Only lip service - Indian Express Editorial

The Indian Express said talks of implementing the 13th Amendment, as discussed between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, is a “charade that isn’t going anywhere” in its editorial last week, as it criticised the “lip service” that both governments pay to resolve the Tamil national question. During the meeting, Modi pushed Sri Lanka to take forwards “the process of reconciliation with the implementation of the 13th Amendment” to which the Sri Lankan PM responded noncommittally maintaining that Sri Lanka would “work towards realising the...

‘International actors facilitated the entrenchment of impunity in Sri Lanka’

Eleven years since Mullivaikal, the end of Sri Lanka’s armed conflict in which tens of thousands of Tamils were massacred by the military at the behest of the state authorities, Sri Lanka is no closer to delivering transitional justice to the Tamil people or bringing war criminals to justice, writes Professor Kate Cronin-Furman, in the Foreign Affairs magazine. “In its rush to celebrate Sirisena’s election as the dawn of a new democratic era in Sri Lanka, international actors facilitated the entrenchment of impunity and squandered a chance to protect vulnerable people,” writes Cronin-Furman. Whilst the previous government led by Sirisena put up a veneer of commitment towards ensuring accountability, the current Rajapaksa administration with their “unassailable mandate for their Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist politics and militaristic governing style spells disaster for human rights in Sri Lanka,” she adds.

Authoritarianism is on the rise in Sri Lanka – Abarna Selvarajah and Brannavy Jeyasundaram

Writing in Jacobin, Abarna Selvarajah and Brannavy Jeyasundara highlight the growing authoritarianism in Sri Lanka as President Gotabaya Rajapaksa plans to bring forwards a 20 th amendment to the constitution which will “expands the role of the presidential office and scales back constitutional checks and balances on executive powers”. The proposed amendment, which has been fiercely criticised, is aimed to replace the existing 19 th amendment, “which limits presidential powers by imposing term limits, [eliminates] presidential immunity from prosecution, and [requires] parliamentary oversight...

'They bombed my school' - An eyewitness account of the Nagarkovil massacre

I was 11 years old. It was just after lunch on Friday the 22nd of September 1995. That’s when we heard a large aircraft circling our village. The Sri Lankan Air Force dropped the first bomb nearby the school. At this point we were surrounded by large smoke, followed by a bang. There were several bombs dropped over the school and other parts of the village. I heard my friends screaming and running and then all of a sudden the whole place was chaotic. All the students ran in all directions. I can still see it.

Thileepan's Indomitable Spirit - Newsletter, 21 September 2020

On 15th September 1987, Lt. Col. Thileepan, a political wing leader with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), began his hunger strike, demanding that the Indian government honour the pledges it made to the Tamil people. His fast lasted 11 days, during which he was surrounded by over 100,000 supporters. On 26th September 1987, he died. Despite 33 years passing, the original demands he made are still pertinent to issues facing the Eelam Tamil nation. The pledges centered on releasing Tamils detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act; ending the Sinhala colonisation of the North-East...

Britain’s support of Sri Lankan war crimes was part of 'imperial interests' – Professor Jude Lal Fernando

Speaking to Sputnik News, Professor Jude Lal Fernando, from Trinity College Dublin, illustrates that Britain’s complicity in Sri Lankan war crimes was not incidental, nor the actions of a few rogue actors, but rather part of a broader mission which was seen as safeguarding its “imperial interests”.

Tamils remember their loved ones - Newsletter, 7 September 2020

In the aftermath of Sri Lanka’s 2020 parliamentary election, the Rajapaksa regime was able to solidify its control over the country and effectively gain a two-thirds majority. There was never any misconception over what accused war criminal Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa had envisioned for the state, and within weeks , his newly appointed cabinet swiftly drafted a new 20th Amendment to the constitution. If approved, which seems likely, his office will be granted sweeping powers that in effect solidifies the executive presidency and remove a series of checks and balances. Whilst the...

What Gotabaya’s Presidency will mean for Tamil politics and development in Sri Lanka

Writing for The Wire India, Mario Arulthas, Advocacy Director for PEARL, and Dr Madura Rasaratnam, professor of Comparative Politics at the City University of London, rebuke the argument that parliamentary elections indicate “a complete overhaul” of the political system with turn away from “Tamil nationalist politics and towards development”; instead they provide a more nuanced analysis that highlights that the “fundamentals of Sri Lanka’s politics will likely remain unchanged”.

Autocrats Ascend - Newsletter, 24 August 2020

In his first address to Parliament since the parliamentary elections, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa laid out his vision of the island which emphasised the need to “protect and nurture the Buddha Sasana” but failed to make mention of the plight of Tamils and Muslims. In the past, Sri Lankan leaders have made token remarks towards other peoples on the island, however, the Rajapaksa administration, having won on a staunchly Sinhala Buddhist nationalist ticket, no longer sees the need for such trivialities. Instead, he emphasised the need to repeal the 19th Amendment, which restrained...

Tamils have not abandoned human rights for economic development – JS. Tissainayagam

Writing for the diplomat Tamil journalist, J.S Tissainayagam, rebukes the claim that Tamil’s are “moving away from regional Tamil-nationalist parties – focused on ethnic rights, wartime accountability, and power-sharing” and towards groups focused on “economic development”. Instead, he argues that contrary to this narrative, Tamil demands for rights and justice remains just as widespread and resolute as ever. Tamil politics since the end of the armed conflict In contextualising the post-war political landscape, Tissainayagam, notes that despite more than a decade passing since the end of the...