“While watching Al Jazeera English’s coverage of the bombings in Shujaiya, Gaza, together with my father, we saw tens of thousands of Palestinians fleeing their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs. My father had tears in his eyes at the sight of an older Palestinian father who was evidently in shock, unable to walk, and in need of being carried by his son in order to flee from Israeli bombs. “They are like us”, my father said. It’s the same bombs and jets, I replied.
The military-industrial complex is international, transnational and multilateral. It connects oppressed peoples all over the world through arms trade, military co-operations, and engineered forms of violence that are replicated all over the globe, as well as informed by each other. These aren’t isolated and discrete events, which fail to carry global repercussions. The bombs dropped upon Tamil people five years ago were carried by jets and pilots trained by the very army that occupies and oppresses the Palestinian people. While Sri Lanka rendered the villages and jungles of the Vanni into a military laboratory, Gaza has similarly become a global testing zone for urban mass-violence and the legal impunity of Israel. Indeed, Gaza and the Vanni lie politically and militarily much closer together than one would suppose, much closer than geography would allow.”
“The most prevalent form of abuse documented is in the selection of probationary lecturers (or assistant lecturers), resulting in the most highly qualified candidates such as First Class degree-holders being systematically excluded from consideration or denied positions.”
to download the report: click here
What is the situation today? Freedom of association is under its worst threats in independent Sri Lanka, despite the attempts by state media and “Para state propaganda units” to deny it. Those who supply ideological justification for this government (including some of the Petitioners in Ratawesi Peramuna and who were in fact beneficiaries of the regime) will soon realize that they will one day need to form an association to defend themselves, independent of the state apparatus. People change but principles do not. Probably it is time for us to remember the words of Laurence J. Peter, Canadian educationalist who moved into USA and who published the famous “The Peter Principles”. “The devil could change. He was once an angel and may be evolving still”.
“Leader of the gang who disrupted the media workshop to be held in the auditorium of the Sri Lanka Press Institute warned that ” if this institute allows any such training in the future done say we are bad boys”. The person who can be clearly indentified in the video was referring to a workshop where Tamil journalists form the Jaffna was invited. This flagrant violation of peoples right to association and expression took place in the heart of the city on 26 July 2014 .”
“The Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA) condemns in the strongest terms yet another act of intimidation of media by the government orchestrated mobs who sabotaged a planned media workshop for Jaffna journalists scheduled at the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) today( 26). The workshop on Digital media Security for a group of media personnel from Jaffna was to be held at the Sri Lanka Press Institute today. However, 16 journalists who were heading to Colombo for the media workshop was detained by the Army at the Omanthai Military Check Point on the purported charges of having Cannabis in their procession on Friday evening and were handed over to the police. They were subsequently released by the police, on the same day night and were instructed to return to Jaffna. (The driver of the van travelled by journalists remains in police custody.)”
“We, the Free Media Movement (FMM) and Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (SLMTA) are here to day to inform you about the harassments faced by out fellow Tamil media journalists yesterday and today (26 July). Sri Lanka Journalists Association, the Muslim Media Forum, Sri Lanka section of the SAFMA are unable to present here today but they all have endorsed this press conference.”
“Northern Province Journalists were impeded by Sri Lankan Police, Army and intelligence joint operation while travelled to attend a workshop and a discussion on digital security. This workshop facilitated by some media organization from south and Jaffna Press Club. Jaffna Press Club is an independent collective of media personal and registered organization mandated for journalist welfare and empowerment in north.”
“The LTTE network outside London was the strongest in Leicester and Milton Keynes but even their participation was limited. Thanam was disappointed because he had operated from Milton Keynes, yet even those willing contributors and volunteers evaded him. Eventually, the LTTE UK was able only to organise five buses and they were operated carrying LTTE flags, banners and placards
To coincide with the inauguration of the Commonwealth Games, the LTTE in the United Kingdom gathered at Barrowfield Street in Glasgow G40 3QZ on July 23 at 3.30 pm. Although the LTTE expected between 400-500 cadres, activists, supporters and sympathizers living in the UK and overseas, they could muster less than 150 men and women, mostly rejected and pending asylum seekers, but a few residents. The event was organised by the Tamil Coordinating Committee (TCC) led by Lucien Rupert Soosaipillai a.k.a Thanam, the LTTE chief in the UK.”
The horrible killings and destruction in Aluthgama on Sunday was blacked out by almost all mainstream media in Sri Lanka at the height of the violence and the morning after. However, the violence was in detail and close to real time covered extensively over social media, leading to a documentation many times greater and more detailed than what the Government of Sri Lanka would have liked.
But where, one may ask, was Sri Lanka’s President in the middle of all this violence and what was he doing?
One may also ask, in light of very real fears over the escalation and expansion of violence, what the official response of the President of Sri Lanka was to the worst communal riots to hit the country in years?
Click here to find out.
Overview of coverage
Exactly one month ago, Aluthgama and Beruwela witnessed the worst anti-Muslim riots in Sri Lanka for many years. Incredibly, for days, there was no official response to the rioting from the Government of Sri Lanka, with the President out of the country getting, ironically, an award for his contributions to peace. To date, not a single official word of regret or condolence over the lives and livelihoods lost, or a single word condemning the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) from the Government, which is unsurprisingly pre-occupied with containing and censoring, if need be, the political fallout of the riots.
From when the violence was taking place and over the past four weeks, Groundviews published security camera video footage, compelling photographs (that have been re-published in mainstream media), long-form journalism, articles, eye-witness accounts, hundreds of tweets and Facebook updates on the unrest and its social, political and economic impact. This content has flagged, inter alia, the Government’s outrageous silence, the delay in any kind of official response, the blatant falsehoods and thinly veiled racism by constituent members of government like the JHU as well as posed hard questions for the Muslims in Sri Lanka, in the aftermath of the violence.
The site has also curated a comprehensive collection of official statements around the violence on the web by domestic and international voices.
The navy has launched an investigation into the rape of a young girl in Jaffna.
The identification parade was held last Friday of seven naval personnel arrested for the rape of the 11-year-old Tamil girl in the Kytes area.
“India will be far more supportive of Sri Lanka’s position at the United Nations Human Rights Council than ever before, former Union Cabinet Minister and the chairman of the BJP Committee for Strategic Action Subramanian Swamy said here on Monday.”
A firebrand Sri Lankan monk criticised the Dalai Lama for urging the island’s Buddhists to halt violence against minority Muslims and rejected him as a global spiritual leader.
Three top international war crimes prosecutors tasked with advising a presidential commission investigating civilian deaths during the war will study the UN Panel of Experts Report and seek clarification from the Government and the military about disputed matters.
More than a month after the events in Aluthgama, many questions remain in terms of justice and accountability regarding these and others developments related to ethnic and religious freedom in Sri Lanka. These questions are even more poignant as we mark 31 years since the deadly pogrom of July 1983.
Although religious freedom is provided for in the present framework in Sri Lanka, concerns are raised as to why threats, intimidation and attacks continue to occur with limited action to prevent such events and to hold to account perpetrators. In light of recent events surrounding religious freedom in Sri Lanka, questions have been raised regarding the legal provisions related to the issue and the powers of key actors. The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) has compiled a short brief to create awareness on the Constitutional and legal framework and available legal remedies regarding religious freedom and related issues.
Access the brief here – http://www.cpalanka.org/constitutional-and-legal-framework-governing-religious-freedom-and-relatd-issues/