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 […]

Vulnerable Guests: A Reflection on social hospitality

The Government’s decision to arbitrarily deport Pakistani refugee-asylum seekers is unacceptable and wrong. Local stress Asylum seekers usually leave their home countries due to fear or deprivation, or both. The Pakistanis on our soil are mostly from religious minorities (Christians and Islamic sects) who face immense hardship and discrimination under the harsh “Blasphemy Law”; questioned […]

In Sri Lanka, ‘fear and insecurity’ for journalists, activists

Sri Lankan TV journalist Kapila Chandana Kuruppuarachchi thought he was just doing his job when he tried to cover a clash between backers of rival political parties in late September. Instead, he says, a mob of pro-government supporters chased him for almost a kilometer before pelting him with stones. He was hospitalized with major bone […]

A Monaragala problem for the Rajapakse Regime

Speculation mounts not just in political circles but also in civil society of an impending presidential election, early in the New Year. The Uva Provincial Council elections, which besides being constitutionally required, were also a testing of the political waters by the Rajapakse Administration and the results could not have been more disturbing to those […]

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 […]

Dr. Rajani Thiranagama Commemoration on 20th and 21st September 2014

I was a public servant when Rajani was assassinated by an LTTE agent 25 years ago. I took private leave, travelled to Jaffna at my own expense and participated in the 31st day Commemoration. She was a leading member of the UTHR (Jaffna branch) and coauthored, with Dr.Rajan Hoole, Dr. Daya Somasundaram and Dr. K.Sritharan, […]

William Blake, Buddhism and Human Rights – value of praxis over ideology

[William Blake 1757-1827 demonstrated through his art and poetry how opposite views were actually relative and dependent on each other and that they were reconcilable once we overcame the mental trap of ‘abstraction’ and solidification, the act of removing something out of its context and turning it into an absolute] [The Asokan pillar is a […]

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 […]

Liking violence: A study of hate speech on Facebook in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy Sri Lanka Brief The Centre for Policy Alternatives, the institutional anchor of Groundviews, released today a report co-authored by Shilpa Samaratunge and I on hate speech online, looking at Facebook in particular. The report is the first in Sri Lanka to focus on hate and dangerous speech in online fora, contextualising the growth […]

The Uva results and implications for the Presidential Poll

Photo courtesy The Republic Square The UPFA barely hung on in Uva. Grimly winning a narrow victory, that saw a significant dent in voter support for the ruling Rajapakse Administration. The UPFA Uva campaign was led by a presidential nephew, incumbent chief minister Shasendra Rajapakse being the son of Speaker Chamal Rajapakse. The decline in […]

In conversation with Ruhanie Perera: Politics, Space and Theatre in Sri Lanka

Ruhanie Perera is a founding member of the Floating Space theatre company, based in Sri Lanka. Groundviews has both featured and reviewed compelling productions by Floating Space and directed by Ruhanie. We begin by talking about why Ruhanie founded a new theatre company seven years ago, and how the name of the company came about. Ruhanie speaks […]

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