Monthly Archives: January 2015

Learning Lessons from Political Discourses of the Past

The last advice of the late Professor A.J. Wilson, a highly respected academic who had the closest connections with the hierarchy of the government echelons from time to time, and who was an optimist genuinely believing the possibility of Tamils and Sinhalese co-existing, was that the Tamil academics and professionals should not let themselves to… Read more »

Tamil Sripavan Appointed Sri Lanka’s Top Judge

Sri Lanka’s president has appointed a Tamil judge as the new chief justice – the first member of the minority community to hold the post in decades. Judge Kanagasabapathy Sripavan, 62, was sworn in in the capital Colombo. President Maithripala Sirisena, from the majority Sinhalese community, has sought reconciliation with Tamils after the separatist war… Read more »

A Chance for Justice in Sri Lanka?

Decisions like these are often premised on a misguided belief that, in post-conflict environments, it is necessary to choose between justice and peace. But this is a false choice. Sri Lanka must deal with the deep and languishing divisions created by past human right abuses. A policy of impunity does the opposite and would be a grave mistake.

TNA Reiterates its Call for an International Investigation for Tamil Killings

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, January 28, 2015 / — The Main Tamil political party in Sri Lanka, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) reiterated its call for an international investigation for the mass killings of Tamils during the last phase of the war that ended in mid-2009. Mr. Suresh Premachandran, Member of Parliament and spokesperson for TNA made… Read more »

Sri Lanka Is Ready to Take Center Stage

by Richard Armitage, Kara Bue, & Lisa Curtis, ‘The Wall Street Journal,’ January. 28, 2015 12:29 p.m. ET 3 COMMENTS Editor’s note: The following op-ed was contributed by Richard Armitage, Kara Bue and Lisa Curtis. Mr. Armitage was deputy secretary of State from 2001 to 2005. Ms. Bue was deputy assistant secretary of State for… Read more »

Building Credible Mechanisms for Domestic Accountability and Transitional Justice

However, given the Sri Lankan State’s persistent unwillingness and inability to credibly address impunity, those who wish to see a meaningful process of righting wrongs in Sri Lanka must demand that the Government make tangible commitments and progress towards addressing victims’ demands for justice.

A mere commitment to conduct a credible process without the necessary legal, institutional and policy reforms must not be accepted at face value. This article outlines the key reforms necessary to ensure that the Government’s promise of a credible domestic process results in a break with the past.

An opportune moment for the Government to make these commitments formally may be at the sessions of the Human Rights Council where the report of the international inquiry on Sri Lanka will presented.

HRW: Rajapaksa Legacy of Abuse

by Human Rights Watch, New York, January 29, 2015 The Sri Lankan government stepped up pressure in 2014 on human rights activists and journalists, particularly those urging justice for past war crimes, Human Rights Watch said in its World Report 2015 released today. A new government, elected in January 2015, should order investigations into arbitrary… Read more »

‘A Cartoonist of His Times’

Readers – We need help locating the citation for the booklet of cartoons entitled ‘A Cartoonist of His Times,’ probably published in 1994. An established publishing house would like to publish one of the cartoons in the booklet & will not do so without permission, so we need to identify the artist who drew the… Read more »

MGR Remembered – Part 24

Part 23 In the previous chapter, I had observed that charismatic persons can be identified with following primary traits. (1) Originality in deeds, (2) humility in action, (3) Apportioning due credit to fellow associates, and (4) risk taking attitude. Subsequently, I located an interesting article by Ken Rea in the New Theatre Quarterly journal, published… Read more »

Is Sri Lanka Ready Yet For Postwar Reconciliation?

Sri Lanka’s January 8 presidential election shocked the world. The removal of strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa from office and peaceful transfer of power have triggered an outpouring of optimism about Sri Lanka’s democratic future. But on one key set of issues it’s not clear that regime change heralds progress: post-war reconciliation and accountability for international crimes… Read more »

Mangala Promises Demilitarisation of North, Domestic War Crimes Probe

by S. Venkat Narayan, ‘The Island,’ Colombo, January 20, 2015 NEW DELHI, January 20: Sri Lankan Minister of External Affairs Mangala Samaraweera has outlined a series of steps President Maithripala Sirisena’s Government will undertake to achieve national reconciliation in the civil war-ravaged island-nation. Talking to a select group of journalists here on Monday, he said… Read more »

CJP Calls for Release of Prisoners, Accountability and Resettlement

The Commission for Justice & Peace of the Catholic Diocese of Jaffna has called for the release of political prisoners, accountability for those killed or disappeared during the war and for the resettlement of people back in their land, in an open letter to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena. Writing to the newly elected president,… Read more »

Thirteenth Amendment to Sri Lanka Constitution

Posted on [also in PDF] Nadesan Satyendra, March 1988 [see also Text of 13th Amendment to Sri Lanka Constitution, 1987] The writer acknowledges with gratitude his indebtedness to the reflections of Sri Aurobindo in an article entitled ‘Comic Opera Reforms’ in the Bande Mataram – written in 1907, some eighty years ago. In August… Read more »

Tamil Nation Library

Alagappan, M.V.M. Tears in Teardrop Island, Sterling Publishers Private Limited, New Delhi, 1985 Anderson, Jon Lee and Scott Anderson:* War Zones, (Dodd, Mead & Co, New York, 1988), pp.173-233. Book Note by Sachi Sri Kantha – Journalist brothers had covered the Sri Lankan civil war (in the form of oral histories) and between the covers… Read more »

Legal Case of Tamil Genocide

Legal-Case-of-the-Tamil-Genocide_30-December-2014 The Legal Case of the Tamil Genocide January 6, 2015 by UNROW Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic Leave a Comment Full PDF version available here By UNROW Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic The UNROW Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic, an impact litigation clinic of American University Washington College of Law, has advocated and litigated… Read more »

Helping Sri Lanka’s New Democracy

Sri Lanka’s voters shocked themselves and the world this month by tossing out their president, who crushed the Tamil insurgency in 2009 and then led the country, along with his brother as defense secretary, to the brink of authoritarianism. The new president has promised to restore freedom of the press, independence of judges, and the… Read more »

US Foreign Assistance State and USAID: It has been nearly five years since the end of Sri Lankas 26 year civil war, and circumstances are more challenging than they were a year ago. Although Northern Provincial Council elections were held in September 2013, there has been little movement on reconciliation or accountability by the Government of Sri… Read more »

World Bank Data Indicators World Development Indicators School enrollment, primary (% gross) 98% 2012 Poverty headcount ratio at national poverty lines (% of population) 6.7% 2013 8.9% 2010 15.2% 2007 22.7% 2002 28.8% 1996 Improved water source, rural (% of rural population with access) 93% 2012 92% 2011 90% 2010 89% 2009 87% 2008 Life expectancy at birth, total (years) 74 2012 GNI per capita, Atlas method (current… Read more »

Hopes Rise as Rajapakse Bites the Dust

PRESIDENTIAL AMBITIONS GONE ASTRAY Rajapakse triggered the presidential election, believing he would be easily returned to power for a third term, even though he had two more years left in his 2nd term. A great believer in soothsayers, he probably relied on their advice, and the war-victory over the LTTE in 2009, to carry him… Read more »