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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 […]

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) […]

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 […]

Vulnerable Guests: A Reflection on social hospitality

The Government’s decision to arbitrarily deport Pakistani refugee-asylum seekers is unacceptable and wrong. Local stress Asylum seekers usually leave their home countries due to fear or deprivation, or both. The Pakistanis on our soil are mostly from religious minorities (Christians and Islamic sects) who face immense hardship and discrimination under the harsh “Blasphemy Law”; questioned […]

Asylum seekers & refugees in Sri Lanka: rubbish to throw out or persons to take care of?

Photo courtesy The Economist When asylum seekers come to Sri Lanka, I feel proud to be a Sri Lankan. Because they have thought we, Sri Lankans, would show our love, care and concern for them and protect them at the time they needed it most – such as when face death threats and can’t practice […]

Rescuing Patriotism from the Extremists

Photo: Paula Bronstein for The Global Mail It is almost five years since the military victory of May 2009 brought an end to three decades of armed conflict. Yet, the prospects for securing a stable and inclusive peace in Sri Lanka appear bleak. The first victim of “peace” was the APRC. This long and important […]

Medical Administration and Relief within the Vanni Pocket, January to mid-May 2009

Image from author’s blog Beyond Imagination in Service to Humankind: Medical Administration and Relief within the Vanni Pocket, January to mid-May 2009 Amidst the obfuscations and cumulus clouds of propaganda that have subsumed reviews of the last stages of Eelam War IV, it has taken time for some remarkable feats to emerge. The affidavit provided […]

What is an economic migrant?

Photo courtesy ABC The governments of Sri Lanka and Australia have recently reached an agreement over how to define the flow of undocumented migrants between these two countries. Both governments seem to agree on the benefits of using the category of “economic migrant” to refer to the thousands of young people who board small vessels to […]

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 […]

Asylum Seekers: the next wave of ‘invaders’?

Image courtesy Zimbio Me: Selvam, its house, not kaus Selvam: kaus Me: No, no Selvam House, say huh, huh Selvam: Huh, Huh Me: Good, now say H-ouse Selvam: Kaus Teaching Selvam (not his real name) even the rudiments of English pronunciation is not easy. He only completed his primary school and is now in his […]

Sons and daughters missing, missed, forgotten: LLRC’s failure in Sri Lanka

Tamil mothers, sisters, wives and daughters have not yet given up their hopes to find their disappeared sons, brothers, husbands and fathers. The tragedy of endless search continues for them. Some Tamil women have more than one tragedy to digest. Vasanthathevi Kathirkamanathan is still searching for her missing daughter. And, her husband has been missing […]

Mullikulam: Restrictions on fishing, cultivation, access to the church and school continue

The continuous appeals and campaigns carried out by the people of Mullikulam, the Bishop of Mannar, Rt. Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph and members of the clergy and civil society seems to have finally borne some results, in terms of the resettlement process of the people of Mullikulam. Even though the situation is still far from […]

Travails of the Women in the Vanni

Photo courtesy Amantha Perera / Perambara (Following is a copy of  a presentation made by the author at a side event at the UNHRC in Geneva on 11th March, 2013 organised by the Co-operative Society of Netherlands in collaboration with the International Movement Against Discrimination and Racism)     All of us remember the day the war […]

Grievances of Muslims in the North

“It is not only inhumane to be expected to live under such terrible conditions, but these conditions are also a breeding ground for mosquitoes and the spread of other communicable diseases. If the water is not pumped out manually, it will be at least April by the time all the water left over by the […]