Tamils have not abandoned human rights for economic development – JS. Tissainayagam

Writing for the diplomat Tamil journalist, J.S Tissainayagam, rebukes the claim that Tamil’s are “moving away from regional Tamil-nationalist parties – focused on ethnic rights, wartime accountability, and power-sharing” and towards groups focused on “economic development”. Instead, he argues that contrary to this narrative, Tamil demands for rights and justice remains just as widespread and resolute as ever. Tamil politics since the end of the armed conflict In contextualising the post-war political landscape, Tissainayagam, notes that despite more than a decade passing since the end of the...

'Karuna Amman Exposes Sri Lanka’s Post-War Reconciliation Sham’ - J. S. Tissainayagam

Writing on Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan’s (aka Karuna Amman) recent boast, that under the LTTE he had killed “2,000 – 3,000 soldiers” during the attack on elephant pass, Tissainayagam notes that this statement “shattered an alternate reality Sri Lanka has tried to create about the country’s civil war” and its post-war order. For this constructed reality, Karuna had served two purposes, argues Tissainayagam; “As a symbol of purported national reconciliation, with a covert intention of promoting Sinhala interests, and to help build an alternate narrative about the civil war favourable to the...

‘Sri Lanka’s Expansion into Despotism Goes Unchallenged by Western Democracies’

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s President is “exploiting the novel coronavirus pandemic to undermine the few checks and balances remaining against authoritarianism and sharpening tensions” writes J S Tissainayagam for the International Policy Digest. “The Sri Lanka president’s rhetoric and actions to contain the pandemic will destabilise Sri Lanka and make him a poster boy in the expanding list of populist-led governments that Western democracies view as a threat.” Following the coronavirus outbreak on the island, Rajapaksa “undertook three sets of actions to sow discord between Sri Lankans...

‘UNP should not be allowed to hijack the Tamils’ struggle’

No matter what the result of Sri Lanka’s presidential election this weekend, neither of the leading candidates will meet Tamil demands for equal rights and accountability, writes journalist J S Tissainayagam in an article for the Asian Correspondent on Friday. Ahead of tomorrow’s polls, Tissainayagam says that “the choice for the Tamils is between an unsympathetic candidate and an apathetic candidate”.

Tamil politicians should join ‘extra-parliamentary agitation’

The Tamil political leadership should join the “extra-parliamentary” agitations across the North-East in order to achieve the political goals of power-sharing, accountability and demilitarisation, argued journalist J S Tissainayagam in an article for the Asian Correspondent last month.

‘US policy on Sri Lanka needs a reset’

US policy on Sri Lanka has over emphasised growing military relations “to the detriment of human rights accountability,” writes J S Tissainayagam in the Asian Correspondent this week. “The policy of western democracies – led by the United States – of over-emphasising military-to-military relations with Sri Lanka to the detriment of human rights accountability, has weakened their hand to play a constructive role in this crisis,” said Tissainayagam. “While Washington, with Europe and India were busy enhancing military relations, they lagged on persuading the Colombo to make good on its promises...

Sri Lankan government and TNA failed to address ‘roots of political conflict’ – J S Tissainayagam

Tamil voters in the North-East last week, as Sri Lankan security forces look on. Sri Lanka’s ruling parties and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) have been “offering vacuous rhetoric on reconciliation instead of addressing the roots of the country’s political conflict”, writes J S Tissainayagam in the Asian Correspondent, leading to Sinhalese and Tamil voters to “distrust them as political actors”. “The voters conveyed just this at the polls” during last week’s local government elections, he continued. “ Resolution 30/1 adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in September...

Sri Lanka: Broken Promises again at the UN? - JS Tissainayagam

The international community should insist on course correction by Colombo through strong statements and continued monitoring after the high commissioner submits his final report in March 2017, writes JS Tissainayagam in the Asian Correspndent. Highlighting several instances of Sri Lanka reneging on its commitments to the United Nations Human Rights Cuncil JS Tissainayagam warns that “There is no doubt that this year too Sri Lanka’s UN delegation will embellish the sordid performance of its government with conciliatory words and artful phrases.” Full opinion produced below.

Sri Lanka’s transitional justice: Genuine move or red herring?

Noting the absence of commitment to demilitarisation of the North-East JS Tissainayagam questioned the Sri Lankan government’s commitment to an all-inclusive transitional justice process that had the buy in of the victims. Writing in the Asian correspondent Mr Tissainayagam said, “Although the Government consulting victims on some aspects of transitional justice mechanisms appears democratic and inclusive, the way Colombo is setting about it gives little confidence that it is prepared to incorporate victims’ needs and wishes if they go contrary to its own target and objectives. Nor is the...

‘US stand on Sri Lanka perverts international justice’ – J. S. Tissainayagam

The United States’ reported backing for a domestic process of accountability with ‘international technical assistance’ perverts international justice said exiled Tamil journalist J.S. Tissainayagam on Tuesday. Writing in the Asian Correspondent, Mr Tissainayagam said: “the U.S. and the international community are misguided in believing that the two elections and a national government have brought about enduring change that merits Washington to collaborate with Colombo on the forthcoming resolution at the UNHRC. This is because despite regime change there is little evidence that the new government has either the capacity or the political will to domestically investigate, try and punish perpetrators of international crimes.” He went on detail the inadequacy in “important institutions of state that will be vital in determining if the process of accountability effectively delivers justice to the victims”. “Even as he campaigned for the presidency, Sirisena, who has admitted being acting minister of defence “when most of the LTTE leaders were killed,” was insistent that Rajapakse and the military leaders implicated in mass atrocities against Tamils would not be brought before an international tribunal for war crimes,” said Mr Tissainayagam, adding, “Installed in power, the Sirisena government intervened directly to protect the status of those in the military implicated in war crimes”. The journalist also stated that Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe “has been no less emphatic in expressing similar reservations on an international investigation”.

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