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Compilation of special edition on the end of war in Sri Lanka

Download the 162 page compilation of content as a PDF in high quality (25.4Mb), or low quality (3.7Mb). The low quality version is good enough to read, but the photos will look and print much better in the high quality version. From 19 – 27 May 2010, Groundviews ran a special edition on the end of […]

Human rights: Hackneyed or heightened in post-war Sri Lanka?

My conversation with Lakshan Dias, Programme Manager, Centre for Human Rights and Development, was pegged to the issue of human rights in post-war Sri Lanka. Lakshan was in the news recently when he appeared for Sarah Malanie Perera, an author taken in custody over bizarre circumstances. While we touched on this specific case, the interview […]

Should we prosecute crimes against humanity?

It must be acknowledged that international law, both customary and humanitarian, is undergoing significant changes with regard to crimes committed during armed conflicts.  Thus it is difficult to assert that international legal measures for dealing with crimes against humanity should be assessed primarily in terms of successful prosecutions given that there is a paucity of […]

Ground realities in Jaffna and its environs: Two key perspectives

From the psycho-social trauma and destruction of the social fabric in Jaffna after close upon three decades of brutal war to the challenges of post-war development, entrepreneurship and economic revival, these two interviews focus on two leading Tamil civil society activists who have lived in Jaffna from when the war was still raging. Dr. Muttukrishna […]

People in glass houses…

“Where you from” asked the precocious teenager from Jane, a World Bank official I was escorting to a remote hillside community in the middle of Sri Lanka to show a community based micro hydro system. She proudly said, “America”. She and I were both shocked at the response that followed; “Boo Bush Boo Bush!” accompanied […]

Mass Graves: Nothing new to Sri Lanka

The recent discovery of mass graves  at Ganeshapuram in  Kilinochchi and at Nachchikuda in the  Mannar Districts  has  been very much in the news during the past weeks.  Such finds need not  surprise anyone.  Following an analysis of satellite images taken during the height  of the war, the American Association for the Advancement of Science  […]

Learning Old Lessons from a New ‘Lessons Learnt’ Commission: the ‘Home-Grown’ Way?

One year after the war, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has established another commission; known as the ‘Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’. Eight eminent members have been appointed. The Commission is chaired by a former Attorney General. The Commission is to ‘inquire and report’ the following: the facts and circumstances which led to the failure of the […]


I had not intended contributing to Groundviews’s commemoration of the first anniversary of the end of the war, for the simple reason that there having been no movement whatsoever on post-war constitutional reform, I did not wish to add another gripe of a general nature to this ‘liberal echo chamber’ of ours. Two publications in […]

The latest Commission of Inquiry in Sri Lanka: Another Exercise in Deception

Louise Arbour of the International Crisis Group is reported to have  said during an interview in the BBC that the government violated the laws of war by blurring the line between combatants and civilians, and that its killings of civilians were not accidents.   Perhaps in response to this, speaking to the BBC Tamil Service […]

Vanni in the year after war: Tears of despair and fear

About six months after the end of the war, in November 2009, the government of Sri Lanka relaxed restrictions on travel to the Vanni[1] and started to allow some of the displaced people to go back to their villages. Although the government still maintains some restrictions on travel, I managed to visit these areas many […]

Post-war Sri Lanka: Challenges and opportunities

This Government, as it commences to address the many challenges facing post – war Sri Lanka, stands today at a watershed of major, unprecedented and possibly never to be replicated, opportunity. Wherever one is located in the Sri Lankan political firmament that obvious and pre eminent condition would have to be admitted. The sense of […]

Will ‘Peace’ Arrive Before Death?

It was, unfortunately, a necessary war, for terrorism had to be defeated, eliminated. After some thirty long years, on or around the 19th of May 2009, Sri Lanka gained liberation; liberation from the clutches of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), from the clutches of terrorism (May, 2010: The Prime Minister states in Parliament […]

A Tribute to our Unsung Heroes

The teenage girls singing a Tamil song “Tomorrow is Ours” is interrupted by my wife Samantha and I walking in to the classroom.  They giggled coyly as we looked around at them.   They were being trained to be Girl Guides and did not seem any different to any of the many young people I have […]

The importance of not forgetting

One year ago, the war that had defined our lives for the last 30 years ended.  Brutally, callously and mercilessly fought like most wars are, it ended amidst allegations of immense suffering wrought on the people caught in the middle of the final desperate onslaughts.  Since then according to the official version, Sri Lankans have […]