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UN Panel Report on Accountability in Sri Lanka

Eating properly and smiling: The evasive Valerie Amos on Twitter

On 18th December 2012, at around 10pm in Sri Lanka, Valerie Amos, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator took to Twitter, ostensibly to answer questions related to the UN’s role, relevance and responsibilities regarding humanitarian aid and relief work. The event with Baroness Amos was announced via the Twitter account of, […]

#UPRLKA: Complete tweet archive and related visualisation around Sri Lanka’s UPR review

Image courtesy Sydney Morning Herald On 1st November 2012, Sri Lanka was taken up for discussion as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). The last UPR was in 2008, and under scrutiny was Sri Lanka’s human rights record over the past four years, that significantly, saw the […]

Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished: Unofficial video now online

Channel 4′s new documentary on Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished aired for the first time in the UK last night. Before it is even available on Channel 4′s official web based on-demand service, it’s now up on YouTube. It is likely that the video is soon taken down by Youtube over […]

Post-war situation in Northern Sri Lanka & Prospects for Reconciliation

Changes since the end of the war: 30 months after the end of war, more people travel between the once off limits North[i] and the South and many of the travel restrictions have been eased. The dreaded Medawachiya checkpoint is no more, and since 2010, we have not taken a flight or ship to Jaffna, […]

Channel 4′s ‘Killing Fields’: Journalism, Advocacy or Propaganda?

Image from Channel 4 Introduction The UK based Channel 4 documentary, “Killing Fields”, possesses an interesting characteristic. It has the power of accentuating the prejudices and biases of viewers. The reaction found on a variety of forums is arguably more illuminating than the documentary itself. Those who feel the Sri Lankan government has done no […]

War Crimes Investigations in Sri Lanka: An Unpopular View

“In trying to do good, we have been living beyond our moral resources and have fallen into hypocrisy and self-righteousness” — William V. Cannon, commenting on the Vietnam War, New York Times, February 6, 1966 “Conquer the angry man by love, Conquer the ill-natured man by goodness. Conquer the miser with generosity. Conquer the liar […]

Darusman Deconstructed: Godfrey Gunatilleke’s Critique

With the solitary, honourable exception of Sunday Times columnist Lasanda Kurukulasuriya, (‘Give a dog a bad name and hang him’, From the Sidelines, Sunday Times, Colombo, August 14, 2011), the Lankan media and Colombo’s commentariat completely missed the most important intellectual event in civil society in this post-war phase of our contemporary history. A media […]

Sri Lanka’s Tamil question: Justice, Lies and Videotape

Sri Lanka’s thirty year war is now more of words than of guns, but it is no less bitter. RNW’s team in the country met with fierce resistance from the Sri Lankan government to the current calls for justice from the international community. But the problem is that the international community’s presence in the country […]

Why Government Rhetoric and Propaganda Might Divide Sri Lanka

In an interview Professor Rajiva Wijesinha gave The Sunday Leader concerning government responses to international pressure, he remarks that “people believe what they want to believe”. Wijesinha’s ironically astute observation sheds light on why government responses to war crimes allegations during the final stage of the Eelam War are not being rallied against locally. Leaving […]

Holes in the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts Report: Examining the Probable Alternate Events

Last week, I attended a seminar conducted by the Colombo-based Marga Institute, a think tank devoted to studying and influencing human development in Sri Lanka. Marga is in the process of putting together a review of the UN Secretary General’s advisory panel report on Sri Lanka (the well-known Darusman Report), which will analyze several aspects […]

Resource book for historians, researchers and media: A year of tweeting from Groundviews

Visualisation of our Twitter followers. See larger version here. We used the web service Tweet Book to capture all our tweets over the past year in a single PDF. We’ve tweeted thousands of times over the past twelve months and have covered, The media fallout of the farcical fast of senior government Minister Wimal Weerawansa in […]

Photographic evidence of war crimes in Sri Lanka, or not? (Updated)

“The resulting carnage, photographed by Harun, was indescribable, but worse was to come.” The Living Scotsman’s review of The Cage: The Fight for Sri Lanka and the Last Days of the Tamil Tigers by former UN spokesperson Gordon Weiss flags, inter alia, photos taken by Ret. Col. Harun Khan when his UN convoy came under […]

Sri Lanka’s Diplomatic Offensive Won’t Make Killing Fields Disappear

Screen grab from Channel 4′s Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields (New York) – The Sri Lankan government continues its diplomatic offensive, denying and dismissing the growing evidence of war crimes during the final bloody battles between the Sri Lankan armed forces and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that ended in May 2009. Last […]

Two years after the end of the war in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy Deshan Tennekoon, Groundviews The UN panel report or the Darusman report was condemned and rejected. The stand taken by the government was that “not a single civilian was killed during the last stages of the war. If some of those dead were found to be in civilian clothes, they were Tigers in disguise, […]

The war that confronts us: Looking at Sri Lanka’s official responses to Channel 4 video

Image courtesy Channel 4 Channel 4’s Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields is anything but understated. It is designed to shock, even if you are the most hardened of viewers. Images of blood-soaked bodies assail you from every angle. As a cellphone camera jerks around, you see the bulging eyes of a man-turned-killing machine. He appears to […]