Cross workers. Their bodies are found a day later. - ICRC, OMCT

7 June - Police force hundreds of Tamils out of the capital, citing security concerns, but a court orders an end to the expulsions.

Tamils are forced out at gunpoint amid claims of ethnic cleansing
8 June, 2007, The Times

Sri Lankan Tamils in fear amid Colombo crackdown
10 June, AFP

Asia Brief video report on the human rights abuses]

21 June - The government blocks access within Sri Lanka to a pro-Tiger website, one that is visited and quoted regularly by many international newspapers.

International press freedom group Reporters Without Borders has called on Sri Lanka's government to stop censoring the website (Reuters, 21/06/07).

7 July - a young Tamil woman is brutally stabbed to death, in the presence of her mother, by members of the Sri Lanka Armed Forces. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has released a statement.

Humanitarian workers and aid agencies find it difficult to obtain access from the government to internally displaced and affected civilians.

6 August - Human Rights Watch releases a report holding the Government responsible for the rising tide of abuses against Tamil civilians and suppression of political dissent.

"The Sri Lankan government has apparently given its security forces a green light to use 'dirty war' tactics." - Brad Adams, Asia director, Human Rights Watch.

Return to War - Human Rights under Siege
Human Rights Watch Publication

14 August - Amnesty says over 5,700 'disappearances' in Sri Lanka
"He was in an area of the capital tightly controlled by the army. It is likely that his captors were military agents," Amnesty said. "He has not been heard from since."

2 November - Brigadier Thamilchelvan, Political Head and Chief Negotiator representing the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), is killed alongside five others, in a Sri Lanka Air Force bomb raid specifically targeting the Political Division in Kilinochchi.


Note 15:

2 January - The Sri Lankan government formally withdraws from the ceasefire agreement with the LTTE, ending a six year truce. As Nordic monitors leave the island, abductions and extra-judicial killings against Tamils increase.

Sri Lanka ends ceasefire with Tamil Tigers

Norway says Sri Lanka monitors likely to leave

6 March - Tamil Member of Parliament Mr K Sivanesan is killed in a claymore mine attack, blamed on Sri Lankan Army-backed paramilitaries.

20 April - Father M X Karunaratnam, head of North East Secretariat on Human Rights is killed - "A roadside bomb in Sri Lanka said to have been planted by government soldiers in rebel territory killed Father M X Karunaratnam, a Catholic priest and campaigner for the rights of Tamils." [AP, 21/04/08]

"More than 3000 people have died since the collapse of the ceasefire in January 2008…The culture of impunity that is operating in Sri Lanka needs to be urgently addressed, as virtually none of the killings, abductions and human rights abuses that continue to occur in Sri Lanka are ever brought before the courts…Since the collapse of the peace process earlier this year, the situation has deteriorated for millions across Sri Lanka…We saw the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons, formed to observe an inquiry into 16 cases of serious rights violations, (including the August 2006 massacre of 17 local employees of the French charity, ACF), pulled out in March 2008 because of a lack of political will to investigate and bring to justice these tragedies," said Caritas Australia's Acting CEO Jamie Isbister.

22 April - "Sri Lankan war planes bombed a Roman Catholic church compound inside rebel-held territory, killing a man and wounding two children." [AFP, 22/04/08]

21 May - Sri Lanka is voted out of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

UN: Sri Lanka's Defeat a Victory for Human Rights Council

Nobel Prize Winners tell UN: Vote Sri Lanka off Human Rights Council

The Carter Center calls on the General Assembly not to re-elect Sri Lanka to the Human Rights Council in the upcoming Council elections.

22 May - Sri Lanka's government rules out allowing foreign monitoring of human rights situation after being denied a seat on the UN Human Rights Council.

30 May - A Tamil journalist and a friend are hacked to death in an army-held area in the northern Jaffna peninsula. Free Media Movement, a Sri Lankan media rights group reports that nine news media workers have been killed in Jaffna since 2006 [New York Times, 30/05/08]. Jaffna, an ethnic Tamil area, is controlled by the Sri Lankan Army.

May - Sri Lanka is ranked below Zimbabwe in the Global Peace Index.