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Mahinda Rajapaksa cannot succeed President Rajapaksa

I have discussed in these columns some days ago the contention that President Rajapaksa is not qualified to fight an election for a third term by virtue of the operation of Article 31(2) of the Constitution. The repeal of that article by the Eighteenth Amendment does not remove the past operation of anything suffered under […]

The Role of Women in Countering Extremism

Speech delivered at Economic and Social Council Chamber, United Nations on October 27th, 2014 I want to thank the government of the United Arab Emirates for taking this important initiative to have debate and discussion on one of the most pressing issues of our times. I have been invited in my capacity as lead author […]

Securely communicate with Groundviews

The Editor of Groundviews can now be reached over Telegram, a secure messaging app for mobiles and desktop chat clients. Given the Snowden revelations in general and the pervasive surveillance architectures governing information flows in Sri Lanka, secure communications for whistleblowers, informants, human rights defenders and civil society activists is of paramount importance. As noted […]

DO WE NEED AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH TO THE THIRD TERM QUESTION BEYOND TEXT AND INTENTION?

Photo by AFP courtesy Asia One Amidst strong indications following the Uva provincial election result that a panicked regime is planning an early presidential election, there has been a vigorous debate in the media about the consequences of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished the presidential two-term limit and removed other procedural restraints […]

Kerosene, Koothu and Paper: Questions and answers

On Sunday, 19 October 2014 the Sri Lanka Archive of Contemporary Art, Architecture & Design screened, for the first time in Jaffna, three short films by Kannan Arunasalam. Kerosene, Koothu and Paper were produced for Groundviews in 2011 as part of the Moving Images project. The Sri Lanka Archive of Contemporary Art, Architecture & Design is a flagship project […]

Imbalance of power between the Executive and the Legislature, Constitutional Dilemmas and the Need for a Community-Oriented Model

Photo courtesy Wikipedia For a society to function smoothly, there has to be a commonly agreed framework of governance. This framework defines and specifies the way those who are elected to govern are to be elected, the powers they ought to have, in which circumstances and for what purposes, ability to delegate, responsibilities of various […]

In conversation with Nimalka Fernando: Life as an activist in Sri Lanka

Nimalka Fernando is one of Sri Lanka’s best known human rights activists and the President of the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR). Nimalka’s activism has in recent years generated violent pushback from the Government – prime time radio programmes on State owned channels have openly and with impunity discussed ways […]

In Sri Lanka, ‘fear and insecurity’ for journalists, activists

Sri Lankan TV journalist Kapila Chandana Kuruppuarachchi thought he was just doing his job when he tried to cover a clash between backers of rival political parties in late September. Instead, he says, a mob of pro-government supporters chased him for almost a kilometer before pelting him with stones. He was hospitalized with major bone […]

Online hate speech stokes fear of religious violence in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy Thyagi Ruwanpathirana Hate speech is growing more effective and pervasive among media platforms in Sri Lanka, prompting concern from Muslim and Christian minorities amid mounting attacks. The Colombo-based Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) released a report this week on the challenges surrounding the significant uptick in online-based hate speech in post-war Sri Lanka. “The […]

Dr. Rajani Thiranagama Commemoration on 20th and 21st September 2014

I was a public servant when Rajani was assassinated by an LTTE agent 25 years ago. I took private leave, travelled to Jaffna at my own expense and participated in the 31st day Commemoration. She was a leading member of the UTHR (Jaffna branch) and coauthored, with Dr.Rajan Hoole, Dr. Daya Somasundaram and Dr. K.Sritharan, […]

William Blake, Buddhism and Human Rights – value of praxis over ideology

[William Blake 1757-1827 demonstrated through his art and poetry how opposite views were actually relative and dependent on each other and that they were reconcilable once we overcame the mental trap of ‘abstraction’ and solidification, the act of removing something out of its context and turning it into an absolute] [The Asokan pillar is a […]

New evidence of torture by Sri Lanka’s security forces

An ethnic Tamil survivor of alleged torture at the hands of Sri Lankan security forces poses for a photograph in London, October 2012. Photo by Will Baxter. New evidence has emerged that Sri Lanka’s security forces have perpetrated acts of torture and sexual violence against ethnic Tamils as recently as last year, according to a UK-based […]

Liking violence: A study of hate speech on Facebook in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy Sri Lanka Brief The Centre for Policy Alternatives, the institutional anchor of Groundviews, released today a report co-authored by Shilpa Samaratunge and I on hate speech online, looking at Facebook in particular. The report is the first in Sri Lanka to focus on hate and dangerous speech in online fora, contextualising the growth […]