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British Prime Minister and TNA leaders shun families of disappeared in Jaffna

Photo courtesy Marisa de Silva Tamil families of the disappeared, primarily from the North, gathered in front of the area between the Public Library and Duriappa Stadium by 2pm, on 15th Nov., as they thought the visiting British Prime Minister would land at the Duriappa Stadium. They were accompanied by some Christian clergy and activists […]

Commonwealth & human rights principles in Sri Lanka, in the weeks before CHOGM

Photo by REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte, via Channel 4 News The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is due to start tomorrow. The last few weeks has seen series of violations of Human Rights and Commonwealth principles in Sri Lanka, which is the host country and expected to lead the Commonwealth in the next two years. Victims of human […]

Mohammed Irshad’s story and the banality of violence in the Rajapaksa regime

[Editors note: Also read I’m not mad to tie myself to a tree by the author, which appeared in the Ceylon Today newspaper.] Giving up a pensionable government job as a Samurdhi animator, Mohammed Irshad fled Sri Lanka began work as a bakery employee in Saudi Arabia. This is his story. Mohammed Irshad’s name may […]

Will Logarani Be The Last Victim Of Violence Against Women?

All photographs by the author, or sent it by the author. Around 5pm on 17 October 2013, within the Jaffna municipality, one of our friends (a male youth resident of Jaffna) came to our home (a few friends were gathered there) looking very disturbed. We were surprised to see him again, as he was with […]

Buddhist Monk attacked by Bodu Bala Sena and Police inaction

Image courtesy News First History of threats Venerable Watareka Vijitha Thero is the Chief Incumbent of the Rotalawela Mahaweli  Maha Viharaya in Mahiyanganaya, in the Uva province. In July 2013, the Mahiyangana Pradeshiya Sabha of which Vijitha Thero is a member had discussed the destruction of a building above the shop in Mahiyanganaya, where Muslims […]

The Weliweriya violence: Documenting the inconvenient for posterity

Image courtesy NAFSO The archiving of tweets documenting the violence in Weliweriya began after a reader, @apelankawe, asked us to do so. @groundviews any plans of archiving #weliweriya tweets? — Vidura (@Apelankawe) August 2, 2013 Ended up archiving every single tweet containing the hashtags #Weliweriya, #Weliveriya, #weliweriyaclash and #weliweriyaclash. The final report from the investigation […]

Causes of “Boat Migration” to Australia from Sri Lanka A Rejoinder to Emily Howie

Photo courtesy ABC The “Special Article” on illicit migration to Australia by boats from Sri Lanka by Emily Howie (2013) in the Economic and Political Weekly (August 31) appears to be based largely on lot of conjectures. An article written by an Australian refugee advocate based on 20-30 personal interviews throughout Sri Lanka and citations […]

Any lessons learnt from Navi Pillay’s visit?

Photo courtesy UNESCO-GLOBE Reading what appeared on state media, I got the impression that the ego of the Government, or at least that of the so called “independent” editors of state media has been challenged by Navi Pillay’s visit. I can understand why. If people ignored her visit, the state media would have beaten their […]

Opening remarks by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay at a press conference during her mission to Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy UN Given the importance of the mission and the nature of the statement, Groundviews is reproducing in full Navi Pillay’s opening remarks, delivered at a press briefing held earlier today in Colombo, Sri lanka. Download the statement as a PDF from here.

Sri Lanka’s disappeared, visit of Navi Pillay and another Commission of Inquiry

Photo credit Vikalpa On 30th August – International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances – hundreds of families of disappeared persons in Sri Lanka, most of them Tamils and from the war affected North and East, will travel to Colombo to meet with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navatheenam Pillay, at […]

Sri Lanka and a tale of two clashes

In the space of a week Sri Lanka’s freedoms of speech and religion were overridden by acts of violence and intolerance. A heavy handed response by the government towards protesters in Weliweriya was followed up by their inability to safeguard a mosque from the rampaging mobs of Sinhala Buddhist extremists. Weliweriya, a peaceful protest that […]

Weliweriya and the challenge of demilitarizing the North

Photo courtesy Ada Derana Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake, a former military spokesman and decorated combat officer, assumed duties on the 1st of August 2013 as the 20th commander of the Sri Lanka Army. No former commander ever assumed duties under more inauspicious circumstances for barely had the ceremonial takeover of command concluded than straightaway came reports that […]

The perpetual conflict: Part 2

Photo via blackjuly.info Fault-lines Perhaps it is a tragic coincidence of our time; or maybe it was inevitable given the passage of generations, that we are marking the thirty year anniversary of Black July at the same time as we are approaching a centenary since the communal riots of 1915. With the escalation of religious […]

Silk sarees

As I recall “Black July” 1983 on 23rd July 2013, 30 years have quickly passed by, but my memories of  “Black July” remain fresh and intact in my heart. On a Saturday morning, we heard the news about an ambush (13 army soldiers were killed) in Thirunelvely, Jaffna Peninsula on 23rd July 1983. As a […]