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INFOGRAPHIC: Religious Violence in Post-War Sri Lanka

Religious tensions have been exacerbated in post-war Sri Lanka, contrary to claims by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) that attacks against places of religious worship are isolated incidents. In Mach 2013, the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) published a report highlighting concerns about violence and intolerance against all religious communities in the country. The […]

Engaging with Civil Society

Photo courtesy Business Today Recently, the media reported that the Defence Secretary held a meeting in the Defence Ministry with a number of NGOs who had worked with the GOSL and the Commonwealth Foundation on the People’s Forum which was part of the activities of the 2013 Colombo CHOGM.  These NGOs included representatives from the […]

INFOGRAPHIC: Presidential Commission on Missing Persons

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons (the Commission), was established over a year ago on 15th August 2013 by Gazette 1823/42. The sole purpose of the Commission was to investigate and inquire into cases of disappearances in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. In March 2014, the […]

INFOGRAPHIC: LLRC Implementation Statistics

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report, along with the National Action Plan to implement the recommendations of the LLRC (Action Plan), are the two key documents produced by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) outlining its process of reconciliation after three decades of war. Over two years have passed since the Cabinet approved […]

Portraits of diversity from Myanmar vital for Sri Lanka

When the British administrator J.S. Furnivall coined the term “plural society” he was talking about colonial Burma to describe the extraordinary diversity of nationalities, ethnicities, races and religions that inhabited its cities. Sixty years ago he wrote, “Bengali Muslims jostled alongside Iraqi Jews and Armenian Christians”. Walking around Yangon’s streets today, you can still experience […]

Urgency of paradigm shift in understanding ‘co-existence’

Image courtesy Gecko Sri Lanka blog Changing socio-political and economic scenarios, post war peace building needs in Sri Lanka and unleashing of anti-Muslim activities by Buddhist extremist groups have prompted discourses on ‘Co-Existence’ an urgent priority for social harmony. The current discourse on Co-Existence as spearheaded by all communities seems ill equipped, un-holistic and inappropriate […]

Healing through humanisation: A reflection on Just Reconciliation

Photo courtesy Sri Lanka Campaign History concealed    An acquaintance returned from a recent visit to Jaffna to announce it as one of the best holidays she had ever had. The hotels were good, the food delicious, there were numerous places to visit and of course the roads were excellent. The oral tradition My recent […]

FAQ on the UN Human Rights Council Resolution (2014) on Sri Lanka

Image courtesy Rights Now A UN investigation into allegations of violations of human rights in Sri Lanka is about to commence. As an aid to public discussion, Friday Forum sets out below information to help the general public understand the legal basis, origin, nature and scope of this inquiry. 1. What is the Human Rights Council? The Human Rights Council (HRC) is the […]

Issues of Truth and Accountability: A Private Sector Perspective

Photo by Udhara de Silva The “Third Narrative” reviewed at the Colloquium presents an alternative narrative, of the events of the last stages of the war, and has been developed as a response to the UNHRC resolution of 2014. This is in the wake of the purported conflicting and contradictory accounts of the last stages […]

Colombo Development: A Highway to… a Very Hot Place?

Photo by the author The causes of global climate change are myriad, and not all of them are within our control, but driving down the brand spanking new airport highway the other day, I began to wonder if we’re really even trying to begin with. So, are we in the middle of the monsoon or […]

Disappearances and the struggle for truth and justice

Photo courtesy Human Rights Solidarity 30th August is the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances. Tens of thousands have disappeared in Sri Lanka in last few decades[1]. On this day, families of disappearances in Sri Lanka will gather in Vavuniya in the North, to once again publicly appeal to find their loved ones, […]

Stand Up Against Extremism

Image courtesy NBC News “What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.”- —Robert F. Kennedy Africa these days has been battling with EBOLA, a severe, infectious, often […]

International Human Rights: Dispelling the Myths

Photo courtesy JDS A Talk given at the Colombo Club, August 2014 Thank you for inviting me to speak to you today. I do so with trepidation since speaking to captains of industry is quite outside my zone of comfort. My brother Indrajit Coomaraswamy, with whom you are more familiar, once told me in the […]

UN Investigators for Sri Lanka, Show Your Work!

Photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi, AFP/Getty Image via Al Jazeera If the U.N. wants to promote reconciliation in Sri Lanka, it has to show its work.  U.N. investigators should use tools and methods that are transparent, replicable, and open to scrutiny by all.  Every Sri Lankan, both inside and outside the country, deserves the chance to […]