Posts Categorized: Government

Getting US Messaging Right

Getting US Messaging about Sri Lanka’s ‘Democratic Transition’ Right by Taylor Dibbert, ‘The Diplomat,’ Tokyo, March 31, 2016 Nisha Biswal, the U.S. State Department’s assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, spoke at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, on Monday. Her prepared remarks were… Read more »

Sampur: Documentary Trailer

Thousands of individuals from across Sri Lanka have been displaced for years, some multiple times.  For over a decade, the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) has documented issues related to displacement and returns, advocating reform and litigating on unjust and arbitrary practices. Two cases CPA has followed closely for years, supporting litigation and advocating land… Read more »

Rising from the Embers

by Tomasz Augustyniak, ‘Quartz India,’ March 28, 2016 On Friday evenings, vans and tuk-tuks usually form long queues before Jaffna’s only shopping mall. There’s a hint of exquisite perfume in the air. Mothers in kurtas mind their colourfully attired children. Single young men sporting oversized wrist watches zip around on motorcycles. Though rare, one can… Read more »

No Foreign Judges?

President Maithripala Sirisena has recently said at a gathering of judicial officers that he won’t accept foreign judges in any investigation into human rights violations here. Stating that he has his faith in local judges and judicial administrators he has stressed the need to ensure judicial independence. President Sirisena may have his faith in the… Read more »

Of Rape, Killings, Impunity and our Collective Amnesia

The passion and commitment of local women’s rights activists and others, although largely unsung, is awe-inspiring and we have the deepest respect for their work. However, this is not a struggle that they alone can accomplish. The state of violence against women and children in Sri Lanka, is our collective reality. The only way by which we can achieve any significant success in this regard, is if we also realise the collective responsibility – the government, the criminal justice system and society as a whole.

So, the question here should not be, if or not we should protest, but rather, that we recognize that protests are an integral part of the process, but, that it cannot achieve much on its own.

Action on Mahaweli System B in Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 16 March 2016, 23:47 GMT] Maithiriapala Sirisene, the president of genocidal Sri Lanka, who visited his native district of Polonnaruwa last week, has vowed to ‘develop’ the villages that are being Sinhalicised along the border of Batticaloa and Polonnaruwa through ‘Mahaweli System B’, which is being accelerated according to his latest instructions. Hailing… Read more »

National Question Can Be Solved Only By Power Sharing

On January 25 this year Opposition and Thamil National Alliance (TNA) Leader R. Sampanthan left for London and then to the Scottish capital Edinburgh accompanied by his trusted lieutenant Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran, MP. Sampanthan’s visit to Scotland coincided with the government taking steps to draft a new Constitution. Scottish experience Both Sampanthan and Sumanthiran participated at a constitutional workshop held to explore possible alternatives… Read more »

CJP: Story of the Political Prisoners in Sri Lanka

CJP Justice delayed Observations. The controversial PTA (Prevention of Terrorision Act) which was in effect throughout the long ethnic war in spite of protests from Human Rights Groups is still in effect even 6 years after the war.The prolonged and indefinite detention of most of the prisoners is due to this. With regard to most… Read more »

Statistical Information for the Northern Provincial Council

Northern Provincial Council 2015 Statistical Information 2015 Northern Provincial Council (Unable to easily find similar information through the Eastern Provincial Council.  Some information is available for digging at — http://www.statistics.gov.lk/)

Pressing Your Case: Nonviolent Movements and the Media

  Introduction by Nada Alwadi Organizers and strategists of nonviolent movements often struggle in dealing with the mainstream news media. Some consider it their enemy, because coverage can be patchy or inaccurate. Others unrealistically expect the media to advocate for their causes. Yet few resources for activists have provided a reliable explanation of how an… Read more »

A Look at Language Rights in Sri Lanka

When asked about what the official language in Sri Lanka is, a majority of Sri Lankans said that it is Sinhala only while only 15% gave the correct answer of Sinhala and Tamil. CPA has a long history of work in the field of language rights, one that speaks of great success for minority communities… Read more »

“More Than a Domestic Mechanism”

For nearly three decades, the government of Sri Lanka fought with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), but after years of resistance, the new government has committed to launching a genuine transitional justice program to address, and redress, the grave international crimes committed by all sides during the conflict. This welcome about-face comes after… Read more »

144 NGOs & Activists Call on GOSL to Stand by Intl Commitments

We the undersigned activists and organizations condemn President Maithripala Sirisena’s recent statements (BBC Sinhala Service, 21 Jan. 2015, Frontline, 14 Jan, 2015) wherein he appears to be indicating a withdrawal from the obligations the Government had committed to in the consensus resolution passed at the 30th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in… Read more »

Testing Time for Sri Lanka and Tamils

Yet another — a fourth new constitution — is in the making for the troubled Sri Lanka, which has had three different constitutions since independence, in the years 1948, 1972 &1976, all of which apparently failed to meet the national challenges, which prevailed in Sri Lanka.  The refreshing picture in this iteration is the participation… Read more »

Myths, Realities and Options for Transitional Justice in Sri Lanka

by Bhavani Fonseka & Luwie Ganeshathasan, Centre for Policy Alternatives, Colombo, January 18, 2016 The 2015 political transition in Sri Lanka witnessed several promises for reform. One area in the reform agenda includes the processes and mechanisms for transitional justice. The resolution titled ‘Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka’ adopted at the… Read more »

Wigneswaran Calls For Shared Sovereignty Within A United Lanka

Full text of speech below and at http://tamildiplomat.com/npc-cm-calls-for-solution-on-the-basis-of-shared-sovereignty-within-merged-north-and-east/ COLOMBO: The Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’ Tamil-majority Northern Province has called for a new constitution which will be based on the principle of shared sovereignty between the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority within a united Lanka. Giving the keynote address at a seminar on constitution making… Read more »

Sri Lanka’s Tamil Political Prisoners

by Taylor Dibbert, ‘The Huffington Post,’ Los Angeles, December 13, 2015 Just days ago, a Tamil political prisoner being held in Jaffna Prison commenced a hunger strike. Similar hunger strikes have taken place this year, although this behavior doesn’t appear to have changed the government’s calculus in a significant way. This issue has been a… Read more »

TNA Statement on Penal Code Amendment Regarding Hate Speech

The Tamil National Alliance is deeply concerned about the proposed Penal Code (Amendment) Bill placed on the Order Paper of Parliament on 11 December 2015. The said Bill was placed on the Order Paper by the Minister of Justice. The Bill seeks to introduce a new provision (Section 291C) to the Penal Code, No. 11… Read more »

Looming Dangers

Whether it would be possible to achieve consensus on the focal areas of the new arrangement – devolution of power, electoral reform and the replacement of the executive presidency – will be possible remains to be seen. …

While matters like replacing the executive presidency and a new electoral system can be relatively less complicated, devolution will undoubtedly be a very tricky problem given the state of play of current politics. There is no doubt that the minorities played a major role in President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s defeat on January 8. It is widely accepted that a minority of the majority – meaning of the Sinhalese – and a majority of the minority (the Tamils) ensured Rajapaksa’s defeat. Thus there will be the ever present danger that the kind of opportunistic politics that we saw in the post-1956 years when the UNP did not permit Mr. Bandaranaike to implement the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact and the SLFP and its allies sabotaged Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake’s efforts to reach an accord with the Tamils (Dudley-ge badey masala vadai, remember?) will recur. Doubtlessly national reconciliation is a top priority facing this country. Will the devolution proposals in a new constitution, rather than the forthcoming local elections early next year, be the opportunity the Rajapaksa faction of the SLFP/UPFA is waiting for? Hopefully not, is all we can say at this present moment.