Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan government has used the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse for increased repression of the Tamil people, writes Chris Slee.

A state of fear is being re-established in Sri Lanka ahead of snap elections, writes Chris Slee.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, regarded by many Tamils as a war criminal, won the Sri Lankan presidential election on November 16 with 52.3% of the vote.

He was defence secretary in 2009, when the Sri Lankan armed forces massacred tens of thousands of Tamils in the final stages of their war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The LTTE were fighting for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka.

Losing Santhia: Life & Loss in the Struggle for Tamil Eelam
By Ben Hillier
Interventions, 2019
150 pages

In 2009, the Sri Lankan military launched a genocidal offensive against the island's Tamil population on a stretch of sand in Mullivaikal, in the island's north-east.

Claiming its offensive was to rescue civilians, the Sri Lankan military carried out an indiscriminate bombing offensive against Tamil civilians that killed tens of thousands.

A new report shows why Tamil refugees fear being sent back to Sri Lanka, and why it is essential to campaign against the Australian government's policy of deporting them or pressuring them to return "voluntarily", writes Chris Slee.

Sri Lanka has a long history of discrimination against Tamils.  In 1948 Tamil plantation workers were deprived of citizenship.  In 1956 Sinhalese was made the sole official language, denying the Tamil language equal status, writes Chris Slee.

More than 500 Tamil demonstrators tried to march to the site of a destroyed Hindu temple at Kanniyaa in the Trincomalee district of Sri Lanka on July 16.

The Sri Lankan army and police have used the bombings of churches and hotels on Easter Sunday as a pretext for repression, targeting people who have no connection with the group responsible, the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ – National Monotheism Society).

The NTJ, an extremist Islamic group, is believed to be linked to the Islamic State, based in Iraq and Syria.

Sri Lankan police have been raiding numerous Muslim groups with "Thowheed" in their name, even if they are opposed to the NTJ. As of May 2, at least 130 Muslims had been detained, according to Tamilnet.

Sri Lanka has had a violent history in the seven decades since its independence in 1948. But this history did not include any major conflict between Muslims and Christians. Both Muslims and Christians have in recent years come under attack from Buddhist chauvinists. Why then, did the bombers target Christians?

About 4000 Tamils rallied in Mullaitheevu on the northeast coast of the island of Sri Lanka on August 28, Tamilnet reported.

They demanded the return of land previously confiscated from its Tamil owners and given to settlers from Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese ethnic majority, as well as the abandonment of irrigation projects that will result in further Sinhalese settlements in Tamil areas.

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