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The rape and murder of Vidya: Do women really matter in Sri Lanka?

Image from Icarus Wept The rape and murder of Vidya in Pungudutheevu in the North has been widely reported in the media. There have been protests in the North, and vigils and protests held in the South as well. People have expressed outrage, sympathy, horror and anger. A number of Tamil websites and commentators, both […]

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 […]

Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers: Reflections from visit to Sri Lanka

Photo by DushiYanthini Kanagasabapathipillai I first visited Sri Lanka in 2003. I took leave from the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship for a short humanitarian stint with a Sri Lankan NGO during a Norwegian Peace Initiative-ceasefire. The civil war spanning over 25 years ended with the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) […]

Where are our loved ones who have been abducted, arrested and disappeared?

Image courtesy Today ### To His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Respected President, In the journey towards good governance where are our loved ones who have been abducted, arrested, and disappeared? The 3 decades of war in our country affected all communities, irrespective of ethnicity and religion and […]

FM Samaraweera Calls for Patience on Human Rights Front and Improved Sri Lanka-USA Relations

Photo courtesy MFA Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera in his first visit to Washington, D.C. after assuming office addressed a full-house gathering at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) on Wednesday February 11th. The CEIP, founded in 1910, is the oldest international affairs think tank in the United States. In the last few […]

Revisiting Sampur: How Long Will it Take to Return Home?

By Bhavani Fonseka and Mirak Raheem The election of a new President has unleashed high expectations of change for the better. Although for some the expectations relate to macro issues of constitutional reform and good governance, for others their hopes are more basic: that of survival, of returning to their own homes and rebuilding their […]

The war in Sri Lanka and propaganda debates: An analysis for the OHCHR in Geneva

Photography courtesy Worldvision Dear Sandra Beidas and OISL Team  As a Sri Lankan Australian and academic I have been collecting and analysing the material on the last phase of the war in Sri Lanka for six years now. I come across new evidence regularly in the midst of misinformation and dis-information that is a facet […]

In conversation with Nimalka Fernando: Life as an activist in Sri Lanka

Nimalka Fernando is one of Sri Lanka’s best known human rights activists and the President of the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR). Nimalka’s activism has in recent years generated violent pushback from the Government – prime time radio programmes on State owned channels have openly and with impunity discussed ways […]

Dr. Rajani Thiranagama Commemoration on 20th and 21st September 2014

I was a public servant when Rajani was assassinated by an LTTE agent 25 years ago. I took private leave, travelled to Jaffna at my own expense and participated in the 31st day Commemoration. She was a leading member of the UTHR (Jaffna branch) and coauthored, with Dr.Rajan Hoole, Dr. Daya Somasundaram and Dr. K.Sritharan, […]

William Blake, Buddhism and Human Rights – value of praxis over ideology

[William Blake 1757-1827 demonstrated through his art and poetry how opposite views were actually relative and dependent on each other and that they were reconcilable once we overcame the mental trap of ‘abstraction’ and solidification, the act of removing something out of its context and turning it into an absolute] [The Asokan pillar is a […]

New evidence of torture by Sri Lanka’s security forces

An ethnic Tamil survivor of alleged torture at the hands of Sri Lankan security forces poses for a photograph in London, October 2012. Photo by Will Baxter. New evidence has emerged that Sri Lanka’s security forces have perpetrated acts of torture and sexual violence against ethnic Tamils as recently as last year, according to a UK-based […]

INFOGRAPHIC: Religious Violence in Post-War Sri Lanka

Religious tensions have been exacerbated in post-war Sri Lanka, contrary to claims by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) that attacks against places of religious worship are isolated incidents. In Mach 2013, the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) published a report highlighting concerns about violence and intolerance against all religious communities in the country. The […]