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Coconut saplings for war widows – an innovative project worth emulating

Since the end of the war the Government and other organisations  within and outside Sri Lanka  have being helping the victims of the war in the North and the East  to enable them to resume their normal lives.  Among the organisations that helped  were  many  charitable institutions of  the Tamils in the  diaspora.  Their  affinity   […]

‘What is represented and what is made invisible’: Women and Transitional Justice Processes in Sri Lanka

Photo via Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom During a recent conversation about campaigns to eliminate violence against women, and the participation and role of women working at the community level in these campaigns, particularly their ability to influence and shape the form and manner of these initiatives, a friend, who for many years […]

Addressing “blocked grief” in Jaffna

Photograph via Steppes Travel Six years after the end of the war the population in the North of Sri Lanka remains passive, ensnared in wartime mentality because they haven’t been able to express and deal with their sorrow and trauma. Professors from Jaffna University talk of a young generation incapable of envisioning a better future. […]

Gang rape and murder of a school girl

Image courtesy News First The recent gang rape  and murder of a school girl in Jaffna has, within the few days, triggered many public reports in newspapers and elsewhere, raised many issues including the Code of Professional Practice for journalism; national reconciliation; the death penalty; public demonstrations in Jaffna and Colombo; judicial reforms in relation […]

The rape and murder of Vidya: Do women really matter in Sri Lanka?

Editors note: Original image was taken from Icarus Wept. Rather than the issues noted in the article, or the incident of rape, many initial comments focussed on the use of the photo. Histrionics of the “I am right so you must be wrong camp” aside, over email and calls, more informed and reasoned requests were made […]

Post-war Sri Lanka: 6 years and still an open wound

On May 19 six years had passed since the war ended. Six years ago former president Mahinda Rajapaksa spoke to the people of Sri Lanka commenting the final battle of the war: “Our troops went to this operation carrying a gun in one hand, the Human Rights Charter in the other, hostages on their shoulders, […]

6 Reasons Why Accountability in Sri Lanka Matters

Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war ended six years ago amidst allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious abuses by both government and rebel forces. In 2011, a U.N. panel concluded that “the conduct of the war by [both sides] represented a grave assault on the entire regime of international law designed to […]

Valalai (Jaffna): Re-militarisation of released villages with façade of resettlement

Valalai[1] is a Tamil village of about 233 acres[2] that was occupied by the military for nearly 25 years and before it was handed back to villagers in March 2015 by President Sirisena. Yet, more than 50 days after that handover, villagers don’t see hope for resettlement as almost nothing has been provided for them […]

Are Sri Lankan Tamils prone to collective political suicide?

Photo by AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena via SBS We have entered the ninth decade since the Donoughmore Reforms leading to the first State Council elections of 1931. Through the early part of these eight and a half decades, Sri Lankan Tamils had occupied a dominant position in this country, politically, economically and socially. The leading political institution […]

The other side of Narendra Modi’s Sri Lanka visit

Photograph via Quartz Ever since becoming the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy, Narendra Modi has concentrated on building strong diplomatic ties with foreign nations. The process began with the swearing-in ceremony of the new Indian Prime Minister when Modi extended a formal invite to the heads of state of neighbouring countries which included […]

Post-war reconstruction and women: Has the Indian Housing Project become a debt trap?

Photo courtesy Red Cross Following the end of the armed conflict, people returned to their areas of origin in the conflict affected areas with limited, and in some cases no resources, to re-build their lives. This forced them to access new and freely available credit to re-establish a habitable space and restart livelihoods. Due to […]

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 […]