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Troubling, The U.S. Declaration of Independence

Modern, recent, European, the concept of the human being as a rights bearing subject dates only from around the seventeenth century. This in itself isn’t troubling. (Europe has given us good things: cricket, paan and kokis from the countries that colonized us alone.) But the celebrated texts of its earliest articulations, like John Locke’s Second […]

800 years of the Magna Carta and Human Rights today

Image courtesy The Remnant Trust To me, the essence of Magna Carta is limiting the sovereignty and powers of the rulers (King at that time) and moving towards reaffirmation of sovereignty and freedoms of the people. It is about rule of law, due process and equality of everyone before the law. This is particularly relevant […]

A Panopticon state: We must not wait until they come for us

On Tuesday last week (12th) I watched, at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute the screening of ‘Citizen Four’: A documentary film concerning systems analyst Edward Snowden and the information he leaked on the nature and scale of the NSA’s spying activities. In that documentary, director Laura Poitras records the manner in which she was first contacted […]

Can the United Kingdom Survive the General Election Result?

Image courtesy fivethirtyeight Editor’s Note: The UK general election last week threw up an interesting configuration of parliamentary representation, with the Conservatives winning an unexpected UK-wide majority in House of Commons, and the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) winning a landslide of all bar two parliamentary seats in Scotland. The future of the United Kingdom has […]

Sri Lanka’s emergency assistance to Nepal and return of exiled journalists

Photo courtesy Asianews.it Sri Lankan government has announced that it had dispatched emergency supplies and support personnel to Nepal a day after the devastating earthquake and that there would be further materials and personnel in the coming days[1]. The government also announced that Sri Lankans who had been in Nepal, can come back in the […]

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) […]

Dealing with two Asian superpowers: President Sirisena’s visit to China

Image courtesy Asia One Sri Lanka stands to benefit enormously by dealing positively with the two Asian super powers, India and China. The two countries are potential rivals. The two Asian whales may not fight but a small fish can get crushed when whales dance. Sri Lanka has to be mindful of that when dealing […]

The other side of Narendra Modi’s Sri Lanka visit

Photograph via Quartz Ever since becoming the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy, Narendra Modi has concentrated on building strong diplomatic ties with foreign nations. The process began with the swearing-in ceremony of the new Indian Prime Minister when Modi extended a formal invite to the heads of state of neighbouring countries which included […]

FM Samaraweera Calls for Patience on Human Rights Front and Improved Sri Lanka-USA Relations

Photo courtesy MFA Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera in his first visit to Washington, D.C. after assuming office addressed a full-house gathering at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) on Wednesday February 11th. The CEIP, founded in 1910, is the oldest international affairs think tank in the United States. In the last few […]

Sri Lanka’s geopolitical importance to the United States

Image courtesy California Bangla An analysis of Nisha Biswal’s visit to island nation During late January and early February 2015, Sri Lanka witnessed the visits of many foreign officials to the country. Prominently featured among them were the visits of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister of State, Hugo Swire, the United States Assistant […]

Charting a New Course: Sri Lankan Foreign Policy

Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images, via Time There could not have been a better time to be a student or a professional of International Relations in Sri Lanka, given the geopolitical dynamics in the region. As one government official told me, “India and China are on the rise, we simply need to jump on this […]

Post-War Development in Nepal and Sri Lanka: A Comparison

Image courtesy Wikipedia This is an abridged version of a paper presented at the Annual Symposium of the Centre for Poverty Analysis on Post War Development in Africa and Asia in Colombo on 01 September 2014 Introduction Both in Nepal and Sri Lanka the transition from war to durable peace has been painful and is […]