October 27, 2009 Comments Off on Report proves crimes against humanity
The Guardian – Stop Sri Lanka’s crimes
The US is the latest country to join the ever-growing list of nations that condemn Sri Lanka for its violations of international humanitarian law, crimes against humanity and related harms in its fight against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
The government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) is complicit in almost all the acts listed in the Rome statute of the international criminal court in its definition of crimes against humanity, according to evidence in a report published by the US state department for Congress on 22 October.
The report highlights deaths due to starvation as a result of the government’s restriction of supplies. It also indicates that the supply of medicines to the injured, disabled and sick was restricted. None were spared.
Satellite images show hospitals being targeted, and there are images which indicate heavy weapon usage, aerial bombing and cluster bombs. Eyewitness accounts outline the targeting of civilian areas and surrendering unarmed combatants being shot in cold blood. Video evidence shows alleged military executions of young naked men.
Who would argue against a damning report? Only Sri Lanka. More
September 17, 2009 Comments Off on Sri Lankan war: the disappeared (16 pictures)
September 17, 2009 Comments Off on Tamil medic describes camp conditions
Channel 4 : Tamil medic describes camp conditions
British medic Damilvany Gnanakumar, detained for four months in one of Sri Lanka’s Tamil internment camps, describes to Jonathan Miller the bleakness of the conditions she found there.
A senior UN official has arrived in Sri Lanka to put pressure on the government over the detention of tens of thousands of Tamil refugees in camps following the 25-year civil war.
The Sri Lankan government says it need to weed out Tamil Tiger fighters at the camps before most of the inmates can be released.
Our foreign affairs correspondent Jonathan Miller has talked to a British Tamil who knows how bleak conditions are in the camps, after being detained in one of them for four months.
“Dead bodies everywhere,” recalls Damilvany Gnanakumar. “Wherever you turn round, it’s dead bodies.”
She estimates that 20,000 civilians may have died in the final five-day onslaught by Sri Lankan government forces – a figure also cited by some relief agencies, but one dismissed as unsubstantiated by Sri Lanka.
And she says many people inside the camps are dismayed that the world has done so little to help. “After all this happened, they lost their trust… They don’t feel safe to speak out.
“They don’t trust the international (community) now because they think OK, all this happened – nothing happened, the international (community) didn’t come and help us.”
September 17, 2009 Comments Off on London Tamils live in fear of being deported
Local Guardian – Hounslow Tamils ‘terrified to speak out’
A Hounslow Tamil is urging the Government to stop leaving his fellow islanders in limbo, after reports of Tamils being deported despite officials accusing Sri Lankan authorities of human rights violations.
Former asylum seeker Rajsh Kumar, now a legal adviser at Hounslow Tamil Community Centre (TCC), said many Hounslow Tamils were still waiting for court dates to claim asylum, while others were terrified they would be deported if they could not prove their life would be in danger if they returned.
He said: “These people are terrified to speak out.
“They are often too scared to even speak to me.
“A Tamil came to see me and he has been sleeping rough as he can not work because of his immigration status. He is drinking and has many social problems – all because he has been waiting for 10 years to find out about his status.
“Many others are scared they will have to return. If they are sent back and arrested for so-called crimes they will just disappear because there is no legal system in Sri Lanka now.
“You must remember there has been 40 years of fighting, they have been living with this for that long.
“How can the Government say on one hand these people can not prove persecution while being critical of the situation in Sri Lanka? People are left in limbo, not knowing if they have to go back or when.
“If the Government gave people a timeline to say you will go back in 2010 or 2015, there would not be such social problems.”
In July, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) called on all governments not to return asylum seekers from the north, as normality had yet to return, despite the end of the war between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government.
Thavarani Nagulendran, of TCC, claimed the UK authorities deported at least 12 Sri Lankans, most of them Tamils, in July and said she knew of 50 Tamils facing deportation.
The UK has been highly critical of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka as security forces intensified fighting against the rebels before declaring victory in May.
A Home Office spokesman said it would not comment on individual asylum applications and each application was assessed on its individual merits.
He added: “At the moment we are assisting with voluntary returns but we have not enforced the return of any failed asylum seekers.”
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September 11, 2009 § 1 Comment
By Easwaran Rutnam
The British High Commission in Colombo yesterday refused visas to outgoing Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona and former Deputy Tourism Minister and MP Arjuna Ranatunga, government sources told Daily Mirror last night.
According to well informed sources Dr. Kohona and Mr. Ranatunga had submitted their passports to the British High Commission for a visa to London but to their surprise the passports were returned without any valid reason for turning down their visa applications.
Protesters spray political messages on the wall of the British High Commission during a demonstration in central Colombo May 18, 2009-Reuters pic.
The Foreign Ministry’s Chief of Protocol, through whom Dr. Kohona’s passport was forwarded to the British High Commission, later sought an explanation for returning the passport but a High Commission official had reportedly told the Foreign Office that the Foreign Secretary should be personally present at the High Commission to obtain the visa.
However the Foreign Ministry had insisted that Dr. Kohona had no reason to be personally present at the High Commission to obtain the visa as he was the Foreign Secretary of the Country, government sources told Daily Mirror online.
The Foreign Ministry had later again sought a visa to London for the Foreign Secretary, but the second attempt too was rejected with the High Commission saying there was not enough time to process the visa.
An angry Foreign Ministry, which insisted that the application was given with 24 hours notice, had made several attempts to contact the British High Commissioner and his Deputy to seek their intervention but they could not be contacted over the telephone, the government said.
The government is of the view the British High Commission had violated diplomatic protocols by rejecting a visa for the Foreign Secretary and parliamentarian Arjuna Ranatunga and felt this had further strained relations between Britain and Sri Lanka.
Dr. Kohona left the country late last night to take up his new post at the United Nations as the Permanent Representative to Sri Lanka.
Government sources said Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama was expected to summon the British High Commissioner Dr. Peter Hayes today to seek an explanation over the visa rejection, particularly to the Foreign Secretary.
Earlier Attorney General Mohan Peiris was also inconvenienced by the British High Commission which asked him to appear in person for an interview to grant a visa.
Attempts by Daily Mirror to contact the British High Commission spokesman for a comment on the incident were futile.
COURTESY: DAILY MIRROR
September 11, 2009 Comments Off on Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary denied a UK visa
|Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary denied a UK visa
|By Easwaran Rutnam
The British High Commission in Colombo had today refused to issue a visa to outgoing Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona, government sources told Daily Mirror online.
The government is of the view the British High Commission has violated diplomatic protocols by rejecting a visa for the Foreign Secretary. Dr. Kohona subsequently left the country tonight to take up his new post at the UN as the Permanent Representative to Sri Lanka.
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama is to summon the British High Commissioner in Colombo Dr. Peter Hayes tomorrow to seek an explanation over the rejection of the visa.
Attempts by the Daily Mirror to contact the spokesman of the British High Commission in Colombo for a comment over the incident were futile.
July 16, 2009 Comments Off on Britain's breathtaking double standard
Opinion piece on jpost.com
Britain’s breathtaking double standard
The decision made this week by the British Foreign Office to cancel export licenses for Israeli warship parts is not the first time Her Majesty’s Government has embargoed arms to Israel…But the UK’s concern for how its military equipment will be put to use by the IDF rings rather hollow when considering the list of other countries to whom the UK has recently supplied arms; countries which have not fallen foul of Westminster’s new “ethical” standards for weapons exports.
In 2008, while the civil war in Sri Lanka was raging, Britain sold $22 million worth of armored vehicles, machine gun parts and semi-automatic pistols to the government in Colombo. During the course of the Sri Lankan army’s assault on the last Tamil Tiger strongholds from January to May this year, approximately 20,000 civilians were killed.
The Foreign Office said of the cancelled Israeli contracts “We do not grant export licenses where there is a clear risk that arms will be used for external aggression or internal repression.” The Sri Lankan army appears to have killed more than 40 times the number of civilians in its campaign against the Tamil Tigers than were killed in the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza earlier this year, but we have yet to hear of any restrictions on British arms exports to Sri Lanka…
Read full article here.
May 15, 2009 § 1 Comment
BBC : Sri Lanka warned on ‘war crimes’
The UK has told Sri Lanka it may face a potential war crimes probe over deaths of civilians in the island’s conflict, a Foreign Office minister has said.
Comments made by UK Parliamentarians:
– Bill Rammell: Britain backed an early inquiry into shelling by government forces fighting Tamil Tiger separatist rebels.
– Keith Vaz appealed for UK intervention to stop the conflict.
– members demanded for diplomatic relations be broken off with Sri Lanka.
– Bill Rammell: We would support an early investigation into all incidents that may have resulted in civilian casualties.
– Bill Rammell: the message from the UK government was that the “killing has to stop”.
“The use of heavy weapons in an area of such intense civilian occupation will inevitably lead to civilian casualties, making it very difficult to comply with the requirements under international law to minimise civilian casualties.”
“We would support an early investigation into all incidents that may have resulted in civilian casualties, particularly the reported shelling of hospitals, to determine whether war crimes have been committed.”
– Andrew Dismore: suggested it was “time the rest of the world turned their back on the Sri Lankan government, isolated them and held them to account”.
– Bill Rammell said the government had made it “absolutely clear” to Sri Lanka that it supports an investigation on “any allegations of war crimes”.
– Keith Simpson said he supported the government’s efforts and raised concerns about the conditions in the conflict zone.
– Keith Vaz: “We intervened in Kosovo. I accepted the dossier that the then prime minister presented to the House. I voted to intervene in Iraq. I say we cannot stand aside.”
May 13, 2009 Comments Off on UK, France and Austrian Foreign Ministers SLAM Sri Lanka
UK, France and Austrian Foreign Ministers SLAM Sri Lanka, push (on behalf of the European Union) for UN Security Council to address the issue of the Sri Lankan issue, discourage IMF loan to Sri Lanka.
Would these strong words be a sign that some members of the UN and the International Community would now act?
May 13, 2009 § 1 Comment
“During their meeting today, Secretary Clinton and U.K. Foreign Secretary Miliband expressed their profound concern about the humanitarian crisis in northern Sri Lanka caused by the ongoing hostilities. They expressed alarm at the large number of reported civilian causalities over the past several days in the designated “safe” zone.”