Jai Bhim: The film and the kerfuffle

"இடைவந்த சாதி எனும் இடர்ஒழிந்தால் ஆள்பவள்நம் தாய் தாய் தாயே!" - Bharatidasan. Four years ago, the Everglades swamp in Florida was hounded by a specific variety of snakes not autochthonous to its land. Following repeated failures to curb the exploits of the reptiles, the authorities flew in a few men from a community known as Irulas, supposedly experts in snake-catching, from a remote part of South Asia to assist them. They worked wonders. The Western media rejoiced at the mysterious ability of these tribal men to track the trails of snakes. “The Irula are world-renowned for their snake-...

‘International Community Should Refer Sri Lanka to the ICC ‘

The international community should stop providing financial and other support to Sri Lankan government mechanisms such as the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) and instead refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court, writes J.S. Tissainayagam in International Policy Digest this month. “Meeting with UN Secretary-General António Guterres in September, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s president, reiterated issuing death certificates for the disappeared in Sri Lanka,” said Tissainayagam.

Don't let China dictate US and Indian policy on Sri Lanka

Writing in the Diplomat, Madura Rasaratnam and Mario Arulthas, maintain that the current policy of appeasement, and of soft-pedalling on demands for "accountability and political reform", adopted by the US and India "comes with considerable costs and uncertain gains". Instead of attempts to outbid China, they argue that it is necessary to use "soft" leverage to "give Sinhala leaders a reality check and push for measures that are crucial to securing stability and preventing conflict recurrence". "The United States and India do have tools at their disposal that can be used to advance strategic...

Former US Envoy urges international pressure to end religious persecution in Sri Lanka

Writing in The Diplomat, former US for religious minorities during both the Obama and Trump administrations, Knox Thames has urged for international pressure and sanctions on Sri Lanka to force a change in the government's policy of religious persecution against Hindus, Christians, and Muslims. The diplomat's statements follow two damning reports on religious freedom in Sri Lanka by the Cristian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom which have highlighted the degradation of religious freedom on the island. In his piece, he maintains that the US...

Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights: Striking the Right Balance

Last month, Former Commissioner, Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Ambika Satkunanathan addressed the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission at an event entitled "Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights: Striking the Right Balance".

Greenwashing genocide? The UK welcomes Sri Lanka's notorious president

Writing in Declassified UK , Archana Ravichandradeva and Sutharshan Sukumaran warm against Sri Lanka's efforts to pave out its appalling human rights record with the language of environmental stewardship and urge the UK to "redouble its commitment to accountability, justice and a political solution that resolves the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka".

‘Police Scotland should not train human rights abusers but investigate them’

Writing in The Herald this week, Wayne Jordash QC and Uzay Yasar Aysev of Global Rights Compliance LLP, called for Police Scotland to end their training programme with Sri Lanka following heaps of evidence highlighting human rights abuses. The advert forms part of a campaign led by Scottish Tamils ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26. Earlier this week, a landmark legal submission was filed by Global Rights Compliance LLP with the International Criminal Court (ICC) calling on the Chief Prosecutor to “investigate and in due course arrest” several senior Sri Lankan officials for crimes against humanity.

අබෞද්ධකම/UNBUDDHISM

I don’t call myself Buddhist any more. There was a long time when I still automatically used it as an identifier in forms and affidavits, but even that has passed many years ago. But because Buddhism is racialized in Sri Lanka, it’s also impossible to entirely escape it: regardless of what you believe or don’t believe, practice or don’t, Buddhist privilege is inescapable if you have a Sinhala name or had a Buddhist childhood. For example, I know the ඉතිපිසෝ, which is a short prayer of praise for the Buddha, now most notable for its use as a shibboleth to distinguish Tamil speakers from Sinhala speakers during the 1983 pogrom. Once you know things like that, I feel, this prayer—and all the other Pali prayers—become unspeakable. They stop meaning what they say; they stop meaning what they might have once meant. Now they mean something else.

A rush to farm organically has plunged Sri Lanka’s economy into crisis

Photo of army-seized agricultural land in Jaffna Reporting on Sri Lanka's ban on chemical fertilisers, the Economist highlights the dire economic straits the country finds itself in with inflation near 6% and food prices rise more than 11%. Whilst the Rajapaksa regime had initially planned to implement the transition to organic fertilisers over a ten year period, the announcement of a sudden total ban caught many farmers off guard. Sri Lanka's Planter's Association predicts a massive fall in tea production and export revenue of around 25% across the next six months and thereafter nearly a...

Alive from the abyss: continuing abductions and torture in Sri Lanka

A new generation of young Tamil men are being picked up and tortured by the security forces in the north and east for exercising their legitimate peaceful political rights. As Frances Harrison writes, parents, teachers, politicians and community organisers need to be more aware of the risks.

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