Oh, the civilians …

The irony is incredible. Sri Lanka, whose governments over three decades murdered over a hundred thousand Tamil civilians throughout bombardment, blockade, extra-judicial killings and disappearances (and that was before the mass killings of forty thousand more in 2009), has something to say about Libya. The Foreign Ministry statement says the " issue of protection of the civilian population in Libya remains a concern for Sri Lanka , as indeed for the rest of the international community." "Their plight must not be allowed to deteriorate because of the use of violence," the statement adds...

Foreign exit continues

(From Reuters' report Wednesday) Sri Lanka’s bourse is Asia's best performer so far in 2011 with an 8.6 percent gain, after a 96 percent rise last year. But foreign investors have sold a net $55 million (Rs 6.1 billion) in 2011, after selling a record net $240 million (Rs 26.4 billion) in 2010. Sri Lankan stocks are meanwhile amongst the world’s overpriced: The bourse is trading at a forward price-to-earnings (P/E)ratio of 14.7, one of the highest among emerging markets, compared with 12.2 in Asian markets and 11.4 in global emerging markets. P/E is the price of a share divided by its...

Sixth Tamil Studies Conference: May 13-14, 2011

The sixth annual Tamil Studies Conference, "Parimaanam: Images, Embodiments and Contestations" organized by the University of Toronto and the University of Windsor, will be held at the University of Toronto from May 13-14, 2011. Registration to the public is open. Click here . See comments from 2010’s participants below:

Obama on Sri Lanka in 2009

As the Sri Lankan government continued to massacre thousands of Tamil civilians through mass bombardment, newly inaugurated President Obama addressed the press on the White House lawn, saying : “First, the [Sri Lanka] government should stop the indiscriminate shelling, ... including [of] several hospitals, and ... “... the government should live up to its commitment to not use heavy weapons in the conflict zone . “Second, the government should give UN humanitarian teams access to the civilians who are trapped between the warring parties so that they can receive the immediate assistance...

US State Dept: Lasting peace requires a durable political solution

Extracts from US Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake ’s speech to the Asia Society on Monday: (s ee full text here , and video of the whole event here ) “[ Will] prosperity will bring lasting peace and healing in Sri Lanka? I think it’s an essential question to ask. After so many years of conflict, economic growth and improving livelihoods are certainly important for rebuilding the country. But I also believe that reconciliation has important political and social dimensions as well . “ Lasting peace requires a durable political solution. …Economic prosperity...

A Sinhala view of Jaffna

This is one of the pictures at a recent exhibition in London billed as the “first international showcase of Sri Lanka's leading contemporary artists since the end of the civil war in 2009”: The artist is Pala Pothupitiyie.

Rajapakse on ministers, terrorists and money

President Mahinda Rajapaksa this week grumbled that Western countries were refusing visas to Sri Lankan minister, but were issuing them to ‘terrorists’ – his word for Tamils who seek refuge abroad from his militarized rule. See The Sunday Leader’s report here “Some of these [Western] embassies even refused to grant visas to my ministers for official economic business, while they gave them to terrorists or suspected terrorists. All they need to say is that my government is persecuting them and claim refugee status,” he said. Responding to accusations of his government’s abuses, he said critics...

IMF urges Sri Lanka to stop delaying trade deal with India

The IMF this week urged Sri Lanka to sign the trade deal with India that has been held up by Sinhala nationalist commercial interests allied with the Colombo government. The CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) between India and Sri Lanka has been under negotiation since 2005. It was supposed to be signed in 2008 . Although the agreement has been largely finalized , President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government has been dragging its feet. In an effort to get the deal through, last month India agreed to renegotiate aspects of the agreement. But getting a new deal may take all year,...

On International Women’s Day ...

On International Women’s Day (March 8), the Global Tamil Women Forum (GTWF) appealed to international governments, parliamentarians, institutions and human rights defenders over the plight of Tamil women in Sri Lanka. The appeal urged the international community to ensure: “An international, independent war crimes investigation to be established, “The facilitation of adequate witness protection so that the perpetrators of such crimes can be held accountable for their actions. “The immediate release of those who remain in arbitrary detention, and “Full access to be granted to International...

Hidden Victims

“Our failure to acknowledge male rape leaves it in the shadows, compounding the humiliation that survivors experience. For instance, the majority of Tamil males in Sri Lanka who were sexually assaulted during that country’s long civil war did not report it to the authorities at the time, later explaining that they were simply too ashamed. “ The International Criminal Court , nearly all American states and many countries use a sex-neutral definition of sexual assault . The United Nations and the White House must likewise move beyond the shortcomings of Resolution 1325 and commit to ending...

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