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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 […]

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 […]

Are Sri Lankan Tamils prone to collective political suicide?

Photo by AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena via SBS We have entered the ninth decade since the Donoughmore Reforms leading to the first State Council elections of 1931. Through the early part of these eight and a half decades, Sri Lankan Tamils had occupied a dominant position in this country, politically, economically and socially. The leading political institution […]

Will there be “Maithree” and “Yahapalanaya” for Navy occupied Mullikulam?

Last week, I went to Mullikulam, a beautiful and resourceful village in the Mannar district, which has been illegally occupied by the Navy for more than 7 years. It was my first visit for more than a year. The people didn’t seem to have any fresh hopes of reuniting as one community, regaining their lost […]

Some Reflections on Post-Election Day

Photo courtesy Die Presse The results are all in and Mahinda Rajapaksa has been defeated at the polls. This is a great victory for almost all concerned. It is a victory for the coalition, which dared to challenge the regime with key players, who either voluntarily or through persuasion gave up their prominence. It is […]

Remembering Lasantha six years on: Launch of photo-essays on Sri Lanka

Photo by Abdul-Halik Azeez Journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge‘s murder on 8th January 2009 was utterly horrible and yet, even more unforgettable was the Rajapaksa government’s reaction to it. Lasantha’s last editorial, published posthumously, didn’t mince words. It is well known that I was on two occasions brutally assaulted, while on another my house was sprayed with machine-gun fire. […]

A Portrait of the Electorate, on the Cusp of an Election

Photo courtesy Maatram Lankans are awaiting the island-nation’s seventh presidential election with a renewed belief in the power of their vote. According to the latest opinion survey by the Centre of Policy Analysis (CPA), 86.9% of Lankans think that their vote can make a difference in the outcome of the presidential election. In August 2014 […]

Uthayan in Jaffna: All the news that’s fit to print, and then some

JAFFNA. “Even though the war is over and the guns are silent…it doesn’t change a thing. We still face threats. We are still feeling the fear,” said 35 year old Thevanayagam Premananth, the editor of Uthayan newspapers. We talked in his office, part of the compound that had once been the torture chambers of the […]

The war in Sri Lanka and propaganda debates: An analysis for the OHCHR in Geneva

Photography courtesy Worldvision Dear Sandra Beidas and OISL Team  As a Sri Lankan Australian and academic I have been collecting and analysing the material on the last phase of the war in Sri Lanka for six years now. I come across new evidence regularly in the midst of misinformation and dis-information that is a facet […]

In conversation with Nimalka Fernando: Life as an activist in Sri Lanka

Nimalka Fernando is one of Sri Lanka’s best known human rights activists and the President of the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR). Nimalka’s activism has in recent years generated violent pushback from the Government – prime time radio programmes on State owned channels have openly and with impunity discussed ways […]

Online hate speech stokes fear of religious violence in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy Thyagi Ruwanpathirana Hate speech is growing more effective and pervasive among media platforms in Sri Lanka, prompting concern from Muslim and Christian minorities amid mounting attacks. The Colombo-based Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) released a report this week on the challenges surrounding the significant uptick in online-based hate speech in post-war Sri Lanka. “The […]

New evidence of torture by Sri Lanka’s security forces

An ethnic Tamil survivor of alleged torture at the hands of Sri Lankan security forces poses for a photograph in London, October 2012. Photo by Will Baxter. New evidence has emerged that Sri Lanka’s security forces have perpetrated acts of torture and sexual violence against ethnic Tamils as recently as last year, according to a UK-based […]

INFOGRAPHIC: Military Presence in the North of Sri Lanka

Five years since the end of the war, a significant military presence still remains in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. This despite repeated assurances by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) that the military presence is, and will be phased out in order to pave way for post-war reconciliation efforts. In a context of […]