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Women and Children: The Cutting Edge of International Law

Photo by UN/Myriam Asmani, via World Education Blog The Grotius Lecture 2014[1] PREFACE Sometime at the end of 2011, while I was still the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict, I met an ambassador from an Asian country just before a United Nations Security Council meeting on children […]

The arrest, detention and torture of Tamils in post-war Sri Lanka

Image from The Anti-Torture Initiative There is an alarming trend in the Sri Lankan security forces operation, of arresting the family members of suspects and keeping them as hostages in detention camps. Irrespective of their age, gender and connection to those suspects, the family members are kept under arrest/ detention most notably in the infamous […]

Sri Lanka: Post-Geneva, Post-Provincial Council Elections

Photograph by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty Images via Al Jazeera Post- Geneva and post- PC elections, some clarifications are in order because the resolution, locally, came to be obscured by the fog of elections and the scare stories that were put out about sanctions and the electric chair, not to mention the absurdity of the arithmetic of the […]

Freedom and bondage: Lankans, then and now

Introduction There is a need to question the adequacy and suitability of current conceptions of both ‘human rights’ and ‘secularism’ to meet the challenges of unbridled majoritarianism, which seems perfectly at home within the institutions and procedures of the modern Sri Lankan state. In the first part of this article I propose an alternative vision […]

Remembering Sithie Tiruchelvam

Photo courtesy The Hindu Writing a tribute to Sithie Tiruchelvam is not an easy task. Sithie was an intensely private person who was averse to public, over-the-top displays of emotion and sentimentality. I am aware that a piece that says little about her private persona could sound impersonal, even clinical. I have therefore attempted to […]

Dangerous defeat in Geneva

Image courtesy Wikipedia “The passage of the resolution marks a historic moment…” Having lost the crucial vote in Geneva and opened the door to an international investigation, Sri Lanka is now in new territory. Sri Lankans saw who their real friends were at the UNHRC on Thursday night. Our friends, Pakistan, Cuba, China, Russia — […]

Video of Ruki Fernando’s interview with the BBC

Photo by Pat Roque/AP, courtesy The Guardian The recent arrest of human rights activists Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen Mahesan under Sri Lanka’s draconian PTA law resulted in widespread condemnation within Sri Lanka and from the international community. As we noted in a previous article, “this is happening when deliberations at the Human Rights Council […]

Arresting Performance: Shelling Sri Lanka’s zone in Geneva

Photo courtesy Janikissima on Flickr “He who tries to defend everything, defends nothing”- Sun Tzu (‘The Art of War’) With the arrests of an outspoken middle aged Tamil woman activist with no history of violence, her detention in Boossa under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the handover of her 13 year old daughter to the child protection […]

Arrest of Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen

Photo courtesy Janikissima on Flickr Last night’s arrest of Ruki Fernando and Fr. Praveen in Kilinochchi on terrorism charges, soon after the arrest of Jeyakumari Balendran and her young daughter on suspicion of harbouring a criminal, is extremely disturbing and an urgent call to action. In stark contrast to what the Government says in Geneva […]

Why the Government of Sri Lanka fails internationally

Image courtesy Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images, via RightsNow This is among the many important challenges to the “democratically elected” Government of “democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka” (GOSL).  There may be various answers but let me offer five reasons why the present Government in the present frame of mind cannot win the support of the international community […]

Hearings of the Commission to Inquire into the Complaints regarding Missing Persons

Image courtesy Sri Lanka: One Island, Two Nations. The following letter was sent to Groundviews by a reader with the following covering note: The letter I send you is from a Collective of Families of Disappeared Persons who engaged in the Sri Lankan government’s disappearences commission. It highlights a number of problems in the commission process. The […]

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 […]

Child abuse at the Vavuniya children’s home: The government’s inaction

In October 2013 Kalyana Tissa Thero of the Seth Sevana Lama Nivasa of Attambagaskanda, Vavuniya was arrested for sexually abusing a 9 year old child. The Buddhist monk was kept in remand custody and medical evidence confirmed the sexual abuse of the child on 12.10.2013. Subsequently the custody of the remaining 22 children of the […]

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 […]