Posts Categorized: Human Rights

Sri Lanka Blocks Tamil Memorials Amid War Parade

Official victory day celebrations were held in Sri Lanka’s south Sri Lanka has held a victory parade on the fifth anniversary of the end of its civil war, while stopping Tamils from commemorating their war dead. Security forces in the north surrounded party offices and religious sites, blocking memorial ceremonies for Tamils killed in the… Read more »

New Pictures Of Isaipriya Alive Emerge

New pictures of the LTTE media TV newsreader Isaipriya alive have emerged.The Sri Lanka Ministry of Defence claims 53 Division troops killed Isaipriya during the last battle. Her name is in the Ministry of Defence’s published list – “Identified LTTE leaders who were killed on 18 May 2009 by 53 Division troops“  – as “Lieutenant Colonel… Read more »

New Report Details ‘White Flag’ Cases

by ‘Tamil Guardian,’ London, May 17, 2014 A new report details cases, testimonies and new photograph evidence of LTTE cadres who surrendered at the end of the armed conflict, and were later found dead or remain missing.  The report, “5 years on: The White Flag Incident 2009-2014“, published by ‘STOP’ part of the International Truth… Read more »

Beyond the Beach

 by Marcelle Hopkins, AlJazeera, May 17, 2014  Five years after one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history, Sri Lanka hovers between war and peace, as a profoundly traumatised population grapples with creeping militarisation, continuing ethnic divisions and a crackdown on dissent.       Interactive website at 

From Tiananmen to Jaffna

In the final analysis, an autocratic government, whether run by the Communist Party in Beijing or by the Rajapakse family in Colombo, fears people with a political will that oppose its own. It is secondary whether the people use the ballot box, civil disobedience or armed combat to achieve their aim. What need to be nipped in the bud are people coming together as a community: therefore it is made a criminal act. As long as mourning facilitates the restoration of community, it will be opposed by oppressive governments. And as long as it is opposed – be it five years or 25 – the people will not give up trying to restore community either.

The War That Wasn’t Live

There was no BBC or CNN inside the war zone, which is perhaps why Sri Lanka is one of the great untold war stories of this century. It is certainly one of the bloodiest…

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s legal advisers are, however, clear that “most civilian casualties in the final phases of the war were caused by government shelling,” which they described as “large scale.” They also accused the Sri Lankan Army of systematically, knowingly, and repeatedly shelling all hospitals in the war zone, depriving civilians of food and life-saving medicine, and attacking all safe zones it had declared for civilians…

Another reason that the world failed to take closer notice of the Sri Lankan civil war was Colombo’s successful rebranding of its decades-long ethnic-territorial conflict as part of the global “war on terror.” That meant the world signed off on the destruction of the rebels, wrongly assuming that without the troublesome Tigers there would be an equitable peace in Sri Lanka. The terror label made it easy to discredit all Tamils as Tamil Tigers, blurring the boundary between combatants and civilians. Scottish, Bangladeshi, Italian, and Australian eyewitnesses were denounced as “White Tigers” far too sympathetic to the “terrorists.” U.N. employees were intimidated, threatened, expelled, and spied on, with the result that the organization failed to speak up about war crimes its own staff had witnessed firsthand and failed to publicize the significant casualty numbers they had collected.

Freedom of the Press 2014 Sri Lanka’s press labeled ‘not free.’ “Sri Lanka’s score also slipped by another 2 points, from 74 to 76, marking a dramatic decline of 20 points over the last decade. Increased harassment of both local and foreign journalists trying to cover protests and sensitive news stories, as well as attacks on printing and distribution… Read more »

Sri Lanka to be Investigated for War Crimes

If seeing is believing, then what brought Sri Lanka to international attention was the Britain’s Channel 4 expose of war crimes. From that time onwards Sri Lanka has been back-peddling on the war crimes charges. Then the international community took an interest and it ended up in the UNHRC, which decided the case against Sri… Read more »

Where Genocide Is Most Likely To Happen Next

Twenty years after the horrors of the Rwandan genocide, researchers at The University of Sydney have created a model predicting which countries will experience targeted mass violence across the globe. Known as the Atrocity Forecasting Project, the model plugs in more than a dozen “instability variables,” which include statistics on civil wars, regime changes, assassinations, neighboring state conflicts,… Read more »

CPJ: Impunity Index 2014

4 Sri Lanka
Impunity Index Rating: 0.443 unsolved journalist murders per million inhabitants
Last year: Ranked 4th with a rating of 0.431

Inducing Fear

That this escalation in militarisation occurred at a time when the international community was scrutinising Sri Lanka is unsurprising. Intended to prevent a repeat of the protests even during the British Prime Minister’s visit to Jaffna, the arrests of prominent campaigners took place as the UN Human Rights Council began, effectively silenced any popular expressions… Read more »

Women Under Siege

CONFLICT PROFILES SRI LANKADespite Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war being declared over in May 2009, scholars continue to describe the post-conflict state of the country as “fragmented.” With an estimated80,000 to 100,000 citizens killed, according to the United Nations, and an unknown number raped and sexually tortured during the ethnic clashes, whole sectors of Sri Lankan society were left in… Read more »

UN Inquiry Just the Start of a Long Road to Justice

Sri Lankan human rights activists campaigned hard for an independent international commission of inquiry into war crimes during the end of the conflict in 2009. Last month members of the UN Human Rights Council did finally vote to set up an inquiry. To many governments it looks as if the issue of accountability is now… Read more »

SL Campaign: Release of the Detained

Death of “Gobi” should mean release of the detained We are today calling for the release of Jeyakumari Balendran and at least 60 others detained under the prevention of terrorism act in the last month, following the Sri Lankan Army’s announcement that they had killed suspected LTTE revivalist Selvanayagam Kajeepan AKA Gobi. We are suggesting a travel ban… Read more »

Land Grabs Jeopardize Peace in Sri Lanka

Christina Williams is an attorney and founder of Reinventing the Rules, a website dedicated to covering the latest trends and lessons learned in the rule of law sector. She has worked on human rights campaigns related to Sri Lanka for several years and is currently focusing on women and land rights in the region. The end… Read more »

Transcending Terror

It is the mass banning of Tamil civil society…It is, however, also a deliberate attempt to stop the outflow of information regarding on-going atrocities in the Tamil areas, to the international community via diaspora networks, precisely at a time when it is critical. Indeed in 2009, as the mass civilian slaughter ensued, it was the diaspora, not international bodies such as the UN, that provided the most accurate portrayal of events on the ground.

ICJ: UN Investigation Offers Hope to Victims in Sri Lanka

The UN Human Rights Council resolution to establish an international investigation into allegations of human rights violations and abuses committed by both sides in Sri Lanka’s civil war gives hope to tens of thousands of victims who continue to be denied truth and justice. “The resolution sends a strong message to the Government of Sri… Read more »