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Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Lionel Bopage, former JVP general secretary, on new left party, Tamil rights and state repression

Lionel Bopage, former JVP general secretary.

April 17, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) was launched in Colombo, Sri Lanka, amidst international media outcry about the illegal abduction of four of its activists in the lead up to the launch by security forces. Two of these abductees, Premakumar Gunaratnam (an Australian citizen) and Dimuth Atygalle (a prominent woman leader of the group) have since been released. Gunaratnam, who has been deported to Australia, says he was tortured before being released. Two other FSP activists are still being illegally detained.

Sri Lanka: Will the new Frontline Socialist Party revive the left?

By Niel Wijethilaka and K. Govindan (Nava Sama Samaja Party)

April 14, 2012 -- Dbsjeyaraj.com -- More than 5000 people packed Colombo’s Sugathadasa stadium (photo above) for the inaugural conference of the Peratugami Samajawadi Pakshaya (Frontline Socialist Party, FSP) on April 9, 2012. Most were members and sympathisers of this new left party – a breakaway from the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (Peoples’ Liberation Front, JVP); but many representatives of other radical left parties, left intellectuals and progressive social activists were also in attendance. The emergence and consolidation of the FSP is an important and hopeful development for the revival of peoples’ movements in Sri Lanka in the post-war era, following decades of retreat of the labour and left movements.

Underlining the internationalism of the new party, and its understanding of the relationship between national and global struggles against capitalism, the convention was dominated by speeches and messages from international guests[1] and representatives of FSP branches in England, France and Italy. Greetings were also delivered by left groups within Sri Lanka, mainly of Trotskyist and Maoist lineage, including Vickramabahu Karunarathne on behalf of the Nava Sama Samaja Party (NSSP).

Solidarity with journalists in Sri Lanka, defend democratic rights! Protest abduction of socialists!

UPDATE: The two comrades of the Frontline Socialist Party, Premakumar Gunarathnam and Dimuthu Attygale, have both been released, on late April 9/early April 10. Gunarathnam has been deported to Australia (he is an Australian citizen). Without doubt it was the high level of international attention and the unprecedented solidarity across the political divide in Sri Lanka that secured their lives and liberty.

April 5, 2012 -- Democratic freedoms are increasingly under attack in Sri Lanka. In a climate of intense chauvinism, critics of the government and its increasingly authoritarian and repressive policies are more and more threatened. Even journalists who have already been forced into exile are targets of threats and smear campaigns. Government members have personally called for violence against media personnel that have raised criticism of the Sri Lankan government or that have drawn attention to violations of Human Rights in the country.

Tamil rights: Surprise but uneven changes in voting at the UN Human Rights Council

By Ron Ridenour

March 22, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The UN Human Rights Council voted today to criticise the Sri Lankan government for “not adequately address[ing] serious allegations of violations of international law” when conducting its final phases of war against the guerrilla army Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which ended, May 18, 2009, with massive government-caused bloodbaths.

The resolution called upon Sri Lanka to implement its own findings and recommendations made in the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), but extended that call to “initiate credible and independent actions to ensure justice, equity, accountability and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans” (“independent action” is not defined).

Furthermore, with 24 countries in favour, 15 against and eight abstentions, the resolution “encourages” the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to offer the Sri Lanka government “advice and technical assistance” in implementing the LLRC recommendations, and to make a report on the provision at the 22nd HRC session, a year from now.

UN will deny Tamils justice

Tamils protest in London, April 2009, during the Sri Lankan government's brutal war to crush the Tamil movement for national rights.

By Ron Ridenour

February 20, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Brace yourselves Tamils in and from Sri Lanka! The United Nations Human Rights Council will not grant you justice at its 19th session, on February 27-March 23, 2012 or, perhaps, in any foreseeable future.

Until the past few weeks it looked as though the “international community” (US, UK-Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan), the east (Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran), the Middle East-Libya/Africa and the progressive global South (Cuba-ALBA+, South Africa) were content with ignoring Sri Lanka’s war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Biography uncovers forgotten lessons of Sri Lanka’s JVP

Review by Ben Courtice

The Lionel Bopage story: Rebellion, repression and the struggle for justice in Sri Lanka
By Michael Colin Cooke
Agahas Publishers, Colombo, 2011
Order at michaelcolincooke@yahoo.com.au

“The truth is the whole” – Hegel, quoted in The Ecological Rift  by John Bellamy Foster, Richard York & Brett Clark, Monthly Review Press, 2011

October 31, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A lot of popular non-fiction literature seems very straightforward, to the point. The kind of writing you might expect from a journalist – easy to read, not too many tangents or complicating factors; usually nothing too far from the comfort zone of the average punter.

Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam seeks support from Cuba and Latin America

Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran.

By Ron Ridenour

October 4, 2011 -– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- “We Tamils, inside and outside the island of Sri Lanka, still want an independent state. And because the war crimes and severe brutality of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government against our people has become well known, our cause is being spoken about all over the world”, Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran told me recently in Manhattan, New York.

A positive sign of recognition for Tamil rights is the dramatic Channel 4 UK documentary, Sri Lanka Killing Fields, shown first at a June Human Rights Council session and then worldwide.

Rudrakumaran is prime minister of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE), and a prominent activist in the diaspora. He earned law degrees from the University of Colombo and Southern Methodist University. He later studied and wrote articles about self-determination at Harvard Law School

A history of oppression: the Tamils of Sri Lanka

By Danielle Sabai

June 2, 2011 -- Asia Left Observer, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- In February 2011, the president of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, celebrated the 63rd anniversary of the island’s independence. In his speech, he stressed the necessity of “protecting the reconstructed nation”, as well as protecting “one of the oldest democracies in Asia”, its unity and its unitary character.

This speech came nearly two years after the end of the war on May 19, 2009, between the Sri Lankan state and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The military command of the LTTE was decimated in the last two months of a merciless war that has had led to tens of thousands of deaths since the early 1980s.

Sri Lanka: Will Tamils get justice from the UN?

Tamils are held in miserable conditions in IDP camps.

[For more on the struggle of the Tamil people, click HERE.]

By Ron Ridenour

May 16, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Forty-seven governments on the Untied Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) will discuss and decide, beginning at its May 30 session, what to do about an unusually truthful report in the world of international politics.

The “Report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka” was delivered to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on March 31 concerning: 1) alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in the last phases of the 26-year-old civil war, September 2008 to May 19, 2009; 2) consequences for approximately 300,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and, by extension, for 2.7 million Sri Lankan Tamils, 13% of Sri Lanka's 21 million population.

Sri Lanka: La 'Guerra de colonización' contra los tamiles

Por Chris Slee

[English at http://links.org.au/node/2210.]

El sitio de Internet Tamilnet acusó al gobierno de Sri Lanka de declarar la “guerra de colonización” contra los tamiles que viven en la isla de Sri Lanka. El gobierno ha establecido asentamientos singaleses en áreas tradicionalmente ocupadas por los tamiles. Dicho sitio compara esta situación con la política israelí de establecer asentamientos judíos en el “West Bank” e indica lo siguiente: “...Sri Lanka desea crear lo más rápido posible una situación similar al modelo israelí". [1]

Del mismo modo que Israel usa a los asentamientos judíos para separar las áreas habitadas por palestinos en pequeños fragmentos, intentando así imposibilitar un estado palestino, Sri Lanka utiliza los asentamientos singaleses para separar las áreas tamiles del norte y del este de Sri Lanka, con el objeto de imposibilitar un estado tamil independiente.

Sri Lanka: The ‘colonisation war’ against Tamils

Within the box is one of the Tamil areas targeted by the Sri Lankan government for Sinhalese settlements. Map from Tamilnet.

By Chris Slee

March 14, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  – The Tamilnet website has accused the Sri Lankan government of waging a "colonisation war" against the Tamil people of the island of Sri Lanka. The government has been establishing Sinhalese settlements in traditional Tamil areas. The website compares this to Israel’s policy of establishing Jewish settlements in the West Bank, saying: "Sri Lanka is aiming at creating an Israeli model situation as fast as possible".[1]

Los lazos del gobierno srilanqués con Israel exponen su duplicidad

Donald Perera, embajador de Sri Lanka a Israel, en su oficina de Tel Aviv.

[English at http://links.org.au/node/1841.]

Por Chris Slee

Sri Lanka: `This is a struggle for all of us. Not only Tamils but also for Sinhalese who value democracy' -- Bahu

Speech by general secretary of the Nava Sama Samaja Party (NSSP) Vickramabahu Karunaratne ("Bahu") at the Tamil National Remembrance Day, November 28, 2010, in London.

* * *

I am thankful for the organisation of this event for giving me the opportunity to shed my tears in memory of those who gave their life to the liberation of Tamil homeland.

Tamils have been killed by successive Sinhala-chauvinist governments in Sri lanka, last but not the least by the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime. Not only Tamils, but also thousands of Sinhala youth who were sent for aggression in the Tamil homeland and to attack Tamils. Thousands of these young Sinhalese died in an alien land.

Tamil refugee: `Why I fled to Australia'


Aran Mylvaganam's story.

By Sue Bolton, Melbourne

Green Left Weekly -- This year is the 15th anniversary of the Nargar Kovil school massacre in Tamil Eelam, the Tamil area of Sri Lanka. On September 22, 1995, the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) bombed Nargar Kovil Maha Vidyalayam schoolyard, which was crammed with 750 children on their lunch break. Reports of the number of children killed vary from 26 to 70.

Twelve of the children killed were six or seven years old. One hundred and fifty were injured, including 40 seriously. Twenty-two children had their limbs amputated. Ten of the amputees were under 12.

Sri Lankan government's ties with Israel expose its duplicity

Donald Perera, Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Israel, in his Tel Aviv office.

By Chris Slee

August 14, 2010 -- On July 21 the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth published an interview with Donald Perera, Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Israel. Perera, the former Sri Lankan Air Force commander and Chief of Defence Staff, thanked Israel profusely for its support in the fight against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), saying: "For years Israel has aided our war on terror through the exchange of information and the sale of military technology and equipment... Our air force fleet includes 17 Kfir warplanes, and we also have Dabur patrol boats. Our pilots were trained in Israel, and we have received billions of dollars in aid over the past few years. This is why I asked to be assigned to Israel -- a country I consider a partner in the war against terror."

Timor Leste and Australian activists reject Australian government's racist refugee policy

Statement by Luta Hamutuk, Timor-Leste Institute for Research, Advocacy and Campaigns

Dili, July 7, 2010 -- According to Australian foreign affairs policy announced by the Australian prime minister in Sydney recently and published by a range of media, including the Indonesian newspaper the Java Post, “Prime Minister (PM) Julia Gillard has tightened Australia immigration law. Not wanting to be bothered by the economic and social problems caused by asylum seekers, the Australian leader plans to build a detention center for asylum seekers in Timor-Leste” As quoted by Associated Press (Java Post, 07/07/2010).  

The above statement shows how Australian foreign policy contains “racist characteristics” toward Timor Leste and the region.

Luta Hamutuk's position

Luta Hamutuk, as a member of civil society in Timor Leste, would like to declare our position on this statement as follows:

Support Tamils not Sri Lanka’s war-criminal government -- Eva Golinger misinterprets solidarity

By Ron Ridenour

June 1, 2010 -- Eva Golinger is known for her analysis in the service of Venezuela’s peaceful revolution against the local oligarchy and the United States empire. She is a noted author (The Chavez Code: Cracking US intervention in Venezuela). A dual citizen of the US and Venezuela, she is an attorney, and a personal friend of President Hugo Chavez. She is a frequent contributor to left-wing media around the world, and is the English-language editor of the Venezuelan newspaper, Correo del Orinoco.

Book explores roots of Sri Lanka conflict

Sri Lanka: 60 Years of "Independence" and Beyond
Edited by Ana Pararajasingham,
Published by the Centre for Just Peace and Democracy, Switzerland 2009

Review by Chris Slee

May 30, 2010 -- This is a very useful book for those wishing to gain a thorough understanding of the history of Sri Lanka since its independence from Britain in 1948. The 27 authors in the collection are diverse in their ethnic backgrounds, including Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims from Sri Lanka, as well as outsiders. They are also diverse in their political outlook, including liberals, Marxists and Tamil nationalists.

Sri Lanka: Left-Tamil alliance to contest elections

Vickramabahu Karunaratne, the presidential candidate for the NSSP.

By Chris Slee

March 20, 2010 -- The Left Liberation Front (LFF) is contesting 19 seats in the April 8 parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka. The LLF, an electoral coalition comprising the Nava Sama Samaja Party (NSSP, New Socialist Party), the Tamil National Liberation Alliance (TNLA) and the Socialist Party, stands for the right of self-determination for the oppressed Tamil people of Sri Lanka, freedom for political prisoners and an end to the state of emergency.

The NSSP and the Socialist Party are Marxist parties based in the predominantly Sinhalese south of the island of Sri Lanka. The TNLA is a Tamil nationalist party based amongst the Tamil people of the north and east of the island.

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