January 28, 2012 Comments Off on Our final post. Thank you. Please be assured our work will continue.
Three years ago, on 27th January 2009, we began Tamil Justice, as the very first bombs of the Sri Lankan Government fell on our homeland – Tamil Eelam.
As the international community silently watched the bloodbath of our loved ones, seven young Australian Tamils began a hunger strike in Sydney to ask the Australian Government to speak out against the massacre unfolding in the island of Sri Lanka.
What began as a way for us to document international reaction, Tamil diaspora activism and reports of the horrific and devastating atrocities taking place against the Tamil people of Sri Lanka, transformed into a platform of information for diaspora Tamils, journalists and politicians.
It also became a way for us to channel our sadness, frustration and anger as we helplessly watched our people get massacred.
Over the 3 years we have made 2895 posts and had 19594 views. We believe It is the most comprehensive archive of the activism that took place in Australia during and after the war.
Today as we end this part of our work, be assured that our efforts will continue through other forms.
We thank all those who have given us words of encouragement and advice to make this blog a success.
There is still so much to do. We have only just started.
– Tamil Justice team
January 24, 2012 Comments Off on 2012 Human Rights Watch Report on Sri Lanka
The aftermath of Sri Lanka’s quarter century-long civil war, which ended in May 2009 with the defeat of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), continued to dominate events in 2011. In April United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a report by a panel of experts that concluded that both government forces and the LTTE conducted military operations “with flagrant disregard for the protection, rights, welfare and lives of civilians and failed to respect the norms of international law.” The panel recommended the establishment of an international investigative mechanism. Sri Lankan officials responded by vilifying the report and the panel members.
The government has failed to conduct credible investigations into alleged war crimes by security forces, dismissing the overwhelming body of evidence as LTTE propaganda. The government’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), characterized as a national accountability mechanism, is deeply flawed, does not meet international standards for such commissions, and has failed to systematically inquire into alleged abuses.
In August the government allowed emergency regulations in place for nearly three decades to lapse, but overbroad detention powers remained in place under other laws and new regulations. Several thousand detainees continue to be held without trial, in violation of international law.
January 3, 2012 Comments Off on Update on SL News
Global Post – Sri Lanka: new test of India’s global influence
Deccan Chronicle – ‘The Tamil diaspora does not want peace’
New York Times (Opinion) – Sri Lanka’s Ghosts of War
Official Government News Portal of Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka Government ready to discuss scopes on Police, land powers with TNA – Govt Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella
India Ministry of External Affairs – Report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission of Sri Lanka
BBC Sinhala – 26,000 not resettled due to HSZ
BBC Sinhala – India cannot dictate terms says Govt
Sky News Australia – Sri Lankan MP held over Briton’s death
Deccan Chronicle – Tamils to blame for Lanka solution delay: Rajapaksa
Deccan Chronicle – ‘For Lanka, India comes first’
Counter Punch – A Brief Assessment – Sri Lanka’s Truth Commission
Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice – Lessons learned?
The Economic Times – Lankan lessons: War crimes and Rajapaksa regime
The Sunday Leader – Tamils, Indians, The LLRC Report And Rajapaksa Politics
Xinhua News – Sri Lanka’s PM commends China for strong support
Asian Human Rights Commission – SRI LANKA: Extravagance — national pride to continue in 2012 as well?
Asian Human Rights Commission – SRI LANKA: The New Year Wish List- 2012
December 13, 2011 Comments Off on Because I am Tamil…
New Matilda (28/11) by Brami Jegan
As Tamils gathered this week to remember those who died in the civil war, the call for an independent investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka is getting louder, writes Brami Jegan
Yesterday I joined hundreds of thousands of Tamils across the world — in the UK, France, Germany Switzerland, America and India — to remember those who died in the 26-year struggle for our independence. It was day of haunting sadness.
The day is called “Maaveerar Naal”. Veerar in Tamil means “warrior or hero”. Maa means “great”. Naal means “day”.
It is held each year on 27 November, the date the first Tamil Tiger, Shankar, died in combat in 1982. I was two years old.
Alongside 2000 Tamils at a park in Silverwater in Sydney’s west, I wept for the 40,000 Tamils that were massacred by the Sri Lankan Government in 2009. I paid my respects to those who sacrificed their lives for my freedom.
I remembered the months of paralysing fear my family went through while my father was in the former conflict zone. I went to bed each night petrified of waking up to news he had been killed in an aerial attack by Sri Lankan Kfir jets or drones.
I honoured my dearest friend K, and the hours of laughter we shared together. A night I will never forget is when we sat under monsoon stars in Tamil Eelam in 2006, talking about life and love, war and peace till 4am in the morning. He kept the electricity generator running for me, even though it would have cost him more than he could afford because he knew I was scared of the dark. He died fighting for my identity.
The Sri Lankan Government is on a witchhunt to silence anyone that dares speak out about theatrocities committed against the Tamils. I have the honour of being on their list. This has only strengthened my resolve.
When people ask me where I am from, I say “I am Tamil”. I am not a Sri Lankan. A regime that has brutalised, terrorised and murdered, does not speak in my name.
The Mahavamsa, the great chronicle of Sri Lanka, is interpreted by the country’s rulers as“proving” that Sri Lanka is a Sinhalese Buddhist island. It can equally be read as the story of how the Sinhalese and Tamils founded the country together. In the story, the Tamil King Elara ruled with equal justice and was accepted by both communities.
As a diaspora Tamil I have struggled to understand my privileged place in the west. There is nothing I want that I can’t have. But since I first returned to Sri Lanka in 2002, I have had no peace of mind.
At the age of 22 I came face to face with the horrors of war: orphaned children; adults and children who had lost their arms, legs and eyesight; Tamil women who had been raped by the Sri Lankan army; men who had been tortured. The memories are endless and terrifying.
How do I reconcile my fortunate life with these stories? How do I explain to my western friends the pain and suffering I have witnessed? How do I not let their pain become a part of me?
I feel incredibly lost in post-war Sri Lanka as do many other diaspora Tamils. What is our role now?
Two and a half years ago genocide was committed against the Tamils of Sri Lanka and the entire international community did nothing to stop it.
The horrifying images of war crimes and crimes against humanity shown in Channel Four’s ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ were a stark wake up call to the world. The broader understanding and perception of the Tamil struggle is shifting.
UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, our former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser have come out strongly in favour of an independent war crimes tribunal for Sri Lanka. As has the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts, Amnesty International, International Crisis Group, and Human Rights Watch.
Shamefully our Prime Minister and Foreign Minister won’t add their voice to this call for an independent investigation.
I don’t know if there will ever be an independent war crimes tribunal for Sri Lanka. But the Arab Spring has shown the world that anything is possible. Hope must continue in some form.
The war no longer defines me. But the struggle forever will. I am a Tamil and with that comes a responsibility. A responsibility to myself, to my father, to K and to the Maveerars to honour the sacrifices and strength of my ancestors: “Because you died, we continue to live”.
December 13, 2011 Comments Off on Sydney Maveerar Naal
November 8, 2011 Comments Off on Tamils continue to be tortured in SL
Channel 4 – Sri Lanka ‘still torturing’ Tamils
Sri Lanka’s civil war ended with “credible” evidence that war crimes were committed. Now Channel 4 News can reveal mounting evidence that the government is still torturing Tamil prisoners.
November 8, 2011 Comments Off on As a Tamil refugee commits suicide, former Aust. diplomat criticises ASIO
ABC Unleashed – Time to clear up some security clearance doubts
The security clearance industry is just that – an industry.
In theory and more often in practice the more sophisticated a society the more efficient and streamlined is the process for obtaining a security clearance.
Record keeping – births, deaths and marriages – school, trade and university qualifications, police records, military service records and media interventions, mentions and appearances, all assist in building a profile. Couple this with an efficient filing and retrieval system and obtaining a security clearance should be neither difficult nor lengthy.
Where things start to unravel is when some or many of the prerequisites listed above are not kept on file or are missing from file. Add to this sloppy record keeping and matters become a bit hit or miss. Further add in corruption and the process ceases to function…
Bruce Haigh is a political commentator and retired diplomat who served in Sri Lanka.
SMH Opinion Editorial – Vaunted values too slow to save neglected son from fatal despair
An open letter to ‘Shooty’, who committed suicide in Villawood detention centre last week.
I’ve just watched our Prime Minister talking about shared Commonwealth values in Perth. My mind turned at once to you and your solitary, late-night death in Villawood detention centre last week…
…At CHOGM, the high table of Commonwealth values, Sri Lanka went un-punished for atrocities against Tamils. But even when the Tamil human-shield civilians were being blasted at the end of the Sri Lankan war between the government and the Tigers, we all knew some people like you would inevitably come to Australia. Good old John Dowd, who is head of our local chapter of the International Commission of Jurists, had already called for the trial of the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia for war crimes against your people. This just cry, like most just cries these days, has penetrated the stratosphere and vanished into space.
Amnesty International has reported death and torture of those asylum seekers returned to Sri Lanka. Of course, none of those accusations made it to the high table of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Mateship. The only person who said anything of note at CHOGM, anything that tried to push out the envelope of concern, was the Queen…
Tom Keneally, AO, is the Booker prize-winning author of Schindler’s Ark. ‘Shooty’ committed suicide in Villawood detention centre last week.