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 […]

SRI LANKA: Biriani, Arrack and Kassipu for ‘Some’ Journalists

FOR PUBLICATION AHRC-ART-050-2009 September 22, 2009 An Article by the Asian Human Rights Commission SRI LANKA: Biriani, Arrack and Kassipu for ‘Some’ Journalists Basil Fernando “Go to any police station in the evening. You will find several journalists there. They come on their way home, to have a drink of kassipu, from the stash that […]

SRI LANKA: Unrule of law and manipulations by the Attorney General’s Department

FOR PUBLICATION AHRC-ART-048-2009 September 16, 2009 An Article by the Asian Human Rights Commission SRI LANKA: Unrule of law and manipulations by the Attorney General’s Department Basil Fernando The Attorney General shocked the nation by making a request to the High Court of Colombo to withdraw an indictment against an accused charged with preparation of […]

SRI LANKA: The government should appoint a group of Supreme Court Judges to inquire into the police extrajudicial killings

Basil Fernando Large crowds gathered around the Angulana police station today (13th of August) as the news spread of two schoolboys killed due to police assault. The bodies of the two boys, Dinesh Tharanga Fernando and Danushka Udaya, were found near the railway tracks. They had been arrested on the previous day, allegedly for teasing […]

SRI LANKA: Deshabandu Dushyntha Senewiratne

Four pairs of eyes belonging to four siblings, the eldest of whom was fifteen, were fixed upon a scene happening on the morning of the 22nd of July at Beligahahandiya in Galle. What they saw in that moment will remain fixed in their minds for the rest of their lives, more than anything else they […]

SRI LANKA: The attack on lawyers on the Defense Ministry website amounts to contempt of court

SUNDAY, JULY 12, 2009 By Basil Fernando (July 13, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Lawyers are officers of the court. Any attack on them in relation to their official functions . The publication of a statement against several lawyers, with photographs of three of them – naming them as traitors because they have appeared on behalf […]

SRI LANKA: The law is a dangerous thing

This is a discussion among several imaginary characters. These imaginary characters do not represent any living persons. The Characters A journalist who is conducting the interview, a senior police officer who had agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, a retired judge, a political scientist and a philosopher. Journalist– This discussion is about the […]

SRI LANKA: Criminal gangs and the failure to invest in the administration of justice

About a hundred criminals have been shot dead either in gun battles with the police or in mysterious circumstances like trying to attack police officers, even when handcuffed. This was revealed in an article published in the Sunday Lakbimanews, written by Gayan Kumara Weerasinghe. The article goes on to enumerate many criminal gangs operating around […]

PAKISTAN: The real need to make torture a heinous crime under Pakistan law

FOR PUBLICATION AHRC-ART-032-2009 June 26, 2009 An Article on the menace of torture in Pakistan by the Asian Human Rights Commission PAKISTAN: The real need to make torture a heinous crime under Pakistan law Torture in custody is a common phenomenon in Pakistan because of the rogue legal system and impotence of the rule of […]

SRI LANKA: New Chief Justice Asoka de Silva welcomed by Bench and the Bar

(The new chief justice Asoka de Silva was welcomed by the Bench and the Bar on 11thJune at the Superior Court Complex at a ceremonial sitting. The address of the Chief Justice Asoka de Silva to the audience on this occasion is reproduced below – editor). I thank you both Mr. Attorney, Mr. Dayaratne, The […]

SRI LANKA: Crimes, dengue fever, attacks on journalists, problems of toilets and food and euphoric celebrations

Basil Fernando Ankubura Seelaratne is a 25-year-old Buddhist monk who with youthful exuberance was engaged in campaigns to eliminate the sale of illicit liquor. Last week he was hospitalised in a critical condition after being poisoned. Some of his dayakayas (donors) poisoned the food given to him as part of the Buddhist traditional practice of […]

SRI LANKA: Justice and the rooster coop

(This article is published on the occasion of the retirement of the Chief Justice, Sarath Nanda Silva’s, who is due to leave office on the 7th June. The article examines the fundamental failure of the system of justice in Sri Lanka and the responsibilities for this situation. The article is based on the assumption that […]