Archive for April, 2008

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‘Like a Tsunami That Won’t End’ After a Failed Cease-Fire in 25-Year War, Weary Sri Lankans Fear the Worst

Saturday, April 12th, 2008


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[Washington Post Foreign Service]

“For us, the war in Sri Lanka is like a tsunami that won’t end,” whispered Sara Waeathi, a wiry ethnic Tamil who used to fish and harvest honey in her original village in the country’s restive north. Today, in this camp near the eastern coastal city of Batticaloa, she and her family depend on international food handouts. “The fighting keeps coming. Only God knows what will happen to us. We are scared.”

[Full Story]

Attacks Ease Against SLRC Workers But Tisseinayagam Remains in Custody

Friday, April 11th, 2008

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[ IFJ ]

IFJ continues to hold grave concerns for the safety and well-being of J.S Tisseinayagam, the editor of www.outreachsl.com, who has been detained since being taken into custody by officers of the Terrorist Information Department (TID) on March 7. Tisseinayagam was initially detained under emergency regulations for 30 days. On April 1, the Colombo Magistrates Court granted a TID request to extend the detention order to May 5, after the Supreme Court ruled against an application for bail on March 31.

[Full Story]

Attack on arms sale to Sri Lanka

Thursday, April 10th, 2008


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[BBC]

An arms trade campaigning group has criticised the sale of 10,000 military missiles by Slovakia to Sri Lanka. The three-metre missiles are designed to be dispatched from multiple rocket launchers. Simon Hill, from the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), said the sale was “exactly what Sri Lanka doesn’t need at the moment”. Sri Lanka has been engaged in civil war for 25 years, and the CAAT fears the weapons may be used against civilians.

[Full Story]

Questions still haunt Sri Lanka aid massacre

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

[Reuters]
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I remember the stench from the bloated corpses of the 17 dead Sri Lankan aid workers in the hospital and the cries of their families outside as I wondered if I had shaken the hands of their killers. Last week, a local human rights group detailed the hours before and after the murder of local tsunami workers in August 2006 and I’m asking the same question again. The workers from international aid group Action Contre la Faim (ACF) were gunned down in their compound at close range, the bullet wounds clearly visible on their bodies.

[Full Story]

RIGHTS-SRI LANKA: War May See EU Duty Concessions Cut

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008


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[ IPS ]

Sri Lankas garment industry is worried that the duty free access it enjoys to European markets will soon be cut as a result of alleged human rights violations related to the governments pursuit of a military solution to a long-standing ethnic conflict. EU trade concessions, known as GSP+, end this year and will come up for review in October. Already EU has indicated that continuance of the GSP+ depends on how well the Sri Lankan government is seen to be implementing 27 international conventions on human rights, labor rights and environmental standards. “It is totally based on fulfilling these conventions.

[Full Story]

Number of Missing Sri Lankan Tamils Increasing, Human Rights Groups Say

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

[VoA]

As violence surges in Sri Lanka, so does the number of abductions and disappearance of mostly Tamil men. That is the assessment of human rights activists and international aid groups operating in the Indian Ocean nation. Raymond Thibodeaux files this report for VOA from Batticolao, on the eastern edge of Sri Lanka. Soli Chana, 23, is trying to find out what happened to her husband. Witnesses say three men in civilian clothes stopped him, not far from his house in Vanuniya in central Sri Lanka. They handcuffed him, shoved in a plain white van and sped away. That was a year and a half ago. He has not been heard from since.

[Full Story]

Sri Lanka accused over massacre

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

[BBC]

A human rights group in Sri Lanka has blamed local security forces for the massacre of 17 aid workers in 2006 and accused the government of a cover-up. The bodies of the Action Against Hunger workers were found in the north-eastern town of Muttur. It was one of the worst attacks on humanitarian workers since the 2003 bombing of the UN compound in Baghdad. Meanwhile, another human rights group has shut down, after accusing Colombo of failing to tackle rights issues. So far there has been no response from the government to both developments.

[Full Story]

In Sri Lanka, Fear of Being ‘Disappeared’

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

[Washington Post]

Under a recent military offensive to wipe out those rebels, government forces have abducted hundreds of members of the Tamil minority group, including civilians, according to human rights groups. Many of the “disappeared” never turn up again. Rights activists say Sri Lanka’s growing ties with Iran, China and Russia have emboldened the government to ignore criticism from the United States and other Western powers.

[Full Story]

Report details S.Lanka aid massacre, blames forces

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008


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[Reuters]

A rights group report on Tuesday blamed local security forces for the massacre of 17 Sri Lankan tsunami aid workers in 2006 and accused the government of an outright cover-up. At the time, the killing of the local workers from aid group Action Contre La Faim (ACF) in the island’s northeast was the worst attack on humanitarian workers since the 2003 bombing of the United Nations compound in Baghdad.

[Full Story]

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