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The announcement that elections to the Northern Provincial Council will be held in September 2013 has raised eyebrows in some quarters and generated criticism in certain others. As one who unfashionably – and riskily—advocated the holding of that election soon after the decisive military victory of 2009, I find myself paradoxically in agreement with the […]

Handling disasters: The man-made disaster of July 1983 (Part 2)

Photograph by Chandragupta Amarasinghe, courtesy Thuppahi’s Blog [Editors note: Continued from Part 1, which you can read here. The author was at the time of the 1983 anti-Tamil pogrom Secretary to the Prime Minister and Commissioner-General of Essential Services  from July 1983 to April 1984.] Prioritization of Needs Taking stock An early activity of the CGES management team was […]

Troubled Waters: Corruption and Human Trafficking in Post-war Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy Herald Sun Introduction Australia has recently been dealing with an upsurge of asylum seekers who have traveled by boat from elsewhere in Asia. The Jakarta Globe notes that, “While most boats originate in Indonesia, there has been a recent spike in attempted crossings from Sri Lanka.” In addition, over 250 Sri Lankans have […]

Growing concern over human smuggling and trafficking in Sri Lanka: Interview with ILO

On 2nd July, the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) organised a panel discussion on preventing human smuggling and trafficking. The event was as much a forum to discuss the incredible increase in, despite ridiculous government denials, boats with asylum seekers from Sri Lanka heading to Australia as it was a panel that sought to address […]

Stand Athwart Censorship in Sri Lanka

In Tom Stoppard’s superlative play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Ros shouts “Fire!” and when questioned by Guil, Ros reassuringly responds, “It’s all right – I’m demonstrating the misuse of free speech. To prove that it exists.” After surveying the audience with “contempt”, Ros says, “Not a move. They should all burn to death in […]

Land and the National Question in Sri Lanka

Image courtesy Sainthan Sivanesan on 500px I am thankful to the Norwegian Tamil Study Forum for inviting me to address this Workshop and am looking forward to listening to the main speakers. In this brief intervention I wish to make some general comments and raise a few issues, which I believe are pertinent to the purpose […]

Gotabhaya Rajapaksha: Too Drunk with Power to Exercise it?

Still image captured from BBC video interview. Excerpt from first conversation FJ: Mr. Rajapaksa are you threatening me? GR: Yes! I am threatening you! Write every single word I have told you if you want – you write a bloody f…..g word and we will see… FJ: Mr. Rajapaksa I called you as a journalist to […]

How Credible are the Latest Official Claims Concerning Troop Reductions in Jaffna?

Image courtesy Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone The extent of military presence in the North of Sri Lanka has understandably been the focus of much attention. This week’s edition of the Economic and Political Weekly carries an interesting commentary on the topic, which suggests that there is 1 military personnel for approximately every 5 civilians […]

Letter to President regarding religious extremism in Sri Lanka

Along with printed and bound copies of the over 1,400 comments in Tamil, Sinhala and English generated by Not In Our Name (coming to over 300 pages), the following letter was penned and delivered to the Presidential Secretariat  late last week, with copies to relevant Government Departments and the Mahanayaka of the Rangiri Dambulu Chapter, […]


[Editors note: This article was originally published without the final two paragraphs due to an oversight by me in copying and pasting the text from the original Word document to WordPress post haste. The error is deeply regretted. Sanjana Hattotuwa] “Ideas are great to the degree that they are feasible…Windbags with grand schemes are incapable […]

Handling disasters: The man-made disaster of July 1983 (Part 1)

Photograph by Chandragupta Amarasinghe, courtesy Thuppahi’s Blog [Editors note: Part 2 of this essay can be read here.] Looking back at the July 1983 disaster, almost 30 years later, it would be natural to query how key policy issues now critical in the discourse on disaster management, like good governance and Human Rights, affected the […]

American Foreign Policy and the HRC Resolution on Sri Lanka

Image courtesy Onlanka News Obama and Human Rights The Obama administration did fight to get a seat on the Human Rights Council (HRC) in 2009; something that George W. Bush probably did not even contemplate. And, as David Bosco has noted, the US has been relatively active at the HRC since that time. Bosco goes […]

A new spate of web censorship in Sri Lanka?

Reports online suggest that Dialog Axiata and Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), inter alia, are blocking access to a number of Tamil language websites reporting on Sri Lanka. In the morning we were asked whether we could access Is @groundviews able to access Generally 1st to publish news,pics&video from North. — Niran Anketell (@nirananketell) […]