Posts Categorized: Human Rights

Involuntary Disappearances

by Kusal Perera, ‘,’ Colombo, May 16, 2016 Sure, I heard Someone tap on the wooden door At the rear of our house. Sure, I heard Some one call your name. Ruben he called you, One night, last year.   I kept calling you since, “Ruben!”, I wept all this time. Officers said, they never… Read more »

Preliminary Observations of the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges

Preliminary observations and recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers — Ms. Mónica Pinto, Colombo, 7 May 2016 United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers and Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment Official joint visit to Sri Lanka — 29 April to 7 May… Read more »

Preliminary Observations of the Special Rapporteur on Torture

Preliminary observations and recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment — Juan E. Mendez,  Colombo, 7 May 2016 United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers and Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment Official joint visit to Sri… Read more »

Ex-LTTE ‘Doctor’ Reveals Horrifying Last Two Days in Mulliwaikkal

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan, ‘Ceylon Today,’ May 8, 2016 The 30-year war and the gory events of it ended on 18 May 2009 but they are unforgettable and unforgivable. The Tamils who fled the island, the like-minded civil societies and the human rights activists started documenting each event in phases and tabled them at the… Read more »

2nd Tamil Studies Symposium May 6-7

Full program The 2nd Tamil Studies Symposium Bearing Witness: Unspeakable Crimes, Invisible Atrocities 6-7 May 2016 at York University The most challenging paradox of the 21st Century may well be the saturation of our media with news of atrocities, even as many conflicts around the world are described as ‘wars without witnesses’. While news reports… Read more »

Sri Lankan Lawmakers Brawl in Parliament over Bombing Claim

by ‘Daily Mail,’ UK, May 3, 2016 Sri Lanka’s parliament erupted in brawls between rival lawmakers Tuesday, after a former army chief said a bomb blast apparently targeting ex-president Mahinda Rajapakse’s brother 10 years ago was an “inside job”. Legislators from Sri Lanka’s ruling party traded blows with those loyal to Rajapakse who became enraged… Read more »

HRW: Transparency Key as Rights Commission Deadline Looms

by Brad Adams,, Colombo, April 23, 2016 January 2015 saw a momentous change in Sri Lanka. After nearly 10 years of increasingly authoritarian rule, a new government promising change was voted into office. The new government immediately set about righting many of the wrongs of the previous Rajapaksa government, including an openness toward independent… Read more »

Sri Lankan Protest Demands New Probe of Journalist’s Killing

By Bharatha Mallawarachi | AP in ‘The Washington Post,’ April 29, 2016 COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Hundreds of journalists and media rights activists protested on Friday to demand Sri Lanka’s new government start a fresh investigation into the abduction and killing of a prominent ethnic Tamil journalist 11 years ago, during the country’s civil war.Those demonstrating in front of… Read more »

The Return of the White Van

by Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice, London, April 28, 2016 The Tamil Guardian today reported two “white van abductions”; incidents in which unidentified persons driving a “Dolphin” van snatched individuals off the streets. This follows three similar incidents in recent weeks: former LTTE commander, Kanathippillai Sivamoorthy (also known as Nagulan), was reportedly abducted in Jaffna… Read more »

PEARL: Release Sivakaran and Other Tamils Held under the PTA

Sri Lanka must immediately release Sivakaran and Other Tamils held under the PTA  by People of Equality and Relief in Lanka, USA, Posted on April 27, 2016 Recent spate of arrests and abductions raise further doubt about Sri Lanka’s reform efforts (Washington, DC; April 27, 2016) PEARL is deeply concerned by Sri Lanka’s latest arrest… Read more »

The Inconvenient Truth about Sri Lanka’s North and East

by Taylor Dibbert, ‘Huffington Post,’ Los Angeles, April 25, 2016 People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL) has recently published a timely report. The document is based upon field research that was conducted in January 2016 and will be of interest to anyone trying to make sense of the new government’s performance since Maithripala… Read more »

Questions of Haste, Urgency and Consultations in Transitional Justice

by Niran Anketell, ‘Groundviews,’ Colombo, April 20, 2016 On a recent visit to the United States, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera made a revealing series of comments in response to a question at a forum organized by the United States Institute of Peace. When asked about the government’s timeline to introduce what the government calls “reconciliation… Read more »

New Report Raises Concern Sri Lanka’s Window for Reconciliation is Closing

(Washington, DC; April 20, 2016) A new report by People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL) provides details of ongoing militarization and harassment amongst the Tamil population of the North-East of Sri Lanka, over one year after the change in presidency and seven months after the election of the United National Party-led national government…. Read more »

Repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA)

by Asian Commission for Human Rights, Hong Kong, date unknown There is no longer any reason for the Prevention of Terrorism Act in Sri Lanka; on the contrary, there are many compelling reasons as to why it should immediately be repealed. It was the existence of the LTTE and its ruthless violence that the government… Read more »

Syria: War Crimes and the Pursuit of Justice

AS DELIVERED                                                                April 14, 2016   Remarks by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at an Informal Meeting on “Syria: War Crimes and the Pursuit of Justice,” April 14, 2016 Thank you all for your powerful presentations. Thank you, Ambassador al-Thani, for organizing this event and thanks to all of the… Read more »

Capturing the Secret Documents

In hundreds of witness interviews, the CIJA found consistent patterns in interrogation practices across all branches of the security agencies. People were detained following the Crisis Cell’s policy. Besides identifying “new targets,” the results of these interrogations were shared among the agencies. Detainees were routinely kept in inhumane conditions for months or years without entering the judicial system…

Hamada’s account of atrocities at Hospital 601 was later corroborated by approximately fifty-five thousand photographs, smuggled out of Syria by a military-police officer known by the name Caesar, an alias. Before the war, Caesar and his colleagues had documented crime scenes and traffic accidents involving military personnel in Damascus. He uploaded pictures to government computers, then printed them and stapled them to official death reports. Beginning in 2011, however, the bodies were those of detainees, collected each day from security branches and delivered to military hospitals…

Between Caesar’s photographs and the CIJA’s case, Stephen Rapp told me, “when the day of justice arrives, we’ll have much better evidence than we’ve had anywhere since Nuremberg.”…

Last year, when Assad was asked about the Caesar photographs during an interview with Foreign Affairs, he said, “Who said this is done by the government, not by the rebels? Who said this is a Syrian victim, not someone else?”

US Report on Human Rights Practices 2015 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Sri Lanka is a constitutional, multiparty republic with a freely elected government. Rejecting the re-election bid of Mahinda Rajapaksa, in January voters elected President Maithripala Sirisena to a five-year term. Parliament, elected in August, shares constitutional power with the president. The EU Election Observation Mission characterized the August parliamentary elections as the… 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 »

Political Prisoners and Sri Lanka’s Sincerity Crisis

That said, members of the international community who are greatly concerned with the provision of technical assistance and capacity-related matters may be missing a crucial point that precedes any thorough discussion regarding capacity: the coalition government’s sincerity. Is Colombo actually serious about fulfilling all of the promises it’s made? Are President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe really prepared to connect words with actions and stand up to Sinhala nationalism?

Disappearances in Sri Lanka & Role of Civil Society

Twelve challenges Primarily based on my personal experiences and considering the present context, I would like to share twelve challenges facing civil society in terms of addressing disappearances. Recognizing and addressing a deeply personal tragedy which has become immensely political and has legal dimensions. This will involve a holistic approach, including emotional, financial and legal… Read more »