Archive | Human Rights RSS feed for this section

A review of ‘The Cage: The Fight for Sri Lankan & The Last Days of the Tamil Tigers’

I was elated to take delivery of my copy of The Cage by Gordon Weiss yesterday. Having pre-ordered it off Amazon UK, I fully expected it to be held up by Customs officials in Sri Lanka, given the incendiary issues the book is anchored to and its author, an erstwhile employee of the United Nations […]

Reflecting on the End of the Sri Lankan Civil War: The Need for a New Conversation in the Global Sri Lankan Community

Although military hostilities in Sri Lanka ended two years ago, the dynamics of the conversation in the global Sri Lankan community continues to be influenced by the nations’ past conflicts. Decades of communal grievances and misunderstandings have seemingly scarred our grandparents’ and parents’ generations to voice visions of a brighter future. Much of the current […]

War Crimes Accountability In Sri Lanka: Is There A Liberal Democratic Alternative To International Action?

Sri Lanka’s President pictured here with the Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal (L) and his brother Basil Rajapaksa, the Economic Development Minister (R) has repeatedly called the war a “humanitarian rescue operation with a zero civilian casualty policy”. Photo credit: REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte The report of the three-member panel of independent experts, appointed […]

An elephantine gestation: UN Panel’s report on accountability in Sri Lanka released

Leaked versions of the UN Panel’s report found their way into The Island newspaper, where over the past week, Groundviews has contextualised the content that was published in print. Today, the Hindustan Times published an article based on the full version of the report, based on a leaked version of the full report the paper […]

UNSG Panel Report on Sri Lanka: Revisiting ‘Accountability’

Original photo from JDS Ensuring ‘accountability’ is important, but doing so is a complex task. Who is to ensure accountability, when, where, how? – are questions which have always aroused serious debate, and will do, in the future. While there may be no ‘independent/internal’ investigations, one need not be starry-eyed about ‘independent/international’ investigations. For example, […]

New leaks of UN war crimes report: Shelling civilians, horrifying medical conditions and failure of the UN system in Sri Lanka?

The Island newspaper continues to publish leaks from the report produced by the Panel appointed by the UN Secretary General to look into allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka. Groundviews flagged key points and placed in context what is widely acknowledged to be the executive summary of the report, published in The Island newspaper […]

Sinhala and Tamil New Year in Jaffna, Sri Lanka: Ground realities

Sinhala & Tamil New Year when I was growing up was always a much-awaited annual event in our neighbourhood. We’d have card tournaments and badminton tournaments leading up to the “Big Day,” and when the day actually came, it was always a flurry of activity. People rushing all over the place, kids laughing, games being […]

The leaked UN war crimes report: Key points and context

The Island newspaper published today sections of what appears to be a large excerpt from the report of the UN Panel of Experts looking into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka. Inner City Press followed up with a report suggesting that the text was authentic, and that the UN deeply […]

In conversation with Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

Almost one year ago, Groundviews first featured an interview with Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu. At the time, just after the parliamentary elections leading from the decisive presidential election, the government was riding a wave of popular support. In the year that passed, from the reprehensible 18th Amendment and grotesque examples of the government’s wastefulness, democratic governance that instead […]

Violence Against Women and Girls in Sri Lanka: No April Fools joke

Interviews published on this site with Kumudini Samuel, founder of Women and Media Collective and with Sunila Abeysekara, a leading human rights activist, addressed the prevalence of Gender Based Violence both during war and in post-war Sri Lanka, particularly in the North and East. Addressing the same vexed issue is a production slated for 1st […]

How Decent a Society are we?

Editors’ note: This article was first published in the Daily Mirror on the 18th of March 2011. Groundviews invites its readers for further discussion and debate. Avishai Margalit the Israeli philosopher wrote a treatise on the Decent Society from which I have quoted often. In it he defines a civilized society as one in which […]

Jaffna and the Vanni today: The reality beneath the rhetoric

Photo credit: Indi Samarajiva, 2010 The drive along the A9 from Vavuniya to Killinochchi is brought to a temporary halt at the ‘exit-entry point’ at what used to be the forward defence line at Omanthai. On the side of the dusty dirt road, in a series of sheds, military personnel are stationed with the sole […]

What few care to know: Challenges and opportunities in post-war Sri Lanka

Transcript of speech delivered by Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu accepting the first Citizens Peace Award, 28 February 2011. Video of speech below. Members of the Head Table, Venerable Sirs, Your Excellency President Kumaratunga and Friends, Let me begin by thanking the National Peace Council for this inaugural Citizens’ Peace Award, which I accept in all humility. […]

The Duplicitous Disclaimer: GOSL, the UN and Accountability

In consideration of the vague exposition on the reasons behind the meeting between Ban Ki-moon and representatives of the Sri Lankan Government in New York on the 23rd of February 2011, as well as the Government’s own disclaimer on the meeting, it is clear that there has been a concerted effort to disclose as little […]

Winds of Change 2.0 and its Implications

The sweeping wave of protests over West Asia is refreshing to see twenty-two years after the fall of the Berlin wall. The demise of repressive communist regimes in Eastern Europe was not due to the direct intervention of the west, but the overall impact of home grown people’s power movements, which gathered pace as the […]