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Two testimonies from families released from Menik Camp

[Editors note: Two short testimonies on the plight of IDPs released from Menik Camp sent to Groundviews highlight significant challenges facing reconciliation and resettlement in post-war Sri Lanka and the urgent need for psycho-social counseling.] Testimony #1 Around 50-52 IDP families from Zone 5, Menik Farm were brought outside the camp with their belongings and […]

Doing the Right Thing: Freedom for Vanni IDPs

[Editors note: An edited copy of this article appears in the Sunday Times of 27th September 2009. This is the full version.] It was a relief to hear that the government was at last responding to mounting domestic and international criticism, and had begun releasing the Vanni IDPs. Perhaps the shocking report in the Sunday […]

Sacrificing essential liberty for temporary safety in Sri Lanka

Despite the successful military victory over terrorism, we continue to be warned by the state that a critical threat to national security continues to stalk the country. Consequently, we have passively assented to a persistent and invasive military presence in our daily life. Furthermore, over quarter of a million Tamils are continuing to be held […]

The Internment – A Collective Punishment?

The widespread indifference to the continuing misery of 280,000 interned IDPs, most of them already unlawfully detained for about four months without any charges, is a sad reflection on the moral values of our society. The reported release of a few thousand is most welcome, but what of the remaining 270,000? Attempts made to justify […]

End of a conflict: An ideal time to bear witness to a brutal war

Part 1 The strap of my bag unbuckled under the strain as I squeezed out of the bus in Kurunegala. The clock tower read an unrushed 6.40 am on its weary face. It was quite possibly a relic from the Premadasa era, bearing testament to a President who erected large clocks in many city centres […]

A video of shame and outrage: Responses, positions and clarifications

The video broadcast Channel 4 last week generated a number of responses from the readership of Groundviews. Much has been written about the video, including this well thought out commentary in The Lede, the New York Times news blog. Of the many comments in response to it, this one and the Lede’s response to it […]

Unshed Tears

“These are Elephants, Those are Tamils”1 -words from a friend. Baby Elephants- dearly beloved elders were killed before their tender eyes Baby Elephants-arms, legs, teeth shriveled with the pain of the bullet Baby Elephants- loose wrinkled skin hangs off starving, haunted frames Baby Elephants-left over remnants of humanity scraped up from The scorching earth of […]

Bearing Witness: Submit content on IDPs and Police brutality to win a Flip Ultra video camera

Through Bearing Witness, Groundviews seeks to engender critical citizen journalism on two vital issues confronting polity and society in post-war Sri Lanka. The ground conditions in Menik Farm, worsened by recent flooding, are a non-issue for most mainstream print and broadcast media in Sri Lanka. Yet, as this recent report from the UN’s IRIN news service notes, Close […]

Status of IDP’s and the ‘Right to Protect’

“Man generally resorts to dialogue, compromise and consensus in resolving human conflicts due to his superior intellect. However, it is not uncommon for man, when under pressure, to submit to his baser instincts of survival by resorting to physical confrontation and warfare despite the attainment of a high level of civilization.” The ‘divide and rule […]

Sri Lanka: Vanquished Tiger, Roaring Lion

The stakes of life and death, hope and despair, peace and conflict are now higher than they were when the war was declared “over”. The Tiger was declared dead, and the Lion roars. We watched this nation dance to the drum beat of the victor, sing triumphant songs, parade the glory of the forces, rejoice […]

The shame of Menik Farm

The floods that affected significant swathes of the expansive Menik Farm a week ago generated interesting responses from government. One of the most revealing was the deafening silence of the usually loquacious Rajiva Wijesinghe, and the lack of any statement over the flooding by the Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister, Mahinda Samarasinghe. On 22 […]

A first hand perspective of Sri Lanka’s largest IDP camp: Are they really ‘our people’?

This is an interview in English secured by Vikalpa with a Sri Lankan Tamil who had visited his family at the “Ramanathan Transitional Relief Village” in May. His family is amongst 260,000+ other IDPs interned in Menik Camp. In an interview conducted before the recent flooding, the speaker records the inhuman conditions and indignity IDPs […]

Update on Menik Camp flooding: More images and reports from the ground

After first breaking news on Friday, Groundviews continues to receive disturbing photos on the flooding in Menik Camp after last Friday’s torrential downpour. No journalists have been allowed to visit the IDP camp even after the floods. Key points of situation updates received by Groundviews Groundviews contributor Vidura’s tweets (available here) are one source of […]