Sri Lanka was one of the earliest Asian missions of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. French Oblates arrived in 1857, eventually establishing churches, schools, hospitals and other relief throughout the island. Present-day Oblates come from both the Sinhala and Tamil communities, bridging the ethnic divide. The twenty-five year old civil war in Sri Lanka has taken a heavy toll. Oblates ministering to communities on both sides of the conflict have denounced the blatant human rights abuses. The government officially suspended a six-year-old cease-fire in January of 2009, and pursued all out war in an effort to defeat the Tamil insurgency. Tragically, both the government and the LTTE were determined to pursue a military solution rather than a negotiated peace. Hundreds of thousands have lost their lives in the civil war, and countless have been maimed. The JPIC Office receives information and documentation from Sri Lanka on a regular basis.
The Oblate Center for Peace and Reconciliation in Jaffna works to promote the basis for a peaceful society through education and peace-building activities. Learn about their work on their website.
- UN Panel of Experts Report Released
- J.S. Tissainayagam Freed
- Human Rights Day Marks 100th Day of Unjust Conviction of Tamil Journalist
- Sri Lanka War Crimes Report Released
- Sri Lanka situation update in the Fall issue of JPIC Report
- Oblate JPIC Urges IMF Loan to Sri Lanka be Conditioned on Tangible Human Rights Progress
- Conditions in Sri Lanka Refugee Camps Worsening
- Human Rights organizations express concerns about Sri Lanka situation in letter to President Obama
- Sri Lanka: Repeated Shelling of Hospitals Evidence of War Crimes
- Urgent international scrutiny needed in Sri Lanka, say UN Human Rights Experts
- President Obama Speaks Out on Behalf of Sri Lanka Journalist
- Tribute to Fr. Mariampillai T. Sarathjeevan, OMI
- Civilians Bear the Brunt of War in Sri Lanka; Conditions are grim in the tiny strip of coast in northern Sri Lanka where tens of thousands of civilians are trapped between the warring LTTE and Sri Lankan Army forces. Lack of food, water and medical supplies coupled with daily bombardment by heavy artillery have made this area a living hell. Learn more…
- Humanitarian Catastrophe Unfolds in Sri Lanka – Photo Montage
- Sri Lanka: No Let-Up in Army Shelling of Civilians; The Sri Lankan army, despite government denials, is indiscriminately shelling the “no-fire zone” in northern Sri Lanka where thousands of civilians are trapped by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday, citing new information from the region. More than 2,700 civilians have reportedly been killed over the last two months, and the number of casualties rises daily. Learn more…
- The State Department issued a statement on February 13 clarifying the US position on the current situation in Sri Lanka conveyed by Secretary Clinton in a phone conversation with President Rajapaksa. The US position was misconstrued in the Sri Lanka media as being supportive of the government’s handling of the situation, where in fact, it expressed deep concern about the humanitarian situation of Tamils affected by the war. Learn more…
- Senator Casey, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, sponsored a letter expressing alarm about the situation of Tamil civilians in the Vanni. Learn more…
- Thirty-eight members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Secretary of State Clinton calling for active leadership to protect civilians in the conflict and to press the GOSL to allow aid workers and journalists into the conflict area to minister to their needs. Learn more…
- The US Senate Foreign Relations South Asia Subcommittee held a Hearing on Sri Lanka on Tuesday, 24 February. The testimony is available on this website.
- The US State Department issued its annual Human Rights Reports recently. Their Report on Sri Lanka is available here. (Download PDF)
- Oblates and other religious groups have joined the international condemnation of the tactics of both the Sri Lankan military and the LTTE that have endangered the lives of hundreds of thousands of Tamil civilians. Learn more…
- Catholic Priests, Religious and Laity in Jaffna have been joined by those of other religions in a continuous hunger strike while Tamil civilians are at risk for their lives in the fighting between the government and the LTTE. Read their statement.
- Senator Patrick Leahy, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee as well as the Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations of the Appropriations Committee, issued an excellent statement on February 3, condemning the violence against civilians and calling for both sides to respect the rights of unarmed combatants at the risk of losing US support. Read the letter (Download PDF)
- Eight Oblate priests have accompanied their people in fleeing the government military offensive and are among the estimated 250,000 civilians trapped in the fighting near Mullaitivu in northern Sri Lanka. Read our latest Action Alert and Take Action!
- “Anpaham Orphanage” run by the Oblates of the Jaffna Province has been displaced for the third time in one month. In addition to the upheaval and misery caused by the civil war, many church facilities are being destroyed. Learn more…
- A massive military offensive by the Sri Lankan military has resulted in a humanitarian crisis in northern Sri Lanka. The Christian Solidarity Movement has prepared a Background Note on the Humanitarian Crisis in the Vanni. (Download PDF)
- In a show of solidarity, Singhalese Oblates travelled to Tamil areas in the north to visit their brother Oblates. Learn more as we post news about Sri Lanka
- Learn about Human Rights Abuses in Sri Lanka
- The Madhu Shrine, long a zone of peace, was over-run by government forces in April 2008.
- Oswald Firth, OMI is the Assistant General of the OMI Congregation in Rome. His recent article, SRI LANKA: A Country in Search of its Identity is a good summary of current realities and their history.
- Basic human rights are violated with seeming impunity. Reports and Documentation are available here.