On 15 March, the UN Human Rights Council adopted the Working Group report of Sri Lanka’s second Universal Periodic Review. Amnesty International delegates attended the session with Dr Manoharan, father of Ragihar Manoharan, one of five young men killed by Sri Lankan security forces in 2006. Dr Manoharan delivered a powerful statement on Sri Lanka’s… Read more »
Posts Categorized: Politics
The Political Economy of Prejudice
The post-war context in Sri Lanka offers significant scope for potential gains and conflicts over re-alignments of networks of patronage and clientelist redistribution, which along with ethno-religious relations was in many ways over-determined by the war. And the dominant players in this competition will only be too happy to align themselves with the so-called moral and spiritual regeneration of the body politic i.e. ethno-religious nationalism and extremism, if it will give them an edge in cementing their socio-political bases (perhaps better seen as multi-class factions?), economic privileges and crucially, reconfiguring the social and eventually even the socio-political and legal substance of citizenship itself.
Buddhists Targeting Sri Lanka’s Muslims
The Hardline Buddhists Targeting Sri Lanka’s Muslims Hardline monks and Buddhist groups are trying to outlaw halal certification After a series of attacks on mosques, wild rumours about animal slaughter and an attempt to outlaw the halal system of classification, the BBC’s Charles Haviland investigates how Sri Lanka’s Muslim minority is being targeted by hardline… Read more »
India’s ‘Rotten Diplomacy’
Both the Sinhalese and the Tamils now consider the various political parties of Tamil Nadu to be goading Sri Lanka’s ethnic strife from a safe distance so that they may milk it for electoral capital; this, too, is ineluctable…
It might be possible to argue – although this isn’t the place for it – that India’s foreign policy toward Sri Lanka has been the most disastrous such sustained policy it has ever run. Admittedly, these were, and are, deep and complicated waters. But India repeatedly made the cynical mistake of presuming that it could have it all. It resembled the gambler who backs every single horse in the race, and while that may minimize harm at the Kentucky Derby, it doesn’t quite work the same way in geopolitics.
A Lanka Lost?
Delhi now sees the sweet talk for what it is — classic Rajapakse doublespeak. It’s the method he employed to use India’s help to destroy the Tigers, knowing that once he had the LTTE out of the way, India would have no card left to play, no leverage to push for the 13th Amendment and the rehabilitation of the moderate Tamils, whom India want back in the political mainstream.
Sri Lanka Accused of Ongoing Torture
He said he had his toenails extracted and was then electrocuted, rendering him unconscious for three days. Now convicted, he has been sent to prison in the central city of Kandy, far from his home in the north. He has barely been permitted contact with his wife or son, who was born just months after his arrest.
The report also criticises a government rehabilitation programme for former Tamil Tiger soldiers that, it says, is also blighted by violence and, despite officially being classed as voluntary, is frequently used as a tool to prolong detention without trial.
CPA – Commentary on Land Circular 2013/01
Commentary on Accelerated Programme on Solving Post Conflict Land Issues in the Northern and Eastern Provinces In January 2013 the Government issued a new circular titled Accelerated Programme on Solving Post Conflict State Lands Issues in the Northern and Eastern Provinces- Land Circular 2013/01 (herein referred to as the Circular), which is the most recent… Read more »
Militarization & Reconciliation
Is it possible to secure the dignity, rights and well-being of a conflict-affected population by incorporating them into a military juggernaut that has quickly grown to dominate all spheres of life?
For Sri Lanka, More Empty Words
The government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa greeted last year’s vote with complaints that it was being persecuted by the international community — and used that as a pretext to obstruct even more thoroughly the work of journalists, lawyers and activists. As Mohan Peiris, a former attorney general who is now Sri Lanka’s chief justice,said last March: “It won’t change anything. We will just forge ahead as planned.”
In May 2009, the Tamil Tigers, a merciless guerrilla group, lost the fight to carve out a separate state for the island’s Tamil minority. The war ended in a blaze of blood, with roughly 40,000 Tamil civilians killed, according to a United Nations estimate.
Four years later, the government has not investigated numerous charges that the army committed atrocities during the waning years of the conflict. Straining the fragile peace yet more, Tamils in the country’s north and east continue to live under the close watch of the Sri Lankan military.
UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka
Introduction to Voting on Resolution by the US US Introduction to Voting on Resolution on Sri Lanka March 2013 [PDF] Vote Count on Resolution Revised – Gabon voted YES late Voting on Sri Lanka Resolution at UNHRC March 2013 [PDF] For = 26 Abstain = 8 Against = 13 Tamil version of resolution 22/1 [PDF] Co-sponsors of the… Read more »
Sri Lanka ‘War’ a Genocide
Why Tamil Nadu is Right to Call Sri Lanka ‘War’ a Genocide A part of the national debate on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue in the wake of the second US resolution at the UNHRC in another two days is increasingly disturbing because it’s not only dismissive of the tenets of human rights, but is… Read more »
Casualties & Nepotism Graphics
Oral Interventions at UNHRC
Your report outlines the litany past and present violations of human Rights in Sri Lanka, however, we wish to stress the urgent need to address the imminent loss of democratic space, and franchise for the Tamil people in the North and East of the island.
The North and East of Sri Lanka are traditional Tamil territory with a unique language and culture. Sri Lanka has undertaken a campaign against the Tamil people to systematically mute their voice, and agency over a 65 year period. This campaign has progressively curtailed the democratic franchise of Tamils in the East.
The same ruthless program is now undertaken in the North. Increased militarization, land grab, and the establishment of new Sinhalese settlements in traditional Tamil areas are exasperating the Sinhalization and Budhization of the North, This is no longer an armed conflict – but a demographic one – one that is based on artificially changing the population that would assimilate Tamils as one monolithic group within the island.
Pasumai Thaayagam UNHRC Statement
Written Statement submitted by Pasumai Thaayagam, Chennai to the UN Human Rights Council, February 11, 2013 Written Statement Pasumai Thaayagam UNHRC Feb 2013
Sri Lanka Resolution Hardly ‘Watered Down’
“Expressing concern at the continuing reports of violations of human rights in Sri Lanka, including enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture, and violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, as well as intimidation of and reprisals against human rights defenders, members of civil society and journalists, and threats to judicial independence and the rule of law, and discrimination on the basis of religion or belief.”
India’s Government Loses Key Ally
India’s government loses key ally over UN resolution against Sri Lanka Arun Sankar K./AP – Indian Tamil activists burn a Sri Lankan flag during a protest against Sri Lanka’s alleged wartime abuses, in Chennai, India on March 19, 2013. A key ethnic Tamil political party withdrew from the Indian government over its unmet demands that India… Read more »
UN Resolution Threatens Stability of India’s Government
The DMK accused the government of diluting a draft Sri Lanka resolution sponsored by the United States and ignoring the Tamil party’s concerns.
DMK Pullout FAQ
The draft resolution can be technically amended right up to the moment of adoption which could be as late as Friday afternoon this week. However, amendments need to be politically acceptable to all co-sponsors and the challenge would be to get the necessary political acceptance, including instruction from the capital city for many or most delegations…
We have long insisted that what Sri Lanka needs is an independent international investigation into the war crimes, and crimes against humanity, that both sides participated in in the final stages of Sri Lanka’s civil war. This resolution falls short of delivering that.
Nevertheless, this resolution is a positive step: it builds on the resolution that was passed at last year’s Human Rights Council but uses stronger language and gives an enhanced mandate to UN experts (known as Special Rapporteurs and Special Procedure Mandate Holders) to hold the Government of Sri Lanka to account over human rights violations – and it’s an important step on the road towards the international investigation we need. It is very important that the resolution not be abandoned as a result of this controversy.
Sri Lankan Muslims in the Racist Paradigm
The notion will be formed – or will be strengthened having been already formed – that the Sinhalese include in their ranks some of the worst racists in the world, and that the Government allows them much latitude. There does not seem to be much of a hiatus in Sri Lanka between the centre occupied by the Government and what is sometimes called the lunatic fringe. Two conclusions can follow. One is that the notion that our troops deliberately killed Tamil civilians on a massive scale becomes more credible, strengthening the case for a strong anti-SL Resolution. The other possible conclusion is this: if the friendly and innocuous Muslim minority can be treated in this way, it becomes almost impossible to believe that the potentially militant Tamil minority will ever get fair and equal treatment, and the case becomes much stronger for a solution based on a very wide measure of devolution.
[…When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.]
Rep. Eliot Engel Calls for an Independent International Investigation
But the government has not built upon the peace dividend. Instead, it has used the space to consolidate its power, and to remove some of the checks and balances that are the hallmarks of true democracy. Four years later, rule of law is endangered, media freedom and freedom of speech are under attack, and reconciliation seems even more distant than it did during the long years of conflict.