Apr 20-26:

Southern Nightingale S. Janaki and the Story of ♫Singaara Velanae Deva♫ Song

by D.B.S Jeyaraj

Sishtla Sreeramamurthy Janaki popularly known as S. Janaki celebrates her 76th birthday today. The well known Indian singer of film songs who is praised as the “nightingale of the South” was born on April 23rd 1938 during the British colonial period at Pallapatla in Repalle. The Repalle town is located in the Guntur district of present day Aandhra Pradesh state. [DBSJ]

BJP promises early political settlement for the Sri Lankan Tamil problem

By Siva Sivapragasam

The Sri Lankan Tamil issue is being raised in the Indian Election campaign by the BJP promising an early settlement of the problem with power devolution.

Recent opinion polls surveys are predicting a victory for the BJP at the polls.

At a meeting held in Tiruchi in support of Vaiko, the leader of the Tami MDMK Party, BJP President Rajnath Singh accused the Congress-led UPA government of failing to give strong pressure to the Sri Lankan Government to find a solution to the Tamil problem. [MJ]

“Rajiv Gandhi sacrificed his life for the Tamil brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka”, says Sonia Gandhi

“Is there any other party other than Congress which has done so much for Sri Lankan Tamils”

By Siva Sivapragasam

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In an apparent bid to capture votes in Tamil Nadu, India’s Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi has referred to the Tamils in Sri Lanka as “brothers and sisters” for whom former Prime Minister and her husband Rajiv Gandhi sacrificed his life. [MJ]

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross…

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(This article was compiled from the message given by Mr. Thava Chelvam at the Good Friday service at the Tamil Christian Congregation of Western Australia 2014)

A closer-to-heart hymnal “The old rugged cross” is sung during the Holy week in many churches across the world. The hymn was written more than a century ago (1912) by Reverend George Bennard (1873- 1958) in the United States of America. He is not to be confused with the English philosopher George Bernard Shaw. [TW]

Death in the Jungle: Quixotic Saga of Theiveegan, Appan and Gobi

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The traditional April new year named “Jaya” or Victory dawned on a positive note this year for Sri Lanka. A massive security operation launched by the Sri Lankan armed forces had resulted in the deaths of three persons in the Jungles of Vedivaithakallu-Oothukkulam-Bogaswewa in the North. Paradoxical as it may appear the “bad” news of deaths was in another sense “good” news for the Country at large and the Tamil people in particular. [DBSJ]

Apr 13-19:

Canada Suspends Voluntary Commonwealth Funds

April 14, 2014 – Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today announced that Canada will suspend its voluntary contribution to the Commonwealth Secretariat and reallocate the funds for the next two years.

“As host of the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and current Chair in Office, Sri Lanka has a duty to take meaningful action on human rights, political reconciliation and accountability. However, Sri Lanka has failed to realize progress on any of these issues,” said Baird. “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada took a strong and principled stand in not attending the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo, and today’s announcement is an extension of that leadership. [international.gc.ca]

♥ Remembering PB Sreenivas and His Enchanting Duets With S. Janaki ♫

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The traditional April new year dawned on a sad note for me last year.I woke up to the news that well –known singer of film songs Prathivadi Bayankara Sreenivas (P.B.S) had passed away in India. He was one of my favourite filmsong singers.I grew up with the Tamil film songs of people like Sreenivas, TM Soundararaja, P.Susheela, S.Janaki, AL Raghavan, LR Eeswari etc. [DBSJ]

Eight Persons Including a Woman Arrested In Raid on Dehiwela Bakery released By TID Police; More Being Held Under PTA Will be Released Soon

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Eight Persons including a woman who were under detention for more than three weeks breathed the air of freedom on the eve of the traditional April new year.

These eight persons taken into custody by the Police after a lightning raid on a bakery in Dehiwela some weeks ago. [DBSJ]

Greetings for “Jaya Varusha Pirappu” ~ Sinhala & Tamil ♫ Chiththirai New Year

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A Celebration with violin instrumental by Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan [TW]

Flip & Read ~ the Print Edition of Monsoon Journal – April 2014 [TW]

Sinhala and Tamil New Year’s Message

On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I offer warmest greetings to the people of Sri Lanka and the vibrant global Sri Lankan diaspora. [US State Dept.]

Tiger vs Tiger: Tenth Anniversary of Revolt Led By Eastern LTTE Leader “Col” Karuna

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Ten years have passed since the once dreaded Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) experienced an internal politico-military revolt spearheaded by its erstwhile Eastern regional commander Vinayagamoorthy Muralidharan alias “Col” Karuna. The revolt lasting six weeks from March 3rd to April 11th 2004 was ruthlessly suppressed through military means by the mainstream LTTE led by tiger supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran.Hundreds of eastern cadres were killed in the internecine warfare that debilitated the LTTE considerably [DBSJ]

India goes to the polls to elect a new Government

Narendra Modi tipped as India’s next Prime Minister

By Siva Sivapragasam

Mumbai’s millionaires and slum dwellers have begun making their once in five year journey together to polling stations to elect a new government in India. [MJ]

Apr 6 – 12:

Mob of Over 250 Persons Including 11 Bhikkus Led by Bodu Bala Sena Gen Secy Gnanasara Thero Storms Holy Family Church in Asgiriya During Worship and Assaults Pastor and Wife

On the 16th of February 2013, at approximately 6.30 p.m., a mob stormed into the premises of the Holy Family Church in Asgiriya (Kandy district) and demanded that worship services be stopped immediately. The mob had around 250 villagers and was led by a group of 11 Buddhist monks who belong to the Bodu Bala Sena. [DBSJ]

Sri Lanka accused of ill-treating women it suspects of Tamil Tiger links

Women’s group says government detaining females in ex-war zone in inhuman conditions and denying them medical facilities

A Sri Lankan women’s rights group has claimed the government is arresting innocent female relatives of males it suspects are trying to revive the Tamil Tiger rebel group and subjecting them to ill-treatment.

Women’s Action Network described the cases of six women it says were arrested from the north and east, the former civil war zone, because authorities suspected their male associates or family members had rebel links. [TheGuardian]

Sri Lanka: Asset Freeze Threatens Peaceful Dissent

Overbroad Anti-Terror Law Targets 16 Tamil Diaspora Groups

The Sri Lankan government’s decision to label 16 overseas Tamil organizations as financers of terrorism is so broad that it appears aimed at restricting peaceful activism by the country’s Tamil minority, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should provide evidence of the unlawful activity of specific groups and individuals or remove them from the list. [HRW]

LTTE Nediyavan Group Deputy Leader Nanthagopan Brought to Sri Lanka With Help From Iran And Malaysia

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The Sri Lankan defence establishment has successfully accomplished the feat of renditioning a senior leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) functioning abroad with the aid and cooperation of Iranian and Malaysian authorities. The “Daily Mirror” learns reliably that the senior LTTE leader Nanthagopan was brought to Sri Lanka exactly one month ago on March 6th2014.

Sri Lanka’s response to the UNHRC vote suggests that to Colombo, what India thinks matters more than what many other powerful nations do

by MEERA SRINIVASAN

With 23 countries backing a relatively strong resolution against Sri Lanka at the recent U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in Geneva, one would have thought the country would feel effectively cornered. However, a day after the resolution was adopted, Sri Lanka only seemed too pleased, thanks to its neighbour. [The Hindu]

Sri Lanka Govt Lists Person Who Died Two Years Ago Among The Names of Living Individuals Designated Through Gazette Notification

By

D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Among the 422 individuals designated by the Sri Lankan Government through a gazette Extraordinary issued on March 21st 2014 is included the name of a person who died two years ago. [DBSJ]

424 Individuals Designated By Sri Lankan Govt May be Blacklisted and Have Their Assets and Economic Resources Frozen

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The Sri Lankan Government has designated 424 individuals and sixteen organizations including the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) under the United Nations Act No 45 of 1968 by Gazette Extraordinary No 1856/41dated March 21st 2014. [DBSJ]

Nediyavan, Vinayagam, Rudra and Fr. Emmanuel Viewed by Govt as Four Formidable Foes From the Global Tamil Diaspora

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE)organization and fifteen other entities suspected of being tiger fronts were proscribed by the Sri Lankan Government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week [DBSJ]

Mar 30 – Apr 5:

Residual LTTE Elements and Diaspora Groups Operating Overseas Would Have Been Stripped of Legitimacy Had Rajapaksa Regime Been Magnanimous

By

Dharisha Bastians

The Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa is having a spectacularly bad week

Technically, with the two assemblies lapsing in late April, March 29 elections for the Western and Southern Provincial Councils took place on schedule. But the polls were also extraordinarily timed – with a little help from the Elections Department – to take place 24 hours after the UN Human Rights Council vote on a US resolution that would launch a war crimes investigation into the last seven years of Sri Lanka’s war against the LTTE. [DBSJ]

Sri Lanka bans 15 Tamil diaspora organisations

by MEERA SRINIVASAN

“Charges baseless”

Responding to the development, S.A.N. Rajkumar of Strategic Initiatives – Human Rights, and spokesperson, British Tamils Forum, said in an e-mail interview: “We reject the baseless allegations and propaganda of the Sri Lankan state branding all Tamil Diaspora organisations terror groups or terror fronts.” [The Hindu]

Sri Lanka Proscribes 15 Suspected LTTE Front Organizations Abroad as Foreign Terrorist Entities Under UN Resolution 1373

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The Sri Lankan Government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa has in a decisive move with far reaching implications proscribed as foreign terrorist entities several overseas organizations suspected of being fronts of the Liberaton Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE). [DBSJ]

Displaced in north long for home

By Charles Haviland | BBC News, Jaffna district, Sri Lanka

Konapalam camp in Sri Lanka houses 240 displaced families in cramped conditions-pic:By Charles Haviland-BBC

Konapalam camp in Sri Lanka houses 240 displaced families in cramped conditions-pic:By Charles Haviland-BBC

“Would you like to go home?” The men chorus “Yes!” as my question is translated into Tamil. “We’re waiting for that date. There’s enough land. We’ll farm it. We’ll fish.”

They cannot do that here in the Konapalam camp, the cramped home to 240 displaced families where children play in the dust.

There are 31,524 people still in camps around Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka because their land is held by the military. [BBC]

New Cargills Square bustles in Jaffna, Sri Lanka North

Jaffna Cargills Square is the biggest shopping mall complex in Jaffna district and was recently declared open. [TW]

Sri Lankan Tamil organisations regret India’s abstention

by MEERA SRINIVASAN

Several organisations of Sri Lankan Tamils living outside the country have expressed disappointment over India’s abstention at the U.N. Human Rights Council, where a U.S.-backed resolution was adopted on March 27.

“India’s history of moral leadership and courage, coupled with its unique cultural and intellectual affinity with Eelam Tamils, makes its abstention and vote against the operative paragraph establishing an investigation deeply disappointing,” said a joint statement put out on Sunday by the British Tamils Forum, the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America, the Ilankai Tamil Sangam, the People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL), the Solidarity Group for Peace and Justice in Sri Lanka, the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam, the United States Tamil Political Action Council and the World Tamil Organisation. [The Hindu]

US Introductory Statement on the Resolution “Promoting reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in Sri Lanka”

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Delivered by Paula Schriefer | Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs | Head of the U.S. Delegation to the 25th Human Rights Council [TW]

Key U.S. Outcomes at the UN Human Rights Council 25th Session

Fact Sheet

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC

March 28, 2014

MULTILATERAL RESPONSES TO COUNTRY SITUATIONS

Sri Lanka: The resolution on Sri Lanka, led by the United States along with core sponsors Macedonia, Mauritius, Montenegro, and the United Kingdom, passed by a vote of 23 yes, 12 no, and 12 abstentions, with 41 total co-sponsors. For the first time, the resolution requests a comprehensive investigation, to be led by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), into alleged violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes committed in Sri Lanka by both sides during the period covered by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report (2002-2009). In addition, it requests that OHCHR monitor, assess, and report on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, including any relevant domestic processes dealing with reconciliation and accountability. This is the third resolution that the United States has led on Sri Lanka. [US Mission-Geneva]

USTPAC Welcomes UNHRC led Investigation in Sri Lanka

Voting on Sri Lanka resolution on March 27, 2014 at the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council-pic by: U.S. Mission Geneva/ Eric Bridiers

Voting on Sri Lanka resolution on March 27, 2014 at the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council-pic by: U.S. Mission Geneva/ Eric Bridiers

“Tamils have waited nearly five years since end of the armed conflict for a genuine accountability mechanism to be established, and the resolution just adopted marks a turning point in their quest for justice,” said Dr. Karunyan Arulanantham, the President of the US Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC), welcoming the international probe. [TW]

Crackdown on LTTE Colombo Cell Reveals Plot to Assassinate President Rajapaksa or his Brother Gotabhaya

by
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Hectic events over the past few weeks in Sri Lanka have driven home three salient truths on the security front relating to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) organization. The first is that tiger or pro-tiger elements in the Tamil Diaspora will persist with efforts to resurrect the LTTE and disrupt life in Sri Lanka. The second is that the Sri Lankan state will effectively respond to such a challenge regardless of international implications. The third is that the strongly entrenched security apparatus in the country is capable of cracking down hard on any such perceived LTTE revival attempt and crushing it. [DBSJ]

Tamil National Alliance Welcomes Resolution Passed by UN human Rights Council on Sri Lanka as a “victory for all Sri Lanka’s People”

(Text of Statement issued by Tamil National Alliance Leader and Trincomalee district MP Rajavarothayam Sampanthan)

The Tamil National Alliance welcomes today’s Human Rights Council resolution which requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to undertake a comprehensive investigation in respect of past and post-war violations of human rights and the perpetration of serious crimes. The resolution is a victory for all Sri Lanka’s Peoples in their struggle for truth, justice and reconciliation. The resolution sends a strong message to the Sri Lankan government that the undemocratic, militarized and discriminatory trajectory on which it has set the country is unacceptable and unsustainable. [DBSJ]

UNHRC Resolution in Geneva Offers Glimmer of Hope for the Victims of Human Rights Abuses and their Families in Sri Lanka

BySheila Varadan

For the victims and their families in Sri Lanka, the resolution passed by the United Nations Human Rights Council this week in Geneva offers the first glimmer of hope for truth, justice and reparation for the serious human-rights abuses committed by both sides in the final stages of the civil war [DBSJ]

Mar 23 – 30:

Text of Resolution on Sri Lanka Passed at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 27th 2014 [DBSJ]

Under Army Jackboot: Excessive Military Presence in Northern Sri Lanka Enables Monitoring and Controlling of Civilian Population

by International Crisis Group

The heavy militarisation of Sri Lanka’s northern province after the civil war’s bloody end in 2009 has been the subject of growing domestic and international concern. The large numbers of military personnel in the north, and the deep involvement of the military in the province’s governance, endanger the re-establishment of democratic institutions that is necessary to lasting peace (see our Nov 2013 report Sri Lanka’s Potemkin Peace: Democracy Under Fire). [DBSJ]

Latest Draft of US Sponsored UN Resolution Calls For UN Human Rights Commissioner to “Undertake”Investigation For Period From Feb 2002 to May 2009 Only

by Dharisha Bastians

-Third draft text of US resolution on Sri Lanka circulated in Geneva

-Sets up time-frame for OHCHR inquiry into violations in Sri Lanka

-Draft resolution sticks to period of conflict studied by LLRC

-Draft provides no mandate for probing post-war abuses

-Amends operative paragraph on NPC to cover all provincial councils

An international probe into allegations of human rights violations will be confined to the last seven years of the war in Sri Lanka and will have no mandate to investigate post-war abuses, according to the latest draft of the US sponsored resolution to be taken up in Geneva this week. [DBSJ]

Dispute on Sri Lanka War Crimes Escalates

By GARDINER HARRIS and DHARISHA BASTIANS

Jeyakumari Balendran, an activist working on behalf of families still searching for loved ones who disappeared in government custody, remained in an infamous government detention camp.

Several human rights organizations condemned the arrests, and some have warned that Ms. Balendran could be tortured. [NYTimes]

New Cargills Square bustles in Jaffna, Sri Lanka North

Cargills in the past year opened outlets throughout the Northern region including Kilinochchi. [TW]

Sri Lankan rights activist Sithie Tiruchelvam passes away

by MEERA SRINIVASAN

Noted lawyer and Sri Lankan human rights activist Sithie Tiruchelvam, wife of the internationally respected academic Neelan Tiruchelvan, passed away here on Saturday after a brief illness. She was 69. [The Hindu]

Sri Lanka: Activists in northern Sri Lanka at risk

Human rights defenders in Northern Sri Lanka have been arrested, detained, and threatened. This has coincided with the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva considering a resolution calling for an international investigation into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka.

Prominent Sri Lankan human rights activist Balendran Jeyakumari, was arrested along with her teenaged daughter in Kilinochchi, Northern Sri Lanka on 13 March. Officials confirmed that she has been detained by the Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) at the Boosa Detention Centre. Her daughter was later turned over to the Department of Probation and Child Care Services. [Amnesty]

Shooting Incident at Tharmapuram: Is There a Real LTTE Resurgence in the North?

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Two pistol shots rang out in the afternoon of Thursday March 13th 2014 at house No. 5 of the Indian Housing scheme in Musalampitty in the Puliyampokkanai area of Tharmapuram region in Kilinochchi district. A fifty year old Police officer named Ratnakumara attached to the Terrorism Investigation Division(TID)was injured. The man suspected of firing the shots from a 9 mm handgun was 31 year old Ponniah Selvanayagam Kajeepan alias Gobi a former intelligence operative of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). [DBSJ]

Mar 16 – 22:

Tamil doctor ‘was pressured to recant war reports by Sri Lanka’

By Saroj Pathirana | BBC Sinhala Service

A doctor who worked in Sri Lanka’s combat zone in the final days of the civil war has told the BBC he was forced by the government to recant his claims about casualty figures.

Sri Lanka’s army defeated the Tamil Tiger separatist rebels in May 2009. [BBC]

Human Rights Defenders Ruki Fernando and Rev.Fr. Praveen Mahesan Released From Custody by the Police Terrorism Investigation Divison

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Two Sri Lankan Human Rights defenders who were detained and arrested under provisions of the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act(PTA)have been now released.Though held for more than 48 hours and interrogated without access to lawyers or relatives ,the respected human rights activists were released without any charges being filed against them [DBSJ]

Human Rights Defenders Ruki Fernando, Rev Fr.Praveen Mahesan Arrested in Kilinochchi and Detained in Vavuniya to be Brought to Colombo For Further Interrogation under PTA by TID Police

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Two prominent Sri Lankan Human Rights Defenders who were detained and questioned at Kilinochchi by officials of the Police Terrorism Investigation Division(TID) on Sunday March 16th night were reportedly brought down to Vavuniya in the early hours of Monday March 17th night.They are to be transferred to Colombo for further interrogation by TID officials. [DBSJ]

Human rights activists Ruki Fernando & Fr Praveen arrested in Kilinochchi [Tweet Via - @CFHaviland]

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Tamil activist detained in Sri Lanka

The police in Sri Lanka have arrested a prominent Tamil activist who has been campaigning against political disappearances.

They say the woman, Jeyakumari Balendran, was arrested with her young daughter on suspicion of harbouring a criminal. [BBC]

Is the TNA Genuinely Calling For An International Probe Into LTTE Conduct During the War?

By D.B.S.JEYARAJ

The Tamil National Alliance(TNA)regarded as the premier political configuration of the Sri Lankan Tamils issued a public statement last week after “careful consideration to the draft resolution on Sri Lanka proposed at the 25th sessions of the Human Rights Council by the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Mauritius”.

The TNA statement jointly signed by its Parliamentary Group Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan M.P.and Northern Province Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran stated “ We therefore welcome the fact that the draft resolution envisages the establishment of an international investigation led by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, both in respect of war-time abuses committed by both sides and violations of human rights throughout the country since the end of the war”. [DBSJ]

Mar 9-15:

Climate Change; the Sri Lankan Farmer’s nightmare

by Thulasi Muttulingam

“Vaanmuhil valaathu peiha…”

May the rains fall correctly in the right seasons… goes an ancient Tamil prayer. The Tamils have always been an agrarian community and still are, in most areas of Sri Lanka and India. The rains however did not fall ‘correctly’ this season. Drought has hit Sri Lanka and the worst hit areas are the North and East.

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“Our harvest this season has been particularly bad due to the drought. We are very far from our targeted achievement in harvest outputs and fear food insecurity. However we are confident the Central Government will step in to supply the deficit,” says P. Ayngaranesan, Minister of Agriculture of the Northern Provincial Council. [MJ]

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‘UNHRC has an opportunity to establish an international mechanism in the 25th session’ – USTPAC

United States Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC) urges UN member states to establish an international commission of inquiry on Sri Lanka to investigate international crimes, including that of genocide

25th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Geneva

Item 3 – Interactive Dialogue with SASG on Prevention of Genocide

Organization: Pasumai Thaayagam

Presenter: Dhamayanthi Rajendra

UN Draft Resolution on Sri Lanka takes a more comprehensive approach

Full Text of Media Release – by National Peace Council

The draft resolution on Sri Lanka to be taken for vote at the 25th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva is now in circulation. It proposes an international monitoring of Sri Lanka’s domestic accountability process and calls on the UN Human Rights Commissioner’s Office to do investigations on its own. In addition, the draft resolution calls for the establishment of a truth seeking mechanism and national policy to hold individuals accountable for violations of international law. [TW]

Flip & Read: Monsoon Journal-March 2014 Print Edition-Published from Toronto, Canada

♫ Celebration of International Women’s Day ♫ In the Praising & Spirited Words of Womanhood by Bharathiyar

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His poem “We will destroy the idiocy of denigrating womanhood!” is renowned as the spirit of many activists. An article in The Hindu, Bharathi, A Class Apart says – “His poems and works are capable of creating a sense of upliftment and values whenever they are recalled.” [TW]

UN Rights Official Calls for Investigation into Ukraine, Sri Lanka

by Lisa Schlein| March 06, 2014

GENEVA — The top U.N. human rights official is calling for independent international investigations into human rights violations in Ukraine and Sri Lanka. Navi Pillay highlighted these two key issues in her annual report on human rights crises around the world. [VOA News]

Mar 2 – 8:

Myanmar’s Tamils seek to protect their identity

By Swaminathan Natarajan | BBC Tamil, Myanmar

People of Indian origin make up of roughly 2% of Myanmar’s 55-million population, but the experiences of Tamil people – who comprise the largest group – have veered from one extreme to the other in the past 200 years.

There is a visible bond between Buddhism and Hinduism in many Hindu temples-pic courtesy: BBC Tamil

There is a visible bond between Buddhism and Hinduism in many Hindu temples-pic courtesy: BBC Tamil

After independence in 1948, the introduction of land reforms, the imposition of the Burmese language and the decision to give preferential treatment to the majority Burmese community pushed Tamils down in the social hierarchy. [BBC]

In a letter to the UN, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, representing human rights activists, has appealed for a commission of inquiry in Sri Lanka

By DESMOND TUTU

We, concerned individuals and organisations from around the world, urge the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to use their March 2014 session to pass a resolution that will include a commitment to an independent international investigation in the form of a commission of inquiry in Sri Lanka. Only this will help put the country on the path to justice and reconciliation. [mg.co.za]

Revival of theater in Jaffna – Sri Lanka North

By Thulasi Muttulingam

Theater in Jaffna as of now means only one thing; the cinema. Vijay’s new releases play to packed halls but thespians and playwrights suffer from lack of support. “There was a time, before the war, when plays were performed and enjoyed popular support here,” says Johnson Rajkumar, a drama and theater teacher and Deputy Director at CPArts Jaffna. “However now, people are more used to cinema than the theater. They have to be re-acclimatized to this art form, which is what we are trying to do.” [MJ]

US Draft Resolution on Sri Lanka at UNHRC Calls for Probe by UN Human Rights Commissioner Through Special Rapporteurs into Abuses by Both Sides

by Dharisha Bastians

A first draft of the third and toughest US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council calls for an investigation into alleged abuses by both parties to the conflict to be led by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Navi Pillay. [DBSJ]

A food crisis waiting to happen

by MEERA SRINIVASAN

With the monsoon failing, the fisheries sector not showing much promise, and disputes over water sharing, northern Sri Lanka seems to be heading toward a food crisis

Ketheeswaran’s crops have never failed this way.

Walking along his field which sprouts harvest-ready paddy and some rough-edged weeds, he directs his workers who are operating the harvest machines for the season’s paddy yield that, he says, has fallen drastically. “I usually get 450 bags after Mahabogam [the main harvest season of Sri Lanka] but have barely managed 140 this time.” [The Hindu]

Address by Minister of State Yelich to the High Level Segment of the 25th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council

In Sri Lanka, we regret the unwillingness of the [Sri Lankan] government to engage constructively on the substance of various reports or to take genuine steps for reconciliation and accountability. Previous internal mechanisms have, regrettably, remained secret, partial or unfulfilled, and the continued inability to acknowledge what has occurred, combined with increasing rights violations and abuses, will not only continue to damage the rule of law and democracy in this vibrant country but will risk undermining economic gains and a return to instability. In the absence of credible actions by the Government of Sri Lanka, Canada supports the call for an international inquiry mechanism. [international.gc.ca]

Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka: UNHRC action remains crucial

by The International Crisis Group | 28 Feb 2014

This briefing note draws on Crisis Group’s extensive reporting on post-war political developments in Sri Lanka, as well as recent interviews with a range of Sri Lankan stakeholders. [ICG]

U.N. resolution makes us uncomfortable: Rajapaksa

by MEERA SRINIVASAN

Expressing Sri Lanka’s discomfort with the United States-sponsored resolution to come up in Geneva in a month, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday said: “We are uncomfortable with the whole resolution…there should not be a resolution at all.” [The Hindu]

Feb 23 – Mar 1:

The art of dancing that rid worries ♫ sings M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar ♫

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Mayavaram Krishnamurthy Thyagaraja Bhagavathar (1 March 1901 – 1 November 1959) is considered as the First Superstar of the Tamil Moviedom:

♫ Mahasivarathri, Spiritual night of Lord Siva

“♫ Dheena Karunakarane Nadaraja ♫”

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Mahasivarathri (“great night of Lord Siva”) is celebrated on February 27th this year – 2014; it falls on the fourteenth day of the lunar fortnight. Mahasivarathri is considered the most important day for the devotees of Lord Shiva, and there are special celebrations at Sivan temples. [TW]

D.B.S. Jeyaraj’s Journey Home: Journalist in Exile Visits Sri Lanka for the First Time in 25 Years

Marianne David Interviews DBS Jeyaraj for DailyFT

Pix by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Introduction

Forced into exile 25 years ago and compelled to stay away in order to stay alive, journalist D.B.S. Jeyaraj always dreamt of returning to Sri Lanka. That flame of hope flickered occasionally, as the war dragged on and then escalated despite intermittent ceasefires, but he never let it go out entirely. [DBSJ]

Festering wounds of Sri Lanka’s war

On the fifth anniversary of the end of the war in Sri Lanka, major challenges remain unresolved

by Amarnath Amarasingam

“The shells fell like rain,” Ajanthan tells me. He laughs now talking about it, but it’s not a laughter that I recognise. It’s a laughter of sheer astonishment that he even survived to tell the tale. Ajanthan joined the Tamil Tigers in 2006 after the rebels instituted a one-person-per-family draft. “My younger brothers were all in school,” he tells me. “My older brother had already been with the Tigers in the 1990s, and was now married. So, I joined.” [AJE]

Jayalalithaa Jayaram: From Alluring Actress to Powerful Politician

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Ms.Jayalalithaa Jayaram is celebrating her 66th Birthday on February 24th. A condensed version of an article written on the occasion of her 60th birthday in 2008 is being reproduced here) [DBSJ]

False Assertion of Armed Conflict with LTTE being “a Humanitarian Operation with Zero Casualties” by Govt has resulted in Geneva Stranglehold on Regime

by Vishnuguptha

Never has an international organization or the United Nations, International Labor Organization, World Bank or the International Monitory Fund, managed to irritate a Sri Lankan government or the ruling clan the way United Nations Human Rights Council has done, controlling the psyche and the process of physical preparation and execution of work with regard to the alleged human rights violations during the closing stages of the armed conflict between Sri Lankan security forces and armed militants of the Tamil terrorist groups led by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE). [DBSJ]

Feb 16-22:

The British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, John Rankin, paid an official visit to Jaffna from 19-20 February, 2014.

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Seven Things That The North Indian Media Prejudiced About Tamil Society Should Know About Tamils in Tamil Nadu

Be it the political, social or cultural preference of Tamils, the majority sentiment is rarely reflected by the North Indian media.

Here are 7 things listed by one of those suppressed Tamil voices you will never get to hear from the studios of Times Now, NDTV, or CNN IBN. [DBSJ]

India’s supreme court says Rajiv Gandhi killers cannot be released

Supreme court steps in to prevent release of death row trio convicted of murder of former prime minister in 1991 [GuardianUK]

CTC Awarded $53,000 in Successful Defamation Lawsuit Against Rohan Gunaratna

In his written reasons, Justice Firestone stated, among other things, “the statements were clearly defamatory, either directly or by innuendo, because they imply CTC is involved in the commission of violent and illegal activity.” He further stated, “it is unequivocal and uncontroverted that these statements were, in fact, false and untrue”. [CTC]

TN Govt to release all 7 convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case

The Tamil Nadu Government today decided to release all the seven convicts serving life term in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, a day after the Supreme Court commuted the death penalty of three convicts. [The Hindu]

Rajapaksa Regime Rattled by 20 Page Damning Report Formulated by UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay

A damning 20-page report from United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner Navi Pillay became the subject of close scrutiny by the UPFA Government this week. Pillay’s office urged the Government, as is the practice, to respond to the contents of this 74-point report — the precursor to the United States backed latest resolution on Sri Lanka next month — within a week. [DBSJ]

Relatives search for Sri Lanka’s missing

Charles Haviland reports from the commission in Jaffna.

Relatives of missing people in Sri Lanka have flocked to testify at a new commission set up to examine the issue of the missing.

The island has thousands of outstanding unsolved cases of disappearance, many, though not all, of people suspected of involvement with the Tamil Tigers. [BBC]

Kamal Haasan’s tribute to Balu Mahendra

by Kamal Haasan

In a village full of wise men, an educated man is more useful. Balu Mahendra was that educated man. Not that we didn’t have cinema knowledge, but it was a new medium, and people were trying to superimpose their previously acquired knowledge of theatre and literature on an absolutely new medium, that had another kind of glamour. [The Hindu]