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The ‘Mad Monk’ Phenomenon: BBS as the underside of Sinhala-Buddhism

Photo courtesy Today The marauding Buddhist monks, who appear to be tied to a long political leash, have run out of control. They need to be stopped. But it is equally necessary to take a cold look at the complexity of the phenomenon that groups such as Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) have come to represent. […]

Continuing Detention of Tamil Women and a Girl Child under the Prevention of Terrorism Act

Image courtesy Sri Lanka Brief In 2009 the government announced that the LTTE has been wiped out from the country with the end of the armed conflict. However, in the past few weeks there have been a number of arrests, including of women under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) supposedly to investigate and counter […]

Calling Jayantha Dhanapala a liar, or the tragedy of Lankan public life

Photo courtesy CTBTO On March 16, 2014, Colombo Telegraph, a UK-based online news outlet published an article entitled ‘Jayantha Dhanapala Is A Liar; Caught Lying Over Silence On Colombo Telegraph Blocking’. This article was a follow-up of an earlier article on the failure of Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala, a member of the Board of Directors of […]

Women and Children: The Cutting Edge of International Law

Photo by UN/Myriam Asmani, via World Education Blog The Grotius Lecture 2014[1] PREFACE Sometime at the end of 2011, while I was still the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict, I met an ambassador from an Asian country just before a United Nations Security Council meeting on children […]

The arrest, detention and torture of Tamils in post-war Sri Lanka

Image from The Anti-Torture Initiative There is an alarming trend in the Sri Lankan security forces operation, of arresting the family members of suspects and keeping them as hostages in detention camps. Irrespective of their age, gender and connection to those suspects, the family members are kept under arrest/ detention most notably in the infamous […]

Generating Calamity, 2008-2014: An Overview of Tamil Nationalist Operations and Their Marvels

Summarising previous essays (see bibliography below) this article proceeds in point-form with an eye on greater impact via succinctness. A. During the last phase of Eelam War IV in 2008/09 the LTTE attempted an international heist that is unprecedented in world history:[1] they used some 320,000 of their own people to manufacture a picture of […]

Rescuing Patriotism from the Extremists

Photo: Paula Bronstein for The Global Mail It is almost five years since the military victory of May 2009 brought an end to three decades of armed conflict. Yet, the prospects for securing a stable and inclusive peace in Sri Lanka appear bleak. The first victim of “peace” was the APRC. This long and important […]

Sri Lanka: Post-Geneva, Post-Provincial Council Elections

Photograph by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty Images via Al Jazeera Post- Geneva and post- PC elections, some clarifications are in order because the resolution, locally, came to be obscured by the fog of elections and the scare stories that were put out about sanctions and the electric chair, not to mention the absurdity of the arithmetic of the […]

UNHRC Resolution: To be reviewed with objectivity

Image courtesy Rightsnow “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crises, maintain their neutrality”. John F. Kennedy   The D day in March has passed us by having placed a heavy hand as expected.  The intensely canvassed process for a yes or no to the resolution has ended […]

Freedom and bondage: Lankans, then and now

Introduction There is a need to question the adequacy and suitability of current conceptions of both ‘human rights’ and ‘secularism’ to meet the challenges of unbridled majoritarianism, which seems perfectly at home within the institutions and procedures of the modern Sri Lankan state. In the first part of this article I propose an alternative vision […]

Remembering Sithie Tiruchelvam

Photo courtesy The Hindu Writing a tribute to Sithie Tiruchelvam is not an easy task. Sithie was an intensely private person who was averse to public, over-the-top displays of emotion and sentimentality. I am aware that a piece that says little about her private persona could sound impersonal, even clinical. I have therefore attempted to […]

Dangerous defeat in Geneva

Image courtesy Wikipedia “The passage of the resolution marks a historic moment…” Having lost the crucial vote in Geneva and opened the door to an international investigation, Sri Lanka is now in new territory. Sri Lankans saw who their real friends were at the UNHRC on Thursday night. Our friends, Pakistan, Cuba, China, Russia — […]

CBK takes on religious intolerance in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy Dinouk Colombage President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga has since her graceful retirement from office more than eight years ago after the completion of a constitutionally mandated two term limit, busied herself with an impressive portfolio of issues internationally, issues which are also crucial to our South Asia region. Her status as an elder stateswoman, […]

Video of Ruki Fernando’s interview with the BBC

Photo by Pat Roque/AP, courtesy The Guardian The recent arrest of human rights activists Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen Mahesan under Sri Lanka’s draconian PTA law resulted in widespread condemnation within Sri Lanka and from the international community. As we noted in a previous article, “this is happening when deliberations at the Human Rights Council […]