NFR: Tamil Education Director killed for speaking against Govt orders

December 31, 2010 Comments Off on NFR: Tamil Education Director killed for speaking against Govt orders

Nidhasana News (30/12) – Tamil Education Director Killed for Speaking Against Sinhala Only National Anthem; A Sri Lankan Right Group Says

A Sri Lankan Right Group condemned the recent murder of Jaffna Deputy Education Director who criticized government’s decision to abolish Tamil version of National Anthem.

“Killing a person for expressing his disapproval of such a policy is not only a violation of his freedom of expression but also of his right to life.” Networking for Rights (NfR) said in a statement.

“…52-year-old Markandu Sivalingam, the Deputy Director of Education is reported to have openly criticized this decision of the government which had issued a circular directing that the National Anthem should be sung only in Sinhala at the ceremony and had disapproved the call for the participation of school children at the ceremony” statement says further.

Meanwhile quoting “media sources” pro-LTTE Tamilnet says the assassination has been planned by Sri Lankan forces.

BBC banned from reporting for the 3rd time

December 31, 2010 Comments Off on BBC banned from reporting for the 3rd time

BBC – Sri Lanka bans BBC again from war inquiry panel

The BBC has been banned for a third time from covering an official panel’s investigation into the final phase of the Sri Lankan civil war.

The panel visited Tamil prisoners at a top-security jail in Boosa in the south of the country.

But the BBC correspondent and a number of Sri Lankan journalists were turned away at the prison gates.

The 26-year conflict ended in May last year with victory for government forces over the Tamil Tiger separatists.

Amnesty concerned for fate of 10 Tamils rejected by ASIO

December 31, 2010 Comments Off on Amnesty concerned for fate of 10 Tamils rejected by ASIO

The Australian (31/12) – Amnesty pleads for Tamil asylum-seekers left in limbo

TAMIL asylum-seekers given adverse security assessments by ASIO should not be repatriated to Sri Lanka, where they face persecution.

So said human rights watchdog Amnesty International yesterday.

Amnesty’s concern follows calls by the Refugee Council of Australia for the government to explain whether ASIO’s adverse assesssments against Tamil asylum-seekers is linked to advice from Sri Lankan military intelligence.

Refugee advocates are concerned about the fate of 10 Tamil refugees from the Oceanic Viking who are in limbo in emergency accommodation in Romania. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has upheld their claims for refugee status.

Thank you, for listening to my story

December 31, 2010 Comments Off on Thank you, for listening to my story

SMH (29/12) –  One man’s struggle to find a safe place to live

by Steven Glass

It is obvious, when I first meet Reza*, that his life has been difficult. You can see it in his eyes, in his furrowed brow, in the lines deeply etched in his face. He is not yet 40, but he appears perhaps two decades older. Still, he holds himself erect and smiles as he shakes my hand when I meet him in the interview rooms at the Curtin Immigration Detention Centre in Western Australia’s far north.

The rooms are small and bare, but they are air-conditioned, so they provide welcome relief from the oppressive 42-degree heat outside, where the sun is unrelenting.

Both Reza’s smile and the sense of respite are short-lived, as we get down to the business of preparing his application for an Australian protection visa. Reza is a Hazara, a member of a small and distinct ethnic and religious minority in Afghanistan, who many in that country accuse of being “foreigners” and “infidels”. They have been persecuted for generations. Reza tells me about his family’s farm, a modest patch of ground. He tells me of the nomadic Pashtun people, the Kuchi, who enter the village every few years and graze their cattle on his farm, leaving the family penniless. Sometimes they burn down houses in the village. I hear about the threats and extortion inflicted by the Taliban. His eyes mist up as he tells me of the courage of his brother who, a few years ago, refused to pay bribes to the Taliban. His brother was not seen for the next three weeks; his corpse simply appeared one day near the local bazaar.

Indias attempts to loosen China's grips on SL

December 31, 2010 § 1 Comment

Express Buzz (30/12) – India-Lanka sea lane pact to ease China’s grip

The agreement between India and Sri Lanka to jointly safeguard the sea lanes in the region, which was reached at a meeting between the Indian and Lankan Defence Secretaries here on Monday, is significant for two reasons, according to observers here.

First of all, it represents a realisation in the two countries that their navies will have to collaborate to stem attempt by pirates or terrorists to disrupt shipping in the vital sea lanes South of India and Sri Lanka. The declaration that protection of sea lanes will henceforth “inform” bilateral discussions on defence cooperation, underscores the centrality of the issue.

The 26/11 attack had created in India an awareness of the threat from sea-borne terrorists. As for Sri Lanka, it had spent 30 years fighting a terror group that had a formidable naval arm.

Is ASIO using the SL Govt for info?

December 30, 2010 Comments Off on Is ASIO using the SL Govt for info?

The Australian (30/12) – Push to accept last of Viking refugees

POLITICAL pressure is mounting on the Gillard government to justify adverse security assessments against 10 Oceanic Viking refugees.

The 10 have been detained for more than a year in Romania despite being promised early resettlement to end the maritime standoff.

Yesterday, a leading refugee lawyer demanded the government come clean and confirm whether the ASIO determination followed back-channel advice from Sri Lankan military intelligence.

The government says it is working closely with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to resettle the Romanian-based Sri Lankans, who include two young children.

The Australian (18/12) – Minister seeks alternative country for Oceanic Viking Tamils

History repeats as Tamil is again forbidden

December 29, 2010 Comments Off on History repeats as Tamil is again forbidden

BBC (28/12) – Sri Lanka Tamil national anthem row reignites

Tamil politicians in Sri Lanka have criticised a decision to make school children in the northern town of Jaffna sing the national anthem in Sinhala.

They say it is “totally wrong” to make people sing in Sinhala when people in the north and east mostly speak Tamil.

Earlier this month, a Tamil minister in the Sri Lankan cabinet denied reports that the Tamil version of the anthem had been abolished.

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