The Lanka Academic

VOL. 5, NO. 184

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Headline Summary
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Human Rights Organisations urge visiting Tamil Tiger delegation to end killings & recruitment of child soldiers.
International Commission of Jurists / Human Rights Watch/ Amnesty International, October 6. At a meeting with a senior Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) delegation visiting Geneva, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) called on the LTTE to end political killings and the recruitment of child soldiers and demonstrate how they will respect international humanitarian and human rights law in Sri Lanka.

The LTTE delegation, headed by S.P. Thamilselvan, leader of their political wing, is visiting several European countries to consider the Tamil Tigers next steps in the stalled Sri Lankan peace process. International human rights organisations met with the LTTE delegation on Tuesday 5 October.

“We appealed to the senior LTTE leaders to show the world that they are both willing and capable of respecting the lives and rights of all Sri Lankans,” said Nicholas Howen, Secretary-General of the ICJ. “We look to them to make a clear public commitment to international humanitarian and human rights standards and practical ways of putting them into effect,” he added.

“At a time when we should be moving back to peace talks the LTTE seems to have dramatically escalated the killing of perceived Tamil opponents and is still recruiting child soldiers,” said Loubna Freih, Geneva Director for Human Rights Watch.

Victims of killings have included activists from Tamil political parties not aligned with the LTTE, members of a rival LTTE faction in the east, and alleged Sri Lankan military informants. “This climate of fear, especially in the east will make it even more difficult to find a lasting peace in the country,” warned Peter Splinter, Geneva Representative for Amnesty International.

S.P. Thamilselvan said in the meeting with human rights organisations that the LTTE denies responsibility for such killings but that the LTTE would consider the development of confidence building measures to end killings that are threatening the peace process.

In the last two weeks reported killings have included: Valli Suntharam, a 61 year old trade union activist and member of the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF), shot dead in Jaffna on 27 September; Selvarajah Mohan, a 22 year old Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) supporter, stabbed to death after being taken from his home in Jaffna district on 24 September; Rajadurai Sivagnanam, killed in Batticaloa district on 22 September; and Somasundaram Varunakulasingham, a central committee member of the EPDP, shot dead in Colombo on 23 September.

Recruitment of child soldiers also continues. UNICEF has documented that in May, June and July 2004 alone, the LTTE recruited 259 children, while releasing 106 – and UNICEF acknowledges that they learn about only a small proportion of child recruitment.

The human rights organisations also met with members of the Northeast Secretariat on Human Rights, set up in July with the support of the LTTE. “Such human rights initiatives could be positive if they help to prevent serious human rights violations and give ordinary people a way of seeking protection and remedies,” said Nicholas Howen. “We urge the LTTE to affirm publicly that they will cooperate fully with this Secretariat. The international community should assist any genuine moves towards a culture of respect for rights and the need for this new Secretariat to be independent and professional,” added Nicholas Howen.
Published: Wed Oct 6 10:06:17 EDT 2004

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EU-GEN--Switzerland-Tamil Tigers
Associated Press, Wed October 6, 2004 07:39 EDT . JONATHAN FOWLER - Associated Press Writer - CHAVANNES-DE-BOGIS, Switzerland (AP) Sri Lanka - 's government is hampering efforts to relaunch the island nation's deadlocked peace process and misrepresenting a plan put forward by its Tamil Tiger opponents, a senior rebel leader said. No immediate reaction was available from Sri Lankan authorities. On Monday, however, President Chandrika Kumaratunga said she wanted to restart talks to prevent Sri Lanka - sliding back into conflict.

Thamilselvan rejected accusations that the rebels themselves are at fault for insisting that negotiations center on their so-called Interim Self-Governing Authority plan and not on a separate government proposal on power-sharing. The rebel plan is the only one ``based on ground reality,'' he said.

``We're not manipulating things to delay the peace process. Our cards are on the table,'' he said. ``We have said, 'Yes, we will sit down and talk.'''

Thamilselvan is the political head of the Tamil Tigers. He spoke to the AP following a five-day meeting with European-based Tamils behind closed doors at a Lake Geneva hotel.

Switzerland is home to some 22,000 Tamil exiles who have fled since fighting broke out in 1983 between the Tigers and government forces.

The rebels aim to carve out an independent homeland for the island's northeastern Tamil minority, who claim discrimination by the three-quarters majority Sinhalese. Nearly 65,000 people were killed before the two sides signed a Norwegian-brokered truce in February 2002, but formal peace talks were suspended in April 2003.

Although the truce still holds in principle, the island has been gripped by escalating violence that has killed scores of people.

The Tigers presented their plan in October 2003. President Kumaratunga, who initially rejected it as a step toward a separate state, last July offered to discuss the idea along with government proposals to keep Sri Lanka - together.

The rebel plan calls for a largely independent territory with control over its own administration, police and legal system, unrestricted access to the sea, and the right to collect taxes and receive direct foreign aid.

Thamilselvan said the proposal is moderate.

``The (government) perception is that the we have put forward a 'blueprint for a separate state.' This has to be countered, because this is not a proposal for secession. For secession, no one prepares a blueprint you just secede and go,'' he said, speaking through an interpreter.

However, he declined to say whether the plan means the Tigers have given up their goal of independence.

``The end product would be something that would be agreed by the parties,'' he said. ``What's going happen at the end of the day is something we should not hasten to spell out.''

The Tigers have faced accusations of bad faith for stalling as they try to resolve internal splits. A former rebel commander led an unprecedented breakaway in March, taking with him some 6,000 fighters.

The criticism is ``just media hype,'' said Thamilselvan.

Thamilselvan denied Tiger involvement in scores of killings of anti-rebel Tamil politicians and alleged government informants.

He also rejected criticism by international human rights groups and the United Nations, which have slammed the Tigers for recruiting thousands of child soldiers, sometimes by force. Although many have been discharged, some returned to Tiger camps because they have nowhere else to go and are looking for a ``safe haven,'' he said.
Published: Wed Oct 6 08:31:45 EDT 2004 Back to the top

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Estate worker warn severe trade union action if pay hike not granted
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, October 6, 2004, 11.05 p.m. . The Country’s plantation sector, have warned authorities of severe trade union action, if they fail to grant an immediate wage hike to the workers. The sky rocketing cost of living has been cited as one reason for the wage hike. Plantation workers earn less than even RS. 150 a day for their hard labour. The estate workers, with the assistance of over 30 other trade unions are also expected to hold a protest in Colombo demanding a immediate wage hike. Presently a worker gets a wage of somewhere around Rs. 125/- a day, however the workers are demanding that the preset wage be increased to at least Rs. 240/- a day. Workers have already staged pickets, small scale strikes and other forms of protests in the up country demanding for the salary hike, but the estate companies are yet to heed to the workers demands.
Published: Wed Oct 6 13:06:23 EDT 2004 Back to the top

A coal power plant will be built soon, assures Power and Energy Minister
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, October 6, 2004, 10.42 p.m.. The Alliance Government has once again assured that it is very committed in establishing coal power plant in the country... Back to the top

Tigers kill two Muslim civilians in Welikanda
J. S. Nalin in Colombo, October 6, 2004, 10.49 p.m.. Two Muslim civilians returning after prayers were shot and killed at point-blank range by suspected motorbike-riding LTTE pistol men at Ethugala in Welikanda last night... Back to the top

Quintuplets born in Sri Lanka
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, October 6, 2004, 11.11 p.m.. A 29-year-old woman today morning gave birth to quintuplets at the Castle Street Hospital for Women in Colombo... Back to the top

LTTE guns down civilian in Valachchenai
J. S. Nalin in Colombo, October 6, 2004, 8.42 p.m.. Suspected LTTE gunmen have shot and killed a civilian who was guarding a paddy field at Omadiyamadu in Valachchenai... Back to the top

Navy arrest five Indian fishing trawlers
J. S. Nalin in Colombo, October 6, 2004, 8.41 p.m.. The Sri Lankan Navy yesterday arrested six Indian fishing trawlers out of a fleet of about 80-90 trawlers, engaged in poaching inside Sri Lankan waters in Talaimannar with twenty Indian nationals aboard... Back to the top

“ National Advisory Council for Peace and Reconciliation a fake move,” claims LTTE
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, October 5, 2004, 8.50 p.m.. The LTTE while rejecting the newly established National Advisory Council for Peace and Reconciliation claims that this is yet another fake move by the Alliance Government to buy time... Back to the top

Indian fishermen suggest means to end clashes with Lankans, October 6. In an effort to curb poaching in Sri Lankan waters and to prevent clashes with Sri Lankan fishermen and the Sri Lankan security forces, Indian fishermen have suggested that the Central and state governments "buy off" trawlers from them, and provide them an alternative livelihood... Back to the top

Youhana and Malik take Pakistan to final with big win over Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Wed October 6, 2004 08:50 EDT . RIZWAN ALI - Associated Press Writer - KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) Yousuf Youhana notched his 10th century in limited-overs internationals and Shoaib Malik scored an equally impressive unbeaten 86 Wednesday to guide Pakistan to an eight-wicket win against Sri Lanka - and into the triangular series final... Back to the top

Norway to brief India on Sri Lanka developments:, October 6. World News] Colombo, Oct 6 : Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Vidar Helgesen will visit India next week for bilateral talks during which the stalled peace process in Sri Lanka that Oslo brokered is expected to come up prominently... Back to the top

Norway asks Tigers to stop killings in Sri Lanka +
Associated Press, Tue October 5, 2004 05:07 EDT . - - Helgesen emphasized the ''negative implications'' of cease-fire violations for the peace process as a whole and underlined that violations also make the work of the Sri Lanka - Monitoring Mission difficult... Back to the top

SLMC Deputy Leader disregards party decision and participates at inaugural Peace Council meeting
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, October 5, 2004, 8.23 p.m.. Disciplinary action will be taken against Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Deputy Leader N... Back to the top

Malik's three-wicket haul restricts Sri Lanka to 232 for nine
Associated Press, Wed October 6, 2004 04:51 EDT . RIZWAN ALI - Associated Press Writer - KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) Pakistan off-spinner Shoaib Malik took three vital wickets for 32 runs Wednesday as Sri Lanka - was restricted to 232 for nine in its first limited-overs match of the triangular series... Back to the top

Sri Lankan woman gives birth to island's 1st quintuplets+
Associated Press, Wed October 6, 2004 05:33 EDT . - - ''This is the first case of quintuplets recorded in Sri Lanka - ,'' Karandagoda said... Back to the top

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