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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 […]

Rescuing Patriotism from the Extremists

Photo: Paula Bronstein for The Global Mail It is almost five years since the military victory of May 2009 brought an end to three decades of armed conflict. Yet, the prospects for securing a stable and inclusive peace in Sri Lanka appear bleak. The first victim of “peace” was the APRC. This long and important […]

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 — […]

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 […]

Why the Government of Sri Lanka fails internationally

Image courtesy Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images, via RightsNow This is among the many important challenges to the “democratically elected” Government of “democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka” (GOSL).  There may be various answers but let me offer five reasons why the present Government in the present frame of mind cannot win the support of the international community […]

Hearings of the Commission to Inquire into the Complaints regarding Missing Persons

Image courtesy Sri Lanka: One Island, Two Nations. The following letter was sent to Groundviews by a reader with the following covering note: The letter I send you is from a Collective of Families of Disappeared Persons who engaged in the Sri Lankan government’s disappearences commission. It highlights a number of problems in the commission process. The […]

From Canada to Colombo, can’t stereotype my thing yo

I need a cigarette. In another impulsive moment, I had made the irresponsible decision a few months ago to become a social smoker. I do not particularly know what that means but I figure it would be a good way to force myself to have conversations with strangers on this trip. I also romanticize that […]

Sinhalese and their fear of freedom

Anagarika Dharmapala, A.E. Goonesinha and C.W.W. Kannangara, three of the radical champions of the early 20th century who were ‘managed’ by the conservative leaders who eventually negotiated ‘freedom’ from the British. With the displacement from Rajarata, the heart, soul and body of their ancient culture in the 13th century the Sinhalese settled for safety over […]

Chief Minister Wigneswaran alleges genocide, calls for plebiscite

Photograph courtesy The Independent Mr Akashi was absolutely right when he urged flexibility and reform on the Sri Lankan government and sounded the alarm of serious consequences in Geneva March 2014 (that’s 75 days away, folks) if it failed to shift in the right direction. He did get one thing wrong though. There is neither a […]

‘Census on human and property damages due to conflict’: Critical points, translation & scanned version

The Census on human and property damages due to conflict – 2013, which began data collection last week is one of the key recommendations in the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission report. According to a statement by the Department of Census and Statistics “The responsibility to conduct a Census to assess the human and property […]

British Prime Minister and TNA leaders shun families of disappeared in Jaffna

Photo courtesy Marisa de Silva Tamil families of the disappeared, primarily from the North, gathered in front of the area between the Public Library and Duriappa Stadium by 2pm, on 15th Nov., as they thought the visiting British Prime Minister would land at the Duriappa Stadium. They were accompanied by some Christian clergy and activists […]

An economy that unites, reconciliation that divides in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy Vikalpa There are some issues that divide Sri Lankans and there are some issues that unite Sri Lankans. While the cost of living, unemployment and education bring the opinions of the four main communities together, topics such as reconciliation and identity continue to divide. On the economy, the cost of living is what […]

Women and children in the North: Sexual harassment, grievances and challenges

In September 2013, Watchdog travelled to the Vanni[1] and met with survivors of sexual violence, women’s rights activists and representatives of women’s groups. This report is based on information provided during interviews conducted with them, Human Rights organisations based in the North and Colombo and Government sources. During our interactions with these groups, we learnt […]