Lend a Voice

“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.

Interactive Timeline

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...)

 

In Pictures

Short documentary on Black July and links to other related videos. (view feature video...)

Related Videos:
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.
Still Photographs
The Violence Continues

Articles on the recent acts of persecution against the Tamil minority. (complete list of articles...)

Related Links:
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.
Black July in "Quotes"

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.

 

A Few Last Words

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.

Your Story

Stories from witnesses and victims from around the Globe (TBA).

Did you or someone you know get affected by Black July or any other incident? Tell us your story.

 

We are grateful for our sources - a rare breed of unbiased reporters and journalists.

Sri Lankan protesters attack Tamils in Melbourne

5 April 2009

 

Al Jazeera: Tamil Tigers reject ‘human shield’ accusations

27 March 2009


Testimony of civilian in Vanni

16 Mach 2009



Sri Lankan Editor Abduction - Eye Witness Account

26 February 2009


SBS Dateline - Hunting the Tigers
Play Video From Source

15 March 2009

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

 

SL Parliamentarian talks on ground realities

March 2009

Part 1

Part 2

 

SBS interviews SL Foreign Secretary
Play Audio

11 March 2009

 

The Wire interviews Mr. Paul O’Callaghan from ACFID
Play Audio

11 March 2009

 

Canadian Liberal MP explains the history of the conflict
Play Video

03 March 2009

 

SBS Radio News Features
Play Audio

UN says mass civilian exodus expected from Lanka conflict
Thu, Mar 05 2009

 

SBS Radio News Features
Play Audio

Sri Lankan government says LTTE close to defeat

 

SBS Radio News Features
Play Audio

LTTE says it will not surrender, calls for international action

 

Interview with Dr.Varatharajan - top health official working in the conflict zone

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

 

Democracy Now : Sri Lankan Civilians Caught Between Worsening Military-Tamil Rebel Clashes
Play Video

The United Nations estimates that 215,000 Tamil civilians are trapped in northern Sri Lanka as intense fighting continues between the Sri Lankan military and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. We speak to Nirmala Rajasingham, founder of Sri Lanka Democracy Forum. In the early 1980s she was an active supporter of the LTTE and was the first woman to be arrested under Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act. She later left the LTTE over their serious human rights abuses.

 

SBS: Red Cross plans more medical evacuations in Sri Lanka.
Play Audio

 

SBS Talks to UNICEF
Play Audio

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says the situation is worsening for Sri Lankan civilians caught up by a government military offensive against Tamil rebels in the north-east of the country.

SBS talks to HRW : another 5000 civilians wounded
Play Audio

CNN: Sri Lanka media
Play Video

Journalists in Sri Lanka have come under a growing number of attacks and intimidation according to media rights groups.

Radio Netherlands: Interview with Suren Surendiran from British Tamils Forum
Suren Surendiran from British Tamils Forum speaks on the Tamils’ right for self-determination.

 

An Australian doctor reflects on the LTTE
Play Audio

Sourced from SBS Radio News:
13 February 2009

The LTTE is listed by many countries as a terrorist group, and its leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, is wanted by Interpol on terrorism charges. But John Whitehall, now an Associate Professor in the School of Public Health at James Cook University in Queensland, questions the "terrorist" tag.

 

Civilians suffering in Sri Lanka war: Red Cross
Play Audio

Sourced from SBS Radio News:
13 February 2009

Red Cross officials in Sri Lanka say many thousands of civilians are suffering, amid heavy fighting between government forces and Tamil rebels in the north-east of the country.

Al Jazeera interviews MIA about Sri Lanka

4 February 2009

Journalists at risk
Play Video

Sourced from CNN:

4 February 2009

Bob Dietz of the Committee to Protect Journalists talks about the threats facing journalists in Sri Lanka.

 

Cluster bombs hit near hospital
Play Video

Souced from CNN:
4 February 2009

The U.N. says 15 of its staff members are trapped in bunkers. CNN's Sara Sidner reports



Sri Lankan response
Play Video

Sourced from CNN:
4 February 2009

CNN's Monita Rajpal spoke with Sri Lankan Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Palitha Kohona, on the cluster bomb allegations.


Suffering in Sri Lanka
Play Video

Sourced from CNN:
4 February 2009

Aid organizations say civilians are experiencing hellish conditions as fighting in Sri Lanka continues.


Media in the cross hairs
Play Video

Sourced from CNN:
4 February 2009

CNN's Sara Sidner reports on the risks facing journalists in Sri Lanka as the civil war appears to be nearing an end.

Sri Lankan civilian nightmare
Play Video

Sourced from CNN:
4 February 2009

Aid agencies say civilians are living a nightmare in war-torn areas of Sri Lanka. CNN's Sara Sidner reports.

'Dozens dead' in S Lanka fighting
Play Video

Sourced from BBC:
4 February 2009

The United Nations says that 52 civilians have been killed in the past day of fighting in Sri Lanka. Meanwhile President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the rebels would be "completely defeated in a few days" and asked people who had fled to return.

 

Sri Lanka cracks down on dissent
Play Video

Sourced from BBC:
3 February 2009

The Sri Lankan government has threatened to expel international broadcasters and European ambassadors for their reporting of the conflict in northern Sri Lanka. The government has criticised reporting of the conflict and accused aid agencies of exaggerating the scale of the humanitarian crisis in the conflict zone. The country's defence secretary has told the BBC that any dissent in a time of war is treason. Chris Morris reports.

 

Sri Lanka rejects talks with rebels
Play Video

Sourced from SBS:
February 05, 2009

The Sri Lankan government has rejected a US-led call to negotiate with the Tamil Tigers, vowing instead to crush the cornered rebels by force despite mounting evidence of civilian casualties.

 

Is Sri Lanka's civil war coming to an end?
Play Video

Sourced from BBC:
February 04, 2009

"Sri Lanka, sold to tourists as the tear drop isle; a land of beautiful beaches…and of killing…largely ignored by the outside world."


Will there be a ceasefire in Sri Lanka?
Play Video


Sourced from BBC:
February 04, 2009

BBC puts Sri Lankan High Commissioner, Nihal Jayasinghe, on the hot seat.

 

Hospital hit by cluster bombs
Play Video

Sourced From: CNN
4 February, 2009

A U.N. spokesman says dozens of civilians have been killed in the fighting between rebels
and government forces in northern Sri Lanka.

 

Sri Lankan official on crisis
Play Video

Sourced From CNN

3 February, 2009

Sri Lanka's U.N. ambassador discusses what the government is doing to protect civilians in
the war zone in Sri Lanka.


Tamil Tigers release video
Play Video



Sourced From: CNN
2 February, 2009

An aid group linked to the Tamil Tigers releases video they say shows civilians suffering.
CNN's Sara Sidner reports.


 

Civilians caught in fighting
Play Video

Sourced from: CNN
2 February, 2009

Fighting between rebels and the Sri Lankan military has left civilians with no way out. CNN's Sara Sidner reports.

 

Civilians wounded in conflict
PlayVideo

Sourced from: CNN
1 February, 2009

A humanitarian worker speaks to CNN about the plight of civilians fleeing a decades-long
internal conflict in Sri Lanka.

 

Caught in a Tamil conflict
Play Video


Sourced from: CNN
31 January, 2009

The United Nations says children and babies are caught in the Sri Lankan crossfire

>


Sri Lanka set for victory
Play Video

Sourced from: CNN

25 January, 2009

The Sri Lankan government says it's about to win a decades-long civil war with the Tamil Tigers, but at what cost?

 

Sri Lankan Warzone


Sourced from Australian Network News:
February 03, 2009

Dramatic Footage of the conflict in northern Sri Lanka emerges as civilians appeal for help
through the internet.

 

Sri Lankan Military Intensifies Offensive Against Tamil Tigers; 13 Die in Hospital Shelling
Play Video

Sourced From: Democracy Now!
February 03, 2009

 

The war is not over
Play Video

February 02, 2009

Sourced from: ABC TV
Professor Sisira Jayasuriya, Associate Professor of Economics at LaTrobe University in Melbourne, Australia talks on the suffering of the Tamil people in the conflict zone and addresses the legitimate grievances of the Tamil people since Sri Lanka gained independence from the British.


Sri Lankan government on journalist murder
Play Video|Play Audio

Sourced from: BBC
3 February 2009

Sri Lanka's government has denied that it had anything to do with the killing of a prominent newspaper editor, Lasantha Wickramatunga, a critic of the government. Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that the only thing the government had done was fight terror.

 

Sri Lankan government warning to civilians in war zone
Play Audio

Sourced from: SBS Radio
The Sri Lankan government has issued a stark warning to civilians inside the war zone of the northern Vanni region, as the military pursues a major offensive to end one of Asia's longest-running ethnic conflicts. A government statement says the fight against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam is at "the decisive stage" and that it can not guarantee the security of non-combatants living outside a designated "safety zone" in rebel-held territory. The statement came after the United Nations and the Red Cross said a hospital in the conflict zone had been hit several times by shelling.

 

Sri Lanka: 12 Killed At Hospital
Play Video

Sourced from: Sky News
February 02, 2009
Sri Lankan defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa tells Sky's Alex Crawfod a hospital hit by artillery fire in the rebel-controlled north was a legitimate target, after 12 were killed. This report contains images of injured people you may find distressing.

Plight of Civilians
Play Video

Sourced from: CNN
January 31, 2009

CNN's Ram Ramgopal has a rare look at the plight of civilians in Sri Lanka, trapped between rebels and the army.

 

Concerns over humanitarian law breaches in Sri Lanka
Play Audio

Sourced from: SBS Radio
January 30, 2009

A human rights group is calling for respect for international humanitarian law, as Sri Lankan troops pursue what the government is calling the final stage of a campaign to end a decades-old Tamil separatist insurgency in the country's north-east. An estimated 250,000 civilians are trapped in the only area that's still under the control of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The New York-based group, Human Rights Watch, says it appears international humanitarian law is being broken by both the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE. But HRW South Asia researcher, Charu Lata Hogg, told Aileen Phillips it's impossible to tell for certain what is actually happening in the conflict zone.

 

ICRC alarmed over civilians trapped in Sri Lankan war zone
Play Audio

Sourced From: SBS Radio
January 29, 2009

The International Committee of the Red Cross says it is growing increasingly concerned about the effects on civilians of fighting in Sri Lanka between government troops and Tamil separatist rebels. It says medical facilities are overwhelmed by hundreds of dead and scores of wounded. Intensified fighting between Sri Lankan troops and the Liberation of Tigers of Tamil Eelam has hampered evacuation efforts, trapping an estimated 250,000 people. The Committee's spokeswoman for the Asia-Pacific, Carla Haddad Mardini, told Aileen Phillips urgent action is needed to help them.

 

M.I.A. speaks out on Tamil Genocide
Play Video

Sourced from: PBS online
January 28, 2009



U.N.: Babies caught in Sri Lankan crossfire
Play Video

Sourced from: CNN
January 25, 2009

The Sri Lankan government says it's about to win a decades-long civil war with the Tamil Tigers, but at what cost?

 

Sri Lankan soldiers accused of abusing bodies of dead women
Play Audio

Sourced from: SBS Radio
January 07, 2009

Human rights groups are calling for an investigation into allegations that male Sri Lankan soldiers have been abusing the bodies of dead female Tamil separatists. The calls follow the public circulation of a disturbing video, apparently filmed by a soldier, showing the near-naked bodies of several female members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The location or timing of the footage is not identified, but it has come to light amid heavy fighting between government forces and Tamil Tigers in north-eastern Sri Lanka.


CROSSING CONTINENTS: Sri Lanka
Play Audio

Sourced from the BBC
Roland Buerk reports on the lengths to which the Sri Lankan army and its proxies have gone to ensure victory in their war against the Tamil Tigers.


Kosovo: The Global Significance of Independence
Play Video

The Real News Network
24 Feb 2008

Bruce Fein is the founder of the American Freedom Agenda, that works to restore constitutional checks and balances. He served in the US Justice Department under President Reagan and has been an adjunct scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, a resident scholar at the Heritage Foundation, a lecturer at the Brookings Institute, and an adjunct professor at George Washington University. "In the long run, separate statehood creates greater stability." - Bruce Fein

Sri Lankan Security Accused of Aid Massacre
Stream Audio | Download MP3

Radio Austrlia, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
01 Apr 2008

The Sri Lankan Government has been accused of a high level cover-up over the 2006 murder of 17 aid workers by local security forces. A local human rights group says local police shot the 17, most of whom were Tamils, with the complicity of senior officers.

 

Human Rights in Sri Lanka
Stream Audio | Download MP3 (10MB)

Worldview, Chicago Public Radio
28 Dec 2007

"Over the last one and a half over 1000 people have disappeared... 4 people every day are killed or disappeared in Sri Lanka...the government has done shamefully little [to investigate]...the most targetted population is Tamil men..."

Chicago Public Radio airs an interview with Human Rights Watch's Sunila Abeysekera and Fred Abrahams. Sunila directs the Sri Lankan human rights group INFORM. She's spent the past 20 years documenting human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. Sunila has worked with  Human Rights Watch for many of those years. She's currently helping them lobby for a UN monitoring mission in Sri Lanka. Fred is a Senior Researcher for Human Rights Watch's Emergencies program. Worldview Producer Andrea Wenzel spoke with Sunila and Fred when they were in Chicago. Fred explained what he thinks are the most critical human rights concerns in Sri Lanka today.

 

Sri Lanka: Killing for Peace
Play Video

Unreported World, Channel 4
9 Nov 2007

Reporter Sandra Jordan and director Siobhan Sinnerton travel to northern Sri Lanka and uncover the government's heavy-handed tactics in the latest stage of the country's 30-year civil war. As the first foreign journalists to visit the city of Jaffna , Jordan and Sinnerton discover that the government has abandoned the ceasefire signed in 2002 in favour of a military campaign against the rebel Tamil Tigers - with many innocent civilians paying the price.

The Sri Lankan Civil War is an ongoing conflict on the island-nation of Sri Lanka . Since the year 1983, there has been on-and-off civil war, predominantly between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, also known as the Tamil Tigers), a separatist militant organization who fight to create an independent state named Tamil Eelam in the North and East of the island.

The origins of the Sri Lankan civil war lie in sharp disagreements over language, access to universities, and riots between Sri Lanka's majority Sinhalese, mostly Buddhist, and minority Tamil, mostly Hindu, community. These gradually but continuously escalated from the 1920s until the outbreak of civil war in 1983.

 

Sri Lanka's Dirty War
Play Video

Journeyman Pictures
July 2007

In the past 18 months, over 2,000 Sri Lankans have been kidnapped or murdered, allegedly by government death squads. Now Human Rights Watch is calling for aid to Sri Lanka to be withheld.

The Tamil homeland of Northern Sri Lanka is once again a war zone. The government is convinced it can crush the rebels within three years. "They only have this area left", states Brig Prasad. As well as targeting Tamil rebels, the government is accused of thousands of; "extrajudicial killings, abductions, disappearances". Most of the disappeared are ethnic Tamils. MP Mano Ganesan believes the abductions are; "a means of crushing the Tamil national struggle". The capital, Colombo, teams with police and soldiers but none of the abductors have been caught.

 

Western Media Ignores Sri Lankan State Terror - Australian Doctor
Play Audio (ram) | View Transript

ABC Conversation Hour
August 2007

Dr John Whitehall is a pediatrician, who works as the Director of Townsville Hospital's Neonatal Unit. John has also saved the lives of children all around the world, doing humanitarian work in often violent and dangerous places. Last year, John was a finalist for Senior Australian of the Year for his work raising relief funds for victims of the Asian tsunami.

John says his faith has helped steer him towards much of his humanitarian work. "I'm a Christian," he says, "and ideally speaking, what I have done was informed by that earlier belief. Having said that, I don't mind a bit of adventure on the side and one thing led to another!"

In Sri Lanka in 2004, John worked training a young group of medical students. "There were 32 of them," he remembers. "After a week or so, I began to realise there was something a little different about this group. I gradually found out they were the medical wing of the Tamil Tigers... These students had been selected in this extraordinary medical experiment because until 1992 the casualties were taken across to India... so they decided to form their own medical wing. I just happened when they were looking around for a pediatrician to teach them pediatrics."

John in no way supports terrorism but he came to understand the Tigers' fight. "I have said in articles I've written that the Tigers have well exceeded the bounds of conventional warfare and the Geneva convention... They have inflicted terror... What I have come to be aware [is] you can't understand the situation in Colombo if you only focus on the terror which is coming from one side, and you don't mention the state terror...It doesn't come out in the media here - bombing of schools... forced refugee status... at least 5,000 Tamils have disappeared in the last six months."

NB: The last 30 mins of the interview is focused on Dr Whitehall's work in Sri Lanka.

 

Tamil Abductions
High Quality | Low Quality | View Transcript

SBS Dateline
July 11 2007

Since 2005, there have been almost 20 cases of Tamils, either Australian citizens or relatives back in Sri Lanka, being kidnapped and held for huge ransoms. Some Tamils in Australia have pleaded with the Howard government for help, only to be disappointed by a lack of action.

While most are too afraid to come forward publicly, Dateline speaks exclusively to the families of those who were kidnapped.

Most Australians would probably be blissfully unaware that tens of thousands of Sri Lankan born Tamils living peacefully in this country thousands of kilometres from the violence that's been plaguing their homeland for decades. In recent months however the terror and anguish experienced by families in Sri Lanka has been visited on their relatives here in Australia. Dateline's been told of 18 separate case of Tamils, Australian citizens, permanent residents or their relatives who have been kidnapped back in Sri Lanka and held for ransom. Some have been released but the lives of others still hang in the balance. Nick Lazaredes has investigated three Sydney families caught up in this epidemic of abductions. Understandably they were prepared to talk so long as we didn't reveal their identities.

 

Sivaram: How Violence Against Journalists Cripples Democracy
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

The Reclaim Initiative

2006

Journalists and artists in Sri Lanka are being threatened, attacked, and killed. The most notable recent case is the abduction and murder of Dharmeratnam Sivaram, the renowned editor of the online news publication TamilNet. While his killers are still unknown, we do know that threats of violence like this inhibit the flow of accurate information and objective critique.

In this film, we take the story of Sivaram’s life and unsolved murder as the axis around which we explore these questions. With versions in English, Sinhala, and Tamil, we hope to air the piece on Sri Lankan television before offering it to outside audiences.

The film is a collaboration with one of Sri Lanka’s finest filmmakers (who wishes to remain anonymous until production is complete), and includes interviews with prominent Sri Lankan journalists, filmmakers and scholars—many of whom themselves have been threatened.

 

Sri Lanka's Shadow War
Play Video (rm) | View Transript

SBS Dateline
April 19 2006

Another beautiful but troubled island nation, Sri Lanka, devastated by the tsunami but already hugely damaged by the stop-go civil war between the government and the rebel Tamil Tigers, a brutal conflict that's left more than 60,000 dead. In recent years, a fragile cease-fire put a clamp on what had been open hostility. But now, in what was already a complex conflict, a new, third force has emerged. Dubbed the 'paramilitaries', they're accused of attacking the Tamil Tigers as a proxy force for the government. The government denies this, countering that the so-called paramilitaries are a fiction concocted by Tiger propagandists. So what's the real story? Here's Dateline's Aaron Lewis. And a warning that some sequences in Aaron's report could upset some out there.

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