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Calling Jayantha Dhanapala a liar, or the tragedy of Lankan public life

Photo courtesy CTBTO On March 16, 2014, Colombo Telegraph, a UK-based online news outlet published an article entitled ‘Jayantha Dhanapala Is A Liar; Caught Lying Over Silence On Colombo Telegraph Blocking’. This article was a follow-up of an earlier article on the failure of Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala, a member of the Board of Directors of […]

Women and Children: The Cutting Edge of International Law

Photo by UN/Myriam Asmani, via World Education Blog The Grotius Lecture 2014[1] PREFACE Sometime at the end of 2011, while I was still the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict, I met an ambassador from an Asian country just before a United Nations Security Council meeting on children […]

The arrest, detention and torture of Tamils in post-war Sri Lanka

Image from The Anti-Torture Initiative There is an alarming trend in the Sri Lankan security forces operation, of arresting the family members of suspects and keeping them as hostages in detention camps. Irrespective of their age, gender and connection to those suspects, the family members are kept under arrest/ detention most notably in the infamous […]

UNHRC Resolution: To be reviewed with objectivity

Image courtesy Rightsnow “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crises, maintain their neutrality”. John F. Kennedy   The D day in March has passed us by having placed a heavy hand as expected.  The intensely canvassed process for a yes or no to the resolution has ended […]

Remembering Sithie Tiruchelvam

Photo courtesy The Hindu Writing a tribute to Sithie Tiruchelvam is not an easy task. Sithie was an intensely private person who was averse to public, over-the-top displays of emotion and sentimentality. I am aware that a piece that says little about her private persona could sound impersonal, even clinical. I have therefore attempted to […]

Dangerous defeat in Geneva

Image courtesy Wikipedia “The passage of the resolution marks a historic moment…” Having lost the crucial vote in Geneva and opened the door to an international investigation, Sri Lanka is now in new territory. Sri Lankans saw who their real friends were at the UNHRC on Thursday night. Our friends, Pakistan, Cuba, China, Russia — […]

CBK takes on religious intolerance in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy Dinouk Colombage President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga has since her graceful retirement from office more than eight years ago after the completion of a constitutionally mandated two term limit, busied herself with an impressive portfolio of issues internationally, issues which are also crucial to our South Asia region. Her status as an elder stateswoman, […]

Video of Ruki Fernando’s interview with the BBC

Photo by Pat Roque/AP, courtesy The Guardian The recent arrest of human rights activists Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen Mahesan under Sri Lanka’s draconian PTA law resulted in widespread condemnation within Sri Lanka and from the international community. As we noted in a previous article, “this is happening when deliberations at the Human Rights Council […]

Arresting Performance: Shelling Sri Lanka’s zone in Geneva

Photo courtesy Janikissima on Flickr “He who tries to defend everything, defends nothing”- Sun Tzu (‘The Art of War’) With the arrests of an outspoken middle aged Tamil woman activist with no history of violence, her detention in Boossa under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the handover of her 13 year old daughter to the child protection […]

Arrest of Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen

Photo courtesy Janikissima on Flickr Last night’s arrest of Ruki Fernando and Fr. Praveen in Kilinochchi on terrorism charges, soon after the arrest of Jeyakumari Balendran and her young daughter on suspicion of harbouring a criminal, is extremely disturbing and an urgent call to action. In stark contrast to what the Government says in Geneva […]

Buddhists challenged to respect their religion

Photo by Dinouk Colombage, via Groundviews The third resolution on Sri Lanka to be taken up for vote at the 25th Sessions of the UNHRC now in progress, saw even Galaboda Gnanissara Thera, the “Gangarama podi hamuduruwo” as some call him, getting on the street in ugly protests. Gangarama Podi Hamuduruwo was not considered the […]

The National and International Significance of the 13th Amendment

Image courtesy DBS Jeyaraj It appears to be widely believed in our country that Indian foreign policy, particularly in relation to Sri Lanka, is shaped by the ethnic politics of Sri Lanka. Disseminating such a belief may serve the interests of various political leaders in diverse ways. It may help to sustain the morale of […]

Time Out: Breaking the Cycle for a New Conversation, a New Vision

Image courtesy Reuters It was 2007, at the height of the war, when one hundred youth (Tamil, Muslim and Sinhala) from every part of the country except the north gathered in Thanamalvila in the south of Sri Lanka for a leadership retreat sponsored by Sarvodaya and the British Council.   At the end of the second […]

The ‘Post-colonial Grip’ and ‘Class Domination’: Sinhalese Upper and Middle Classes

Image courtesy Thuppahi’s blog At a time where there is much discussion on how the Western powers are dominating the world, in particular the global South including countries such as Sri Lanka, it is important to examine how other forms of domination in the post-colonial era have replaced the domination created by such powers during […]