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, ...

‘What is represented and what is made invisible’: Women and Transitional Justice Processes in Sri Lanka Photo via Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom During a recent conversation about campaigns to eliminate violence against women, and the participation and role of women working at the community level in these campaigns, particularly their ability to influence and shape the form and manner of these initiatives, a friend, who for many years has worked on issues ...

Plantation Community: A status revisit Image via Wikipedia Disenfranchisement of the Indian Origin plantation workforce in the year 1948 after independence stalled the development of the ‘plantation community’ (PC) in contrast to other communities in the country. Memoirs and research papers on labour movement and Trade union struggle of Plantation workforce is not new and many have attempted to describe the disenfranchisement of the ...

‘Raja Saha Ghatakaya’ – An exceptional novel The novel Raja saha Ghatakaya (445 pages) by Visakesa Chandrasekaram has an interesting genesis of its own – the author, wrote the English version (The King and the Assassin) first and published it in October 2014, and the Sinhala version in December 2014. This review is limited to the Sinhala novel as I am yet to read the English ...

Sri Lankan perceptions on life post-war Six years after the end of war in Sri Lanka, the four main ethnic communities are still divided when it comes to issues related to reconciliation. ‘Sri Lankan perceptions on life post war’ is a series of infographics looking key public opinion data from CPA’s ‘Democracy in Post War Sri Lanka’ survey (conducted annually since 2011) on the theme ...

Addressing “blocked grief” in Jaffna Photograph via Steppes Travel Six years after the end of the war the population in the North of Sri Lanka remains passive, ensnared in wartime mentality because they haven’t been able to express and deal with their sorrow and trauma. Professors from Jaffna University talk of a young generation incapable of envisioning a better future. While they demonstrated courage ...

Gang rape and murder of a school girl Image courtesy News First The recent gang rape  and murder of a school girl in Jaffna has, within the few days, triggered many public reports in newspapers and elsewhere, raised many issues including the Code of Professional Practice for journalism; national reconciliation; the death penalty; public demonstrations in Jaffna and Colombo; judicial reforms in relation to such atrocities; brought ...

Evicted under the World Bank’s Watch Forcible demolition of 34 Watta homes when court case was ongoing, September 2014. Photograph by Selvaraj Rajasegar. “We were removed from our homes by force. The Army officers told us that they will bulldoze our houses whether we move out or not. They told us that we can either take these apartments or live on the street”.  As part ...

Power mapping Image by Maatram, via Groundviews I was asked to contribute an article to an up-coming issue of The Architect, the journal of the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects. The issue will be anchored to the idea of space. After the guest editor accepted my article without any reservations or edits, he was informed by the Editor in Chief a few ...

Photo by EPA/M.A.PUSHPA KUMARA, via Sky News I start with a quote from Shang Yang (390-338 BC), an insightful statesman in the Chinese state of Qin: “A country where the virtuous govern the wicked will suffer from disorder, so that it will be dismembered; but a country where the wicked govern the virtuous will be orderly, so that it will become strong.” Although ...

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