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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 […]

UN Investigators for Sri Lanka, Show Your Work!

Photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi, AFP/Getty Image via Al Jazeera If the U.N. wants to promote reconciliation in Sri Lanka, it has to show its work.  U.N. investigators should use tools and methods that are transparent, replicable, and open to scrutiny by all.  Every Sri Lankan, both inside and outside the country, deserves the chance to […]

Prioritising Truth in Post-War Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy Daily Maverick “How do we keep the past alive without becoming its prisoner? How do we forget it without risking its repetition in the future?” Ariel Dorfman, ‘Death and the Maiden’ The Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman poses these questions in his play Death and the Maiden after witnessing massive human rights violations in […]

Bishop of Mannar’s letter to Presidential Commission on Missing Persons

Photo courtesy Tamilnet. Download this letter from here. It can also be viewed online – Page 1 and Page 2. ### The Chairman and Commissioners, Presidential Commission on Missing Persons Dear Commissioners, Submission Regarding My position with regard to appearing before the above Commission in Mannar I am thankful for your very kind visit to […]

A blow-by-blow commentary of the mob attack on families of disappeared

Image courtesy Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai. More photos on her Twitter feed as well as from Marisa de Silva. 3.15pm: On the 4th of August a private sharing of experiences session organized by civil society inside the Centre for Society and Religion [CSR] is disrupted by an organized gang led by what appeared to be a group of Buddhist monks. […]

The BBS and a catalyst for a Buddhist Muslim conflict

Photo by Shilpa Samaratunge The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), Sri Lanka’s catalyst for opening up a new Buddhist verses Muslim conflict, perhaps due to boredom now that a thirty year civil war has ended, follows more by design than accident a classic military strategy of an escalation or advancement and then a tactical retreat due […]

Responding to Aluthgama

Photography by Thyagi Ruwanpathirana Responding to Aluthgama Imagine a country, an island in the Indian Ocean. Let’s call it Serendib (ooh, the irony). Imagine further: several groups, including those named Limat, Milsum and Alahnis, populate the island. A long war ended there some five or so years ago. Nevertheless, peace gives it a pass. Just […]

Sri Lanka redefines “curfew” in Beruwela

Lest we forget, the Police imposed a curfew in Beruwela and Aluthgama on 15th June in an effort to stop the violence against Muslims in the area. The curfew in Aluthgama was imposed at 6.45pm according to the Government’s official news portal. A news bulletin broadcast at 9pm on TV featured Police Media Spokesperson SSP […]

Elusive Economic Peace Dividend in Sri Lanka: ALL that glitters is not gold

Photo courtesy IPS Prof. N.Balakrishnan Memorial Oration delivered in Colombo on 21st June 2014 Introduction It is five years since the decisive end of the civil war in May 2009. The government’s approach to resolving the long festering ethnic conflict in the country has been reconciliation and peace through economic development. Although I do have […]

Some Civil Society Questions for Bodu Bala Sena (BBS)

Photo by Dinouk Colombage, Al Jazeera The Facebook (FB) group called “Buddhists Questioning Bodu Bala Sena (BQBBS)” once compiled a list of questions for BBS through a lengthy consultation period with its online members. I volunteered to mediate between BQBBS and Dilanthe Withanage of BBS to pass these questions to him to initiate a dialog. […]

Aluthgama violence: Where was Sri Lanka’s President?

Photo by Dinouk Colombage, via Al Jazeera The horrible killings and destruction in Aluthgama on Sunday was blacked out by almost all mainstream media in Sri Lanka at the height of the violence and the morning after. However, the violence was in detail and close to real time covered extensively over social media, leading to a documentation many times greater […]

IS THE BBS THE BOSS?

Photo courtesy Today There are scarier things, worse things, than Black July ’83. Aluthgama signaled the possibility of such things. The sequence of events, the lethal violence, the horror of Aluthgama were reminiscent of July ’83 –and to go by Tarzie Vittachchi’s Emergency ’58, the anti-Tamil riots of that year. That is the element of dark […]

The Limits of Tolerance

Photo courtesy Today There is a limit to tolerance, and this is it. In its short history as an independent republic, Sri Lanka has seen more bloodshed than seems fair. Many of our citizens have been active participants in the bombing, burning, shooting, hacking and torturing of each other, and many more have supported this both […]