British politicians call on Sri Lanka to cooperate with UN and de-militarise North-East

srilanka americaBritish politicians call on Sri Lanka to cooperate with UN and de-militarise North-East [ Tamil Guardian ][ Feb 03 20:53 GMT ]

British MPs from the 3 main parties gathered at the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPG-T) annual dinner, organised by British Tamils Forum on Thursday, to celebrate the contribution of the Tamil community to the UK and reaffirm their commitment to seeking justice and normalcy for Tamils in Sri Lanka. Speakers at the event, which was attended by members of the British Tamil community, representatives from overseas Tamil diaspora organisations, British ministers, MPs, international journalists, human rights activists and local councillors, reaffirmed their resolve towards pressuring the new Sri Lankan government to co-operate with the United Nations inquiry into Sri Lankan atrocities and de-militarising the North-East. [ full story |

Helping Sri Lanka’s New Democracy[ NYTimes ][By RYAN GOODMAN ]

Sri Lanka’s voters shocked themselves and the world this month by tossing out their president, who crushed the Tamil insurgency in 2009 and then led the country, along with his brother as defense secretary, to the brink of authoritarianism. The new president has promised to restore freedom of the press, independence of judges, and the rights of religious and ethnic minorities.

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Missing-persons’ families stage protest, denounce LLRC-based outlook [TamilNet]

Tamil families of forcibly disappeared persons in Ki’linochchi staged a protest on Monday in front of the District Secretariat urging the new Sri Lankan President to establish the whereabouts of their family members, whom they had handed over to the Sri Lankan military at the end of the genocidal onslaught in Vanni in 2009. The mothers of the Tamil youth, who were abducted and made disappeared by the so-called white van squads of the SL military, also joined the protest. The protesting families complained to media that they were disappointed by the inaction so far since Maithiripala Sirisena came to power in the South. In their appeal to SL president, they denounced the LLRC-based outlook in addressing the accountability of the Sri Lankan State. Full story >>

Guns, war and a dove – Sri Lanka looks for a new life[ Reuters ][ Feb 04 11:19 GMT ]

As Sri Lanka looks beyond Mahinda Rajapaksa’s defeat in the presidential elections, the island nation’s history of a bloody war has been retold as a reminder of a past that exists today. The Sinhalese Buddhists comprise roughly two-thirds of the island’s population of 21 million. And yet nobody can say for sure whether the Sinhalese civilisation in Sri Lanka “predates” the Tamil one.The new government is also planning a fresh investigation into allegations of human rights abuses in final stages of the civil war. About 40,000 Tamil civilians were killed in the final weeks of the war, most of them by the Sri Lankan army, a UN report has estimated. [ full story |


Sri Lanka: Hope for Minorities?[ The Diplomat ][ Feb 04 14:57 GMT ]

A new president, Maithripala Sirisena, has brought a new wave of hope to Sri Lanka, yet it is still a moment of somewhat tempered optimism for the minorities who constitute almost 30 percent of the population of this post-conflict country. Sirisena, with his election motto of ‘”compassionate governance,” is walking a tightrope of balancing different political parties whilst aiming to fulfill several ambitious objectives, which include addressing war-crimes allegations through an independent domestic mechanism, establishing independent commissions to secure the impartiality of the judiciary, and cracking down on corruption. [ full story |


Obama, Sri Lanka and the Chinese equation[ The Hill ][ Feb 04 17:31 GMT ]

Now that President Obama has concluded a historic and highly successful three-day visit to India, he needs to turn his attention to another South Asian nation, where recent political events have gone largely unnoticed. At the beginning of January, India’s southern neighbor, Sri Lanka, held presidential polls that saw the surprising election of opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena, a former member of the ruling government. Growing discontent amongst incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa’s traditional Sinhalese Buddhist (the majority ethno-religious group in the country) power base and a coalescence of ethnic and religious minority support propelled Sirisena to an unlikely victory. [ full story |