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Sunila Abeysekera Commemoration: Speech by Nimalka Fernando

State Responsibility to Protect Human Rights Defenders Sunila Abeysekera Commemoration, September 9th 2014 We as individual human rights activists, as well as  the human rights community as a whole greatly miss Sunila today.   As we struggle to grapple with myriads of contemporary challenges we miss her indomitable character, and  energy.  As we gather today to […]

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 […]

The Legacy of A New Woman in Our Generation: Sunila Abeysekara (1952-2013)

Photo courtesy New York Times ‘Her discourse, even when ‘theoretical’ or political, is never simple or linear or ‘objectivized’, universalized; she involves her story in history’. – Helene Cixous and Catherine Clement, The Newly Born Woman, 1986. My first meeting with Sunila Abeysekara was unforgettable. It was July 1976 and I was being held at Slave Island […]

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 […]

CBK, Ven. Sobitha, the Uva Polls and the Presidential Stakes

Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images via The Republic Square The Uva provincial council elections campaign in the Badulla and Moneragala districts, are taking on an intensity that was missing even in the recent Western and Southern Provincial Council elections, not least because the UNP’s young firebrand Chief Minister Candidate former MP, Harin Fernando has breathed […]

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 […]

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 […]