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A Guide to Colombo for CHOGM 2013

Image courtesy AP, via Gulf News Potemkin City, with a difference: A Guide to Colombo for CHOGM 2013 Your Excellency, Distinguished Delegate, Dear Visitor, Ayubowan! Vanakkam! Welcome to Colombo!  You may have heard of how General Potemkin primed Crimea for the pleasure of Catherine the Great and her foreign ambassadors on their southern trip in […]

Message to Commonwealth leaders: Stand up for Sri Lanka’s media

Photo courtesy Vikalpa Editors note: Earlier this year, I was asked to give a presentation on the post-war media landscape in Sri Lanka at the 20th World Editors Forum in Bangkok, Thailand. When subsequently put online, the presentation was viewed by thousands. Sri Lanka’s media continues to be at risk. As The Economist on 9th […]

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 […]

Commonwealth must honour its own commitments

Photo courtesy Contribute Magazine The choice of Sri Lanka as a venue for CHOGM 2013 has always remained controversial. But now that most member countries have agreed to go ahead and participate in the high-profile summit happening in Colombo, the moment has arrived for the Commonwealth to reassess its commitment towards its own values. ### […]

Innovating Under Duress: Implications of the Global Innovation Index for Sri Lanka

Science writer Nalaka Gunawardene in conversation with Dr Ajith de Alwis, engineer and public intellectual Sri Lanka was ranked at No 98 among 142 countries worldwide in the Global Innovation Index 2013 (GII 2013) released in July. The ranking in 2012 was 94. GII 2013 looks at 142 economies around the world, using 84 indicators […]

Women and children in the North: Sexual harassment, grievances and challenges

In September 2013, Watchdog travelled to the Vanni[1] and met with survivors of sexual violence, women’s rights activists and representatives of women’s groups. This report is based on information provided during interviews conducted with them, Human Rights organisations based in the North and Colombo and Government sources. During our interactions with these groups, we learnt […]

Diaspora Diaries: Reflections of the filmmaker

[Editors note: Also read the related post ‘Diaspora Diaries’: Exploring Connections and Interactions with Sri Lanka] Kannan Arunasalam is a documentary filmmaker and narrative journalist. He was born in Jaffna, grew up in London, and returned to Sri Lanka in 2005. This year, International Alert commissioned Kannan to make filmed portraits of Sri Lankan diaspora […]

‘Diaspora Diaries’: Exploring Connections and Interactions with Sri Lanka

[Editors note: Also read related post Diaspora Diaries: Reflections of the filmmaker] In recent years, the prevailing image of the Sri Lankan diaspora in the media has been dominated by Tamil community activists’ human rights campaign, calling for investigations into the Sri Lankan Government’s actions in 2009 during the last phases of the 26 year […]

Rajapakse Administration’s choices with the TNA

Photograph courtesy The Independent The Rajapakse Administration’s desire to host the a global event,  the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGAM) suddenly forced the Administration to do something which was anathema to its decision making hard line Sinhala nationalist brain trust, which was to have to heed and take note of international opinion and global […]

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 […]

A Northern Path to Reconciliation in Sri Lanka

Image courtesy USA Herald Northern People Humble the “People’s Dynasty” I salute the people of the Northern Province for showing the door to the self-proclaimed “People’s Dynasty”; the only province in the country to do so, which is a glimmer of hope for re-establishment of democracy in the country. Although I am not a fan […]

Women in post war reconstruction and recovery

Image courtesy IPS The aftermath of Sri Lanka’s decades of civil conflict have left, not only massive damage of physical property, both public and private, requiring extensive reconstruction but many households and even whole communities affected by the conflict through loss of loved ones, loss of property including homes, personal injuries, displacement, disruption of children’s […]

Interview with J.C. Weliamuna: What ails Sri Lanka today, and how to address it

Image courtesy Colombo Telegraph J.C. Weliamuna is a well-known Attorney-at-Law, human rights activist and is this year’s recipient of the Citizens Peace Award. His acceptance speech flagged the degree to which democratic governance had eroded in Sri Lanka, in full view of citizenry, and the importance of protecting civil liberties by speaking out, despite the […]