26th March 2016

Political Prisoners and Sri Lanka’s Sincerity Crisis

26th March 2016 // 0 Comments

In Sri Lanka, President Maithripala Sirisena had promised progress regarding Tamil political prisoners, although we’ve seen little of that. Unfortunately, the president’s dithering project has continued — with no end in sight. More broadly, the Sri Lankan government has made big commitments regarding transitional justice and those changes, if they ever happen, will come incrementally. However, we haven’t seen much in the way of incremental change since Colombo co-sponsored a U.N. Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka in October 2015. In terms of optics and rhetoric, Mangala Samaraweera, the country’s foreign minister, continues to deliver strong speeches (that are designed primarily for international consumption). The problem is that Samaraweera is not running the country and his view regarding the (expansive) reform agenda doesn’t appear […]

War crimes charges and diplomatic blunders

26th March 2016 // 0 Comments

If there is confusion about what Sri Lanka’s current stance is regarding the war crimes probe proposed by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), that is hardly surprising. At least when the Rajapaksa regime was calling the shots everyone knew exactly where we stood: that government opposed an inquiry into alleged war time atrocities and that was it. It was not the most diplomatic or sensible attitude to adopt and led to a lot of unsavoury repercussions, but at least there was consistency in the government’s position. Now though, it is an entirely different equation. If one recalls recent events, it will be remembered that the current UNHRC resolution was co-sponsored by Sri Lanka, when it was presented by the United States. Among other […]

UN Advocates Inclusive And Genuine Consultations With Victims In Sri Lanka: Ban Ki-moon

26th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Observing International Day for the right to the truth, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged States to adopt measures to promote truth, justice and reparations for victims, which is so crucial to ensuring that gross human rights violations are not repeated. “Throughout the world, from Colombia to Tunisia, from Mali to Sri Lanka, from Nepal to South Sudan, the United Nations has advocated for inclusive and genuine consultations with victims and affected groups, especially women, girls and those who are far too often excluded and marginalized.” Ban Ki-moon said yesterday. We publish below the statement in full; This annual observance pays tribute to the memory of Monsignor Óscar Arnulfo Romero, who was murdered on 24 March 1980. Monsignor Romero was actively engaged in denouncing violations […]

Tamil Racism & 13 A

26th March 2016 // 0 Comments

By Izeth Hussain – I have come to share the view of the Sinhalese hard-liners that the Tamil ethnic problem cannot be solved through devolution. I now share their view that going beyond 13 A in its presently truncated form – that is by giving police and land powers – will only aggravate the ethnic problem, not solve it. There are two major reasons for this. One is that Tamil racism is worse, very much worse, than Sinhalese racism. That means that giving more devolution will only whet the Tamil appetite for more and more devolution until Eelam is established, or there is a confederal arrangement that amounts to a de facto Eelam. The second reason why I have come to share the view of […]