Colombo, Human Rights, Language, Peace and Conflict, Politics and Governance, Post-War, Reconciliation

Youth activists on human rights in Sri Lanka

To commemorate Human Rights Day 2009 (falling on 10 December) Groundviews interviewed a number of leading activists in Sri Lanka to find out their perspectives on current challenges facing human rights in post-war Sri Lanka. In general, activists featured were asked to comment on the Sri Lankan State’s protection of human rights, the nexus between human rights and human dignity and opportunities for greater human rights protection over the coming years.

This video features two well known youth activists. K. Guruparan, who has also appeared earlier on Groundviews is associated with Beyond Borders and was one of the founders of the Sri Lankan Youth Parliament. Jovita Arulanantham, also a youth activist, is a student at the University of Colombo.

Amongst other issues, both speak of the ignorance and apathy of society towards human rights, and the incompatibility of Emergency Rule and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) with fundamental rights, especially in post-war Sri Lanka. Guruparan points to the incident involving the public and the Police in Bambalapitiya recently where B. Sivakumaran, a Tamil boy, was cudgeled and forcibly drowned as an example of the crisis in human rights in Sri Lanka today. Jovita also speaks of the challenges facing language rights in Sri Lanka.

Sunila Abeysekera, towards the end of her interview with Groundviews on Human Rights Day, also talks about youth activists, and how they are emerging to champion human rights in Sri Lanka in their own way, through new tools and technologies.