Sri Lanka

The Tamil Refugee Council (TRC) has condemned the Australian government for supplying five drones to the Sri Lankan police, reports Chris Slee.

Sri Lankan soldiers and police have demolished a monument at Jaffna University dedicated to marking the massacre of Tamils at Mullivaikkal in 2009, reports Chris Slee.

Chris Slee reviews a new documentary showing how British mercenary company Keenie Meenie Services trained a notorious Sri Lankan government paramilitary force, responsible for the torture and murder of Tamil civilians.

The situation for Tamils in Sri Lanka is likely to worsen, writes Chris Slee, after the Sri Lanka Peoples Front, a right-wing alliance headed by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, won 145 seats in Sri Lanka's 225 member legislature in the August 5 elections.

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.

The Tamil Refugee Council has again called on the Australian government to end the deportation of Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka, after the United Nations found evidence of widespread torture in the country.

The report of Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson, released on July 23 after his latest mission to Sri Lanka, concludes: “[I]mpunity is still the rule for those responsible for the routine and systemic use of torture, and countless individuals are the victims of gross miscarriages of justice resulting from the operation of the PTA [Prevention of Terrorism Act].

Two people died and homes, vehicles, shops and mosques were burnt during anti-Muslim riots in Sri Lanka.

The riots began in Kandy on March 5 and spread to other nearby towns. Victims accused the police of failing to protect them in the early stages of the violence. A state of emergency was declared on March 6.

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