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9 years after disappearance of Fr. Jim Brown & Mr. Vimalathas

9 years ago, on 20th August 2006, Fr. Jim Brown and Mr. Vimalathas disappeared after having been last seen at a Navy checkpoint in Allaipiddy, Jaffna[1]. Few days before, Fr. Jim Brown had been threatened by a Navy officer. There had also been tension between him and the Navy, as the Catholic Priest had pleaded with […]

Statement on 25th Anniversary of Mass Killings, Disappearances and Displacement Carried Out in Batticaloa in 1990

Photo by Kannan Arunasalam, The Kattankudy mosque massacre in Sri Lanka: 22 years after Twenty five years ago, Batticaloa district experienced some of the most brutal violence of Sri Lanka’s long ethnic conflict, with a series of mass killings, large scale disappearances, damage and loss to property and forced displacement taking place in the months […]

Open Letter to President on the conduct of Sir Desmond de Silva

04th August, 2015 His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena, President of Sri Lanka Your Excellency, We the undersigned members of Sri Lankan civil society write to you pursuant to credible information made available to us that the Bar Standards Board of the United Kingdom has decided to initiate a formal investigation into the conduct of Sir Desmond […]

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 […]

Pattani Razeek: No justice 5 years after abduction and killing

Photo courtesy AFAD On 11th February 2015, it will be five years since the abduction of Pattani Razeek, a well-known human rights defender in Sri Lanka. His body was exhumed on 28th July 2011. At the time of his abduction, he was the Managing Trustee of the Community Trust Fund (CTF) (www.ctfsrilanka.org) and an Executive […]