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".
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.
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.
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...
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.
Mangala Samaraweera, a formidable figure in Sri Lankan politics who previously held several ministerial posts, passed away from COVID-19 at a private hospital in Colombo this week. News of his death was met with international tributes from senior political figures worldwide , including the United States, UK, Europe and India. Many of those messages mourned the loss of a man that came to espouse the type of liberal Sri Lankan politics that reverberated with those powers. His passing will therefore be a particular blow to longstanding Western efforts that seek active partners amongst the Sinhala Buddhist polity for the liberal order project.
Writing in Foreign Policy magazine, Kaisar Andrabi and Zubair Amin warn against India’s attempts to manipulate the demographics and electoral strength of Kashmir, the only Muslim majority region in India.
Following the appointment of Basil Rajapaksa to the cabinet, the Economist highlights growing unrest throughout Sri Lanka including farmers, teachers, war victims, and civil society actors. In light of this growing unrest, the Economist writes that “the Rajapaksas’ suffocating hold on power look like a weakness”.
‘The Family Man 2’, an Indian web series, attracted a great deal of criticism from Tamils across the world. Its semi-fictional portrayal of a rebel group based in Sri Lanka, undoubtedly modelled on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), angered many Tamils because it was seen as demonising the Tamil liberation struggle. This outpouring of collective indignation speaks to a resurgence Tamil nationalist politics, not just in Tamil Eelam and the diaspora, but also across Tamil Nadu. Social media platforms served as an effective ground for expressions of resentment with the web series and...
Last week, European Parliament passed a ground-breaking resolution on Sri Lanka decrying the deterioration of human rights and calling on the European Council to consider repeal of the GSP+ trading agreement and for targeted sanctions on Sri Lankan officials accused of war crimes. This follows a court ruling in Britain which maintained that peaceful Tamil activists faced the threat of ill-treatment in Sri Lanka, which the court described as an “authoritarian regime”. That same month, marking 12 years since the Mullaivaikkal massacre, US Congresswoman Deborah Ross introduced a bipartisan...