Monthly Archives: February 2016

MCC: New Threshold Programs with Sri Lanka

MCC Board Selects Five Countries for MCC Partnerships New Compacts with Cote d’Ivoire, Kosovo and Senegal, and New Threshold Programs with Sri Lanka and Togo December 17, 2015 kellyrm /A_T/ mcc /D_O_T/ gov 202-521-3880 WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 17 — The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Board of Directors held its quarterly meeting on Dec. 16, 2015…. Read more »

HRW: Investigate, Not Promote, Ex-Army Chief

The Sri Lankan government’s appointment to parliament of the former army chief whose forces were implicated in widespread abuses contradicts pledges to investigate alleged war crimes, Human Rights Watch said today. On February 9, 2016, the United National Party of Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe appointed Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka to parliament as a national list… Read more »

Sri Lanka: Why There’s Always a Next Time

Before I know it we’re wheels up at Dulles International Airport and I’m looking forward to visiting the Middle East (airport style) yet again. One day, I will actually travel to Doha or Abu Dhabi or Dubai or Amman and see something besides an airport. Maybe I’ll do that on my 100th visit to a… Read more »

Many Sri Lankan Thamils Now Feel Pessimistic

Sri Lankan Government Should Not Succumb to Empty Threats by Sinhalese Extremists The Commissioner of Human Rights Council Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein visited Sri Lanka on February 05, 2016.  Apart from meeting the President, Prime Minister, the Opposition Leader and others he also visited the North to see at first hand the post-war situation there. The government is… Read more »

Time to Rethink Protection as Syrian Mistakes Echo Sri Lanka

Residents of the Syrian town of Madaya are again reported to be near starvation. The United Nations is said to have underestimated the number suffering under blockades enforced by Bashar al-Assad’s government, adding to earlier accusations that the UN deliberately failed to highlight the problem. The revelations show much more needs to be done to implement Secretary-General Ban… Read more »

Sri Lanka Monitoring and Accountability Panel Open Letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights: ‘Sri Lankan Victims Deserve Real Justice’ Posted on February 4, 2016 by mapuser The MAP notes with concern the recent statement made by President Maithripala Sirisena (BBC interview, 21 January 2016) that he will “never agree to international involvement” in the special war crimes court. This statement… Read more »

FfT: What Does Success Look Like?

FfT survivor_briefing-final Sri Lanka is at a crossroads in the quest for accountability for torture and other serious human rights abuses committed during the country’s civil war (2002-9) and its aftermath. This briefing addresses the question of “what success looks like” for the internationalised justice process promised by the Sri Lankan government, from the perspective… Read more »

Observations by the UN Special Rapporteur on Transitional Justice

While the commitment on the part of certain individuals and sectors of Government is plain to see, and plans for sign-off and deliberation mechanisms within the cabinet have been made, the articulation of even the outlines of a comprehensive transitional justice policy requires more capacities than have been available up to now.

Statement by UNHCHR at the End of His Mission to Sri Lanka

Statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, at the end of his mission to Sri Lanka Colombo, 9 February 2016 Good afternoon, and thank you for coming. I come to you shortly after wrapping up my visit here with meetings with President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and… Read more »

ICG: Transitional Justice Agreement between the Colombian Government and FARC

The announcement is silent on the nomination and appointment process for these courts – which would be largely staffed by national judges, with a minority international presence – and the facilities where sentences would be served, as well as the question of reparation for victims. However, it indicates a balanced and wise approach is being taken to the difficult dilemmas posed by a conflict that has inflicted suffering on more than six million victims, according to official reports, and a peace process that requires legal and political certainties for the parties and for Colombian society. FARC have gone farther than ever before by accepting the requirement that those most responsible for serious crimes must face restrictions on their liberties for up to eight years. The government has accepted that the new mechanism will have jurisdiction over all who participated in the internal armed conflict – including state agents.

ICTJ: Challenges to Implementing Reparations in Colombia

Background: Demobilization of paramilitary groups, Justice and Peace Law, Victims’ Law, and peace talks with the FARC Colombia continues to endure the longest internal armed conflict in the Western hemisphere. The conflict involves many actors and interests, and is a product of political ambitions, social and economic tensions, and competition for resources. In their efforts… Read more »

Handmade: Stories of Strength Shared thru Recipes Food is their life and a language they are at ease with. So what better way to tell their story than through food? So much more than just a cookbook, HANDMADE tells the stories of 34 women of Sri Lanka, in the time of war, before and after, through food. With beautifully transcribed stories… Read more »

Militarization in Sri Lanka Continues

During a recent visit to Sri Lanka, I (unsurprisingly) saw a lot of military personnel. Many times they were riding around in vehicles. On other occasions the interaction was a bit more personal. In Jaffna, as I was purchasing a new SIM card, a pair of Sri Lanka Army members entered the shop. In Trincomalee,… Read more »

Sri Lanka: Looking for a Deal, Not Truth and Justice

Sri Lanka’s fledging transitional justice process is in trouble already. It’s getting impossible to paper over embarrassing public differences between the country’s President and its Prime Minister on the issue of war crimes. Sceptics of course say neither man really acknowledges the gravity and scale of the atrocities committed. The most immediate crisis is over… Read more »

Remarks by US State Dept. U/S Patrick Kennedy

Sri Lanka National Day  Remarks Patrick F. KennedyUnder Secretary for Management Organization of American States Washington, DC February 4, 2016 Thank you, Ambassador Kariyawasam, for that kind introduction, and the honor of your invitation. And I must say that I’m incredibly excited to visit your beautiful country later this month and see the progress already made… Read more »

The Morning After the Political Honeymoon

Of the many challenges confronting the Sirisena-Wickremasinghe government, one is the making of a new Constitution. Having started off on a ‘radical’ promise of facilitating a final and lasting solution to a bitter conflict, the new government appears to have realized that ultimate success of the proposed new constitution would principally depend on the retention of the provisions concerning the ‘unitary state’ and the prominence given to the Buddha Sasana. In doing so, considerable opposition to the new constitution would be effectively avoided, making it somewhat more convenient to construct and present to the people a constitution which, inter alia, abolishes the Presidency, while introducing a new electoral system, an enhanced fundamental rights-chapter, and a devolutionary framework which is only a modest improvement on the 13th Amendment. Never a fulfillment of the desire for federalism of the Tamil polity, the new constitution and the political leadership would only be able to promise a more equal and just society where the human rights of all will be protected.

Sri Lankan White Van Awareness Week  

MGR Remembered – Part 33

MGR Remembered Part 32 Additional details on MGR’s 1965 trip to Ceylon After reading Part 32, my friend and fellow MGR biographer R. Kannan had shared with me the information which had appeared in the DMK party’s organ Murasoli daily during October 1965, from Murasoli archives. I provide below the material he had extracted: “The… Read more »

Is Transitional Justice in Crisis?

In October 2015, the Sri Lankan government took a giant stride towards reconciliation when it co-sponsored a historic resolution at the Human Rights Council. Despite howls of protest from fringe elements within the Sinhala and Tamil community who opposed it, the Resolution was defended stoutly by mainstream members of both ruling parties, the SLMC and… Read more »