‘UK Shredding Sri Lankan skeletons in the closet’

Photograph: A UK mercenary pictured training Sri Lankan soldiers in the 1980s. JDS Lanka Britain’s Foreign Office plans to shred dozens more files about its relationship with Sri Lanka, in addition to the hundreds of diplomatic it has already destroyed, writes Phil Miller in JDS Lanka this week. “I found, from British air force files that had survived the shredder, that a senior British intelligence officer made two visits to Sri Lanka in 1979 to advise how to deal with the Tamil militancy,” writes Miller. “In 1980, a British special forces training team visited Sri Lanka to help set up an army commando unit.”

‘More theatrics to come in Sri Lanka’ – The Economist

As Mahinda Rajapaksa and Maithripala Sirisena continue to whip up nationalist Sinhala Buddhist sentiment, there “may be more theatrics to come” in Sri Lanka, warned The Economist on Tuesday. Stating it was “reassuring to see democracy prevail”, it praised the curbing of Sirisena’s attempt to “expand executive power”, adding that it was for many, “satisfying to watch the lushly mustachioed former strongman, Mahinda Rajapaksa, exit the stage with a scowl”. “Yet as every Sri Lankan knows, the events of the past few weeks represent only one act in a much longer play,” The Economist added. “The...

India’s waiting game in Sri Lanka - Hindustan Times

India appears to have adopted a “waiting game” approach to Sri Lanka, said the Hindustan Times in an editorial today, but warned “the wait for the crisis to play out to some sort of conclusion could be a long one”. The paper stated the crisis in Colombo comes amid calls in Sri Lanka for an “inclusive system that takes care of the interests of all sections of society, including the minority Tamils, who have a considerable impact on domestic politics in Tamil Nadu”. “India was among the issues that led to differences between Mr Sirisena and Mr Wickremesinghe, with the president reportedly...

‘Not able to write off Sirisena’ - The Economist

Despite Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court judgement on Thursday, Maithripala Sirisena’s opponents may not yet be able to write him off, warned The Economist today. “As unusual as it was, the court’s slap to the country’s head of state came as no surprise,” said the paper. “Mr Sirisena has been testing the limits of his powers ever since October 26th.” “But Mr Sirisena’s opponents may not be able to write the president off so easily,” it warned. “He holds command of the army and other powerful institutions, and Mr Rajapaksa enjoys a bigger popular following than does Mr Wickremesinghe—or at least he...

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.”