Tamil Eelam

Tamils protest on August 3 against Sri Lankan navy land grabs in Mullivaikkal.

Tamils who had been protesting outside a military cantonment in a suburb of Kilinochchi began a hunger strike on September 7.

About 300 Tamil political prisoners in 11 prisons began a hunger strike on October 12.

Many of the prisoners have been detained without trial under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. Some have been in jail for up to 20 years.

They are accused of being members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which fought for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka, but was defeated in 2009.

Tamils protest for the release of political prisoners. Colombo, October 2015.

When Maithripala Sirisena was elected as president of Sri Lanka in January last year, he promised to end human rights violations by the security forces.

Under Sirisena's predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa, it was common practice for the army and police to abduct people and torture them. Some were later released, while others were murdered.

February 4 protest in Vavuniyaa.

Tamils in the north and east of Sri Lanka held protests on February 4, the former British colony's independence day.

Protest against visit of Maithripala Sirisena to Britain, March 2015.

The elaborate public facade carefully constructed by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, with the hidden assistance of India and the US, is crumbling by the day. Instead, the discomforting truth is revealed that despite Sirisena becoming president last year, Sri Lanka remains a brutal regime dominated by a military mindset.

University of Jaffna students stage hunger strike in solidarity with fasting prisoners. Photo: Tamilnet.com.

Fourteen Tamil prisoners have been on hunger strike since February 22. They are demanding the release of all Tamil political prisoners and prisoners of war.

Chief minister of the Northern Provincial Council, CV Wigneswaran, addressing a commemorative event at Mullivaikkal, May 18. Photo: Tamil Guardian.

Tamils throughout the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka held ceremonies on May 18 to remember those who died in the genocidal war waged by the Sri Lankan Army against the Tamil people.

The United Nations' Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) report of its investigation into human rights violations in Sri Lanka found “reasonable grounds to believe that gross violations of international human rights law … were committed.”

The investigation deals with the period between February 2002 and November 2011. It thus includes the final years of the war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The LTTE fought for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka and was defeated in May 2009.

The United Nations Human Rights Council has unanimously adopted a resolution called “Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka”.

This resolution, of which the United States was the main sponsor, welcomed a proposal by the Sri Lankan government to establish a “judicial mechanism” to investigate “abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law”.

At long last the reality of the human rights crisis in Sri Lanka is appearing in the Australian media. Not just the fact that more than 40,000 Tamil civilians were killed by the Sri Lankan army in a month in 2009, but that Sri Lankans of all ethnic backgrounds continue to be subject to torture, rape, arbitrary detention, disappearance and death.

The Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which opened in Sri Lanka on November 15, has meant special attention is being paid to these human rights abuses.


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