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A Short Note on the Historical Legacy of International Women’s Day

Introduction In the West, International Women’s Day was first observed as a popular event after 1977 when the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace. Its theme for 2015 is ‘Make It Happen’ with a dedicated hashtag for social media. “Empowering […]

Heroes, Traitors and Tamil Politics: Lessons (Un) Learnt

Photo by AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena via Yahoo Following the deferral of the presentation of the report of the UN Human Rights Council mandated investigation on Sri Lanka (IOSL) conducted by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) passed a resolution on 10 February 2015 urging the UN to […]

A Fifty of a Hundred Days to Few, or too Many?

Image courtesy Sri Lanka Guardian A former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson made the oft- quoted remark that a week is a long time in politics. What then of fifty days, not to mention a hundred? Half way into the government’s 100 -day governance reform programme, public reaction and that of some political actors in […]

How Free is Free Education? The Impact of Tuition on Exam Marks

Photo courtesy Rose Sri Lanka Sri Lanka’s Free Education Scheme aims to provide each child an equal opportunity at educational success, but there is debate over to what extent it succeeds in this endeavor. Notably, some critics are concerned that private spending on education (for private and international schools, universities, and tuition) may be diluting the […]

A Tale of Two Chief Justices: From Process to Principles – Part II

AFP PHOTO/ Ishara S. KODIKARA, via The Malaysian Insider By Luwie Ganeshathasan and Sanjayan Rajasingham. Read Part I here. A Broader Analysis The legality of Mr. Sirisena’s decision to reinstate Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake through executive order was questionable, though not strictly illegal.[i] This is largely because it stemmed from a unique situation. This involved the initial removal […]

Human Rights and 50 days of Sri Lanka’s new Presidency

Image courtesy Maithripala Sirisena website It’s now 50 days since Sri Lanka’s new President took oaths on 9th January 2015. This is an attempt to reflect on the first 50 days of the new Presidency. It’s not meant to be comprehensive assessment of the 50 days, but a reflection based on my personal experiences, what […]

Whose democracy is it anyway?

While domestic and international observers have been praising the peaceful transfer of power in early January, Sri Lanka’s civil conflict continues and Tamil rights remain in question. TSA has obtained a series of highly credible reports about people who disappeared during the final days of combat from September 2008 – May 2009. This year, the […]

Unity of the Ruling Political Class and the National Government

Photo by Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images via The Baltimore Sun The talks of establishing a national government, among other things, highlight the underlying unity of the ruling class in Sri Lanka. Irrespective of party differences and occasional incidents of politico arrests and then release on bail, the ruling class in Sri Lanka has commonalities in terms of […]

A Tale of Two Chief Justices: From Process to Principles – Part I

Photo courtesy The Malaysian Insider / AFP PHOTO/ Ishara S. KODIKARA By Luwie Ganeshathasan and Sanjayan Rajasingham Introduction The declaration that Mohan Peiris’s appointment as Chief Justice was void ab initio (invalid from the beginning), and the subsequent reinstatement of Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, raises many questions. What was the legal basis for these acts? Was the proper procedure […]

Beating the Communal Drum by Hardcore Sinhala Nationalists

Photo courtesy Daily FT Yesterday’s rally in Nugegoda organised by the hard-core Sinhala nationalists, i.e. Weerawansa, Dinesh, Gammanpila and Vasudeva with the blessings of former President Mahinda Rajapakse and their pseudo intellectual appendage Dayan Jayatilleke reminds us that the politicians who made a life out of Sinhala communalism/nationalism at the expense of a pluralist, liberal […]

Deconstructing Independence Day Discourse 2015: A Response to Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena, via South China Morning Post The 2015 Independence Day celebration was invested with the dignity of understatement – a complete departure from the showmanship and bravura performances which characterized the previous events under the patronage of Mahinda Rajapaksa. In total contrast to the former President’s rhetoric, which generally included noble sentiments in […]

Open Letter to the Government of Sri Lanka: On the Port City Review

Image courtesy Yamu Prime Minister Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe Minister Hon. Rajitha Senaratne Minister Hon Lakshman Kiriella Dear Sirs, On the Port City Review I am writing this open letter to you all as I have doubts that you might receive it through the layers of bureaucracy and entrenched interests that support the proposed ‘Port City’ […]

Review of ‘Nation, Constitutionalism and Buddhism in Sri Lanka’

Photo courtesy Ingulfed Review of Nation, Constitutionalism and Buddhism in Sri Lanka by Roshan de Silva Wijeyeratne , Rouledge, London, 2014, ISBN 978-0-415-46266-2,250pp ### This treatise encompasses a vast span of time and straddles both the pre-modern and modern periods of Sri Lanka’s history down to the present moment. It engages, deploys, transcends and weaves […]

Truth and accountability: Corruption, human rights abuses and war crimes

Photo courtesy International Business Times “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it—always” Mahatma Gandhi “Freedom for the wolves has often […]