Why there is no hope for justice in Sri Lanka

“The failure of [Sri Lanka's] policing system to protect victims and witnesses - and its tendency to undermine rather than reinforce their rights - precludes the development of public trust in law enforcement, the judicial system, and the state.” - Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza, political consultant and writer, Asian Human Rights Commission. See her analysis here . See also the report ' A Study of Police Torture in Sri Lanka ' by Morten Koch Andersen and Basil Fernando. " Torture is a way of life at all police stations in Sri Lanka , whether the alleged crimes investigated are those relating to...

Showcasing Tamil Canadian film talent

The work of young Tamil filmmakers in Canada will be screened this weekend at the Canadian Tamil Film Festival ( CTFF ). The Arts and Culture Council of Canadian Tamil Youth Alliance ( CTYA ) will hosting the screening of films on Saturday Jan. 22 (10am-4pm) at the Markham Civic Centre. The award ceremony is on Sunday at 6.15pm, following the screening of ‘1999’ (2-4pm). Register here for the event. “The event will provide the Tamil artists with a venue to broadcast their talents in the film industry and it will also serve as an encouragement to youth with an interest in the film industry,...

Singapore to expand Tamil teaching

Singapore will introduce a new Tamil-language elective next year for high-ability secondary and junior college students who want to go deeper into the language, its literature and culture, the Straits Times reports . The National Elective Tamil Language Programme (NETP) will be similar to the existing Chinese and Malay language electives, but will not be amongst examined options. Presently examined options include Tamil, Higher Tamil and Tamil literature, alongside similar in Chinese and Malay. The NETP will instead be an enrichment programme with modules ranging from classical and...

Terror in Jaffna I: smothering politics and economic revival

The all-pervasive climate of terror being engineered in the Jaffna peninsula is intended to stifle the revival of Tamil political and economic activity there. The brutal killings, abductions, ‘disappearances’ and intimidation are not random or manifestations of ‘lawlessness’, but a deliberate campaign of targeted violence with specific political and economic goals.

Terror in Jaffna II: blocking international efforts

The wave of terror in Jaffna by Sri Lanka Army-backed paramilitaries serves to undermine planned international efforts to restore normalcy in the peninsula.

Sengadal: censor’s discomfort

Why was the new Tamil movie, Sengadal (Dead Sea), about a journalist’s quest to profile the travails of fishermen from Tamil Nadu and refugees fleeing Sri Lanka, refused a rating by the Chennai Regional Censor Board?

Growth ...

Despite assertion of an inevitable ‘post-conflict boom’, Sri Lanka’s growth in 2010, according to the Central Bank , was 7.6%. The Bank says growth in 2011 will be 8%. By way of comparison, the bank’s figures during the final phase of the war were: 2009 (3%), 2008 (6%), 2007 (6.8%) and 2006 (7.7%). In other words, reported growth two years after the end of the war is similar to that in 2006 - when the Norwegian-led peace process collapsed and the war erupted again. During the peace process, a period marked by massive donor support and investment, including after tsunami, the figures were:...

Reviving links

27 journalism students from Jaffna University received a warm welcome from the Vice Chancellor of the University of Madras this week when they attended a two-day seminar there. University links between the island's Tamils and south India began over 150 years ago, but were largely disrupted by Sri Lanka’s Sinhala-first policies after independence.

Denying access to war crimes evidence

"The international criminal justice system that has developed over the past 15 or so years has given us a tool of accountability we did not have before. No longer can heads of state, and other actors, be sure they can commit atrocious violations and get away with it." " Denying access to alleged mass grave sites and places where the victims' mortal remains are allegedly deposited constitutes a clear violation of international human rights and humanitarian law ." - UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. (See IPS's Dec 31 report here on Cote d’Ivoire’s crisis.) “ The government will...

Sri Lanka’s stocks: a closer look

The doubling of Sri Lanka’s main stock market index in 2010 has led to some effusive news reports, most recently in The Guardian . Inevitably, these reports have been lauded in Sri Lanka’s state-owned press, alongside its own hype. But, as other recent analysis shows, these reports make two mistaken assumptions : [1] that the index’s rise is entirely due to fundamental improvement in the stocks, and [2] that the market is indicative of the wider economy’s progress. Firstly, the index has been driven up by Sri Lankan government buying , while foreigners are exiting . Secondly, the Colombo bourse is unrepresentative of the wider economy. This is what the Sri Lankan Sunday Times’ economic column warned last October about the mistaken presumption: “There is little doubt that the recent [stock] market performance is not directly related to either economic performance or market fundamentals. It has been guided by market sentiments, speculation and government intervention .” See also this discussion in October by LBO of over-valuation and government buying. In fact, international equity investors’ wariness of the Sri Lankan market is underlined by one detail: Foreigners have been net sellers in 2010 and 2009 – after having been net buyers since 2001 (See Reuters’ reports in Dec and Feb 2010). 2010 saw a net foreign outflow of US$240m (Rs 26.4bn), more than twice 2009’s outflow of US$103m (Rs 11.4bn).