CANADA/SRI LANKA: 21st Century Canada or 19th Century England?

Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza In times of rapid technological development and social shifts, individuals and communities often experience social dislocation. They struggle to redefine–and reinforce–social categories as a means of locating themselves and others within society, regaining structure and stability. An underlying function of this schematization is social compartmentalization – in which the delimitation of boundaries allows individuals […]

INDIA: Burning of two Dalit girls is the lingering funeral pyre of the rule of law

Article | India | 23-12-2010

The ghoulish killings of two Dalit girls in Moradabad, an industrial town not far away from the national capital Delhi, is yet another reminder of almost everyday recurrence of attacks on Dalit communities in India. They encompass, also the grim truth of the complete failure of the Indian state in containing, leave aside eradicating, violence […]

PAKISTAN: Women have little to celebrate on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza Today, in recognition of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, it is incumbent upon the international community and the government of Pakistan to examine with greater concern the status and future of Pakistani women. This day may in some nations commemorate significant accomplishments for women’s rights and gender parity, […]

CAMBODIA: AHRC expresses sympathy, calls for investigation of stampede

The AHRC wishes to express the deepest sympathies to the people of Cambodia in the aftermath of the Bon Om Touk festival stampede that this Monday night left at least 375 dead and 755 injured according to Cambodia’s Bayon TV. Prime Minister Hun Sen recognized Monday night as “the biggest tragedy we have experienced in […]

SRI LANKA: Decriminalization of rape through impunity for perpetrators

While there are countless allegations of rape and sexual abuse of women and young children within the civil society, the high numbers are not reflected in the number of cases reported. The trauma and shame that generally follow sexual abuse prevent most women from ever reporting or speaking out about it. A great fear of […]

SRI LANKA: Undayas and Andayas and 1978 Constitution

Nothing can be worse for a country in the modern world than to have a bad constitution. Anybody with common sense would not find it difficult to understand that proposition. The constitution lays down the underlying organizing principles of a society. A bad constitution creates a badly organized society. To be badly organized, in a […]

SRI LANKA: Death sentences carried out by the police in Sri Lanka

When extraordinary explanations justify extrajudicial killings   By Sofie Rordam Arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial killings are an almost daily occurrence in Sri Lanka today. The police system and additional institutions expected to be the protectors of law have become so dysfunctional and politicized that illegalities predominantly are carried out in their names. Extrajudicial killings are […]

SRI LANKA: Attempting to impose payment for higher education on poorly paid wage earners

Basil Fernando The attacks on the students and rhetoric against them appear in many of the reports covering Sri Lanka today. The Minister, S.B. Dissanayake is heard over television channels talking in the crudest language against the students using such words as “haraka” (bulls and buffalos) which is rather unbecoming of a minister dealing with […]

INDIA: A War Criminal concluding the Commonwealth Games is the best it could go!

Article | India | 17-10-2010

*Avinash Pandey  Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka was the guest of honour at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games 2010, New Delhi. He presided over the extravagant ceremony that would declare the arrival of India on the big stage, conclusively. Presiding over something is nothing new for the President. He has presided over […]

SRI LANKA: How does the constitutional question affect the question of Sri Lankan identity?

SRI LANKA: How does the constitutional question affect the question of Sri Lankan identity? Basil Fernando  The question of ‘identity’ means who is a Sri Lankan? It could be spoken of purely in sentimental terms and by that sense it might work in a particular territory. We can all call ourselves Sri Lankans and that […]

SRI LANKA: Authoritarian Versus Democratic Government and the Case of Sri Lanka

Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza Endemic over-simplification by internal and external actors and purposeful attempts to reframe political debates have ensured the conversation concerning Sri Lanka’s government continues to be conducted in democratic terms. Yet that categorization is presumptive. Using the lexicon of democracy to discuss Sri Lanka presupposes that the state is fundamentally democratic or accepts that […]

INDIA: What better place than the grave of a mosque could a ‘secular democracy’ find to bury justice?

Article | India | 14-10-2010

Numbness was the first response to the verdict on Ayodhya dispute. Everything and everyone went numb. And then, an eerie silence settled in the room where we were anxiously watching the live streaming of Indian news channels, 5000 miles away from India. We were 6, four Sri Lankans and 2 Indians. It is like one […]

SRI LANKA: Reflections on the Constitution — Part 5

Basil Fernando Robberies- Police and 18th Amendment October 11 Anuradhapura – Rs. 1,100,000 — Rs. 1.1 million October 8 Nugegoda – Rs.1,400,000 — Rs. 1.4 million October 5 Rawathwaththa – Rs.100,000 — One Hundred Thousand October 3 Paliyagoda Wanawasala – Rs.70,000,000 — Rs. 70 million   Above mentioned incidents are just a few of the robberies […]

SRI LANKA: Reflections on the Constitution — Part 4

Basil Fernando   Making a person disappear over a land dispute A place where there is no room for justice is not a nation but a madhouse. That is what Sri Lanka has become today. Ask anyone who has sought justice for any problem they have faced. Among the hundreds of thousands of such stories […]

BURMA: The WISE women of Burma

Link to the film ‘Looking for the Light’ by the WISE participants in Mae Sot: WISE travelled to Mae Sot, on the Thai border with Burma and worked with ten women from 4th September — 17th. Mae Sot is a small town, which holds around 200,000 people. 50,000 of those people are Thai and the […]

SRI LANKA: The right without remedy — views and reflections on the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act

Sofie Rordam   In Sri Lanka as globally, the most prevalent form of violence against women is domestic violence. According to a survey from 2006 by the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Empowerment more than 60 percent of women across Sri Lanka are victims of domestic violence while 44 per cent of pregnant women […]

SRI LANKA: Reflections on the Constitution — Part 3

Basil Fernando The Constitution Places the Executive President above the Courts This picture shows the executive president sitting above the Supreme Court Complex. The Supreme Court is the highest court but the post of the executive president is above it. Article 35 of the Constitution specifically places him outside the jurisdiction of the courts. The […]

SRI LANKA: Reflections on Sri Lanka’s constitution – part 2

Basil Fernando   The Degeneration of police into “licensed thugs”   This is a photo of Mr Ganegoda Sinhage Haritha Lakmal (30) of No. 590/2A, Middle Gate Upper Road, Addunkelle Watte, Ahangama, who became an unfortunate victim of an assault by Sub Inspector (SI) Nelumdeniya and several other officers of the Ahangama Police Station, for […]

SRI LANKA: Street protests against the denial of fair trial

Basil Fernando Perhaps for the first time in Sri Lankan history, many people have taken to the streets in the last few days to protest against the abuse of the judicial process and to demand fairness. Some lawyers were quoted by the media as saying, “Now, we have to demand justice from the gods, unseeing […]

SRI LANKA: Reflections on Sri Lanka’s Constitution

Basil Fernando The picture above speaks for itself. It depicts what happened to a young man who went to get police assistance to stop illegal gambling happening near his house. When the man went to police station to find about what action had been taken on his complaint the police sergeant who had earlier taken […]