Channel 4 – The Sri Lankan soldiers ‘whose hearts turned to stone’
27 July 2011
Exclusive: As the Sri Lankan war approached its endgame, 130,000 civilians were trapped along a small strip of beach. An eyewitness recalls the bloodshed that followed and how civilians were targeted.
Channel 4 – Sri Lanka’s killing fields
14 June 2011
Jon Snow presents a forensic investigation into the final weeks of the quarter-century-long civil war between the government of Sri Lanka and the secessionist rebels, the Tamil Tigers.
Channel 4 – Sri Lanka: evidence of ongoing repression and abuse
20 April 2011
Channel 4 News obtains exclusive footage from the “closed off”corner of northern Sri Lanka, showing evidence of camps, repression and abuse, ahead of the publication of the UN’s report on war crimes.
Channel 4 News – UN leak points to ‘crimes against humanity’ in Sri Lanka War
16 April 2011
A leaked version of the long-awaited report by the United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) panel reveals “credible allegations” of war crimes which – if proven – suggest a “grave assault on the entire regime of international law”.
HRW – Sri Lanka: Account for Wartime Disappearances
April 7, 2011
More Than 20 People Last Seen in Army Custody Remain Missing
(New York) – The Sri Lankan government should account for everyone who was taken into custody at the end of Sri Lanka’s 26-year-long armed conflict in May 2009 and are feared to have been “disappeared,” Human Rights Watch said today. Despite numerous requests from families for information about their relatives, the authorities do not appear to have conducted any serious investigations, Human Rights Watch said.
Human Rights Watch said unresolved enforced disappearances should be part of the mandate of a proposed United Nations investigation into laws-of-war violations by both government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). A Panel of Experts appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to advise him on steps for ensuring accountability for laws-of-war violations in Sri Lanka is expected to hand over its report later in April 2011.
SMH – Australian could face court over Tamil Tigers deaths
22 February 2011
ABC PM – Push to investigate Australian citizen for war crimes
21 February 2011
The International Criminal Court in the Hague overnight received a submission to the Office of the Prosecutor to investigate an Australian citizen for war crimes.
The brief claims that during the last days of Sri Lanka’s civil war the dual Sri Lankan-Australian citizen Dr Palitha Kohona was involved in the murder of three Tamil Tiger leaders who had already surrendered.
The US-based group Tamils Against Genocide has brought the case. They say there’s no way to bring any potential Sri Lankan war criminals to justice in the International Criminal Court. Instead they’re hoping Dr Kohona’s Australian passport will allow a case to proceed.
ABC Radio Asia Pacific Program – Abuse concerns over Sri Lanka envoy nominee
24 January 2011
There is pressure on Australia to reject Sri Lanka’s nominee for its top diplomatic post in Australia because the candidate could be implicated in war crimes during the 2009 offensive that ended the war with Tamil separatists. Neither Sri Lanka’s high commission in Canberra nor the Australian government will discuss the issue. But Sri Lankan news reports say the nominee is the former head of Sri Lanka’s navy, Thisara Samarasinghe. Observers are concerned – this comes at the same time as Sri Lanka’s government has cut off direct talks with a United Nations panel on accountability for war crimes on both sides.
Presenter: Linda Mottram, Canberra correspondent
Speakers: Sam Pari, spokeswoman, Australian Tamil Congress; John Dowd QC, president, International Commission of Jurists (Australia); Bruce Haig, former Australian diplomat
Australia Network News – Envoy anger
24 January 2011
The Age – Concern over Sri Lankan envoy
24 January 2011
US diplomatic cables newly released by Wikileaks are sharply critical of both the Sri Lankan government and the now defeated Tamil Tiger rebels.
The cables dating from 2007 suggest that the state colluded in paramilitary activities including killings, child trafficking and organised prostitution.
Guardian.co.uk – US embassy cables: Sri Lankan government accused of complicity in human rights abuses
16 December 2010
Channel 4 – Wikileaks: US memo accuses Sri Lanka President of war crimes
1 December 2010
Channel 4 – Sri Lanka video is ‘astonishing evidence’
8 December 2010
A leading war crimes lawyer tells Channel 4 News the video apparently showing men taking part in executions in Sri Lanka is “astonishing evidence” and the United Nations must act.
Channel 4 – Sri Lanka ‘war crimes’ video: woman’s body identified
8 December 2010
Channel 4 News can name a woman journalist as one of the victims in the Sri Lanka execution video along with damning new details of the date and location where the video was filmed.
Channel 4 – Who are Sri Lanka Army’s 53 Division?
8 December 2010
The Sri Lanka Ministry of Defence claims 53 Division troops killed Isaipriya, one of the female bodies shown in the video screened by Channel 4 News. But who are they and who was their commander?
The final few days of the 26-year Sri Lanka war – where government troops surrounded and killed the majority of the remaining Tamil Tigers -were marked by vicious fighting.
The so-called “end battle” comprised three divisions of the Sri Lanka Army – 53, 58 and 59 Division.
The Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence website account of the “end battle” suggests their efforts would become a “legend that would be told from generation to generation”, but accusations of war crimes continue to dog both government troops and Tamil Tigers.
These accusations have also been levelled at soldiers pictured in an apparent execution video screened by Channel 4 News last week, however the soldiers remain unidentified.
Channel 4 News has, however, identified one of the bodies pictured in the video as Isaipriya, a Tamil journalist. Her colleague confirmed “100 per cent” that the body seen in the video is that of Isaipriya.
Channel 4 – Sri Lanka Execution video: new war crimes claims
30 November 2010
Channel 4 News reveals new footage of the alleged massacre of Tamil prisoners which promoted a UN investigation last year, as the Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse arrives in London.
AlJazeera – Photos allege Sri Lanka massacre
10 November 2010
ABC24 NewsLine – Former UN spokesperson in Sri Lanka, Gordon Weiss, speaks about the passing of the 18th Amendment in Sri Lanka
15 September 2010
Uniting World – Tamils in Sri Lanka seeking asylum: A need no more?
After UnitingWorld’s the Rev. John Barr returned from visiting the war-torn north of Sri Lanka in June, he described his journey as one of the most challenging and confronting trips he has ever experienced. Here is his reflection.
…My recent journey to the north of the island gave a chilling insight into the issues that thousands of Tamils continue to face. While much of the conflict is over, it is clear that many people have been unable to access their most basic needs. My experience left me questioning whether Tamils are truly safe from harm today…
John Barr is Associate Director for Church Solidarity (Asia)
ABC Radio Australia Asia Pacific – Tamil terrorist claims exaggerated: former UN spokesman
16 July 2010
The former spokesman for the United Nations in Colombo has accused the Sri Lankan government of branding Tamil asylum seekers as terrorists, fearing they might become witnesses in a war crimes tribunal if they are granted asylum in Australia.
The UN has established a panel to investigate whether a war crimes tribunal is appropriate in regards to the last months of Sri Lanka’s civil war, which, ended early last year. Since then 1,129 Sri Lankan asylum seekers have arrived in Australia, with about 30 per cent being granted asylum, 7 per cent being refused and sent back and the rest of the cases still pending. The Australian media this week published comments by a Sri Lankan security analyst, who said up to half of all Tamil asylum seekers had links to the Tamil Tigers, and that the Tamil Tigers had links to Al Qaeda. Former UN spokesman Gordon Weiss, says those claims are false and risk inflaming the debate over immigration in Australia.
Channel 4 – Sri Lanka Tamil killings ‘ordered from the top’
18 May 2010
A senior Sri Lankan army commander and frontline soldier tell Channel 4 News that point-blank executions of Tamils at the end of the Sri Lankan civil war were carried out under orders.
INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP – NEW REPORT
Brussels, 17 May 2010: Newly revealed evidence of war crimes in Sri Lanka last year makes an international inquiry essential.
War Crimes in Sri Lanka ,* the latest report from the International Crisis Group, exposes repeated violations of international law by both the Sri Lankan security forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during the last five months of their 30-year civil war. That evidence suggests that the period of January to May 2009 saw tens of thousands of Tamil civilian men, women, children and the elderly killed, countless more wounded, and hundreds of thousands deprived of adequate food and medical care, resulting in more deaths. Full Report
Human Rights Watch : Sri Lanka: New Evidence of Wartime Abuses
Government Inquiry Inadequate; UN Should Establish International Investigation
May 20, 2010
(New York) – New evidence of wartime abuses by Sri Lankan government forces and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during the armed conflict that ended one year ago demonstrates the need for an independent international investigation into violations of the laws of war, Human Rights Watch said today. Recently Human Rights Watch research gathered photographic evidence and accounts by witnesses of atrocities by both sides during the final months of fighting. Full Report
SBS Dateline : War Stories
28 February 2010
It has been nearly one year since the Sri Lankan government defeated the Tamil Tigers, ending a twenty-seven year civil war. Allegations of war crimes on both sides still divide this country haunted by war. The war is over and that leaves of lot questions unanswered, the former UN Sri Lanka spokesperson stressed. We explore the accusations tearing apart Sri Lanka. The war crimes charges levied against the Sri Lankan government including bombing safe zones and hospitals suggest a determination to simply wipe out as many people as possible commented a UN Special Rapporteur. Witnesses allege that the rebels are also guilty of war crimes; kidnapping and forcing children to fight. We meet the victims of this bitter war and hear their stories as two senior UN officials call for an investigation. We can’t just draw a line under this, a prominent political analyst emphasised. Serious, hard questions of how we could do these things to each other must be investigated.
France24 – Sri Lanka: Tamils on probation
5 February 2010
Six months ago in Sri Lanka, as the last bastion of the Tamil Tigers fell, tens of thousands of civilians who had fled the fighting were detained in refugee camps. Now the Sri Lankan army has given them permission to return home. We went to meet these refugees who have lost everything.
AlJazeera : Disease threat in Sri Lanka camps
12 October 2009
Sri Lanka has rejected claims that the lives of hundreds of thousands of Tamils held in internment camps are in “serious danger” from a looming threat of disease.
But speaking to Al Jazeera, Brad Adams, Asia Director for New York-based Human Rights Watch, reiterated the group’s view that a major humanitarian disaster is likely.
Channel 4 : Tamil medic describes camp conditions
16 September 2009
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.
AlJazeera : The Sri Lankan media war continues
12 September 2009
Channel 4 : Footage reveals Sri Lanka camp conditions
7 September 2009
New film appears to reveal the victims of Sri Lanka’s war suffering poor conditions in UN-funded camps.
Channel 4 : Is this evidence of Sri Lankan ‘war crimes’?
25 August 2009
Channel 4 News shows footage claimed to show Sri Lankan forces executing Tamils earlier this year. Jonathan Miller reports.
Just three months after the Sri Lankan government declared the country liberated from the Tamil Tigers, video footage has emerged apparently showing government troops summarily executing Tamils.
Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka, which obtained the material, said it was filmed in January – when the international media were prevented by the Sri Lankan government from covering the conflict zone.
CNN : Video may show war crimes
27 August 2009
French 24 : Report on Sri Lanka’s camps for refugees
Amnesty International : Injustice fuels Sri Lanka’s cycle of abuse and impunity – Amnesty International
10 June 2009
Al Jazeera: Riz Khan – Normalising Sri Lanka?
5 August 2009
Times UK : Tamil death toll ‘is 1,400 a week’ at Manik Farm camp in Sri Lanka
10 June 2009
About 1,400 people are dying every week at the giant Manik Farm internment camp set up in Sri Lanka to detain Tamil refugees from the nation’s bloody civil war, senior international aid sources have told The Times.
A forum on Human Rights in Sri Lanka and Australia’s Role took place on 16 June 2009 at NSW Parliament, Sydney and 17 June 2009 at Federal Parliament, Canberra.
Hon. John Dowd AO QC, President of the Australian Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and Vice President of the Executive Committee of ICJ Geneva.
Dr. John Whitehall, paediatrician and Associate Professor in Public Health at James Cook University.
Mr. Bruce Haigh, former Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka.
Channel 4 : Fresh claims over Tamil casualties
17 June 2009
Sinhalese Sri Lankans are so relieved their war is over that most appear blinded by patriotism, drunk on victory and deaf to the clamour from outside their island for investigations into possible war crimes. The country’s pliant media speak with one voice, exhorting their loyal compatriots to celebrate this great triumph over terror. But the only terror I saw there was in the eyes of vanquished Tamils.
VBS News : Sri Lanka: Caught in the Cross Fire
For more on the background of the conflict, footage from the front line, and what this whole thing means for the future of South Asia please enjoy this extra-special Ceylonese VBS News special.
The Australian : Tamils fear bout of ethnic cleansing
1 June 2009
In the wake of President Mahinda Rajapakse’s declaration of victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam last month, Sinhalese Sri Lankans danced and waved the national flag, which bears the Sinhalese lion.
Most Tamils stayed behind closed doors. In the town of Trincomalee – part of the eastern province liberated from the Tigers in 2007 – reports emerged of bashings and of Tamil families and businesses being obliged to donate money for a celebration feast.
Channel 4 : Civilian Massacre
Credible sources reveal death toll of Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka.
France 24 : Colombo against international human rights probe
Sri Lanka said it would only allow its own courts – and not international ones – to investigate reported human rights abuses and thousands of civilian deaths during the government’s military campaign against Tamil Tigers, which ended in May.
France 24 : Colombo detains three doctors, witnesses of war on Tamil rebels
After denouncing the UN’s complacency toward civilian casualties in Sri Lanka, French daily Le Monde on Friday ran an article about three doctors who, because they stayed behind to care for the wounded, are now in police custody.
Times UK : Times photographs expose Sri Lanka’s lie on civilian deaths at beach
Times UK : The hidden massacre: Sri Lanka’s final offensive against Tamil Tigers
An investigation by The Times into Sri Lanka’s civilian casualties, however — which was conducted in a week-long visit to Sri Lanka — has found evidence of a civilian death toll of 20,000, almost three times that cited previously. The majority perished under government guns.
ABC : Kicking the ants nest
The Sri Lankan government wants to crush what they term the ‘rebel Tamils’, which is not a prescription for integration of the traumatised Tamils into mainstream Sinhalese society. Sinhalese chauvinism and racism is unlikely to admit Tamils as equals.
The solution was always for a separate Tamil state. However this outcome will need to be negotiated by third parties as the effect of the horrible Sinhalese crushing of the Tamils will spawn another generation of suicide bombers and guerrilla fighters, just as it has done with the Palestinians.
Channel 4 : Grim scenes at Sri Lankan camps
Channel 4 News reports from a camp in the northern Sri Lankan city of Vavuniya, where Tamil refugees have been taken. Shocking claims have emerged of shortages of food and water, dead bodies left where they have fallen, women separated from their families, and even sexual abuse. This programme obtained the first independently filmed pictures from the internment camps set up by the Sri Lankan government to house Tamils who have fled the country’s civil war.
Al Jazeera : Interview: Both sides of the Sri Lankan conflict
What is happening in Sri Lanka’s war zone is practically impossible to verify because independent observers and journalists have little or no access to the area. In an attempt to gain some clarity, Al Jazeera’s Imran Garda spoke to Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, a sokesman for the Sri Lankan military, and Thileepan Parthipan, a representative from the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
Al Jazeera : Sri Lanka admits bombing safe zone
Yet, the why is the UN blocking release of Sri Lanka satellite images?
Could there be pressure from China?
ABC Radio National Breakfast Show: Michel Panayotov, Inrternational Editor interviews Simon Schorno, Spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross and Dr Sam Pari, Spokesperson for the Australian Tamil Community
The fighting in northern Sri Lanka has been described as ‘nothing short of catastrophic’ by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The ICRC is extremely worried about some 50,000 civilians isolated in a narrow coastal strip which has been declared a ‘no-fire zone’ by the government. These civilians are in effect trapped in the middle of a war zone, as Sri Lankan troops launch what is believed to be their final offensive against ailing Tamil Tiger rebels.
• Doctor says 20 people killed and 300 injured
• Sri Lankan military denies attacking civilians
Booker Prize Winner Arundhati Roy writes “Sri Lanka’s war on the Tamils is about racism, not terrorism”
SBS talks to an Australian doctor who reflects on the LTTE
Amid what the Sri Lankan military says is the final stage of an operation to eliminate the LTTE, Dr Whitehall outlined his views to SBS.
SBS Dateline: Hunting the Tigers
Amos Roberts reports from Sri Lanka, where the feared Tamil Tigers are surrounded in small pocket of the country and the government is moving in for the kill. The 25 year old war against the Tigers has seen thousands killed and now an estimated 150,000 civilians are trapped in the middle of this brutal conflict. As Roberts reports, no independent journalists are allowed near the war zone and those who dare criticise the government or the military are either detained or murdered by shadowy forces.
SBS’s Amos Roberts writes in The Australian: Sri Lankan army ranks media freedom low priority
THE sign on the army spokesman’s wall rang the first alarm bells.
Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara had pinned his statement of faith to a map used to brief journalists visiting Sri Lanka: “It’s the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press,” it began. It went on to say the soldier, not politicians, “ensures our right to Life, Freedom and the Pursuit of Happiness”.
Hon. Ian Cohen, NSW Parliament, Member of Legislative Council and Greens Party delivered a speech in NSW Parliament on “Sri Lanka and Tamil Conflict”
“Too many lives have been lost, and each day we keep silent we allow more deaths to occur. It is important that the Government of Australia and the international community recognise that the targeting of a minority has been taking place for decades. What we see taking place today is but a culmination of successive attacks targeting the Tamils. It is important that the Government of Australia and the international community recognise the legitimate grievances of the Tamil people and acknowledge the legitimacy of their struggle for self-determination.”
SBS Radio’s World View Breakfast: Interview with Prof. Damien Kingsbury
Peggy Giakoumelos asks Prof. Kingsbury what he and the other signatories hoped to achieve through the Sri Lankan Crisis Statement.
At least 14 people have been killed in the latest wave of violence in Sri Lanka, when a Tamil suicide bomber blew himself up just south of the capital Colombo. About 70,000 people have died in the Sri Lankan war which has been raging for over two decades Paul O’Callaghan is the Executive Director of the Australian Council for International Development and he thinks the Australian government is not doing enough to put an end to the conflict. He spoke to Catherine Zengerer.
Violence in Sri Lanka is stepping up with reports from the Capital Colombo of fresh fighting between the Sri Lankan Army and the Rebel Group known as the Tamil Tigers. With more suicide bombings and another 50 people killed today, the International Red Cross is warning of an impending humanitarian disaster. Yesterday The Wire reported on calls by the Australian Council for International Development for our own government to step in and assist. But what is really behind the fighting? Tamil groups in Australia say the Tamils are not terrorists, but defending themselves against ethnic cleansing. Catherine Zengerer spoke to Professor John Whitehall, a Queensland Paediatirican who has taken up their cause. Also featured in story: Dr Sam Pari, Tamil Australian Youth Activist.
The Telegraph, UK: Sri Lanka’s war zone – an insider’s testimony
“This attitude towards the UN and its humanitarian mission has very serious implications – not just for the suffering displaced people on the ground who need an effective aid-operation – but because it gives the world another reason not to take at face value the ‘good intentions’ of the Sri Lankan government… The fear – fuelled by the repeated attacks on the Sri Lankan media (most recently the Tamil newspaper editor N Vithyatharan), the refusal to tolerate dissent in Sri Lanka and the often chauvinist rhetoric of key figures in the Sri Lankan government, including the army chief Sarath Fonseka – is that the final settlement will be so discriminatory and demanding of subservience from the Tamil minority that it will amount to a piece of ethnic suppression/cleansing in all but name…Not even in Kosovo in 1998 (before NATO came in) were the Serbs so disrespectful of international UN staff as is the Sri Lankan Army.”
Dr. Varatharajan (top health official working in the conflict zone) talks of Tamil civilians facing a medical dilemma.
SBS Radio: LTTE says it will not surrender, calls for international action
In an exclusive interview with SBS Radio, a spokesman for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, identifying himself as Thileepan, said the civilians did not want to leave the LTTE-controlled area. Mr Thileepan said this was despite a looming humanitarian disaster, caused by severe government restrictions on food and medical supplies going into the area. The spokesman said the LTTE was willing to enter a ceasefire with the Sri Lankan government, but the rebels would not agree to surrender.
BBC HARDTalk: Stephen Sackur talks to Mahinda Samarasinghe , Sri Lankan Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights
The military offensive in the north east of the island has reduced the Tamil militants to a tiny sliver of territory, but at what cost? Has respect for international law, and basic human rights become collateral damage in Colombo’s war? Mahinda Samarasinghe talks to Stephen Sackur.
The Age: Inclusion the way to real peace
Howard Debenham, Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka from 1992 to 1994 writes,“…through much of 2006, when a small group of uniquely qualified Americans and a former Australian high commissioner quietly tried, working with the highest levels of the Sri Lankan Government, to build capacity for statesmanship and progress before peace talks with the LTTE scheduled for Geneva in October of that year. As it turned out, Sri Lanka’s leaders only pretended to listen, and so doomed a country and a people once so full of promise to more mindless death and destruction, the worst of which may yet be to come…”
The Guardian, UK: Stop Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war
“There are also reports that particularly lethal cluster-bombs, banned white phosphorous and multi-barrelled rocket launchers have been fired on the civilian population. Hospitals have been bombed, as have places that the government has encouraged people to see as “safe zones”…In many cases, the killings have been what independent observers would define as genocide, with whole communities killed in a form of ethnic cleansing,” writes Hon. Andrew Dismore, a British lawyer and Labour Member of Parliament for Hendon in London.
An academic paper on Tamils’ Right to Access to Humanitarian Assistance presented at the Conference of World Tamils, 25th and 26th March 2009, London, United Kingdom
“The GoSL’s order in September 2008 for all UN and international aid agencies to vacate the areas held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and their continuing denial of humanitarian access to Tamil civilians are not only morally wrong, but also legally.”
ABC TV: The war is not over
ABC TV interviews Professor Sisira Jayasuriya, Associate Professor of Economics at LaTrobe University. He clearly articulates the suffering of the Tamil people in the conflict zone and addresses the legitimate grievances of the Tamil people since Sri Lanka gained independence from the British.
The Times: Barbed wire villages raise fears of refugee concentration camps
Sri Lanka was accused yesterday of planning concentration camps to hold 200,000 ethnic Tamil refugees from its northeastern conflict zone for up to three years — and seeking funding for the project from Britain…It also says that it will be compulsory for people fleeing the area to live in the camps until the army — which will guard them — has screened them, hunted down the Tigers and demined the area. The camps will be ringed with barbed wire fencing and, while those with relatives inside will be allowed to come and go after initial screening, young and/or single people will not be allowed to leave, it says.
SBS Radio: Lankan government warning to civilians in war zone
A government statement says the fight against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam is at “the decisive stage” and that it can not guarantee the security of non-combatants living outside a designated “safety zone” in rebel-held territory.
The Agenda with Steve Paikin: Sri Lanka’s Bloody History – Roots of the Conflict
Current Canadian Liberal MP and former Sri Lanka interlocutor Bob Rae speaks to Steve Paikin on the causes of that country’s horrible civil war. Bob Rae is the Liberal foreign affairs critic, MP for Toronto Centre, and a former premier of Ontario. In 2002 and 2003 as chair of the Forum of Federations, he helped oversee constitutional discussions between the government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tiger rebels.
SMH: Blood on many hands as Tamil Tigers’ insurrection faces military defeat
…But you have to wonder what military victory will do to the Sinhalese, how they will treat their Tamil and Muslim minorities and whether they can move beyond the sinister political culture that’s been implanted by the reaction to rebellion.
The Canberra Times: Time for Sinhalese ‘victors’ to unclench mailed fist
The greatest mistakes are made on the morrow of the greatest victories. Sri Lanka is now approaching a decisive victory in its 26-year battle against Tamil separatism, and it is about to make a very big mistake…Sinhalese nationalism is as intolerant as ever, and now it is triumphalist to boot. Moreover, the rapid growth of a ”national security state” under President Rajapaksa has undermined democracy and largely silenced criticism of government policies.
Al Jazeera: Divided Island
In this episode of Dining with Terrorists we travel with Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers and conclude that to their supporters, they remain ‘freedom fighters’.
Part 1: Play Video
Part 2: Play Video
CNN: Journalists at risk
Bob Dietz of the Committee to Protect Journalists talks about the threats facing journalists in Sri Lanka.
CNN: Cluster bombs hit near hospital
The U.N. says 15 of its staff members are trapped in bunkers. CNN’s Sara Sidner reports.
CNN: Sri Lankan response
CNN’s Monita Rajpal spoke with Sri Lankan Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Palitha Kohona, on the cluster bomb allegations.
BBC: Sri Lanka cracks down on dissent
The Sri Lankan government has threatened to expel international broadcasters and European ambassadors for their reporting of the conflict in northern Sri Lanka. The government has criticised reporting of the conflict and accused aid agencies of exaggerating the scale of the humanitarian crisis in the conflict zone. The country’s defence secretary has told the BBC that any dissent in a time of war is treason. Chris Morris reports.
Nobel Laureate and President of East Timor, Jose Ramos-Horta appeals for immediate end to hostilities
“I call on the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE to cease fire immediately and for both parties to allow full and free access to the conflict area by humanitarian agencies and independent media. Both parties should also fully respect the Geneva Conventions and refrain from targeting civilians or utilising them for military purposes. The people already traumatised should not be forced to remain or move against their will. These measures will save precious Sri Lankan lives. The Sri Lankan government should show mercy and not press its military advantage. Such a gesture might also salvage some respect and trust to serve as the basic for the political settlement that must occur whatever the final military balance of power.”
The Melbourne Anglican: Archbishop calls for action on reported human rights abuses in Sri Lanka
“I therefore call on the Federal Government and the UN to do whatever is in their power to bring pressure to bear on the Sri Lankan Government to allow Independent observers and journalists access to the conflict zone. If the reports are false, then the Sri Lankan Government has nothing to fear:’ he said.
BBC: Will there be a ceasefire in Sri Lanka?
Jeremy Paxman asks the Sri Lankan High Commissioner, His Excellency Justice, Nihal Jayasinghe if his government will accede to the request from Hillary Clinton and David Miliband that there be a ceasefire in Sri Lanka.
BBC: Sri Lankan government on journalist murder
Sri Lanka’s government has denied that it had anything to do with the killing of a prominent newspaper editor, Lasantha Wickramatunga, a critic of the government. Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that the only thing the government had done was fight terror.
MSF staff avoid diplomatic talk and comment on ground reality
Medecins Sans Frontieres (aka Doctors Without Borders) staff say patients arriving in Vavuniya hospital are in need of both medical care and counselling: “People arrive here in a state of extreme anxiety and fear…Young children and elderly travelling with their caretakers claim they were separated at a checkpoint. The caretakers or family members who were healthy were forced to go to camps, while those wounded and sick had to go to the hospital…Patients were told they would go to the hospital for a few days and then go back to the Vanni again. But later they heard they couldn’t go back…People regretted coming here, saying they would prefer dying with their family to being in a camp…Children at the hospital are unaccompanied. They scream and call out for their mothers. Elderly people are on their own.” Read more.
“They [the Tamils detained in the camps] are surrounded by barbed wire and people are not allowed to leave or communicate with people from other camps…They have lost all autonomy.” Read more.