Monthly Archives: December 2015

Sinhalisation of the North-East About Since time immemorial the island of Sri Lanka has been largely divided into two linguistic regions, the Tamil North-East and the Sinhala south. The North-East region encompasses the districts of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya, Mannar, Batticaloa and the littoral areas of Trincomalee and Amparai. It is a contiguous region that has traditionally been inhabited by Tamil speakers. This… Read more »

CTC Calls on GoSL to Release Tamil Political Prisoners

CTC calls on the Sri Lankan government to uphold promise to release Tamil political prisoners The Canadian Tamil Congress (“CTC”) is deeply concerned that the Sri Lankan government has failed to uphold its promise to Tamil political prisoners that it would review their cases and ensure their release by December 15, 2015. CTC is dedicated… Read more »

Poetry in the Face of Oppression

by Gowri Koneswaran, ‘The Alignist,’ December 22, 2015 The first of Tamil poet and professor R. Cheran’s escapes was in July 1979, the day the Sri Lankan government enacted the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and immediately began arresting members of the country’s second largest ethnic group — including him and his roommates. A university… Read more »

Interview with M.I.A.

by Tamil Guardian, London, December 21, 2015 Tamil Guardian exclusive interview with rapper and musician M.I.A. following the release of her latest track and video on the 27th November 2015. Sometimes friends of M.I.A. (aka Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam) tell her, just make what you want to make. “But every time I make something, this is… Read more »

U.S. Under Secretary Thomas Shannon Speech Speech at Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations & Strategic Studies, Colombo Good morning, and to all of you Ayubowan, Vanakkam. Thank you for being here. It’s a tremendous honor and a great pleasure to be here today. Thank you, Mr. Minister, for your very kind introduction.  To be at this respected institute, named… Read more »

You Can Just Drive to Sri Lanka Soon

by Press Trust of India via Asian Age, December 17, 2015 A chain of partially submerged limestone shoals connects the islands of Mannar of Sri Lanka and India’s Rameswaram. Keen on promoting connectivity in the South Asian region, India is set to build a sea-bridge and tunnel connecting Sri Lanka while a pact has been… Read more »

Denying the Right to Return

Resettlement in Musali South and the Wilpattu Controversy Shahul H.Hasbullah, Kandy Forum 2015. 124pp. ISBN 978-955-7902-00-5 Priced:Rs.500.00Denying the Right to Return is an in-depth academic study on the history of Musali South and the issues and problems of the displaced and the returnees. This study explores the historical, socio- economic, political and geopolitical aspects of… Read more »

Sri Lanka’s Tamil Political Prisoners

by Taylor Dibbert, ‘The Huffington Post,’ Los Angeles, December 13, 2015 Just days ago, a Tamil political prisoner being held in Jaffna Prison commenced a hunger strike. Similar hunger strikes have taken place this year, although this behavior doesn’t appear to have changed the government’s calculus in a significant way. This issue has been a… Read more »

Sri Lanka Talks Big on Human Rights Day

Ruki Fernando, a human rights activist, says that the government’s decision to sign the convention “indicates interest…nothing more.” Fernando also mentions that, on other occasions, the Sri Lankan government “has ratified treaties and then brought in enabling legislation.” Sri Lanka still hasn’t criminalized enforced disappearances.

TNA Statement on Penal Code Amendment Regarding Hate Speech

The Tamil National Alliance is deeply concerned about the proposed Penal Code (Amendment) Bill placed on the Order Paper of Parliament on 11 December 2015. The said Bill was placed on the Order Paper by the Minister of Justice. The Bill seeks to introduce a new provision (Section 291C) to the Penal Code, No. 11… Read more »

Appeal by the Families of the Disappeared

We, the Families of the Disappeared have been searching for our loved ones and calling for justice, for many years. Many Commissions were established by the previous government to carry out inquiries regarding the missing. However, our search continues without any answers. In 2013, former President Mahinda Rajapaksha established a Presidential Commission for the Investigate… Read more »

Sri Lanka vs Human Rights: Encouraging Signs, More To Be Done

As International Human Rights Day was commemorated last Thursday, a top UN official said that there were encouraging signs that Sri Lanka will deal with human rights concerns related to the war but the new government was not willing to go all the way. Christof Heyns, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or… Read more »

Looming Dangers

Whether it would be possible to achieve consensus on the focal areas of the new arrangement – devolution of power, electoral reform and the replacement of the executive presidency – will be possible remains to be seen. …

While matters like replacing the executive presidency and a new electoral system can be relatively less complicated, devolution will undoubtedly be a very tricky problem given the state of play of current politics. There is no doubt that the minorities played a major role in President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s defeat on January 8. It is widely accepted that a minority of the majority – meaning of the Sinhalese – and a majority of the minority (the Tamils) ensured Rajapaksa’s defeat. Thus there will be the ever present danger that the kind of opportunistic politics that we saw in the post-1956 years when the UNP did not permit Mr. Bandaranaike to implement the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact and the SLFP and its allies sabotaged Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake’s efforts to reach an accord with the Tamils (Dudley-ge badey masala vadai, remember?) will recur. Doubtlessly national reconciliation is a top priority facing this country. Will the devolution proposals in a new constitution, rather than the forthcoming local elections early next year, be the opportunity the Rajapaksa faction of the SLFP/UPFA is waiting for? Hopefully not, is all we can say at this present moment.

Remembering S. Sivanayagam (1930-2010) via His Letters

Front Note by Sachi Tamils who were in political journalism profession in Ceylon (later Sri Lanka) were forced to make an unusual decision. Whether they have to be weathervanes or not. Majority (including his namesake, S.D. Sivanayagam) opted to be weathervanes for their paychecks and supper. Only a handful like S. Sivanayagam (1930-2010) and Kovai… Read more »

HRW: Awaiting Justice For Trinco Five

The bright white sandy beach in Sri Lankan’s northeastern town of Trincomalee is as beautiful as any urban seafront anywhere.  It was midday in October, with the sun too high and hot for tourists and local residents alike. A young Sri Lankan raised in New Zealand told me she had braved the undertow for a… Read more »

HRW: Justice for a Sri Lankan Massacre

Justice also is needed for the 7 TRO staff abducted & killed in Welikande by paramilitaries with the help of the armed forces at the end of January 2006, 7 months before the ASF murders.