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General Election 2015 Pre Election Opinion Poll – Top Line Report

Social Indicator, the survey research unit of the Centre for Policy Alternatives conducted an island wide pre election opinion poll with the objective of identifying Sri Lankan voter perceptions and attitudes on key topics being discussed in the lead up to the election and thereby contribute to the current political discourse. Only 4 % of […]

Targeting Lanka: Playing Ball with Tamil Extremism 2008-14

This essay was presented at the 9th International Convention of Asian Scholars held in Adelaide from 5-9th July 2015 and was therefore designed as a 15-minute presentation. Hyperlinks, maps, citations and bibliographical references have been inserted in this version, while pictorial illustrations are a supplementary appendix. Footnotes have been kept to a minimum. The emergence […]

Parallel Enigmas of Pirabaharan and Rajapaksa

Photo courtesy TTN The attempts to field the ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa as a Prime Ministerial candidate to contest the upcoming parliamentary elections by a vocal fringe of the southern political community is similar to the attempts to reincarnate the mystique of Veluppillai Pirabaharan by a vocal fringe of the northern political community. After the demise […]

THE MIRUSUVIL CASE: WHY SEARCHING REFORM IS URGENT AND NECESSARY

Image courtesy Daily News The High Court Trial at Bar’s recent conviction and sentencing of Staff Sergeant Sunil Rathnayake to death for what has come to be known as the ‘Mirusuvil massacre’ was met with the entirely expected and bellicose outrage of extremist nationalist Sinhala Buddhist elements. But a more interesting and nuanced response emerged […]

The 19th Amendment and the future of Sri Lanka

Excellencies of the diplomatic community, Mr Abeykoon, Secretary to the President, officials of the Presidential Secretariat, ladies and gentleman, It may sound as if I am repeating what has already been said when I say that I share the sentiments expressed by both Mr. Dhanapala and Prof. Munasinghe. To me, as a citizen, the 19th […]

Tourism mega-development in Sri Lanka results in human rights violations

Sri Lanka has an increasing number of tourist arrivals which could be very good for the development of the island. Therefore, of course, the local communities should benefit from the tourism above all. This does not seem to be always happening. The Society for Threatened People (STP) Switzerland, together with the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement […]

THE NINETEENTH AMENDMENT: CENTREPIECE OF GOOD GOVERNANCE

Image courtesy News First Distinguished members of the Diplomatic Corps, Ladies & Gentlemen, On behalf of His Excellency Maitripala Sirisena and my colleagues in the Presidential Secretariat, I have great pleasure in warmly welcoming you to this afternoon’s briefing on the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka. It is just over a month […]

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 […]

Coconut saplings for war widows – an innovative project worth emulating

Since the end of the war the Government and other organisations  within and outside Sri Lanka  have being helping the victims of the war in the North and the East  to enable them to resume their normal lives.  Among the organisations that helped  were  many  charitable institutions of  the Tamils in the  diaspora.  Their  affinity   […]

Human Rights Challenges in Sri Lanka

Speech delivered on behalf of me by Marisa de Silva, on the occasion of the Islamic Centre Felicitation event, held in Maligawatte today. Thank you for making me part of this celebration. Practically, felicitations are possible for a few, but many deserve felicitation. Felicitation for me means felicitation for many others I have worked with. […]

Sri Lankan perceptions on life post-war

Six years after the end of war in Sri Lanka, the four main ethnic communities are still divided when it comes to issues related to reconciliation. ‘Sri Lankan perceptions on life post war’ is a series of infographics looking key public opinion data from CPA’s ‘Democracy in Post War Sri Lanka’ survey (conducted annually since […]

Addressing “blocked grief” in Jaffna

Photograph via Steppes Travel Six years after the end of the war the population in the North of Sri Lanka remains passive, ensnared in wartime mentality because they haven’t been able to express and deal with their sorrow and trauma. Professors from Jaffna University talk of a young generation incapable of envisioning a better future. […]

A Choice between Stability and Virtue?

Photo by EPA/M.A.PUSHPA KUMARA, via Sky News I start with a quote from Shang Yang (390-338 BC), an insightful statesman in the Chinese state of Qin: “A country where the virtuous govern the wicked will suffer from disorder, so that it will be dismembered; but a country where the wicked govern the virtuous will be orderly, so that it […]