Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka elections called


Protest demanding investigation of war crimes. Jaffna, Sri Lankan-occupied Tamil Eelam, February 24.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has dissolved parliament and called elections for August 17. Sirisena was elected president on January 9, replacing Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Sri Lanka: Small concessions, but Tamils still facing oppression

The Global Tamil Forum issued a statement on May 1 evaluating the first months of in office of Sri Lanka's new president Maithripala Sirisena.

In presidential elections in January, Sirisena defeated the incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had presided over a genocidal war against the Tamil people and then kept them under military occupation.

The GTF praised Sirisena for amending the Sri Lankan constitution to cut the power of the president and increase the power of parliament.

Sri Lanka: New Tamil protests against repression

Tamil women whose relatives are missing completed a three-day hunger strike at Nalloor, a town in the north of Sri Lanka, on March 8.

The women, led by Northern Provincial Council member Ananthy Sasitharan, were demanding an international investigation into the disappearance of their relatives, who were arrested or abducted by the Sri Lankan armed forces.

The women were joined by young people who had finished a four-day march from Mullivaikkaal, site of the genocidal massacre of Tamils by the army in the final stages of the war, which ended in May 2009.

Sri Lanka: Tamils demand international investigation into missing persons

About 150 relatives of missing people protested outside a hearing of the Presidential Commission on Missing Persons in Trincomalee, a city on the east coast of Sri Lanka, on February 28.

The protesters were mainly Tamil women whose relatives are still missing after being arrested or abducted by the Sri Lankan armed forces. They expressed their lack of confidence in any commission appointed by the Sri Lankan government, and demanded investigations by a United Nations team.

Tony Abbott’s boat claim stopped by facts

The boats that “just kept coming and coming” under Labor have been “all but stopped”, Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared to the Press Club in his widely described as “crash-and-burn” address on February 2.

“The Abbott government has stopped the boats — and only this government will keep them stopped.”

Sri Lanka: Navy wages secret war on Tamil fisherfolk

Allegations made by south Indian Tamil fisherfolk against the recently deposed Mahinda Rajapaksa government in Sri Lanka reveal a trail of death and corruption.

They said 750 fisherfolk have been killed by the Sri Lankan navy since 1983. Eighty-four boats were seized in the past six months alone.

Sri Lanka: New president wins amid discontent, repression

Maithripala Sirisena has taken office as president of Sri Lanka after winning the island's January 8 election. Sirisena won 51.28% of the vote, defeating incumbent president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who got 47.58%.

Seventeen other candidates won 1.14% of the votes between them.

Rajapaksa had been elected president in 2005 and re-elected in 2010. In his first term, he presided over the most brutal phase of the war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Tamils call for new way in Sri Lanka

The statement below was released by the Tamil Refugee Council in Australia on January 9. The day before, opposition-backed presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena beat incumbent president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who oversaw war crimes and abuse of the human rights of Tamils and others in Sri Lanka.

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The Tamil Refugee Council urges the Australian government to use the change of leadership in Sri Lanka to push for a resolution to the country’s most pressing issue – the long-standing oppression and persecution of Tamils.

Sri Lanka: Tamils, leftists debate elections

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is being challenged by Maithripala Sirisena, who was until recently one of his ministers, in the January 8 presidential elections. However, many Tamils and leftists see little difference between the two.

Sirisena is being supported by the opposition United National Party, and has promised to appoint UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe as prime minister. There are 16 other candidates.

Sri Lankan regime targets war crimes witnesses

Sinnathamby Krishnarajah was arrested on October 25, in Kilinochchi, a town in the north of Sri Lanka.

His “crime” was to photocopy forms printed from the internet to be used for making affidavits to a United Nations investigation of war crimes committed during the war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The LTTE, which had been fighting for an independent Tamil state in the north and east of the island, were defeated in May 2009. Since then, Tamil areas have been under military occupation by the Sri Lankan army.

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