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SRI LANKA: Why the British colonial ‘rule of law’ project failed

By Basil Fernando Why did the British colonial project for introducing the rule of law fail? There may be many reasons for such a failure and these may differ from one country to another. However, there seems to be one factor in common. The following extract from a minute written by British politician Thomas Babington […]

SRI LANKA: A Cruel Government Supports Torture by Opposing Preventive Law

An amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure allowing the Magistrates to visit places of detention has been turned into a political issue by a section of the government and by some extreme nationalist elements. What this means is that the opposition to the amendment is supporting the continuous practice of torture in Sri Lanka. […]

SRI LANKA: The release of a convicted murderer in 6 years is a reckless act

By Basil Fernando The release of the convicted murderer Duminda Silva is a reckless act which will have lasting consequences on the social organization of Sri Lanka and the social consciousness of the Sri Lankan people. The damage this will do to the functioning of a system of administration of the country is incalculable. In […]

SRI LANKA: A Sister’s 20 Year Long Struggle For Justice For Her Brother Killed By The Police

By Basil Fernando On the universal day for torture victims, this year, a book will be launched by The Right to Life organization working in collaboration with the AHRC on a long standing case, which is continuing in courts, regarding a man who was killed extra-judicially, inside a Police station. The author of the book […]

SRI LANKA: Office on Missing Persons and the Zero Policy on Justice

By Basil Fernando One of the issues that demonstrated the approach of the Sri Lankan authorities to the problem of enforced disappearances could be discovered in a close study of the narrative of the Office on Missing Persons (OMP). In essence, what it shows is the international diplomacy of deception that Sri Lankan authorities have […]

INDIA: Scam or a curious case of self-vanishing vaccines?

Article | India | 28-05-2021

By Avinash Pandey A massive vaccine shortage amidst the second wave of the Covid 19 pandemic ravaging the country and clocking a 3,000 plus daily death toll for almost a month is forcing many states to stop vaccination for the population aged under 44. The shortage, coupled with repeated increase in the gap between the […]

SRI LANKA: Colombo Port City Economic Commission – An authority without any real authority

By Basil Fernando The Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill has been passed. However, the Bill that was passed was not what the Government wanted. The decision of the Supreme Court which held that 25 of the proposed Clauses contravened the provisions of the Constitution and that 9 of them require a referendum meant that […]

INDONESIA : Victims and Justice Seekers must be included in the Sustainable Development Goals

“No one left behind” is the main principle of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Will the principle apply in Indonesia? Will the Government include victims and families of victims of human rights violations in the implementation of SDG’s? In the Indonesian context, we can see a strong relation between SDG Number 1 on poverty […]

SRI LANKA: Won the “War” but Lost the Law

By Basil Fernando Calling a civil conflict or a civil war, a war itself, is very misleading. Wars are fought with external enemies. However, civil conflict or a civil war is a fight that takes place among the brethren, with the people who should in fact be living together as a nation. What the ties […]

SRI LANKA: Covid-19 & The Constitution

Arundhati Roy, prominent writer and social activist in India has written several important articles in the recent few days on the problem of the spread of Covid-19 and the vast numbers of deaths that are taking place in India. In an article written just a few days back, Roy directly addresses the Prime Minister of […]

INDIA: Where has all the COVID aid gone? The world demands accountability from India

Article | India | 07-05-2021

This article is part of the Anatomy of a pandemic series. Click here for the first part.) By Avinash Pandey The World sent India millions in Covid Aid. Why it is not reaching those who need it most screams the headline of a CNN report. A reporter in the daily press briefing of the United States’ Department of State raised […]

SRI LANKA: It Is Time For The Judiciary To Defend Itself

By Basil Fernando The recommendations by a Commission appointed by the President, recommending that a large number of criminal cases that have been filed in the Courts of Sri Lanka be withdrawn, is the deadliest blow that has been dealt with the administration of justice in Sri Lanka. If this recommendation is put into effect, […]

SRI LANKA: The Promise of Justice for Easter Sunday Massacre Is A Big Lie

By Basil Fernando  Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith presided over the 21st of April commemoration with the participation of other religious leaders. Talking about the issue, he has said that the problem is not just about Catholics, but that it is about the whole country. According to him, he sees the problem of terrorism and extremism as […]

INDIA: Anatomy of a Pandemic!

Article | India | 21-04-2021

By Avinash Pandey With over 2 lakh (two hundred thousand) new daily cases for almost a week, India is reeling under a second and far more lethal wave of COVID19 pandemic. India reported a record 2.94 lakh cases, second largest daily jump anywhere in the world on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 with a record 2,000 […]

INDONESIA: Long Journey of the Work of AHRC Empowering and Inspiring

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and its sister organization, the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), have long history of journey working with local human rights networks and organizations in Indonesia. In addition, the AHRC also has long experiences working with association of victims and family of victims of past human rights abuses such as […]

SRI LANKA: 1972 CJC: The beginning of the collapse of the criminal justice system

By Basil Fernando The Criminal Justice Commissions (CJC) Act, No. 14 of 1972, marked the beginning of the collapse of Sri Lanka’s criminal justice system. The process that started then, gradually expanded further and further, and today, the criminal justice system in Sri Lanka is virtually dysfunctional. What the CJC Act in fact did was […]

SRI LANKA: Rule By Gazettes Leads to Impoverishment and Insecurity

By Basil Fernando It is not for fun that the Government established processes for taking decisions and implementing them. It is the age old wisdom gained through various experiences throughout history that led to the establishment of these processes before making decisions and also for implementing and following up on them. The most underlying principle […]

SRI LANKA: Institutional theories about the use of torture

By Basil Fernando There are a number of entrenched beliefs which have become institutional doctrines within the policing system which contribute to the continuing practice of torture. No suspect will ever tell the truth. Therefore, it is better not to waste time asking questions before torturing the person. This is a practice almost invariably followed […]

SRI LANKA: Why do Sri Lankan Police officers torture suspects? Part II

By Basil Fernando “Police officer” refers mostly to persons working for the Sri Lanka Police Service. But in the context of custodial torture, it also includes others who at times are called upon to do Police-related duties such as conduct interrogations, similar to the military and other agencies. Another aspect, relevant to this discourse, generally […]

SRI LANKA: Why do Sri Lankan police officers torture suspects?

By Basil Fernando “Police officer” refers mostly to persons working for the Sri Lanka Police Service. But in the context of custodial torture, it also includes others who at times are called upon to do police-related duties such as conduct interrogations, similar to the military and other agencies. Another aspect, relevant to this discourse, generally speaking, […]