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SRI LANKA: The learned monks attempt to revive civil society

At a press conference held on behalf of the Sanga Convention monks of the three leading Buddhist chapters explained the reasons for postponing the National Convention of Buddhist Monks which was to be held at Kandy yesterday, the 18th February. The three monks who spoke at this press conference were the Ven. Prof. Atthangane Rathanapala, […]

SRI LANKA: From Manorani Saravanamuttu to Sandya Eknaliyagoda – the cry of women on the forced disappearances of loved ones

Basil Fernando The voice of Manorani Saravanamuttu was heard loudly during the last decade of the twentieth century, protesting strongly against disappearances in Sri Lanka. The voice of Sandya Ekanaliyagoda is now heard on the same issue. Both voices are echoing the similar voices of tens of thousands of mothers, wives, sisters and daughters of […]

SRI LANKA: Cry of three women and water canon in the streets

Basil Fernando During the last week, three women have tried to speak to their nation about the tragedy each of them faced. One is Sandya Eknaliyagoda, the wife of Prageeth Ekanaliyagoda, the disappeared journalist; another is Hemali Abeyratne , the wife of Chandana Sirimalwattha, the detained editor of Lanka E-News and the other is Anoma […]

PAKISTAN: Supreme Court decision will be a serious blow to corruption and corrupt practices

Aitzaz Ahsan The prominent jurist and former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan, Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan, was interviewed by the Asian Human Rights Commission on the subject of the January 19, 2010 judgment of Pakistan¡¦s Supreme Court regarding the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO). Issued by former military dictator General Musharraf on October […]

PHILIPPINES: The Fruits of Holy Dissent

Fr. Roberto Reyes It is almost four years since I left the Philippines on voluntary exile. My residence changed each year, at least five times in the last four years. I have lived a rather nomadic life in search of a most elusive truth, asking questions as I wandered from place to place: “Why is […]

PAKISTAN: Constant violence against women in 2009

Physical and sexual violence, honor killings, forced marriages and structural inequalities within the society are constant violations of women’s fundamental rights. The cases in this article were provided by Mister Mohammed Nafees from Karachi, based on news from Daily Dawn. Julia Lemétayer 2009 has been another tragic year for women rights in Pakistan. Many cases […]

SRI LANKA: Disappearance of a political analyst critical of the president

Basil Fernando The disappearance of Pregeeth Ekanaliyagoda, a political analyst, journalist and visual designer, attached to LankaENews; the arrest of Chandana Sirimalwatta, the editor of the Lanka newspaper and the assassination of Chandaradasa Naiwadu, the JVP Urban Council member at Ambalangoda are among the acts of violence reported during the election for the executive presidency […]

SRI LANKA: The country’s capacity for holding free and fair elections in doubt

On the 26th January the election for the position of Executive President was held in Sri Lanka and the election commissioner declared the incumbent president, Mahinda Rajapakse, as the winner. The common candidate for the opposition, retired general Sarath Fonseka, rejected the results stating that the announced results were false due to the prevalence of […]

INDIA: Rule of law is a phantom limb in India’s northeast

Article | India | 24-01-2010

FOR PUBLICATION AHRC-ART-010-2010 January 25, 2010 The Transcript of a Speech by Mr. Mrinal Talukdar delivered at the Asian Human Rights Commission INDIA: Rule of law is a phantom limb in India’s northeast North East India from the perspectives of a journalist : Speech by Mr. Mrinal Talukdar, delivered at the Asian Human Rights Commission about […]

SRI LANKA: Testing sovereignty through a genuine election

Basil Fernando The election for the Executive President will take place on the 26th January. This election will test the sovereignty of the people as enshrined in the Constitution and the possibility of genuine election in Sri Lanka as required by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 25 of the International Covenant […]

SRI LANKA: Electoral violence and the sovereignty of the people

Basil Fernando Four people have now been killed due to election violence during this presidential campaign. This campaign is for electing the highest political officer in the nation. The very fact that the election for the highest political officer for the nation has become one beset with continuous violence and killings itself is perhaps a […]

SRI LANKA: The crisis of the Electoral Commission

Basil Fernando The groups engaged in monitoring the election have reported flagrant violations of election laws, the illegal use of state assets and the use of violence. They have noted that in Sri Lanka today the collapse of the electoral system on an unprecedented scale is taking place. The election commissioner own comments about the […]

SRI LANKA: Discussions on 1978 Constitution at Sirasa TV

Basil Fernando The Sirasa Rupavahini Television Service has conducted a series of discussions on the 1978 Constitution. This series has brought to focus some of the fundamental defects of this Constitution. In fact, most of the themes discussed are not new. In some groups there have been constant reflections on the defects of the 1978 […]

PHILIPPINES: Who were the massacred journalists? – Part 2

Joker’ pioneers the news format in local radio Before writing for community newspapers and national dailies in the recent years, forty-six-year-old Ian ‘Joker’ Subang was a veteran broadcast journalist, having worked in the local broadcast industry for decades. Starting as a reporter for dxCP, a Catholic-owned local radio station in General Santos City in the […]

PHILIPPINES: Who were the massacred journalists? – Part 1

One of the journalists worked for over two decades Before the advent of electronic mail, high speed internet connections, and mobile phones, all part of the technology used in transmitting information that we now take for granted, Alejandro Reblando, Bong, to his friends and colleagues, was an eyewitness to what was happening in Mindanao. Indeed, he […]

SRI LANKA: Dealing with lawlessness as the key issue for the coming elections — Asian Human Rights Commission

Basil Fernando There is the expectation of imminent presidential as well as parliamentary elections in the coming months. The government approaches this with a view to take advantage of the victory over the LTTE to thereby consolidate its power for a further term. In none of the government’s statements is there any indication of significant […]

SRI LANKA: Opposition demands dismantling of war time security measures

Basil Fernando     Nearly five months have passed since the government claimed complete victory over terrorism by the defeat of the LTTE. And at the same time, it was claimed that peace had arrived. However, throughout the country the presence of the security forces and the operation of the security system go on in […]

SRI LANKA: Features of a Gulag (1) — The loss of the meaning of legality and illegality

(This article initially appeared in the Sri Lanka guardian and was written as a response to a discussion in Ground Views) Basil Fernando The concept of the gulag, first used by Aleksandr Solzhenisyn it in the Gulag Archipelago 1918 – 1956, has come to mean a particular system of repression imposed on a whole country, […]

SRI LANKA: The Gulag Island (2) — Zero Status of Citizens- Dayan’s problem (and a response from Dayan Jayatilaka)

“The issue that concerns me is something a little different. Why is it that many people still do not grasp that the system in this country has gotten so warped that it is not capable of what is normally known as rational behavior?” ___________ By Basil Fernando (September 27, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) There are […]

SRI LANKA: A Gulag Island — a response to Dayan Jayatilaka — the mentality of the phantom limb — Asian Human Rights Commission

Basil Fernando Dayan Jayatilaka begins his article with the words, “I am proud of my country, Sri Lanka.” To demonstrate the differences in our points of view I would like to begin by stating that, while I am proud of some aspects of Sri Lanka I am also very ashamed of many other aspects of […]