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The National and International Significance of the 13th Amendment

Image courtesy DBS Jeyaraj It appears to be widely believed in our country that Indian foreign policy, particularly in relation to Sri Lanka, is shaped by the ethnic politics of Sri Lanka. Disseminating such a belief may serve the interests of various political leaders in diverse ways. It may help to sustain the morale of […]

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 […]

Sovereignty – Is it a Defence to cover up?

Image from DBS Jeyaraj.com. This article was first published in Hulftsdorp Law Journal, Colombo Law Society (2014) Introduction The term sovereignty is frequently confronted with hostile claims. Human Right and Anti Corruption Movements are often challenged by various groups with different notions and ideologies on sovereignty.  The purpose of this brief article is to examine […]

Nelson Mandela’s Legacy to the World: Some Less Celebrated Aspects

Photograph courtesy National Geographic Give me that man That is not passion’s slave, and I will wear him In my heart’s core Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 2 The death of the moral colossus in the politics of our time has occasioned a worldwide celebration of all things bright and beautiful that he represented in such […]

The APRC: A Forgotten Resolution

Photo courtesy The Nation Four years after the end of the Sri Lankan civil war, Hindu temples are being destroyed in the North, Muslim retail stores are being attacked in the South and Sinhala Buddhist extremism has become organized into its own brand. In other words, ethnic-religious tension within the nation is still very much […]

India and Sri Lanka: The Road Not Taken

Photo courtesy The Nation “…Sri Lankan foreign policy must be centred on a non-hostile relationship with India…Choice is the essential question; not only the choices open to us, but the choices likely to be taken by others…” - Mervyn de Silva, ‘External Aspects of the Ethnic Issue’ (1985), Crisis Commentaries (2001: pp68-78) In the aftermath of the victory over the LTTE […]

UNP constitutional proposals vs. the Rajapakse constitutional amendment

Photo courtesy Colombo Telegraph Both the ruling Rajapakse Administration and the opposition United National Party are busy with their own versions of constitutional reform. The UNP with making constitutional reform proposals for dialogue and discussion, while the Government, was busy using its two third majority to rush through yet another constitutional amendment, this one reducing […]

Ceylon Rationalist Association: 1970 Memorandum on a New Constitution for Sri Lanka

Photo source [Note: This memorandum was sent by the Ceylon Rationalist Association on 25 September 1970 to Dr Colvin R De Silva, then Minister of Constitutional Affairs, who was heading the group tasked with drafting what eventually became the country’s first Republican Constitution of 1972. Written by the Association’s Founder President Dr Abraham Thomas Kovoor, […]

Gender Issues in Constitutional Reform: A Review of The Republic at 40

The Sri Lankan Republic at 40: Reflections on Constitutional History, Theory and Practice, edited by Asanga Welikala is an important contribution to the discussion on the problems concerning the republican constitutions of Sri Lanka and constitution-making projects and processes. The volume contains three chapters dealing specifically with gender concerns in relation to Sri Lanka’s constitutional […]

Sri Lanka’s Global Vulnerability & the Devolution Conundrum

Photo courtesy The Hindustan Times/AP A society or state that demonstrates repeated violent convulsions over a fairly prolonged period such as decades does so because of a deep underlying problem. In the case of Sri Lanka this is the problem of the relations between the Sinhalese, Tamils and the state or to put it another […]

UNP’S DRAFT, TNA’S OPTIONS & THE CBK COMEBACK SCENARIO

Photo courtesy China Daily The UNP’s constitutional draft makes a most positive contribution by unambiguously committing itself to a unitary state form with the devolution of power to the provinces. This avoids the extreme of over-centralisation. Over-centralisation can take three forms: a unitary state without devolution, devolution only to units smaller than the province or […]

Radical UNP and its New Constitutional Proposals: A Radical Farce?

Photo courtesy Sunday Observer When regimes are dictatorial and dangerous, alternative forces which promise a better society and future do tend to be taken seriously by the people. This, quite simply, is because the future promised by such alternative forces tends to be better than the present. But one thing many people can’t do about […]

Sri Lanka at a critical crossroad: JHU and the 13th Amendment

Udaya Gammanpila, Senior Member of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), courtesy FT.lk The country stands at a crossroad. A parliamentary victory for the JHU bill will complete the negative process which commenced with Sinhala Only in 1956 and the distortion in 1972 of the laudable shift to a Republic with mono-linguistic and mono-religious hegemony. If […]

Review of The Sri Lankan Republic at 40: Reflections on Constitutional History, Theory and Practice edited by Asanga Welikala

Coming as it did at the end of 2012, The Sri Lankan Republic at 40: Reflections on Constitutional History, Theory and Practice, is much more than two edited volumes or an extensive anthology. Rather, on close reading it seems more a living embodiment of current and critical debate at the very heart of the Sri Lankan […]

People, Politics and the Constitution: Reading ‘The Sri Lankan Republic at 40′ (edited by Asanga Welikala)

Photo courtesy Vikalpa, taken at the launch of the book in Colombo. Reading a tome on constitutional history, theory and practice – like Asanga Welikala’s edited collection titled The Sri Lankan Republic at 40 – can be a daunting task. For a start, such books have too much to say about constitutions. The more you […]