More video of Sri Lanka war crimes

Britain's Channel 4 News has obtained an extended video of war crimes, including sexual abuse, by Sri Lankan soldiers committed in the last days of the war. Since then, one of the murdered women seen naked and bound in the video has been identified: a journalist well known on to Tamil television viewers during the war. Amnesty International has called on Britain to examine the gathering evidence of war crimes to see if Sri Lankan officials, including President Mahinda Rajapakse, can be indicted on universal jurisdiction laws. See the shorter version of the video, first broadcast last year by...

US embassy cables: Rajapaksa shares responsibility for 2009 massacres

“There are no examples we know of a regime undertaking wholesale investigations of its own troops or senior officials for war crimes while that regime or government remained in power. In Sri Lanka this is further complicated by the fact that responsibility for many of the alleged crimes rests with the country's senior civilian and military leadership, including President Rajapaksa and his brothers and opposition candidate General Fonseka .” See the full text of a US Embassy cable of January 2010, released by Wikileaks to The Guardian newspaper here . The US cable also says Tamil political...

Sri Lanka’s fishy story

After 32 consecutive years of losses, Sri Lanka 's state-owned Fisheries Corporation announced this July it had made a profit . The explanation, inevitably, was ‘the end of the war’. But a close look suggests much more than that: a militarized and ethnicised monopoly in the making.

Why Rajapakse’s case is different

“The Oxford Union has in the past faced criticism for inviting other controversial speakers also known for their racist views. However, President Rajapakse is in a different position from [far right leader] Nick Griffin or [Holocaust denier] David Irving. “These previous speakers live in countries with a free and independent media and the rule of law. They could not therefore use the Oxford Union as a means of propagating unchallenged, noxious views or indeed as a platform for a campaign of concealment. “However, President Rajapakse has crushed free speech in his own country and done his best...

Sri Lanka might — but probably won't

“Would Sri Lanka be better off wagering on the intelligence of President Rajapakse and his relatively small circle, or on the creativity and hard work of a broader entrepreneurial class? The fact that foreign direct investment, and domestic long-term investment money, is sitting on its hands a year and a half after the war is a sign of which side of that bet the market is taking .” Joseph Sternberg, editor of the Wall Street Journal’s Business Asia column, examines Sri Lanka’s economic prospects . (See also ).

Jaffna and the world

This is what India’s External Affairs minister S. M. Krishna said Saturday in his speech at the opening of the Indian consulate in Jaffna: “Over centuries, Jaffna has always stood at the crossroads of history, culture and religion, kings and kingdoms, trade and commerce, and arts, dance and literature. Jaffna port was on the main sea route of its times. … It is, therefore, natural that when India decided to establish a Consulate General, Jaffna was a logical, almost inevitable, place for such a presence. “There must be several in this audience who would have seen the days when there was a...


Out of the 55 Secretaries, the senior-most civil servants of Sri Lanka’s ministries, appointed this week, one was a Tamil, another a Muslim; the rest were Sinhalese. Recruitment of young Tamils or Muslims into the civil service has been negligible over the past several years; this year there were none. This is what Tamils mean by 'the Sinhala state'. The full list of newly appointed Secretaries - and what qualified the lone Tamil for the job - is available here . On a related note, it’s worth recalling how – and when – Sri Lanka’s armed forces became mono-ethnic. Prof. Brian Blodgett ,...

Sri Lanka’s foreign debt less attractive than even Greece's

So much for Colombo's claim of 'post-war optimism' amongst foreign investors. Sri Lanka’s long term sovereign debt is presently rated as less attractive to foreign creditors than that of Greece, which triggered another international financial crisis earlier this year after being caught concealing a yawning budget deficit. Standard & Poor’s , the debt rating agency, has given Greece’s foreign debt an overall rating of BB while Sri Lanka scores B+. According to the agency’s website , a rating of B is understood as more vulnerable to debt default than BB. The +/- signs indicate a state's relative standing within the overall ‘B’ category. S&P's raised Sri Lanka’s debt rating in September this year from B to B+ primarily on the condition Colombo sticks to the IMF’s reform programme, the LBO reported . Meanwhile, Sri Lanka is amongst the world's heaviest borrowers .

‘Britain must take the lead on investigating Sri Lanka war crimes’

“At first the UK government applauded the establishment of [Sri Lanka’s] LLRC, even though the deficiencies in the scope of its mandate and in its processes were evident from the outset. … The EU, unlike the UK, was quicker to see through this farce. … Fortunately the UK's position is now shifting. [However] words should translate into further action … leading to an independent international inquiry.” “The UK is uniquely placed to take the lead on refusing to settle for the whitewash that the Sri Lankan government is putting forward, and to demand more.” Elaine Pearson, deputy director of...

Dodgy numbers

The economic statistics that Sri Lanka publishes can’t be trusted. For example, in 2009 Sri Lanka claimed the construction industry ‘grew’ – despite falling cement volumes and a plunging housing market. Sri Lanka’s claimed drop in inflation, meanwhile, came after a telling change in the index being tracked, LBO reports .