Archive for the ‘Sri Lanka’ Category

Sri Lanka: End Indefinite Detention of Tamil Tiger Suspects

February 13, 2010

Incommunicado ‘Rehabilitation’ Raises Fears of Torture and Enforced Disappearances

Human Rights Watch, February 1, 2010

Tamil women in a camp for displaced persons in Sri Lanka asking for news of their relatives who were taken away by the army, allegedly for rehabilitation.

© 2009 Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images

The government has been keeping 11,000 people in a legal limbo for months. It’s time to identify who presents a genuine security threat and to release the rest.

–Brad Adams, Asia director

(New York) – The Sri Lankan government should end its indefinite arbitrary detention of more than 11,000 people held in so-called rehabilitation centers and release those not being prosecuted, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 30-page report, “Legal Limbo: The Uncertain Fate of Detained LTTE Suspects in Sri Lanka,” is based on interviews with the detainees’ relatives, humanitarian workers, and human rights advocates, among others. The Sri Lankan government has routinely violated the fundamental rights of the detainees, Human Rights Watch found. The government contends that the 11,000 detainees are former fighters or supporters of the defeated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

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Tamil Tiger video killing is genuine, declares the UN

January 8, 2010

The Times/UK, Jan 8, 2010

A photograph taken by The Times from a Sri Lankan helicopter

A photograph taken by The Times from a Sri Lankan helicopter flying the UN Secretary-General shows a devastated refugee camp in the ‘no-fire’ zone

Catherine Philp, Diplomatic Correspondent, and James Bone in New York

A leading United Nations expert called yesterday for a war crimes inquiry in Sri Lanka after his investigation concluded that a video showing soldiers summarily killing Tamil prisoners last year was authentic.

In a damning report citing top scientific experts, Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings, dismissed the Sri Lankan Government’s claims that the footage shown by Channel 4 had been fabricated. He urged Colombo to allow UN experts to investigate “persistent” allegations of war crimes in the final stages of its three-decade civil war.

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Demand the release of Tamil detainees in Sri Lanka

October 7, 2009

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka),, Oct 7, 2009

The Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka and the World Socialist Web Site are launching an international campaign to demand the immediate and unconditional release of more than 250,000 Tamil civilians who have been detained in huge internment camps since the defeat of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May.

The government falsely describes these squalid prison camps as “welfare villages.” However, detainees are not permitted to move in or out of their camps, which are surrounded by barbed wire fences and guarded by heavily armed soldiers. Relatives are allowed to see inmates only after the type of rigorous screening found in high security prisons.

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Tamils shot by army after attempting to ‘escape’ from internment camp

September 28, 2009

The Times/UK, Sep 28, 2009

Jeremy Page, South Asia Correspondent

Sri Lankan troops opened fire on dozens of Tamil civilians as they allegedly tried to escape from internment camps where they and 280,000 others have been held since the defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels in May.

Police said that three of the civilians suffered gunshot wounds, but a pro-Tiger website put the number at six, and said that they had been out collecting firewood rather than attempting to escape.

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Tamil detainees in Sri Lanka: “Almost living in hell”

September 25, 2009

By our correspondent,, Sep 25, 2009

The Sri Lankan government has underscored its determination to keep 280,000 Tamil civilians in internment camps indefinitely, in blatant violation of their basic democratic rights.

UN Under-Secretary, Lynn Pascoe arrived in Sri Lanka last week for further talks on resettling detainees. Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse told him his government had a target of resettling 70 percent of the people within 180 days. But he added that this target would depend on the de-mining of the former war zone in the island’s north.

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Sri Lanka ‘expels Unicef spokesman’

September 7, 2009
Al Jazeera, Sep 7, 2009

Thousands of Tamil children are being held in military-run displacement camps [Reuters]

A senior official from Unicef, the United Nations’ children’s fund, has been ordered to leave Sri Lanka after he expressed concerns over the plight of Tamil children during the government’s military campaign against Tamil rebels, the UN has said.

James Elder, the official spokesperson for Unicef, has reportedly been told by Sri Lankan officials that he has two weeks to leave the country.

Unicef says no reason has been given for the expulsion.

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Sri Lanka Continues War on Media

September 4, 2009

Thursday 03 September 2009

by: J. Sri Raman, t r u t h o u t | Perspective

In a statement, President Barack Obama said journalist J.S. Tissainayagam was “guilty of nothing more than a passion for truth and a tenacious belief that a free society depends on an informed citizenry.” (Photo: Reuters)

Colombo’s war on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam may have ended. But its war on media freedom is far from over. Unlike the army offensive in the northeast of Sri Lanka, this is a war waged in disregard of the island-state’s ethnic divide.

The latest illustration of this years-long offensive has come with the Colombo High Court sentencing a Sri Lankan journalist to a 20-year prison term, with “hard labor,” on August 31 for his published comments on the armed conflict. Forty-five-year-old Jayaprakash Sittampalam Tissainayagam is a Sri Lankan Tamil, but has never been known to function as a member of the LTTE.

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Sri Lanka jails journalist who criticised war policy

September 1, 2009

Twenty years for writer who was hailed by President Obama as a hero facing persecution

By Andrew Buncombe, Asia Correspondent,  The Independent/UK, September 1, 2009

Journalist JS Tissainayagam leaves court yesterday after he was jailed for 20 years for causing 'racial hatred' and 'supporting terrorism'

Journalist JS Tissainayagam leaves court yesterday after he was jailed for 20 years for causing ‘racial hatred’ and ‘supporting terrorism’

A Sri Lankan reporter, recently named by US President Barack Obama as an example of the way journalists are persecuted around the world, has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for writing articles critical of the government’s military operations.

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Sri Lankan troops shot Tamil prisoners of war

August 28, 2009
Morning Star Online, Thursday 27 August 2009
by Paddy McGuffin

Graphic footage which appears to show Sri Lankan forces summarily executing Tamil prisoners during or after the recent bloody conflict has been handed to the British media.

The footage, captured on a mobile phone, was supplied to the media on Wednesday by Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka.

It shows uniformed troops dragging naked and bound prisoners into a clearing and shooting them in the back of the head.

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Sri Lanka: attacks on free media put displaced civilians at risk

August 15, 2009

Vigil marking the first anniversary of the detention of Sri Lankan journalist Jayaprakash Sittampalam Tissainayagam, London, March 2008

Vigil marking the first anniversary of the detention of Sri Lankan journalist Jayaprakash Sittampalam Tissainayagam, London, March 2008

Amnesty International, Aug 14, 2009

Attacks on journalists, relentless intimidation, and government-imposed restrictions on reporting threaten freedom of expression in Sri Lanka and jeopardize the safety and dignity of civilians displaced by war.

The Sri Lankan government actively obstructed reporting on the last stages of the recently concluded armed conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE – Tamil Tigers). Civilians were subjected to artillery attacks and both sides were accused of committing war crimes.

The government continues to deny journalists and media workers unrestricted access to hundreds and thousands of displaced people living in camps, hindering reporting on their war experiences and on conditions in the camps themselves.

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