Monthly Archives: January 2016

A Special Day To Remember Sugitharajah

Sri Lanka’s calendar is full of reminiscences from the bloody years. January is a month to remember the targeted killings of journalists under the previous government’s supervision. Impunity for these crimes against democracy prevails. In February attention is on independence, which opened up the doors for ethnical strife, in May it’s the end of the… Read more »

Time for Justice in Sri Lanka

Just a little over a year ago, voters in Sri Lanka rallied to elect a new president, with high hopes that he would usher in a new era of government accountability and bring healing to a country fractured by the brutal civil war that ended in 2009. President Maithripala Sirisena has taken bold steps to… Read more »

US Ambassador to UN’s Remarks on Sri Lanka’s Disappeared

Remarks at the UN Security Council Arria-Formula Meeting on the Global Challenge of Accounting for Missing Persons Ambassador Samantha Power U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations U.S. Mission to the United Nations New York City January 27, 2016 AS DELIVERED Thank you, so much. Ambassador Rycroft, thank you for focusing the Council on this… Read more »

HRW: New Government Makes Significant Progress

(New York) – Sri Lanka’s government, elected in January 2015, ended the pervasive culture of surveillance and censorship and embarked on reforms aimed to undo years of increasingly authoritarian rule, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2016. While it opened dialogues both domestically and abroad, the government still faces key concerns, including… Read more »

HRW: 2016 World Report

Sri Lanka Events of 2015 Elections in Sri Lanka brought about momentous changes after nearly a decade of increasingly autocratic rule. In January 2015, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government, in power since 2006, lost to a united opposition front led by Maithripala Sirisena, a former health minister. In August, Ranil Wickramsinghe, longtime leader of the largest… 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 »

SL Campaign Posters Insights into the economy behind Sri Lanka’s “white van” abductions – bribes, extortion, human smuggling etc. — Jan.6, 2016

Channel 4 Visit to Sri Lanka

The agony of Sri Lanka’s carapace of peace Six years after the Sri Lankan civil war – @jonsnowc4 visits the site of some of its worst horrors. — Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) January 26, 2016 Our return to Sri Lanka’s killing fields has managed to coincide with two major developments – the first is… Read more »

A New Reality for the Tamil People in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka appears to be a country in transition.  Some amongst us question the sincerity of the government or the impact these purported changes will have on the Tamil community; how far and deep these changes are to address the long-standing Tamil national question?  Considering the historic trust deficit the Tamil community has on the… 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 »

GTF: Alarmed at President Sirisena’s Recent Comments

GTF Press Statement 25 January 2016 Issued for immediate release  PRESS STATEMENT 25 January 2016 Alarmed at President Sirisena’s recent Comments regarding International Involvement on Accountability Mechanism – Global Tamil Forum Global Tamil Forum (GTF) is deeply concerned and disappointed by the recent comments of Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena (BBC, January 21, 2016) concerning… Read more »

HRW: Fulfill Rights Council Call for Justice

by Human Rights Watch, January 25, 2015 (New York) – The Sri Lankan government should fulfill its commitments to the United Nations Human Rights Council by ensuring that foreign judges and prosecutors play a significant role in the mandated accountability mechanism for wartime abuses, Human Rights Watch said today. On January 21, 2016, President Maithripala Sirisena… Read more »

FfT: Response to President’s Backtrack on Justice Process

 Our Response to President Sirisena’s Backtrack on Justice Process for Sri Lanka Statement from Freedom from Torture on President Sirisena’s questioning of our 2015 torture evidence in BBC interview of 21 January 2016. Sonya Sceats, Director of Policy and Advocacy, said: “This is an outrageous reversal of promises made to torture survivors and the international… Read more »

ITJP: Statement in Response to Sri Lankan President’s Remarks

ITJP Press Release 22 January 2016 Press Statement in Response to Sri Lankan President’s Remarks in BBC Interview: Sri Lanka President wants ‘ internal’ war crimes court. 22nd January 2016. Johannesburg: The International Truth and Justice Project is deeply concerned that Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena appears to be rolling back on his commitment in… Read more »

Sri Lanka President Wants ‘Internal’ War Crimes Court

Video The president of Sri Lanka has said foreign judges and prosecutors should not be involved in an investigation into allegations of war crimes. In a BBC interview, President Maithripala Sirisena said the country did not need to “import” specialists. Both the army and the Tamil Tiger rebels are accused of atrocities in the civil… 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 »

State-aided Sinhala Colonisation

submitted by International Human Rights Association Bremen Before the armed resistance of the Tamil people took the centre stage, three major processes could be identified aimed at the marginalisation and destabilization of the Tamil nation. The first was the state sponsored colonisation schemes, which under the pretext of development, settled depressed peasants and later lumpen… Read more »

Ex-Tamil Tigers Go Jobless in Sri Lanka

VALLIPURAM, Sri Lanka, 18 January 2016 (IRIN) – Almost seven years after the end of Sri Lanka’s decades-long civil war, the majority of former Tamil Tiger rebels are struggling to find jobs despite billions of dollars of extra investment in their regions. Sivalingam Ruvendradass, who spent three years in a government “rehabilitation” programme, which is… Read more »

Wigneswaran Calls For Shared Sovereignty Within A United Lanka

Full text of speech below and at 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 »

Art Buchwald Humor Awards for 2015

The ninth death anniversary of humorist Art Buchwald (1925-2007) falls on January 17th. And for this occasion, I also release my 7th consecutive list of news-making individuals from South Asia (or of South Asian origin) for 2015. To repeat the three conditions that I have instituted for selection of the Art Buchwald Humor Awardees, (1)… Read more »