Ruminations after Colombo Pride: Why Queer Interest Litigation is Public Interest Litigation Photo courtesy SALGBT Network Part I Exactly a month ago from today, the US Supreme Court’s holding, in Obergefell v. Hodges, seemed to give cause for celebration to many individuals, most of whom expressed solidarity through their profile picture on Facebook. Newsfeeds were abuzz with reports of how “gay marriage” had been legalised in America. However, the actual holding, ...

Peace and Reconciliation: A Way Forward Photo via Daily Maverick Presented by Dr. Devanesan Nesiah, to the Association for Social Development at the OPA, 25 July 2015 I have enjoyed and appreciated the documents you have sent me and am happy to speak to you on Peace and Reconciliation – Way Forward. Up till the time of Independence in February 1984 our country was widely ...

Targeting Lanka: Playing Ball with Tamil Extremism 2008-14 This essay was presented at the 9th International Convention of Asian Scholars held in Adelaide from 5-9th July 2015 and was therefore designed as a 15-minute presentation. Hyperlinks, maps, citations and bibliographical references have been inserted in this version, while pictorial illustrations are a supplementary appendix. Footnotes have been kept to a minimum. The emergence and sharpening of Tamil ...

The Freak Show Returns Image courtesy The New Yorker The UPFA’s election campaign is based on Four Ignoble Lies: Sri Lanka and all true-born Lankans are suffering; the reason for this suffering is the defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa on January 8th; national salvation depends on bringing Mahinda Rajapaksa back to power; the way to do it is to make Mahinda Rajapaksa the prime ...

Hacking the hackers: Surveillance in Sri Lanka revealed It was sometime in April 2013, that I wrote my last blog post. Titled ‘And Then They Came For Us’, or something along those morbid lines, the piece was a commentary of sorts based on tweets, photographs and Facebook updates sent out by friends attending a peaceful vigil at the center of Colombo, when marauding thu monks disrupted their activity. In ...

UNP creates broad front while UPFA leads a retreat to the past Photo courtesy Fatalnews As nominations closed earlier this week, the contours of the battle lines for the general election to Parliament became clear. The two major political formations in the country, the UNP and the UPFA are vying for a parliamentary majority and with it effective control of the next government. The UNP spent an useful weekend, creating a ...

Parallel Enigmas of Pirabaharan and Rajapaksa Photo courtesy TTN The attempts to field the ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa as a Prime Ministerial candidate to contest the upcoming parliamentary elections by a vocal fringe of the southern political community is similar to the attempts to reincarnate the mystique of Veluppillai Pirabaharan by a vocal fringe of the northern political community. After the demise of the Tiger leader, ...

Troubling, The U.S. Declaration of Independence Modern, recent, European, the concept of the human being as a rights bearing subject dates only from around the seventeenth century. This in itself isn’t troubling. (Europe has given us good things: cricket, paan and kokis from the countries that colonized us alone.) But the celebrated texts of its earliest articulations, like John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government (1689), ...

THE MIRUSUVIL CASE: WHY SEARCHING REFORM IS URGENT AND NECESSARY Image courtesy Daily News The High Court Trial at Bar’s recent conviction and sentencing of Staff Sergeant Sunil Rathnayake to death for what has come to be known as the ‘Mirusuvil massacre’ was met with the entirely expected and bellicose outrage of extremist nationalist Sinhala Buddhist elements. But a more interesting and nuanced response emerged from within the state ...

The 19th Amendment and the future of Sri Lanka Excellencies of the diplomatic community, Mr Abeykoon, Secretary to the President, officials of the Presidential Secretariat, ladies and gentleman, It may sound as if I am repeating what has already been said when I say that I share the sentiments expressed by both Mr. Dhanapala and Prof. Munasinghe. To me, as a citizen, the 19th Amendment brings new beginnings. ...

Tourism mega-development in Sri Lanka results in human rights violations Sri Lanka has an increasing number of tourist arrivals which could be very good for the development of the island. Therefore, of course, the local communities should benefit from the tourism above all. This does not seem to be always happening. The Society for Threatened People (STP) Switzerland, together with the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO), published a report ...

THE THREAT TO LIFE Image via 350 dot org It is very gratifying to see Pope Francis declare in his encyclical that, in terms of the Earth,  “We have grown up thinking that we were her owners and dominators, authorized to loot her” he states that “The violence that exists in the human heart, wounded by sin, is also manifest in the symptoms ...

19th Amendment is a key step forward in Sri Lanka’s path towards sustainable human development Excellencies, distinguished colleagues on the podium, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen, Ayubowan, Vannakkum, Good Afternoon. I am going to talk to you on the 19th Amendment as a scientist and professional, and I will talk about its relationship to Sri Lanka’s path towards sustainable human development (SHD) – ie., sustainable development with a human face. The first ...

THE NINETEENTH AMENDMENT: CENTREPIECE OF GOOD GOVERNANCE Image courtesy News First Distinguished members of the Diplomatic Corps, Ladies & Gentlemen, On behalf of His Excellency Maitripala Sirisena and my colleagues in the Presidential Secretariat, I have great pleasure in warmly welcoming you to this afternoon’s briefing on the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka. It is just over a month since this important Constitutional ...

800 years of the Magna Carta and Human Rights today Image courtesy The Remnant Trust To me, the essence of Magna Carta is limiting the sovereignty and powers of the rulers (King at that time) and moving towards reaffirmation of sovereignty and freedoms of the people. It is about rule of law, due process and equality of everyone before the law. This is particularly relevant to us in Sri ...

A volunteer’s story from post-tsunami Sri Lanka Just over ten years ago, a powerful undersea earthquake caused a devastating tsunami that rapped around two-thirds of Sri Lanka’s coastline on Boxing Day, at around 8:30am. Being a holiday, locals were fishing, bathing and playing on the beaches. Within a matter of minutes some 35,000 people were dead, thousands were missing and over half a million survivors would ...

The Import Of Sri Lankan Muslim Names Image courtesy Taqwa Magazine My name is Mohamed Qadri Ismail. Mohamed Qadri Ismail is not my name. The statements may prompt a wtf. (The acronym, btw, of the World Taekwondo Federation.) Surely one cannot affirm a position and its contradiction. Yet I do.  The second sentence doesn’t necessarily negate the first. Mohamed Qadri Ismail, an impeccably Sri Lankan Muslim ...

Human Rights Challenges in Sri Lanka Speech delivered on behalf of me by Marisa de Silva, on the occasion of the Islamic Centre Felicitation event, held in Maligawatte today. Thank you for making me part of this celebration. Practically, felicitations are possible for a few, but many deserve felicitation. Felicitation for me means felicitation for many others I have worked with. Victims, their families, priests, ...

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