War by other means

Marking 15 years since the assassination of Tamil journalist Dharmeratnam Sivaram, we have reproduced a speech delivered by former Tamil Guardian editor Vino Kanapathipillai at a commemoration for the slain journalist in 2010. This speech was delivered in London on Aril 29, 2010 at the fifth anniversary of the death of Sivaram.

'The Sri Lanka government will never give us anything meaningful'

Marking 15 years since the killing of Tamil journalist Dharmeratnam Sivaram, popularly known as ‘Taraki’, we have reproduced his final written piece. The article, written in Tamil for the Colombo-based Virakesari newspaper, was published on Sunday April 24, 2005 - just days before Sivaram was murdered.

‘Soap and solace scarce as Sri Lanka’s tea pickers toil on amid lockdown’

Sri Lanka’s tea plantation workers “with a history of exploitation face hazards including a lack of masks and overcrowded accommodation,” despite tough lockdown measures across the island, Yasmin Gunaratnam writes for The Guardian . “A caveat on the country’s lockdown order, issued on 20 March, read: ‘Paddy farming and plantation, including work on tea small holdings and fishing activities, are permitted in any district,’” she wrote. “The Ceylon Worker’s Red Flag Union say coronavirus public health measures mean little on estates, There are no facilities to wash hands with soap during a shift...

In response to COVID-19, we cannot give authoritarians a free hand

The coronavirus pandemic has instilled a global sense of panic as the death toll continues to climb.

The Slow March Towards Accountability for War Crimes

The current situation in Sri Lanka underlines why an international approach is often the only way of ensuring that perpetrators of war crimes are held accountable for their misconduct, writes Graham Newsome in I nternational Policy Digest.

COVID-19 - A Parent’s Perspective

The mother of a healthcare worker on the frontlines of Britain’s NHS writes about how it feels to be the parent of a key worker during the coronavirus pandemic.

‘Sri Lanka Uses Pandemic to Curtail Free Expression’ – HRW

Following the outbreak of coronavirus on the island, “Sri Lanka’s inspector general has ordered police to arrest those who ‘criticise’ officials involved in the coronavirus response, or share ‘fake’ or ‘malicious’ messages about the pandemic,” writes Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia Director at Human Rights Watch (HRW). “Blanket censorship and threats of arrest for speech not only violate Sri Lanka’s obligations under international human rights law, but are counter-productive,” she added. “Sri Lankans’ concerns that their rights will be respected are particularly crucial since President...

Freeing soldier convicted for massacre dashes hopes for accountability in Sri Lanka - The Hindu

The Hindu said there has been “justified outrage” after a Sri Lankan soldier on death row, who had been convicted over the murder of Tamil civilians, was pardoned by Sri Lanka’s president. “It hardly needs emphasis that the exercise of the power of pardon is an act of compassion, and not a tool for political or electoral messaging,” said The Hindu.

Presidential pardon emphasises the state's privilege and denial of justice - Ambika Satkunanathan

Lawyer, human rights advocate and former Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, Ambika Satkunanathan, questioned the basis for the presidential pardon of Sunil Rathnayake and the legitimacy of the process, and used the case to underline the challenges Tamil families’ face in holding perpetrators accountable and obtain justice.

A military mindset: Sri Lanka’s response to the coronavirus pandemic

By calling on a military accused of egregious rights abuses to lead a public health operation, the Sri Lankan government risks “exacerbating existing ethnic divides, endangering human rights and civil liberties even further, and furthering the violent militarization of the island,” wrote Tamil Guardian's editor-in-chief Thusiyan Nandakumar in the Polis Project this week.