Root causes of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka

A thematic history of the causes of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lankan was set out in the Appendix to the 2003 report on Sri Lanka by the World Bank. This is reproduced below. Background The ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka has many root causes and consequences that are closely interlinked. However, given its complexities, it should not be assumed that these causes are part of linear historical processes where one event led to another. Often many of the issues that may be regarded as root causes arose within a single but extended context and equally as often, simultaneously. It is primarily within...

Why Tamils are not citizens of Sri Lanka

In the year 1998, Joubert Gnanamuttu an engineer by profession (a slightly built, soft spoken and self effacing gentleman who had lived for more than twenty nine years in Colombo and who spoke with a slight stammer), was travelling in the bus to Borella when it was stopped at an Army check-point at Stanley Wijesundera Mawatha. Asked to show his identity, he produced his national identity card and a driving licence as well as a student identity card issued to him by the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies. Despite this proof of identification, he was asked to show a 'police...

Curse of being a people of a lesser god

The fear that gripped the Tamil community in Colombo had only just begun to wane after a decline in the number of abductions when the indiscriminate arrests of over 2000 Tamils following the twin bombs in the city and a suburb, shook them to the core. The cordon and search operations carried out last week in the city and the suburbs came as a surprise not only to the Tamils, but to people of other ethnicities as well. The Tamils in the capital faced similar problems when bomb explosions were a part and parcel of Colombo life a few years ago. The Tamils were therefore to heave a sigh of relief...

Canada gets tough on Sri Lankan rights abusers?

He lives on a suburban street in Ajax in a two-storey brick house with a double garage and fruit trees in the garden. The quiet neighbourhood east of Toronto is worlds away from the civil war Raja Kasturiarachchi left behind when he moved to Canada after retiring from the Sri Lankan National Police. But if he came to Canada to escape the past, he hasn't. The Canada Border Services Agency says it intends to deport Mr. Kasturiarachchi because he was complicit in war crimes. As a former Sri Lankan police chief, the CBSA says, Mr. Kasturiarachchi is to blame for “systematic” and “widespread”...

‘Disappearances and killings will continue’ – Army chief

Disappearances and killings of will continue as long as ‘anti-terrorist’ operations are continuing, Sri Lanka’s Army commander, Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka said last week in a interview to British investigative reporters. Asked about human rights abuses in the newly captured Eastern province, the commander replied: “This area is not a normal area. So people getting killed and some people going missing will happen as far as the anti-terrorist operations are continuing.” In a program on Sri Lanka by the ‘Unreported World’ program by Channel4, British reporters tried to travel to the island’s North...

A return to full-blooded war

With both sides in Sri Lanka's civil war increasingly committed to military means, prospects for peace have all but evaporated.

Sinhala colonisation in the east is cloaked as ‘development’

The current international focus on human rights is insufficient to capture the cold calculations and reasoning in the intentions of the Sri Lankan state’s colonisation of Tamil and Muslim areas.

Witness to Thileepan’s fast

‘As we entered the premises of the Nallur Kandasamy temple we were confronted by a sea of people seated on the white sands under the blazing sun.’ Thileepan, the young Tiger leader of Jaffna, took the podium on the 14th September at the Nallur Kandasamy temple to commence his fast- unto-death as a protest against India’s failure to fulfill her pledges, and to mobilise the frustrated sentiments of the Tamils into a national mass upsurgence. Thileepan’s non-violent struggle was unique and extraordinary for its commitment. Although an armed guerrilla fighter, he chose the spiritual mode of ‘...

Mistaking night for day in the new dawn of the east

A review of the al-Jazeera Documentaries, ‘How the East was Won’ and ‘Monks of War’

The wretched of the earth

The Sri Lankan government may hail the scorching of the east as a victory but for the civilians of the east it is hell on earth.

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