Institutional reform

SRI LANKA: A Tragic Transformation: The Strange Case Of The 1978 Constitution

By Basil Fernando I have borrowed the title of this article from the immortal work of Robert Lewis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. This novel is about a mysterious and tragic transformation caused by the use of certain chemicals. By the use of such chemical concoctions, Dr. Jekyll, an amiable, […]

WORLD: 30th anniversary of Richard de Zoysa’s murder, and the continuing culture of impunity

Statement | World | 27-02-2020

30 years ago, Richard de Zoysa was abducted and disappeared. His dead body was later found on a beach. During the same period, literally tens of thousands of persons throughout the country were also disappeared, and none of the cases relating to such disappearances have been resolved through genuine investigations and prosecutions. Indeed, the process […]

SRI LANKA: How can unscrupulous lawyers manipulate delays in the law?

By Basil Fernando This article is about the manner in which unscrupulous lawyers could manipulate delays in the law to their personal advantage. This type of behavior is now a permanent feature in Sri Lanka’s legal system. Analysis of the methods used for such manipulation are based on experiences from actual cases. Reflections on the […]

BANGLADESH: Torturous law-enforcement system with impunity and rewards to perpetrators impede protection of rights

A Written Submission to the 43rd Regular Session of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council by the Asian Legal Resource Centre The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) draws attention of the United Nations Human Rights Council and its Special Procedures about the institutionalised practice of torture in Bangladesh, which is an incumbent member of the […]

BANGLADESH: Defending rights requires unified resistance

A Joint Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission, Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances, and Odhikar on the occasion of International Human Rights Day Dhaka/Manila/Hong Kong, 10 December 2019: On International Human Rights Day, the Asian Federation against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), and Odhikar pay tribute to and stand in […]

SRI LANKA: What happens to the people happens also to judges, lawyers, and others

A comment on the memoir of Former Chief Justice Dr Shiranee Bandaranayake entitled “Hold Me in Contempt” Basil Fernando Attorney-At-Law This memoir by former Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake on the (now nullified) impeachment is a significant contribution to the cause of promoting the independence of judiciary in Sri Lanka. Its significance lies in the […]

WORLD: Thai judge survives shooting himself in the chest in open court as a protest against interference with judicial independence

By Basil Fernando In a Thai courthouse on 4th October 2019, Judge Khanakorn Pianchana shot himself in the chest as a protest against interference with the independence of judges in their decision-making process. Fortunately, he survived the suicide attempt – made in open court – and is reportedly out of intensive care. Regarding the issue […]

WORLD: A NATION IS NOT MERELY TERRITORY OR AN IDEOLOGY BUT A COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS

By Basil Fernando Legalistically speaking, a nation is a people living together in a particular geographical region. But legal definitions do not create a nation. The meaning of nation is far deeper than any legal definition of it. Often politicians define a nation in terms of ideologies. For example, if a nation at a given […]

WORLD: International Statement of Solidarity on Assassination of Derk Wiersum

A Joint Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission, Lawyers for Lawyers, and 30 other civil society organisations of the world 4 October 2019 – We, the undersigned organizations, are deeply shocked by the brutal killing of our Dutch colleague Derk Wiersum. We extend our deepest condolences to Mr. Wiersum’s family, friends, colleagues and all […]

SRI LANKA: Weaponisation of Ambiguity – Sri Lanka’s 1978 Constitution

  By Basil Fernando  The 1978 Constitution of Sri Lanka is an outstanding example of how meaning can be manipulated through the weaponisation of ambiguity. It uses language that gives the appearance of a liberal democratic constitution of a republic while also putting in place various devices that severely undermine all the basic norms and standards […]

SRI LANKA: ලංකාවේ නීති අධ්‍යාපනයේ අසාර්ථකත්වය

බැසිල් ප‍්‍රනාන්දු ලංකාවේ නීති අධ්‍යාපනය මුළුමනින්ම අසාර්ථකත්වයකින් පෙළෙන අධ්‍යාපන ක‍්‍රමයකි. වෘත්තීය අධ්‍යාපන ආයතන වල මූලික වගකීම වන්නේ එම වෘත්තියෙහි නියැලීමට බලාපොරොත්තු වන අපේක්ෂකයන්ට එසේ එය කර ගැනීම සඳහා අවශ්‍ය දැනුම, අවශ්‍ය පුහුණුව මෙන්ම අවශ්‍ය සදාචාරක පදනම ඉගැන්වීමය. මේ අනුව බලන විට දැනට ලාංකික නීති අධ්‍යාපනය වටා ගොඩනැගුනු සෑම ආයතනයක් තුළම දකින්නට ලැබෙන්නේ ඔවුන්ගේ වෘත්තිය කර […]

WORLD: Affirming rights by ratification, denying rights in actual practice

Statement | World | 19-09-2019

Affirming something through a declaration and denying the same in actual practice happens everywhere, but the real test of affirmation is the degree to which something is practiced. When what is affirmed and what is actually practiced is virtually divorced then the very act of affirmation becomes a mockery. That, unfortunately, is the situation regarding […]

THAILAND: CONTEMPT OF COURT over critics of decision on MP’s media shareholding

A Statement from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission Case Between the Election Cases Division of the Supreme Court and Sarinee Achavanuntakul, Thai academic                                                    […]

SRI LANKA: An interview on crisis of Law with Mr. Basil Fernando

(Colombo Sri Lanka, August 09, 2019) We are sharing an interview with Mr. Basil Fernando in the National Television Station (Rupavahini) regarding the Crisis of Law in Sri Lanka in their 99 Minutes Program.       Please Click here See the Full Interview

AHRC TV: Legal profession calls for inquiry into police inaction and other stories in JUST ASIA, Episode 262

In this episode Just Asia begins with Hong Kong, where there have been new developments arising out of an attack at Yuen Long MTR station on ordinary citizens. A group of people wearing white shirts, generally believed to be thugs, attacked protesters and ordinary commuters with knives and batons on July 21st. The Hong Kong […]

AHRC TV: UN report says one of nine persons faces hunger and other stories in JUST ASIA, Episode 261

This week Just Asia begins with a new UN report stating that 821 million people, or one out of nine persons globally, is facing hunger. Titled ‘State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019’, the report was launched by five UN agencies at a special event Monday, in New York. Of the world’s […]

SRI LANKA: මරණ දඩුවම අහෝසි කිිරීම පිළිබඳ නීති කෙටුම්පත

 බැසිල් ප‍්‍රනාන්දු. මරණීය දණ්ඩනය අහෝසි කිරීම පිළිබඳව නීති කෙටුම්පතක් ගැසට් කරන බවට ඇති අනාවරණය සතුටට කරුණකි. එය ලෝකයේ බොහෝ රටවල් අශිෂ්ඨ යැයි පිළිගන්නා ක‍්‍රමවේදයක් ලංකාව තුළද පිළිගැනෙන බවට ප‍්‍රකාශයකි. ඒ නිසා මෙය ලංකාවේ නීති ක‍්‍රමය සම්බන්ධයෙන් තීරණාත්මක වෙනසක් ඇති කළ හැකි අවස්ථාවකි. එහෙත් මෙම අවස්ථාවේදී සලකා බලා පිළියම් යෙදිය යුතු තවත් බරපතල ප‍්‍රශ්නයක් ඇත. එනම් […]

SRI LANKA: Sri Lankan Politicians as archetypes of destruction

In the Sri Lankan mind, politicians are thought to be engaged in the destruction of the lives of the people and the foundations of the nation. In the subconscious or unconscious, this has gone so deep that to speak of them as archetypes in the Jungian sense is no exaggeration at all. It is commonly […]

THAILAND: Military authorities can still arbitrarily detain civilians

A Statement from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission   Analysis of the Head of the NCPO Order no. 9/2562 that repealed some Announcements/Orders that are no longer necessary Click here to read the Original Statement On 9 July 2019, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha in his capacity as the Head of […]

SRI LANKA: Power without authority

By Basil Fernando An election can give political power to the winning political party and its leadership. Thereby, they could claim that their exercise of power is legitimate. From the point of view of formal legitimacy, that claim is justifiable. However, elections cannot create the authority of the state if it has lost that authority. […]