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Evicted under the World Bank’s Watch

Forcible demolition of 34 Watta homes when court case was ongoing, September 2014. Photograph by Selvaraj Rajasegar. “We were removed from our homes by force. The Army officers told us that they will bulldoze our houses whether we move out or not. They told us that we can either take these apartments or live on […]

A Choice between Stability and Virtue?

Photo by EPA/M.A.PUSHPA KUMARA, via Sky News I start with a quote from Shang Yang (390-338 BC), an insightful statesman in the Chinese state of Qin: “A country where the virtuous govern the wicked will suffer from disorder, so that it will be dismembered; but a country where the wicked govern the virtuous will be orderly, so that it […]

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 […]

A Panopticon state: We must not wait until they come for us

On Tuesday last week (12th) I watched, at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute the screening of ‘Citizen Four’: A documentary film concerning systems analyst Edward Snowden and the information he leaked on the nature and scale of the NSA’s spying activities. In that documentary, director Laura Poitras records the manner in which she was first contacted […]

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, […]

Tamils in North & East Sri Lanka remember those killed despite intimidation and surveillance

Several remembrances events were held across the North and East in Sri Lanka on 18th May 2015 (the day the war ended in Sri Lanka in 2009) by Tamils to remember those killed during the war[1]. They were organized by Tamil politicians, religious clergy, civil society and women’s groups. Many were religious events. Most appear […]

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 […]

Can the United Kingdom Survive the General Election Result?

Image courtesy fivethirtyeight Editor’s Note: The UK general election last week threw up an interesting configuration of parliamentary representation, with the Conservatives winning an unexpected UK-wide majority in House of Commons, and the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) winning a landslide of all bar two parliamentary seats in Scotland. The future of the United Kingdom has […]

Five years ago, today: Evicted and homeless

Photo courtesy JDS On 8th May 2010, the Urban Development Authority (UDA) demolished 20 homes that were occupied by 33 families on Mews Street in Kompannyaveediya, Colombo 2. Families were informed verbally a month prior to the demolition that they will have to vacate their homes and served the same in writing only 3 days […]