Tamils in Jaffna Mark Genocide Remembrance Week Amid Arrests

During Tamil Genocide Remembrance Week in Sri Lanka's North-East region, four Tamils, including three women, were arrested by police for distributing traditional Tamil food, highlighting the ongoing struggle for justice and accountability in the country, where tens of thousands of Tamils were massacred by Sri Lanka's armed forces in 2009." This description focuses on the primary topic of Tamil Genocide Remembrance Week, the main entities involved (Tamils, police, and Sri Lanka's armed forces), the context of the North-East region, and the significant actions and consequences of the arrests and the 2009 massacre. The description also provides objective and relevant details that will help an AI generate an accurate visual representation of the article's content, such as the traditional Tamil food and the commemorative events.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Tamils in Jaffna Mark Genocide Remembrance Week Amid Arrests

Tamils in Jaffna Mark Genocide Remembrance Week Amid Arrests

As the Tamil community in Sri Lanka's North-East region commences Tamil Genocide Remembrance Week, four Tamils, including three women, were arrested by Sri Lankan police in Sampur for distributing Mullivaikkal Kanji, a traditional Tamil food. The arrests took place on May 13, and the individuals were produced before the Muttur Magistrate Courts, where they were ordered to be placed in remand custody until May 27.

Why this matters: The suppression of Tamil Genocide Remembrance Week highlights the ongoing struggle for justice and accountability in Sri Lanka, with implications for human rights and reconciliation efforts globally. The commemoration of this traumatic event also serves as a reminder of the need for international cooperation in preventing and addressing genocide and mass atrocities.

The arrested individuals include Kamaleswaran Vijitha, 40, Kamaleswaran Themila, 22, Selvavinothkumar Sujani, 40, and Navaretnaraja Hariharakumar, 43. Themila, a student at Eastern University, was also arrested for obstructing the arrest of her mother. Although the initial arrest and court order cited public health concerns, the four arrested were charged under the ICCPR Act. Video footage shows two Sri Lankan police officers violently dragging two of the women across the floor.

The arrests and court orders coincide with the start of Tamil Genocide Remembrance Week, which commemorates the 2009 massacre of tens of thousands of Tamils by Sri Lanka's armed forces. Across the North-East region, commemorative activities are taking place to remember the victims of the genocidal offensive.

In Jaffna, the Tamil Genocide Remembrance Week is being observed with a blood donation drive and memorial float. The week honors the tens of thousands of Tamils massacred by Sri Lanka's armed forces in 2009. The Jaffna University Student Union organized a blood donation drive for students and staff at the University of Jaffna. A memorial float dedicated to the victims of the genocide traveled through Valvettithurai.

May 18, 2009 marks Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day, the final days of the Sri Lankan military onslaught that killed tens of thousands of Tamils. Initial estimates suggested 40,000 deaths, but the UN found evidence indicating 70,000 were killed. Local census records suggest at least 146,679 people are unaccounted for and presumed killed. The International Truth and Justice Project estimates the highest death toll could be as large as 169,796.

During the final days of the conflict, makeshift hospitals and humanitarian facilities were repeatedly targeted by Sri Lankan artillery despite sharing GPS coordinates to ensure protection from attack. On May 13, 2009, a makeshift hospital was shelled for the third time, killing over 100 civilians, medical staff, and aid workers. The UN estimated over 100,000 civilians were trapped within three square kilometers, with shells falling all around, and only basic first aid possible.

The international community expressed grave concern over the humanitarian crisis. US President Barack Obama called for urgent action and an end to the shelling. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband described the conflict zone as "close to hell as you can get." The UN Security Council condemned the LTTE's acts of terrorism while acknowledging the government's right to combat terrorism.

As Tamils in Sri Lanka's North-East mark the somber 15th anniversary of the 2009 genocide, the recent arrests during food distribution underscore the ongoing challenges and suppression they face. The commemorative events serve as a poignant tribute to the tens of thousands of lives lost and a stark reminder of the need for justice and accountability.

Key Takeaways

  • 4 Tamils, including 3 women, arrested in Sri Lanka for distributing traditional food during Tamil Genocide Remembrance Week.
  • Arrests coincide with commemoration of 2009 massacre of tens of thousands of Tamils by Sri Lankan armed forces.
  • Video footage shows police violently dragging women across the floor during arrest.
  • Tamil Genocide Remembrance Week honors victims of 2009 genocide, with estimates suggesting 70,000-169,796 deaths.
  • Arrests highlight ongoing struggle for justice and accountability in Sri Lanka, with implications for human rights globally.