UN: Sri Lanka’The Scene at First Light Was Devastating’

isaipriya-1UN: ‘The Scene at First Light Was Devastating’ [ Huffington Post ][ May 20 15:12 GMT ]

New photographs have emerged five years after the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka showing the aftermath of government attacks on a United Nations food distribution centre inside the war zone. The pictures, shot by a Tamil working for the media unit of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), show corpses, destroyed tents and damaged UN vehicles inside the “no fire zone” declared by the government supposedly to protect civilians. [ full story |

Sri Lanka: Comply with Rights Council Investigation[ HRW ][ May 20 13:21 GMT ]

The Sri Lankan government should comply with the March 2014 United Nations Human Rights Council resolution creating an international investigation into allegations of serious abuses by both sides during Sri Lanka’s civil war, Human Rights Watch said today. The resolution calls on the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate violations of the laws of war and serious human rights violations. The week of May 18 marks the fifth anniversary of the end of the conflict that resulted in the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). [ full story |

gota ordered to kill ltte

Sri Lanka’s Greatest War Criminal (Gotabaya) is a US Citizen: It’s Time to Hold Him Accountable [Just Security ]

Monday, May 19th marks the five-year anniversary of the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war, which claimed the lives of 40,000 to 70,000 civilians in its “catastrophic” final phase. In 2009, Congress asked the State Department to report on the humanitarian law violations during the war, and those reports make for gruesome reading. If history is a guide, this week congressional representatives will publicly call for accountability for war crimes in Sri Lanka—as members of Congress have done on the past four anniversaries. (See accompanying post, “Honor Roll of US Congressional Members Who’ve Stood for Accountability in Sri Lanka”) [ full story | By

New evidence links Sri Lankan top brass to war crimes[ Weekend Leader ][ May 20 13:19 GMT ]

Fresh evidence of war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan regime, which fought a bloody civil war against the country’s minority Tamils led by the LTTE, has emerged from a report submitted by the International Truth & Justice Project. The report has published incriminating transcripts of sms and phone conversations between top rebel leaders Nadesan and Pulidevan (from the LTTE political cell) and Sri Lankan officials through a Tamil MP, Rohan Chandra Nehru. [ full story |

How young Sri Lankans see peace[ IRIN ][ May 20 15:13 GMT ]

Five years after Sri Lankan forces declared victory over the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) who had fought for an independent Tamil homeland since 1983, overcoming the divisions caused by the decades-long civil war remains a work in progress. According to human rights groups, national reconciliation continues to be tested by an official triumphalism (on full display at a victory parade in Colombo on 18 May to mark the anniversary of the end of the war), the continued militarization of the north, a deepening authoritarianism, as well as rising religious extremism among militant Buddhist groups against Hindus and Muslims. [ full story |

Sri Lanka celebrates end of war, blocks commemorations[ AFP ][ May 19 08:49 GMT ]

President Mahinda Rajapaksa led celebrations at a major victory parade Sunday to mark the fifth anniversary of the end of Sri Lanka’s Tamil separatist war, as commemorations for its victims were blocked. As most top envoys of Western nations stayed away from the parade, a defiant Rajapakse insisted he would not bow to pressure from foreign critics who are pushing him to investigate claims that tens of thousands of people died in the final stages of the conflict. [ full story |

On Anniversary, a Victory Parade and a Crackdown in Sri Lanka[ New York Times ][ May 19 08:50 GMT ]

Sri Lanka’s government on Sunday marked the fifth anniversary of its victory over Tamil insurgents with a military parade in the south and a broad crackdown on journalists, opposition politicians and students in the once-restive north and east. Government troops largely sealed off the offices of Uthayan, a newspaper based in the northern city of Jaffna that has long been critical of the governing alliance. The government also closed Jaffna University. In Pottuvil, in the east, troops blocked a meeting of the Tamil National Alliance, an opposition party. [ full story |

Five Years After: Illiberal Democracy and Potemkin Peace in Sri Lanka[ Foreign Policy Journal ][ May 20 15:18 GMT ]

As the sun settles on a hot spring day, the streets of Vavuniya, a Tamil-inhabited town ravaged in Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war, are normally deserted. But on a muggy evening last March, the main road resembled an open-air bus terminal. Stretched along a seemingly endless line, buses, filled with the families of Tamils who disappeared during and after the war, sat idle. The families, numbering in the hundreds, had planned to arrive in Sri Lanka’s de facto capital, Colombo, to present petitions to the U.N. mission, but they never reached their intended destination. Local police officers quarreled with the drivers, and the passengers were eventually forced to evacuate the buses. [ full story |

The Ghostof Prabhakaran [ Roads and Kingdoms ][ May 20 15:20 GMT ]

On May 18, 2009, the Sri Lankan Army killed the Tamil Tiger separatist leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. The cause of death was believed to be a single shot to the head at close range. The army had two former Prabhakaran allies turned government mercenaries visually ID the body; they also took a DNA sample. Then they cremated him. With Prabhakaran’s death, the bloody 26-year Sri Lankan civil war came to an abrupt end. But the peace since has been deeply uneasy. Sri Lanka’s Tamil heartland, the north and east parts of the South Asian island, has been “pacified” at great human cost, with the Sri Lankan army occupying large swaths of land. [ full story |

Sri Lankan journey[ BBC ][ May 21 02:58 GMT ]

About 300 miles separate the old Dutch fort of Galle on Sri Lanka’s southern tip and Mullivaikal, the strip of land in the north where an army assault on Tamil rebels ended a civil war five years ago. The BBC’s Charles Haviland travelled up the coast passing fish markets and seaside resorts, eventually turning inland towards the ancient capital and ending up in a desolate former war zone. These are the stories of the people he met on the way. [ full story |