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SRI LANKA: If Sri Lankan Tamils had an Ambedkar

Basil Fernando Over the years, Sri Lankan Tamils have had leaders such as J.V. Chelvanayagam, G.G. Ponnambalam, Appapillai Amirthalingam, Velupillai Prabhakaran and Karuna Amman to name a few. The first three names belong to a group of elite Tamil leaders who were, in essence, Democrats. But their idea of democracy was limited, similar to the […]

SRI LANKA: No justice–no nation–one justice–one nation

Basil Fernando What makes a nation a nation is above all the justice that prevails within that nation. It is justice that creates the bond between the people. Justice connects one with the other. Justice among the people is the one thing that is common to all in a nation if it exists. Justice binds […]

PHILIPPINES: Who were the massacred journalists? – Part 4

Daddy’s Little Girl By Mayang Reblando More than anything else, he was my Daddy. So much goes into that simple statement. My Daddy, Alejandro “Bong” Reblando was my hero, my strength, the best of all my bestfriends. He was my mentor and my protector. He was the angel sent from above. He was indeed the […]

SRI LANKA: Absence of fairness and executive control of legal process

Basil Fernando No citizen has a special privilege where committing crimes is concerned. Whether the crime is that of murder or rape, income tax fraud or the non-disclosure of information relating to income, it makes no difference. All citizens are bound by the same laws and therefore, those who violate such laws, irrespective of their […]

SRI LANKA: Legal Profession and the Protection of Individual Liberties

Basil Fernando A few decades ago, Bunty De Soysa was one of Sri Lanka’s leading criminal lawyers; at one point, he was also president of the country’s Bar Association. In one case, he represented a group of young leftist radicals in court who were charged with offences relating to their political activities. During the course […]

SRI LANKA: Sarath Fonseka’s case — Sri Lankan society is the loser

Basil Fernando In talking about Sarath Fonseka’s case and Prof. G.L. Peiris’ media conference some argue that justice should not only be done but must also be seen to be done. However, a course of action which is basically unjust cannot be made to seen as just purely by procedural means. To attempt to do […]

PAKISTAN: The law is prohibited in Balochistan province — Asian Human Rights Commission

Conflict over Balochistan will undoubtedly have profound negative effects on the entire region (A paper by Baseer Naveed on three-day international conference on “Balochistan Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Meeting the Challenges” by Baloch Voice Foundation from February 22-24, 2010 at Bangkok, Thailand) The situation of human rights in Balochistan province is deteriorating day by day […]

SRI LANKA: A new lie – police training without constitutional reforms

Basil Fernando Peter Mountford who returned from a visit to Sri Lanka writes in an article ‘Sri Lanka’s hr and free speech problems need international attention? (Seattle Times Editorial 27th February): At the core of Sri Lanka’s problems is a rotten constitution, which gives the president near dictatorial power. Opposition members in parliament are easily […]

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 […]