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Human Rights Challenges in Sri Lanka

Speech delivered on behalf of me by Marisa de Silva, on the occasion of the Islamic Centre Felicitation event, held in Maligawatte today. Thank you for making me part of this celebration. Practically, felicitations are possible for a few, but many deserve felicitation. Felicitation for me means felicitation for many others I have worked with. […]

Addressing “blocked grief” in Jaffna

Photograph via Steppes Travel Six years after the end of the war the population in the North of Sri Lanka remains passive, ensnared in wartime mentality because they haven’t been able to express and deal with their sorrow and trauma. Professors from Jaffna University talk of a young generation incapable of envisioning a better future. […]

Gang rape and murder of a school girl

Image courtesy News First The recent gang rape  and murder of a school girl in Jaffna has, within the few days, triggered many public reports in newspapers and elsewhere, raised many issues including the Code of Professional Practice for journalism; national reconciliation; the death penalty; public demonstrations in Jaffna and Colombo; judicial reforms in relation […]

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

Editors note: Original image was taken from Icarus Wept. Rather than the issues noted in the article, or the incident of rape, many initial comments focussed on the use of the photo. Histrionics of the “I am right so you must be wrong camp” aside, over email and calls, more informed and reasoned requests were made […]

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, […]

Valalai (Jaffna): Re-militarisation of released villages with façade of resettlement

Valalai[1] is a Tamil village of about 233 acres[2] that was occupied by the military for nearly 25 years and before it was handed back to villagers in March 2015 by President Sirisena. Yet, more than 50 days after that handover, villagers don’t see hope for resettlement as almost nothing has been provided for them […]

Five years ago, today: Evicted and homeless

Photo courtesy JDS On 8th May 2010, the Urban Development Authority (UDA) demolished 20 homes that were occupied by 33 families on Mews Street in Kompannyaveediya, Colombo 2. Families were informed verbally a month prior to the demolition that they will have to vacate their homes and served the same in writing only 3 days […]

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) […]

Army in the North: Contesting the views of Prof. Rohan Gunaratna

Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images, via A Sri Lankan Quest This is in response to the views expressed by “International Terrorism Expert” Prof. Rohan Gunaratna to Zahrah Imtiaz in the article titled “Don’t Withdraw Army from North: Prof. Rohan Gunaratna” published in the Ceylon Today of Sunday 15 February 2015, page 10. Security I do agree with […]

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 […]

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 Koslanda landslide: Photos around the aftermath

The deadly mudslide hit the Meeriyabedda tea plantation near the town of Haldummulla, about 200km (120 miles) east of the capital Colombo, on Wednesday (29th October) morning. Part of a mountainside crashed into the tea estate, burying some of the workers’ homes in 9m (30ft) of mud and debris. An estimated 100 people are still […]

Ensure and protect the rights of people who survived the landslide

Image courtesy Colombo Gazette Memorandum to the Ministry of Disaster Management  Ensure and protect the rights of people, especially women and children, who survived the landslide which occurred in the Haldumulla DS area on 29th October 2014 As the Women’s Coalition for Disaster Management, Batticaloa, we wish to express our sincere condolences to the people […]