Sri Lanka’s Evasion of Accountability Tests the Limits of the International Human Rights System

Writing in Just Security, former Senior Lecturer in Law at University of Jaffna, Dr Kumaravadivel Guruparan, highlights the failure of the international community to hold Sri Lanka’s war criminals to accounts and calls for “an honest debate on the inherent limits of the human rights system in preventing ongoing violations and dealing with historical atrocities”.

‘Tamils condemned to choose between two security regimes’

As both Mahinda Rajapaksa and Ranil Wickremesinghe battle for the seat of Sri Lanka’s prime minister, Tamils on the island are “condemned to choose between two security regimes,” writes Kumaravadivel Guruparan in earlier today. “Every time we can make a difference, we are asked to support the actor that can guarantee, albeit marginally, our existence,” said Guruparan. “The reductionist reading of the Tamil struggle for self-determination, justice and accountability to a mere existentialist struggle will solidify Sinhala Buddhist ethnocracy in Sri Lanka, slowly but surely.” Speaking on the failure of the Sri Lankan government, led by Maithripalal Sirisena and Ranil WIckremesinghe, to fulfil promises to Tamils over the last three years, Guruparan says the regime “did nothing to reform the security establishment”.

Normalising the Abnormalcy – Reflections on Self-Determination, Justice and Peace in Post-War Sri Lanka

"I believe that the issue of confronting and resisting demilitarisation for the Tamil community has to start from home. We need to keep reminding ourselves that we are actually living in a state of abnormalcy. This may sound strange but this is absolutely essential and key to any resistance. It is important to learn not to live with militarisation and to internalise oppression. The easiest path to breaking the inherent collectivity of a community is for it to internalise oppression and accept it as a way of life. We need to educate our children that what they see around them is not normal and that they should not accept it as normal. The most difficult need that has no alternative is a process of political consciencitisation. I truly believe that this is necessary both in the homeland and the diaspora," Lecturer in Law, University of Jaffna and Co-Spokesperson of the Tamil Civil Society Forum, Kumaravadivel Guruparan, at the Mamanithar Late Prof C.J. Eliezer AM Memorial Lecture, Monash University, Melbourne, 12 June 2016.

'Why Sirisena’s Victory is Not a Victory for Sri Lanka’s Tamils'

Despite Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena's surprise election victory, there is little to suggest change in government policy towards the island's indigenous Tamil and Muslim communities, said Tamil Civil Society Forum spokesperson Kumaravadivel Guruparan. Writing in The Caravan , Guruparan said that Tamils “voted for Sirisena not because they liked his candidacy but because they wanted to oust Rajapaksa”. “As far as this electorate was concerned, their vote for Sirisena was the only way in which they could voice their anger against a regime that had inflicted enormous suffering on them, almost threatening their very existence,” said Guruparan. On Sri Lanka's new president, Guruparan added, “Sirisena was an integral part of the Rajapaksa regime that unleashed a horrendous war, a war that was waged not just against the LTTE, but also against the Tamil citizens of Sri Lanka. He was a part of the Rajapaksa regime that not so long ago used the military to take over vast amounts of private land belonging to the Tamils in the regions dominated by them.The regime initiated a rapid process of demographic change in the northeast in favour of the Sinhalese, and endorsed the maltreatment of ex-LTTE cadres.”