May. 13th, 2009

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Sri Lanka: Satellite Images, Witnesses Show Shelling Continues
(New York) - New satellite imagery and eyewitness accounts contradict Sri Lankan government claims that its armed forces are no longer using heavy weapons in the densely populated conflict area in northern Sri Lanka, Human Rights Watch said today.

Local sources have reported that more than 400 civilians have been killed and more than 1,000 wounded since May 9, 2009, as a result of artillery attacks on the thin coastal strip where fighting continues between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

"Recent satellite photos and witness accounts show the brutal shelling of civilians in the conflict area goes on," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "Neither the Sri Lankan army nor the Tamil Tigers appear to have any reluctance in using civilians as cannon fodder."

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today issued a preliminary analysis of commercial high-resolution satellite imagery of the conflict zone that shows craters from the use of heavy weapons and the removal of thousands of likely structures used by internally displaced persons (IDPs) between May 6 and May 10. The AAAS found that it was "certainly unlikely that the IDPs would have moved en masse, and so completely without a compelling reason." Tens of thousands of civilians remain trapped in the conflict area.

UK, US plea over Sri Lanka crisis
The US and UK have urged Sri Lanka's government and Tamil Tiger rebels to stop fighting "immediately" and allow an evacuation of trapped civilians.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her UK counterpart David Miliband also expressed alarm at the large number of reported civilian casualties.
[...]
The US and UK have urged Sri Lanka's government and Tamil Tiger rebels to stop fighting "immediately" and allow an evacuation of trapped civilians.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her UK counterpart David Miliband also expressed alarm at the large number of reported civilian casualties.
Where is Stephen Harper? Where is Canada?

Tamils protest at the White House, ask "coalition of the willing" to intervene in Sri Lanka. Coalition of the wh-what? Sigh.
Accusing Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa of abdicating his responsibility to save civilians in restive north, Tamil Americans
here have asked US President Barack Obama to send his forces to the strife-torn nation to save the lives of innocent people.

"This is pure and simple genocide. We are asking Obama administration to intervene to save the Tamils of Sri Lanka
by sending its army there. The Rajapaksa government has abdicated its responsibility to protect its Tamil citizens," alleged Elias Jeyarajah, leader of the protesting Tamil Americans.
[...]
"We are asking unilateral action by the 'Coalition of the Willing' led by the US to intervene in Sri Lanka to stop the genocide that is going on right now," he said.

Stating that thousands of innocent Tamil civilians were being killed by the Sri Lankan government, Jeyarajah said that this is the time and place to enforce 'Responsibility to Protect' provision of the United Nations.

"We urge all other countries including Britain and France to join this Coalition of the Willing," he said, adding civilized nations have the responsibility to protect when genocide happens.

The protestors also alleged that India was not coming forward to protect the Sri Lankan Tamils.

"This is the reason why the Tamils world over are urging other major countries of the world to save and protect the innocent Tamils by sending their troops to Sri Lanka," Jeyarajah said.

The India part might have something to do with the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, hmmm?

Sri Lanka: Repeated Shelling of Hospitals Evidence of War Crimes
(New York) - The Sri Lankan armed forces have repeatedly struck hospitals in the northern Vanni region in indiscriminate artillery and aerial attacks, Human Rights Watch said today. Commanders responsible for ordering or conducting such attacks may be prosecuted for war crimes.

Patients, medical staff, aid workers, and other witnesses have provided Human Rights Watch with information about at least 30 attacks on permanent and makeshift hospitals in the combat area since December 2008. One of the deadliest took place on May 2, when artillery shells struck Mullaivaikal hospital in the government-declared "no-fire zone," killing 68 persons and wounding 87.
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Joe Fiorito: Sometimes price of freedom is gloriously inconvenient. Another good column in the Star profiling some of the Tamil protesters. I think the "they're not Tamil, they're Canadian" premise a little facetious (why not say "also" Canadian?), but Fiorito only has the best of intentions. hat tip to [livejournal.com profile] culpster.

Read the whole article here )
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Alright, we have a carpool to Montréal for the Anarchist bookfair and we're only three people right now, after someone dropped off... We could use one or two more bodies. We're coming back either Monday during the day or Tuesday night. I have a preference for the latter but we'll see what happens. :) Including gas, I'm estimating a cost of $50 if we're four, or $40 if we're five people. Please save me from having to drag strangers off Craigslist into my rental :P

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