Monthly Archives: January 2016

Celebrating a Bountiful Harvest

Thai Pongal, the agrarian festival of the Tamils, will be in full flow around the country today. It is a festival celebrated not only in Sri Lanka and India, but all over the globe where Tamil populations are concentrated. It is essentially a festival of thanksgiving by farmers after their first harvest of paddy, but… Read more »

Sri Lanka’s Circuitous Road to Reform

Sri Lanka’s recent democratic gains are real; so are the challenges that lie ahead. Sri Lanka has seen significant political drama over the past 12 months. Mahinda Rajapaksa, the previous president who ruled for a decade was unexpectedlydefeated during last January’s presidential election. Voters reiterated their desire for change during August parliamentary polls, though Rajapaksa… Read more »

Peace Process Would Have Benefitted from Greater Intl Effort

From left: Bharath Gopalaswamy, Director of the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center, moderates a discussion with Mark Salter, author of To End a Civil War; Erik Solheim, a former chief negotiator in the Sri Lankan peace process; and Richard L. Armitage, who has served as Deputy Secretary of State in the George W. Bush administration,… Read more »

Starvation in Syria Galvanizes U.N.

by Somini Sengupta, ‘The New York Times,’ January 15, 2016 UNITED NATIONS — The images of gaunt, hollow-eyed children in three besieged Syrian towns this week prompted even the usually cautious Ban Ki-moon to bluntly and publicly declare that the people starving civilians on the battlefield were committing war crimes. “Tomorrow,” Mr. Ban, the secretary… Read more »

We Need to Jettison Inherited Prejudices and Wrong Notions

by ‘Adaderana,’ Colombo, January 15, 2015 Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran says that an inclusive society cannot be built upon counter-terrorism mindset and state security perspectives and that a heavy military presence in the province lays the foundation for violence. Addressing the National Thaipongal Festival in Jaffna today, he said that the 16th goal… Read more »

PTA is Now an Expired Act – PM

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says that his British counterpart David Cameron visited Sri Lanka during a “dark period” and that the government is inviting him to return now that the sun is shining on the country. “British Prime Minister David Cameron visited Sri Lanka during a dark period. We are now publicly inviting him to… Read more »

Time is Running Out

by TamilNet, January 13, 2016 Colombo regime, which came to power claiming ‘good governance’, has failed to address the urgent demands of releasing 200 Tamil political prisoners, reveal the whereabouts of more than 20,000 people in the past and the genocidal military occupying the Tamil homeland continues to seize lands from Mannaar to Ampaa’rai. “Unless… Read more »

A New Era for a Renewed Sri Lanka

As I walked through Trincomalee’s Koneswaran and Colombo’s Gangaramaya temples last month, learning of their ancient and important histories, I was struck by the strength and resilience of the Sri Lankan people. Over many centuries and across many generations, Sri Lankans have turned to their faiths and cultures to endure and overcome many challenges. They… Read more »

De-mining Sri Lanka

by Smriti Daniel, Al Jazeera, January 12, 2016 Meet those clearing the large number of landmines left behind by the army and the Tamil Tigers after Sri Lanka’s war. Muhamalai, Sri Lanka – Not so long ago Shanmukam Thankamuththu had 25 goats; now she has only five. The other 20 have been sold, each animal… Read more »

MP Sumanthiran Speech on New Constitution Thank you, Presiding Member, for the opportunity to speak on this historic occasion. I say historic, because we have a Resolution before the House that has been signed by the Honorable Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Hon. Nimal Sripala De Silva on behalf of the SLFP, the Hon. Lakshman Kiriella the Leader of the House,… Read more »

Wiki: Tamil Americans Tamil Americans From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Tamil Americans Ananda Coomaraswamy Sendhil Ramamurthy Kamala Harris Indra Nooyi Aziz Ansari Sundar Pichai Total population (132,573 (2010 US Census)[1]) Regions with significant populations Central New Jersey New York City Long Island Languages Predominantly: Tamil American English Minority: Other Indian Languages French Sinhala Religion Predominantly: Hinduism Minority:… Read more »

Need For A Time-Bound Process

The government is set to make some headway in the reconciliation process this month but the failure to set deadlines to complete the process has raised some eyebrows. The government, like the former regime, has been saying as of late that it needs to be given time to address the issues at hand. However going… Read more »

Sri Lanka’s Torture Machine Continues in Peacetime

 PHNOM PENH, 6 January 2016 (IRIN) – Sri Lanka’s new government has been lauded for efforts at reconciliation after a devastating civil war. Yet, civilians are still being abducted, tortured and sexually abused by security forces, according to a report published today. The abuses carry echoes of the not-so-distant past. War erupted in the early… Read more »

Sri Lanka Accused of Allowing Continuing Human Rights Abuses

As Sri Lanka marks a year since the election on 8 January 2015 which brought President Sirisena to power, Freedom from Torture releases new details of recent torture cases and warns that the Government must place a higher priority on tackling torture by the country’s military, police and security services. The UK human rights charity’s… Read more »

Review of “Alapparungkarunai”

Tonight I saw a beautiful Tamil Ballet of Tagores performed exquisitely by the Kokuvil Kalabhavanam free in aid of the Faculty of Medicine’s Student Hostel. It was organised by the Alumni of the Faculty of Medicine.  I went expecting to hear some song and dance. To my surprise the play was so well choreographed with… Read more »

ITJP Exposes Horrific Human Rights Abuses in Sri Lanka

—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE— International Truth and Justice Project Exposes Horrific Human Rights Abuses in Sri Lanka January 7, 2016, 7:00 AM PST Contact: Anuradha Mittal, amittal /A_T/ oaklandinstitute /D_O_T/ org Oakland, CA—On the eve of the first anniversary of President Sirisena’s election in Sri Lanka, a new report by the International Truth and Justice Project… Read more »

Survivors of Torture & Sexual Violence 2015

Silenced ITJP Jan 2016 Press release: “Silenced: survivors of torture and sexual violence in 2015” 7th January 2016. Johannesburg: New evidence has emerged of on-going torture and sexual violence by the Sri Lankan security forces one year after a new government came to power promising a radical clean up. “Sadly Sri Lanka’s notorious ‘white vans’… Read more »

Do Justice, No Divisions

As the Leader of the Opposition and leader of the Tamil National Alliance, R. Sampanthan holds a unique position to contribute towards reshaping Sri Lankan’s political culture and constitutional parameters within which the government should operate. Sampanthan, a leader of coalition of minority parities, is the second such leader to be elected as the Opposition… Read more »

What If the Tamil Tigers Weren’t Labelled as ‘Terrorists’?

How labeling a group influences the standards of civilian protection in wartime is a pertinent question. by Ambika Kaushik, ‘The Diplomat,’ Tokyo, July 24, 2015 The elections in Sri Lanka next month come just ahead of a much-anticipated report on the alleged war crimes by prime ministerial candidate and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government during… Read more »