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The rape and murder of Vidya: Do women really matter in Sri Lanka?

Editors note: Original image was taken from Icarus Wept. Rather than the issues noted in the article, or the incident of rape, many initial comments focussed on the use of the photo. Histrionics of the “I am right so you must be wrong camp” aside, over email and calls, more informed and reasoned requests were made […]

A Panopticon state: We must not wait until they come for us

On Tuesday last week (12th) I watched, at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute the screening of ‘Citizen Four’: A documentary film concerning systems analyst Edward Snowden and the information he leaked on the nature and scale of the NSA’s spying activities. In that documentary, director Laura Poitras records the manner in which she was first contacted […]

Post-war Sri Lanka: 6 years and still an open wound

On May 19 six years had passed since the war ended. Six years ago former president Mahinda Rajapaksa spoke to the people of Sri Lanka commenting the final battle of the war: “Our troops went to this operation carrying a gun in one hand, the Human Rights Charter in the other, hostages on their shoulders, […]

6 Reasons Why Accountability in Sri Lanka Matters

Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war ended six years ago amidst allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious abuses by both government and rebel forces. In 2011, a U.N. panel concluded that “the conduct of the war by [both sides] represented a grave assault on the entire regime of international law designed to […]

Valalai (Jaffna): Re-militarisation of released villages with façade of resettlement

Valalai[1] is a Tamil village of about 233 acres[2] that was occupied by the military for nearly 25 years and before it was handed back to villagers in March 2015 by President Sirisena. Yet, more than 50 days after that handover, villagers don’t see hope for resettlement as almost nothing has been provided for them […]

Can the United Kingdom Survive the General Election Result?

Image courtesy fivethirtyeight Editor’s Note: The UK general election last week threw up an interesting configuration of parliamentary representation, with the Conservatives winning an unexpected UK-wide majority in House of Commons, and the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) winning a landslide of all bar two parliamentary seats in Scotland. The future of the United Kingdom has […]

Five years ago, today: Evicted and homeless

Photo courtesy JDS On 8th May 2010, the Urban Development Authority (UDA) demolished 20 homes that were occupied by 33 families on Mews Street in Kompannyaveediya, Colombo 2. Families were informed verbally a month prior to the demolition that they will have to vacate their homes and served the same in writing only 3 days […]

The Right To Information Act: Finally a reality?

Image: Amnesty Access to information is a universal human right; despite that it has never been a part of the constitution in Sri Lanka although attempts have been made throughout the last decade. When President Maithripala Sirisena came to power in January he included the introduction of the Right to Information (RTI) Act in his […]

Defeating the Saboteurs: The 19th Amendment

Image courtesy President’s Office Introducing the 19 Amendment Bill          The 19A Bill was gazetted in March, after having obtained the approval of Cabinet. The Gazetted version did not go as far as the previous changes envisaged, due to disagreement from some quarters. Subsequently, post-gazetting, Cabinet agreed to the inclusion of the further clauses. The usual […]

World Press Freedom day 2015 and Freedom of Expression in Sri Lanka

Image courtesy DBS Jeyaraj “All must be free to express their concerns, their needs, their aspirations and their fears” Pope Francis, at the Katunayake International airport, on arrival to Sri Lanka on 13th January 2015. Amidst killings, disappearances, assaults, threats, intimidations, harassments and restrictions on journalists, widespread self-censorship and exile of journalists critical of the […]

After 100 days the stark contrast between the Rajapakse and Sirisena Administrations

Image courtesy Salon The conclusion of the one hundred (100) days is a good time to compare and indeed contrast the Maithripala Sirisena Administration from the Rajapakse rule that it replaced. This is particularly relevant in the context that Brother number two (no pun intended), Gotabhaya Rajapakse, has suggested that Mahinda Rajapakse should be prime […]

Sri Lanka’s emergency assistance to Nepal and return of exiled journalists

Photo courtesy Asianews.it Sri Lankan government has announced that it had dispatched emergency supplies and support personnel to Nepal a day after the devastating earthquake and that there would be further materials and personnel in the coming days[1]. The government also announced that Sri Lankans who had been in Nepal, can come back in the […]