Monthly Archives: May 2015

TAPI: Reports Document Missing Persons, Military Occupation, Land Grabs

Oakland Institute Details Sri Lanka’s Human Rights ViolationsReports Document Missing Persons, Military Occupation, Land Grabs WASHINGTON, DC (May 28, 2015) – The Oakland Institute, an independent policy think tank, today released two reports that call on the international community to play a larger role in Sri Lanka to ensure that “the culture of impunity is… Read more »

Variety: ‘Dheepan’ Review

Audiard supposedly came down to the wire to finish “Dheepan” in time for Cannes (where the print screened lacked final credits), and while the version shown here doesn’t lack the director’s typical technical polish (especially in the sleek widescreen cinematography by Eponine Momenceau), some additional time in the editing room might help to smooth over the movie’s rougher patches.

What keeps “Dheepan” engaging throughout is the tremendous charisma of the performers — not only Antonythasan, whose brooding intensity suggests that Dheepan’s real war is the one raging inside him, but Srinivasan, an Indian stage actress also making her film debut here, who is achingly tender as a young woman forced to become a wife and mother when she has barely figured out who she is herself.

From Sachi’s Files – Chapter 1

Front Note by Sachi On April 23, I received an unexpected email from a German scholar from Hamburg. It read as follows: “Vanakkam! I am a research scholar working on Tamil at the University of Hamburg, Germany. I am currently working on a research article about C.N. Annadurai’s critique of the Kambaramayanam. In the course of my research,… Read more »

Systematic Colonization of the Northern and Eastern Provinces

by Veluppillai, Thangavelu,, December 13, 2012 Even before Sri Lanka (then Ceylon ) gained independence from British,  the Sinhalese dominated Sri Lankan government had a long-term plan to sponsor state aided colonisation to settle Sinhalese people from the south in  regions traditionally considered to be the homeland in the northern or eastern parts of… Read more »

UN: Sexual Violence a ‘Tactic of War’

The report, by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, on ‘Conflict-related sexual violence’, urged the UN Security Council to take action to prevent and ensure accountability for sexual violence in conflict. It examined ongoing concerns of sexual violence since 2014 in 19 countries, including Sri Lanka.
“One of the major unaddressed issues is impunity for conflict-related sexual violence,” the report said on Sri Lanka.
It further noted:
“There are indications that abduction, arbitrary detention, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence have increased in the post-war period. Notably, Tamil women and girls have reported sexual abuse in the context of the ongoing militarization of their areas of residence.”
“Allegations of sexual violence by the Sri Lankan security forces against members of the Tamil community in the closing months of the war and in the post-conflict period have been extensively documented, but rarely addressed.”
“Testimony of women released from detention in 2014 indicates that acts of sexual torture were accompanied by racial insults and specifically directed against individuals perceived as having been linked to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.”
In his recommendations, Mr Moon said:
“I call upon the newly elected Government of Sri Lanka to investigate allegations of sexual violence, including against national armed and security forces, and to provide multi-sectoral services for survivors, including reparations and economic empowerment programmes for women at risk, including war widows and female heads of household.”

Accountability, Reconciliation and Sinhala Buddhism

If instead it continues on its current course of pledging accountability, political reform and an inclusive multi-ethnic order to international audiences whilst pandering to the Sinhala Buddhist majoritarianism of domestic ones, this current set of pledges will simply be washed away by the next tide of Sinhala nationalist mobilisation as have all previous ones.

US Statement at 2014 Panel on Role of Prevention

by Sarah Pierson, US Mission to the UNHRC, Geneva, September 18, 2014 US Intervention at UNHRC side event panel Sept. 18 2014 A most troubling aspect of recent atrocities is the concern that they could have been prevented if the international community had acted earlier and more appropriately. Tens of thousands of lives could have been… Read more »

Why No Gazette Notification on Release of Lands?

by TamilNet, Wednesday, 06 May 2015, 23:18 GMT It’s not merely enough to allow the people to resettle in the lands that were seized from them by the previous regime, which applied the proviso to 38(A) of the Land Acquisition Act (LAA) under the guise of ‘public use’ in permanently converting the lands for the… Read more »

Start of a US-Sri Lanka ‘Reset’?

By Taylor Dibbert, ‘The Diplomat,’ May 04, 2015 U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently visited Sri Lanka. He was accompanied by Nisha Biswal, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs. Kerry and company were welcomed with open arms by the Sirisena administration and this high-level visit is the latest (and most prominent)… Read more »

MGR Remembered – Part 27

by Sachi Sri Kantha, May 7, 2015 MGR Remembered Part 26 Losses of Unexpected Kind Excluding one chapter towards the end, in which MGR describes the political vivacity of his friend P. U. Shanmugam (1924-2007; who was one of the 15 DMK candidates to be elected at the 1957 State Assembly Elections of Madras State),… Read more »

Minority Rights in Sri Lanka: Progress or Blind Spot?

sri_lanka_report_100days Minority Rights in Sri Lanka Progress or Blind Spot Many problems exist “regarding human rights of the minorities,” in Sri Lanka, concluded the Society for Threatened peoples (STP.) A report on the new regime’s 100 day reform plan, released on Thursday, noted several issues including those of intimidation of Tamil journalists, inadequate resettlement, excessive… Read more »

Tamil Families Want to Know Where Their Loved Ones Are by Shashank Bengali, ‘Los Angeles Times,’ May 3, 2015  Kuhendran Manoranjithamalar and her husband trudged into the army checkpoint on the last day of the Sri Lankan civil war, clutching their three children and some jewelry. They had lost everything else. Then, as they sought refuge in government territory, they lost each other. Soldiers… Read more »

Sec. Kerry’s Remarks on Partnership for Human Rights & Peace

And that is why it is so critical for your government to work with the ICRC and the UN in order to investigate missing person cases and try wherever you can – I can’t guarantee it; nobody can that you’ll find the answer for sure – but try to find wherever the truth may lead. No matter how painful that truth is. It’s the right and the humane thing to do – and it is, believe it or not, an essential part of the healing process.

Now, reconciliation obviously doesn’t happen all at once; it requires time and concrete actions. And those have to replace the suspicion with mutual trust and mutual fears have to be replaced with mutual confidence. I want you to know that the United States stands ready to be a partner with you in that effort.

We’ll do all we can to support the government as it makes progress in such areas as returning land, limiting the role of the military in civilian life, and trying to provide the answers on disappeared people. None of us wants to live in a country where the military is stopping its own citizens at checkpoints. And Sri Lanka’s military has so much more to contribute in defending this country, protecting vital sea lanes, and taking part in UN peacekeeping missions all over the world. And as your armed forces make that transition, we’re going to be very eager to work with you and to work with them and to help…

And that is why we hope your government will continue to cooperate with the United Nations as it explores the best way to mount a credible domestic investigation into allegations of human rights abuses – an investigation that meets international standards and at the same time, and most importantly, is legitimate in your eyes, in the eyes of the people here.

Kerry: U.S. will Deepen Ties with Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Saturday said the United States will send a wide range of advisers to help the island nation emerge from a devastating civil war and years of autocratic rule. Kerry, the first secretary of state to visit Sri Lanka in a decade, said U.S. advisers… Read more »

Tamil Americans Urge Sec. Kerry to Press Pres. Sirisena on Reform

WASHINGTON, DC (May 1, 2015) – The Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI), a nonprofit that seeks to promote peace, prosperity and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, today called on US Secretary of State John Kerry to urge Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena to deliver concrete action on building a society in which all religious and ethnic… Read more »