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WORLD: Sarath Fonseka of Sri Lanka and Sam Rainsy of Cambodia

Basil Fernando What Sarath Fonseka and Sam Rainsy have in common is that they are the most popular opposition leaders in their countries and that they have been jailed for that very reason. Political popularity is treated as a serious crime in both countries, where the ruling parties are aspiring to create one party rule. […]

SRI LANKA: What upsets Colombo’s middle class?

Basil Fernando  “We in Colombo also now have to become like people living in the North and East in our outlook. We no longer know what is what, which is which, whether we are coming or going”, a lawyer friend of mine living in Colombo, a told me today. He was trying to reflect the […]

SRI LANKA: The banality of evil, a rejoinder to Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

FOR PUBLICATION AHRC-ART-097-2010 September 16, 2010 An Article by the Asian Human Rights Commission SRI LANKA: The banality of evil, a rejoinder to Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka A strong ruler and weak institutions as the current formula for national progress and the phantom limb complex Basil Fernando That the nation needs a strong ruler is the […]

INDIA: Enlightenment that took thousands of Kashmiris lives to dawn upon the Indian government!

*Avinash Pandey Enlightenment, it seems, has finally dawned upon the Indian government. The words of wisdom that came out of yesterday’s all-party meeting on Kashmir, convened by the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh point to that “Constitution of India provides ample scope to accommodate any legitimate political demand through dialogue, civil discourse and peaceful negotiations”. […]

PAKISTAN: Cause for optimism as national assembly prepares to pass Acid Control and Burn Crime Prevention Bill

By Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza Last week, the government of Pakistan announced it would push the National Assembly to pass the long-awaited Acid Control and Burn Crime Prevention Bill this month. The bill, first introduced in January 2010, emerged from collaboration among the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF), National Commission on Status of Women, United Nations Development Fund for Women, and […]

SRI LANKA: The mindset of denial is the “It is not that bad” attitude

Basil Fernando   For all Sri Lankan’s but particularly for those of the educated classes the problems that have come by way of political and constitutional change has created many emotional and psychological problems. Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka’s remark, “Nations are too strong a reality to be killed off by constitutional amendments” reflects this same mentality. […]

BURMA: Interview with Mr. Basil Fernando on torture of the poor and related issues

Q: What was your purpose in writing the book ‘Torture of the Poor?’ Why do we talk about torture and poverty? A: Because in the real world, particularly in less developed countries, we can see that poverty and the torture are linked. Q: How are they linked? A: First of all, the majority of people […]

SRI LANKA: Nations may not die but freedoms do – a reply to Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Basil Fernando In an article which appeared in the Island newspaper entitled, ‘Hardly the Death of Democracy or the Nation — Ten Points from a Political Scientist’, (September 11, 2010) the author, Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka wrote the following words: ‘Nations are too strong a reality to be killed off by constitutional amendments’. Nations, as someone once said […]

SRI LANKA: Sometimes, I feel that when institutions die, it’s even worse than people dying

Today in an emailed letter I received from a friend there was this sentence: “Sometimes, I feel that when institutions die, it’s even worse than people dying.” This is a profound reflection. I showed it to several of my colleagues from different countries, Burma, Pakistan and Bangladesh. They all nodded, agreeing. I am sure if […]

INDIA: India should follow Britain in treating caste as an aspect of race!

Article | India | 08-09-2010

*Avinash Pandey     Britain, in a major victory for the movement against caste based discrimination and atrocities, can soon declare caste prejudice unlawful under laws against racial discrimination becoming the first country of the world to do so. The development was imminent in the wake of the fact that the House of Lords had […]

PAKISTAN: Flood-stricken children’s vulnerability increases because of politics and negligence of authorities

Darja Merkina   The current floods are having a detrimental effect on children’s health due to the potential outbreak of endemic waterborne diseases. The UN Office for the Co-Ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) spokesman, Maurizio Giuliano, has confirmed that 3.5 million children are affected by endemic watery diarrhoea and dysentery. The shortage of clean water […]

SRI LANKA: Dengue’s human cost–what is the state’s responsibility

The comparison between Hong Kong and Sri Lanka Rasika Sanjeewa Weerawickrama LLB (SL), LLM (HK) It was reported that around 192 people have died from dengue fever in the first seven and a half months of this year. The total number of infected people came to more than 26,824 and there can be no doubt […]

SRI LANKA: The last debate on the constitution

Basil Fernando Sri Lanka has turned out to be a land of many quarrels but no debates. Often quarrels turns into violence, sometimes murder and even worst. And the violence itself leads to new quarrels and the circle goes on. Sadly however, hardly anything ever turns into a debate. Debate has become a lost art […]

INDONESIA: The WISE women of Jakarta

The WISE project started its second leg in Jakarta on August 2nd and with only 9 days to train and create a video – it was bound to be a challenge from the start. The women were all drawn from different backgrounds, ex-drug users, ex-sex workers, some were living with HIV, some were trans-gendered and […]

SRI LANKA: Enjoying Revenge

Basil Fernando   Two cabinet ministers laughed in public about the police assault of two opposition Members of Parliament at the Galle police station. They added to their laughter by adding to the story, saying that nothing else is to be expected when anyone tries to assault police officers inside a police station. That was […]

SRI LANKA: How many beatings does an opposition MP need to learn a lesson?

Basil Fernando The beating of an opposition Member of Parliament by officers of the Galle police raises one important question: how many times do you have to beat an MP before he learns his lesson? The politicians of the present generation are not good learners. They certainly are not the type that learns by reading; […]

WORLD: Climate justice and human rights

Article | World | 09-08-2010

There are times when children are wiser than the adults. We live in such a time. Today’s children know more about the problems of climate as a man-made problem. They worry about it, talk about it and feel sad about it. They are wiser than the earlier generations. They are learning the folly of those […]

INDIA: A democracy that fights stones with bullets

Article | India | 04-08-2010

*Avinash Pandey Thinking about tragedies, especially manmade ones, is a subversive process bursting with its inherent dangers. It makes one go numb, outrages the self and at times fills one with the disgusting and incapacitating feeling of losing the humaneness itself, of becoming more and more incapable of having any control over one’s own lives. […]

SRI LANKA: A mother burns the mouths of two little children who were crying for food

Basil Fernando A mother burned the mouths of two children who were crying for food. The two children were girls, one and half and five years old. The mother has been arrested and is presently in remand custody. The incident took place on the 28th July at Awissawela. A few months ago a mother threw […]

PAKISTAN: The WISE women of Karachi

WISE — Women’s International Shared Experience Project – travelled to Karachi, to work with women from throughout the Sindh area who have been raped, sexually assaulted or domestically abused. 9 women spent 14 days living together and receiving training in video production. Some of the women could not read or write and their confidence had been […]