More SL news this past week
The Australian – Tamils fleeing Sri Lankan police state
Amanda Hodge, 21 October 2009
FIVE months after the Sri Lankan government crushed the Tamil Tigers separatists and ended Asia’s longest-running civil war, refugees are still pouring out of the country and washing up on the shores of sympathetic countries such as Australia and Canada.
Why, when peace has finally come to a nation dogged by 26 years of civil war, would so many people choose to leave behind their country and possessions and risk their lives on a perilous sea crossing to an uncertain future?
The easy answer lies in the swampy internment camps of the country’s north, said to hold somewhere between 250,000 and 280,000 war-traumatised Sri Lankans behind barbed wire while
the government weeds out suspected Tamil Tigers soldiers from civilians.
They have no jobs and no money. Most have lost their houses, their identification cards and loved ones. Thousands of children have missed out on months of school.
20 October 2009
Increasing involvement in British politics and reciprocal openness of the British political parties was marked by a part-televised event held in Essex Sunday where several incumbent and prospective parliamentarians from the British Conservative party reached out to their Tamil constituencies and articulated their positions on the conflict and its consequences in Sri Lanka .The event was the first one in a series planned by the recently formed British Tamil Conservative Association (BTCA). Members of Parliament from the British party were keen to stress both their sense of fairness as well as their orientation towards action over rhetoric, according to a BTCA attendee. Conservative candidate, Robert Halfon, echoed in his website, the sentiments expressed Sunday stressing the need for autonomy for the Tamils saying they deserved nothing less.
Green Left on the line – Tamils flee genocide — refugees should be welcomed!
Jay Fletcher, 19 October 2009
On October 15, almost 260 Tamil refugees were stranded at an Indonesian port in west Java. They were refusing to disembark from the boat that had carried them from Malaysia and pleaded for the Australian government to hear their case. That evening they declared a hunger strike.
“We have run away from a war, a 26-year war against our people and we are fleeing genocide”, he said.
Tamils are victims of war crimes in Sri Lanka. Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka have released reports of widespread abductions and executions at the behest of Sri Lankan officials.
Three hundred thousand Tamils remain imprisoned in government concentration camps. Alex told ABC journalists, “there is not the opportunity for Tamils to survive in Sri Lanka”.
He told GLW the asylum seekers were devastated by Australia’s actions.
Watch video here: Canadian tamils speak
Human Rights Watch – Sri Lanka: Government Breaks Promises That Displaced Can Go Home
19 October 2009
The Sri Lankan government’s recent statements that it aims to return only 100,000 of the original 273,000 displaced civilians confined to camps by the end of 2009 breaks a promise to camp residents and the international community, Human Rights Watch said today. In May, the government announced that 80 percent of the displaced people would be able to return home by the end of the year.
Since the end of the fighting in May, the government has released or returned fewer than 27,000 people, leaving about 245,000 civilians in the camps.
“Enough is enough,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “It is well past time to release civilians detained in the camps. Sri Lanka’s international friends should tell the government that they will not accept any more broken promises.”
A ceremony was held with the participation of J.S Tissinayagam’s father Jayaprakash Tissinayagam, celebrating the imprisoned journalist receiving the Journalist’s Peter Mackler award for courageous and ethical journalism. The ceremony was celebrated with his family, fellow journalists and well wishers.
All the alleged human right violations cited in the report submitted to the U.S. Congress by the State Department are believed to be credible, a spokesman for the State Department said on Thursday.
Responding to a question from media at the daily press briefing, State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly said the report doesn’t attempt to verify all the claims but believes the claims, mostly based on the mostly on the reports from the US Embassy in Colombo and from the NGOs and media in Sri Lanka are credible.
“This report was mandated by the Appropriations Committee. They requested that the Administration report on – I want to get this right here – report on what happened in Sri Lanka during the fighting in the north there. I think that what this is an attempt to do is to – we wanted to lay out all of these credible allegations of human rights violations. But like I say, we don’t try and verify them,” Kelley said.
The spokesman said the as a first step U.S. calls on the Government of Sri Lanka to open up the area to international organizations to be able to come in and understand better the facts on the ground and what happened there during the final phases of the conflict.
Every year, many newly qualified doctors recite the Hippocratic Oath upon graduating. But how many of us would actually put those words to the test if our own lives were in jeopardy? Half a world away, three
physicians faced this dilemma.
During the first five months of 2009, an intense war played out in the densely populated coastline of northeastern Sri Lanka. More than 300 000 civilians were trapped between battle lines. A government-imposed media blackout meant the world was largely unaware of what the United Nations called a “blood bath.”