Monthly Archives: March 2016

“The Other Side”

By Indrani Balaratnam, March 30, 2016 A glimpse of the streets we would have called home, I’m laughing in the park, climbing the coconut trees, Cycling through the dusty lanes, playing at the local spots. It’s a strange relationship: Caught in opposition of the surveillance state, And, gratitude, for finally seeing the corners we’ve never… Read more »

flickering screens

by Varathas, Diasporaland.tumblr, October 2015 While working on an Al Jazeera documentary on Sri Lanka, I stumbled upon raw landscape footage of Jaffna. The camera captured the lush green, rural landscape of the peninsula in beautiful dawn light. Watered paddy fields, palm groves in the distance, thick jungles on the sides, narrow pathways elegantly drawn… Read more »

Muslim Perspectives 2007

Muslim Perspectives on SL Conflict East West Center 2007 The Sri Lankan ethnic conflict is often regarded as a two-way contest between the Sinhala majority and the Tamil minority, ignoring the interests and concerns of the island’s 8 percent Muslim (or “Moorish”) minority. One-third of Sri Lanka’s Muslims are concentrated in towns and districts located… Read more »

Vaddukoddai Resolution

The Vaddukoddai resolution of May 14th 1976 is a turning point for the history of the Eelam Tamils’ struggle.  Dr A.J. Wilson, the late lamented head of the political science department, Brunswick University speaks in the following words about the turning point in the Eelam Tamils’ struggle. “In the years after the onset of 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?

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 »

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 »

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 »

Accountability and a Political Solution

In a recent article, Ram Manikkalingam – a member of the Sri Lankan President’s Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) – argues that Sri Lanka must not prioritize accountability for mass atrocity crimes until a new constitution addressing Tamil autonomy is formulated, and that international human rights advocates must stop giving precedence to war… 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 »

Missing Persons & Beginning of Consultations

Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms under the Prime Minister’s Office has a website with an English questionnaire that is open until mid-April, 2016 for collecting opinons on transitional justice mechanisms at!consultations/cjg9 ——– Meeting Held in Trinco to Discuss Missing Person Issue by Colombo Gazette, March 15, 2015 The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the… Read more »

MGR Remembered – Part 34

by Sachi Sri Kantha, March 16, 2016 MGR Remembered Part 33 A Conflict at the Movie Shooting of TholilaLi (Labourer, 1964) In the previous chapter, I had inadvertently omitted a 1964 MGR movie, TholilaLi (Labourer), in which M.R. Radha had co-starred with MGR. This was a Devar Films Production. According to the reminiscence of ace… Read more »

‘Modern Tamils & the Tamil National Question’

Two books by Nagaratnam Parameswaran are now available on Kindle via Amazon. Modern Tamils and Tamil National Question: Sri Lanka/Ilankai 1798-2012 This book is the third and final in the series on the history of the Sri Lankan Tamils. As its title states, it covers the modern period of British rule of the island (1796… Read more »

‘Hundred Hindu Temples of Sri Lanka’

Hundred Hindu Temples of Sri Lanka: Ancient, Medieval and Modern by Sanmugam Arumugam, 2014 Ohm Books, UK ISBN-10: 0957502346 ISBN-13: 978-0957502345 ASIN: B00M60XIA6 (Kindle)  In 1980, Sanmugam Arumugam (1905 – 2000) wrote a book titled ‘Ancient Hindu Temples of Sri Lanka’. There was a good demand for the book and a second revised… Read more »

Frt: Statement on UNHCHR Annual Report

Statement on High Commissioner’s Annual Report Remarks on Sri Lanka Ann Hannah, International Advocate and Researcher at Freedom from Torture, said: “We welcome today’s statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that “the voices of victims must be heard, free from surveillance and intimidation” if the  transitional justice and reconciliation process in Sri… Read more »

Sampanthan Speech on Disappearances & Indefinite Detention of Political Prisoners

PLAN OF ACTION REGARDING VICTIMS OF ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES AND PERSONS HELD IN CUSTODY FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME Sampanthan speech-8.3.2016 enforced disappearances indefinite detention The former Government’s commitment to the ascertainment of the truth, it may be said, was highly questionable. The new Government needs to address this issue more purposefully so as to bring… Read more »

Snake Oil Sellers for Sri Lanka

snake oil: n. informal. A substance with no real medicinal value sold as a remedy for all diseases. [New Oxford American Dictionary, 2001, p. 1613] The March 2nd issue of the New York Times carried a travel-related opinion piece by Joshua Hammer, which I consider nothing but snake oil. I checked on the profile of… Read more »