Sri Lanka

On December 9, 2011, in the military-occupied Jafna, in the north of Sri Lanka, left-wing activists Lalith Kumar and Kuhan Muruganandanin were “disappeared” in the area of Neerveli while the two were riding on a motor bike.

Like many other activists and reporters who have “disappeared” in that country, witnesses say the two were abducted by an armed gang in a white van. However these witnesses were too terrified of retribution to make official statements.

The Front Line Socialist Party of Sri Lanka held a protest to defend equality in education with an August 15 demonstration in front of the Fort Railway station in Colombo in support of a mass campaign student and teacher organisations, Premakumar Gunaratnam told Green Left Weekly.

“Ever since 1977, various Sri Lankan governments have being trying to privatise the education system,” Gunaratnam explained. “The first attempts were blocked by a strong student movement led by the Inter University Students Federation (IUFS).”

Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s “expert panel” on refugee policy will hand over its findings on how to “stop the boats” and end the parliamentary “deadlock” over offshore processing when parliament begins sitting again next week.

After an asylum boat tragedy that killed 90 people in June, the three-member panel, headed by former defence chief Angus Houston, was tasked to report on the “best way forward for Australia to prevent asylum seekers risking their lives” considering “Australia’s right to maintain its borders”.

When Tamil asylum seeker Dayan Anthony was deported back to Sri Lanka by the Australian government last month, his immediate arrest and interrogation did little to allay fears he would not face harassment from authorities.

His subsequent government-arranged press conference appeared to be staged for the benefit of the Sri Lankan and Australian governments.

On July 25, Tamil refugee Dayan Anthony (formerly known as "Mr X" in Australia in an attempt to protect his identity from Sri Lankan authorities), was deported from Melbourne. Australian authorities handed him over to the Sri Lankan intelligence forces - who had held Mr Anthony in custody for years, and had tortured him.

Distraught family members of the Tamil asylum seeker known as “Mr X” who was deported to Sri Lanka on July 25 have not been able to locate their relative.

More than 14 hours after landing at Colombo airport, the Tamil man had not come out of the airport.

There are reports in the Sri Lankan media that the man has been detained by the Sri Lankan intelligence unit.

While Mr X’s family was waiting for him to emerge from the airport, the Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka arrived at the airport and sought the man’s release. Even the High Commissioner was unsuccessful.

The Refugee Action Coalition in Sydney released the statement below on July 27, after Tamil deportee Dayan Anthony was released from custody after being missing for 16 hours.

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The Refugee Action Coalition has welcomed the release of Tamil asylum seeker Dayan Anthony from custody in Sri Lanka, but has rejected reports that Dayan’s recanting his claim of torture as a product of duress.

The Victoria Refugee Action Collective released the statement below on July 27.

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Distraught family members of deported Tamil asylum seeker Dayan Anthony have finally been reunited with him. Anthony was deported from Australia on July 25.

He was interrogated for 16 hours after being handed over to the Sri Lankan police intelligence unit (CID) at Colombo airport. During this time, the Sri Lankan police refused to give the family any information.

The article below is based on a talk given at a Socialist Alliance meeting on June 26 in Melbourne by Chris Slee, a member of the SA Melbourne branch.

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The Socialist Alliance supports the right of the Tamil people to self-determination.

A resolution adopted at an SA national conference reads: "Socialist Alliance recognises that Tamils are an oppressed nation within Sri Lanka, and supports their right to self-determination.

Privatisation polices have been stepped up since the end of the war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in May 2009, says Ranath Kumarasinghe from Sri Lanka's New Socialist Party (NSSP)

Kumarasinghe is features editor of Haraya, a Sinhala language newspaper published by the NSSP. He recently visited Australia to speak at the Marxism 2012 conference, organised by Socialist Alternative in Melbourne over Easter.

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