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Arbitrary Detention in Sri Lanka: Internment, Rehabilitation, and Surrenderees in the Prison System

Photo courtesy GlobalPost. Stephen Hird/Reuters. In January 2012 I traveled to Sri Lanka with a group of fellow students from the University Virginia School of Law.[1] We wanted to learn about legal issues in other countries, and we arrived in Sri Lanka eager to hear views from government officials, NGO workers, and local citizens. I chose […]

The End of War in Sri Lanka: Reflections and Challenges released as iBook

From 19 – 27 May 2010, Groundviews ran a special edition on the end of war in Sri Lanka. Over this week alone, the site received over forty-thousand readers and exclusively featured over eighty-thousand words of original content, one video premiere, over a dozen photos, generating over one hundred and fifty-thousand words of commentary. By popular request, The End […]

Optics and politics of grief

Photo courtesy asianews.it “I was on my motorcycle going through this area behind a couple on a motorcycle. The woman was pregnant and they were out probably to do some shopping. The couple was coming fast. They signalled to me and I moved aside to let them overtake. I suddenly saw the couple fall down for […]

LLRC REPORT: REASON, REFORM, ROADMAP

Photo, courtesy JDS, is of Sri Lanka’s President reading the LLRC report on a ‘haansi putuwa‘ at his official residence. Though not without flaws and lacuna, the long awaited LLRC report does not disappoint, and reaches high standards, ranking with the best reports emanating over the decades from official and semi-official/autonomous Sri Lankan commissions, reviews and probes. […]

The LLRC report and ‘accountability’ in Sri Lanka

Readers will find no big surprises after reading the final report of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). It is very much what most people were expecting. A document that looks to the future, exonerates the military, does not touch on the question of accountability and includes some touchy-feely language about the country’s need to […]

Response to Michael Roberts’ ‘Turning Former LTTE Personnel into Sri Lankan Citizens?’

Photo courtesy Lankapuvath Michael Roberts’ recent Groundviews piece on the government’s rehabilitation programme of alleged former LTTE combatants is generally approving of that programme, not only directly but also indirectly in making the kinds of criticisms that actually add to the approbation. Professor Roberts has added his distinguished academic authority to a set of circumstances […]

Post-war situation in Northern Sri Lanka & Prospects for Reconciliation

Changes since the end of the war: 30 months after the end of war, more people travel between the once off limits North[i] and the South and many of the travel restrictions have been eased. The dreaded Medawachiya checkpoint is no more, and since 2010, we have not taken a flight or ship to Jaffna, […]

What You Didn’t Know About The Vanni And Were Too Afraid To Ask

Prologue This is the continuing story of Gajaman Nona, an accomplished Sinhala poet, who was born in 1758. Emerging from a time capsule, GN finds herself in year 2011. The lady, who during her lifetime experienced dire poverty and took care of her four children with much difficulty, finds that her economic circumstances remain much […]

Women Left Behind: Truth Commissioning in Sri Lanka

A mother displaying the photographs of his sons which are missing during the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) session in Trincomalee, December, 3-5, 2010. Photo courtesy Centre for Human Rights The power and promise of national exercises like the LLRC lie in the way that they can access the voices of those who have not […]

Turning Former LTTE Personnel into Sri Lankan Citizens?

Editors note: Also read a response to this article by Valkryie, titled Response to Michael Roberts’ ‘Turning Former LTTE Personnel into Sri Lankan Citizens?’] Whatever the death toll during the last stages of Eelam War IV in 2009 the official government data in that year acknowledged that 11,696 (9078 male and 2024 female)[i] of those who […]

Re-displacement of Menik Farm inmates to Kombavil (Mullativu)

On 20th September 2011 the Government of Sri Lanka had announced that Menik Farm, hosting 7394 persons (2097 families) will be closed down.[i] The solution imposed on these people has been to send them to Kombavil, an interior village in the Mullativu district. Although the government claims the people are not allowed to go back […]

Grease Devils and Police and Army attacks on civilians in Mannar and Vavuniya

    Police attacks on civilians in Komarasankulam (Vavuniya district) 11 men were arrested by the Vavuniya Police in Komarasankulam at 10.30 pm on 20th August 2011.  The men were severely beaten before arrest and at least two persons were tortured inside the Vavuniya Police Station. Another man was arrested when he visited the police […]

Land in the North and East of Sri Lanka: Concern and confusion over Government circular

Image credit Jeremy Suyker, via Foto8 The Government recently unveiled a policy regarding land in the North and East through the introduction of a Cabinet Memorandum (memo) titled ‘Regularize Land Management in Northern and Eastern Provinces,’ which was subsequently followed by a Land Circular (circular) titled ‘Regulating the Activities Regarding Management of Lands in the […]

Channel 4′s ‘Killing Fields’: Journalism, Advocacy or Propaganda?

Image from Channel 4 Introduction The UK based Channel 4 documentary, “Killing Fields”, possesses an interesting characteristic. It has the power of accentuating the prejudices and biases of viewers. The reaction found on a variety of forums is arguably more illuminating than the documentary itself. Those who feel the Sri Lankan government has done no […]