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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 […]

Making Provincial Administration Work in the North

Photo courtesy Sri Lanka Guardian These days media often speak of conflicts between the center and provincial administration, especially between the Northern Provincial Council’s (NPC’s) Chief Minister (CM) / Members and the Governor of the Province. The CM had been known to me for some time as a gentle neighbor, Judge and the Governor as […]

From Canada to Colombo, can’t stereotype my thing yo

I need a cigarette. In another impulsive moment, I had made the irresponsible decision a few months ago to become a social smoker. I do not particularly know what that means but I figure it would be a good way to force myself to have conversations with strangers on this trip. I also romanticize that […]

Enforced Disappearances in Sri Lanka: 2006-2013

This is a summary of a longer report. Please download it as a PDF here or read it online here. All photos taken and provided by the author. Introduction According to Article 7, paragraph 2(i) of the Rome Statute[1], an Enforced disappearance is defined as “…the arrest, detention or abduction of persons by, or with the […]

Chief Minister Wigneswaran alleges genocide, calls for plebiscite

Photograph courtesy The Independent Mr Akashi was absolutely right when he urged flexibility and reform on the Sri Lankan government and sounded the alarm of serious consequences in Geneva March 2014 (that’s 75 days away, folks) if it failed to shift in the right direction. He did get one thing wrong though. There is neither a […]

The Virtual Library

I have no image of the vault or shelves, or tables with lamps scholars use to consult books. I am seeing the library from a great distance, pleased that the building stands again, imagining donations of contents, the desire to establish pride in the ancient Tamil culture while its language hides outside, speaking to soldiers, […]

Sovereignty vs. the Right to Life

Photo courtesy Vikalpa The most fundamental and important right a human being has is her right to life. This cannot be justified through first principles because this is itself a first principle. In common sense morality, it is granted that a human being has a fundamental right to life, and that this right trumps all […]

CHOGM 2013: A lie well told

Photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi, AFP/Getty Images via FT Photo Diary I imagine that beneath the cordial smiles and exchange of pleasantries there is much weeping and gnashing of teeth taking place at Temple Trees these days. The façade that was CHOGM 2013 seems to have crumbled, at least in the eyes of the world, although certainly […]

British Prime Minister and TNA leaders shun families of disappeared in Jaffna

Photo courtesy Marisa de Silva Tamil families of the disappeared, primarily from the North, gathered in front of the area between the Public Library and Duriappa Stadium by 2pm, on 15th Nov., as they thought the visiting British Prime Minister would land at the Duriappa Stadium. They were accompanied by some Christian clergy and activists […]

Women and children in the North: Sexual harassment, grievances and challenges

In September 2013, Watchdog travelled to the Vanni[1] and met with survivors of sexual violence, women’s rights activists and representatives of women’s groups. This report is based on information provided during interviews conducted with them, Human Rights organisations based in the North and Colombo and Government sources. During our interactions with these groups, we learnt […]

‘Diaspora Diaries’: Exploring Connections and Interactions with Sri Lanka

[Editors note: Also read related post Diaspora Diaries: Reflections of the filmmaker] In recent years, the prevailing image of the Sri Lankan diaspora in the media has been dominated by Tamil community activists’ human rights campaign, calling for investigations into the Sri Lankan Government’s actions in 2009 during the last phases of the 26 year […]

Rajapakse Administration’s choices with the TNA

Photograph courtesy The Independent The Rajapakse Administration’s desire to host the a global event,  the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGAM) suddenly forced the Administration to do something which was anathema to its decision making hard line Sinhala nationalist brain trust, which was to have to heed and take note of international opinion and global […]

Will Logarani Be The Last Victim Of Violence Against Women?

All photographs by the author, or sent it by the author. Around 5pm on 17 October 2013, within the Jaffna municipality, one of our friends (a male youth resident of Jaffna) came to our home (a few friends were gathered there) looking very disturbed. We were surprised to see him again, as he was with […]

A Northern Path to Reconciliation in Sri Lanka

Image courtesy USA Herald Northern People Humble the “People’s Dynasty” I salute the people of the Northern Province for showing the door to the self-proclaimed “People’s Dynasty”; the only province in the country to do so, which is a glimmer of hope for re-establishment of democracy in the country. Although I am not a fan […]