Maaveerar Naal: Mourning is a Human Right

- Brannavy Jeyasundaram Mourning is for the living. It enables us to process grief, understand loss, and above all, invite healing. History is full of rich and meaningful mourning customs, indiscriminate of cultures, because how else could we possibly move on? In a way, mourning the loss of life promises our own survival. It is for this reason, I believe, mourning is a human right.

UK must suspend deportation of Tamils to Sri Lanka - Sonya Sceats

The British government must suspend deportations to Sri Lanka, “to ensure that we do not deliver anyone into [Mahinda] Rajapaksa’s lethal hands”, the chief executive of Freedom from Torture has said, echoing calls from British MPs earlier this week. Writing in The Observer this week , chief executive Sonya Sceats said “President Maithripala Sirisena, [Rajapaksa’s] successor, was never the human rights champion he claimed to be, and it was foolish of western governments to buy this lie.” “On no account should the UK send people back [to Sri Lanka] to the risk of torture and ill-treatment there...

A bloodless coup in Sri Lanka is going awry – The Economist

Current Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena’s schemes “are blowing up in his face” writes The Economist on Thursday, as political turmoil in Colombo continues with violence inside parliament this week. Sri Lanka still “has no clear government” the piece continued, stating it was in a “constitutional quandary” and that the island’s “bureaucracy fell into near paralysis”. The Economist concluded by saying, “Mr Wickremesinghe said his administration will take steps to ensure the government in place before October 26th will continue. How he will do that remains to be seen. Mr Sirisena,...

International pressure on Sri Lanka must be sustained – The Guardian editorial

Amidst fears of violence spilling into Sri Lanka’s streets and the country’s security forces intervening, international pressure must be sustained, The Guardian argues in its editorial on Thursday . “The suspicion is that [President Maithripala Sirisena] and his chosen prime minister [Mahinda Rajapaksa] hope to give the impression that Sri Lanka is becoming ungovernable and that fresh elections are the only solution,” the newspaper states.

India must engage to counteract Chinese supplied instability - Financial Times editorial

India must stand up for democracy in its own backyard as Sri Lanka’s current political turmoil points to China’s increasing role, the Financial Times said in an editorial on Thursday. “China is again becoming a supplier of political instability” along its strategic ‘string of pearls’ in the Indian Ocean, the editorial board writes, referring to Sri Lanka's recent political crisis. Highlighting a tweet sent by Mahinda Rajapaksa following his purported appointment as prime minister, in which he was greeted by China’s ambassador to Colombo, as a sign of Chinese influence in the political drama...

Arrest of Tamil MP is ‘a flagrant abuse’ of rights

Sri Lanka’s arrest of Tamil parliamentarian Vijayakala Maheswaran, following her remarks on the LTTE, is a “flagrant abuse of the rights to freedom of expression,” write human rights lawyers Samir Pasha and Naga Kandiah in The Interpreter this month. “Any citizen has a right to dissent against government actions and raise issues affecting communities,” they wrote. “There is an unarguable difference between this and making a call to violent uprising, promoting hatred or hostility… The government’s claim in protecting the public can only be exercised in criminal proceedings where absolutely necessary. In Maheswaran’s case, this distinction was not made.”

Sri Lanka Monitoring and Accountability Panel urges independent evidence gathering mechanism

International lawyers from the Sri Lanka Monitoring and Accountability Panel called for an independent evidence gathering mechanism in the country, in an op-ed published in Justiceinfo.com "Steps should include setting up an independent evidence-gathering mechanism related to atrocities for Sri Lanka with a similar mandate to those on Syria and Myanmar to investigate international crimes; and urging prosecutors in third states to pursue cases against Sri Lankan war criminals under the doctrine of universal jurisdiction," co-authors and lawyers Andrew Ianuzzi, Richard Rogers and Heather Ryan wrote.

‘US policy on Sri Lanka needs a reset’

US policy on Sri Lanka has over emphasised growing military relations “to the detriment of human rights accountability,” writes J S Tissainayagam in the Asian Correspondent this week. “The policy of western democracies – led by the United States – of over-emphasising military-to-military relations with Sri Lanka to the detriment of human rights accountability, has weakened their hand to play a constructive role in this crisis,” said Tissainayagam. “While Washington, with Europe and India were busy enhancing military relations, they lagged on persuading the Colombo to make good on its promises...

‘US rewarded Sri Lanka’s empty promises’ – Kate Cronin-Furman

The United States’ “failure to push Sri Lanka to implement key institutional reforms not only betrayed the victims of past abuses, but it will also create new ones”, writes Kate Cronin-Furman in a piece for Foreign Policy this week. “US officials who designed and implemented foreign policy on Sri Lanka over the last four years, based on a misguided acceptance of Rajapaksa’s ouster as a full-fledged democratic transition,” she says, adding that there was a “rush to accept limited progress as true change”. Yet, there was no evidence that the Sirisena administration was committed to the goal of...

‘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 Scroll.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”.

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