LEAD NEWS

Sudarshana Gunawardena has been appointed chairman of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC).

Sudarshana Gunewardene is a lawyer by profession. He is a co founder and the Executive Director of Rights Now Collective for Democracy, a Sri Lankan Civil Society Organization working for the promotion of democratization, national reconciliation and human rights. Prior to that he headed the Movement for the Defense of Democratic Rights in Sri Lanka.

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British General Election and Nationalism

Prime Minister Theresa May conducted a snap general election in order to have more power in negotiating Brexit talks with the European Union. According to the election results so far released with results of one more seat to be released, Conservative Party secured 318 (2015- 331) seats, Labour Party secured 261 (2015-232) seats and Scottish

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WAR CRIMES BEING PIVOT OF TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE STALLS PROGRESS–Jehan Perera

The government achieved its main goal at the UN Human Rights Council at the session just completed in March. It was able to obtain a two year extension to deliver on the promise it made at a previous session of the UNHRC in October 2015. There is a consensus that the government’s performance has been

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Human Rights Council gives Sri Lanka two more years

Resolution adopted without a vote at UNHRC in Geneva  US says Lanka’s cosponsorship testament to Sirisena Govt.’s international engagement, commitment to reconciliation Harsha thanks member states for understanding and support  OHCHR needs $ 362,000 to implement Lanka resolution in 2018-2019 Deputy Foreign Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva at UNHRC sessions yesterday By Dharisha Bastians in Geneva The United

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FORGETTING THE PAST: A WARNING

On March 24th, human rights activists and victims’ groups worldwide will commemorate International Day for the Dignity of Victims, in honour of victims of mass atrocity crimes and human rights violations.  In Sri Lanka too, the day will be marked by events throughout the country. Tragically, this country has no lack of commemorative days on

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Clarifying Pre-conceived Notions About UN Human Rights Council Focusing on Sri Lanka’s Accountability Issues.

By Dr.Nirmala Chandrahasan At the current 34th sessions of the UNHRC the draft resolution on ‘Reconciliation, accountability and human rights’, to be placed before the Council shortly, requests Sri Lanka to fully implement the measures identified in HRC Resolution 30/1 that are outstanding, while extending the time limit. In this context we have to once

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Right to information: A tool to empower people

Recently I had an opportunity to discuss the Right to Information Act with Will Ferroggiaro, a Washington DC-based consultant with more than 20 years’ experience working on freedom of expression, Government accountability and human rights. He has worked on the right to information in countries around the world, including India, Japan and South Africa as

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REBOOTING THE CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM PROCESS: A CIVIL SOCIETY STATEMENT

12 March 2017 It is now over two months since the constitutional reform process went into abeyance, with the indefinite postponement in January of the submission of the Steering Committee’s Interim Report to the Constitutional Assembly for debate. Substantial work was undertaken during 2015, including the work of the Public Representations Committee, the Subcommittees of

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Going beyond empty speeches for gender justice

The Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) issued in regard to Sri Lanka on March 3rd this year is illuminating in several respects. It was significant that the Observations were released just a few days before the world marked the International Day of Women. In Sri

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There are many challenges in getting RTI laws properly implemented – US expert

Government could assert national security exemption in case of identifiable harm RTI can be of some help in getting transitional justice Sovereignty and inclusiveness among major global issues  Who is Will? Will Ferroggiaro is a Washington (DC)-based consultant with more than 20 years experience working on freedom of expression, government accountability, and human rights. He

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OTHER NEWS

JOINT DECISIONMAKING TO OVERCOME SENSE OF DRIFT THAT HARMS COUNTRY’S PROSPECTS–Jehan Perera

In the public perception there is a sense of drift in the constructive activities of the government on all fronts. President Maithripala Sirisena has been attempting to overcome this sense of drift by political means. He has been having public programmes that enhance his own visibility. An example would be the SLFP Youth Convention where

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Education is not a commodity: but it is and it should be negotiable

Students claim that education is not a commodity ‘Education is not a commodity’ has been a popular view almost universally held by Sri Lanka’s student community in higher learning institutions. For them, it is non-negotiable. Even some university academics at the country’s state universities have been ardent proponents of this view. This view held by them

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No foreign judges, only foreign observers: PM

The Government is agreeable to the presence of foreign observers and not to foreign judges to view the judicial procedures on human rights violations, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament today. He was responding to a question asked by joint opposition parliamentary group leader Dinesh Gunawardane as to how the Foreign Affairs Minister was to

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Zeid continues to underscore ‘hybrid court

United Nations High commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid al-Hussein told the 34th regular session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva today that they continue to underscore the concept of hybrid court to Sri Lanka to utilize an accountability mechanism. Following the resolution debate of the member countries on Sri Lanka, the High Commissioner said

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SL co-sponsors new resolution

Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Harsha De Silva a short while ago told the 34th session of the UNHRC that Sri Lanka will be co-sponsoring a Resolution with the United States and the other main co-sponsors of previous resolution (30/1) on the country for a two-year extension of the timeline for fulfilment of commitments made in

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Lanka’s UN mission hosts panel talks on gender empowerment

UNITED NATIONS— The Sri Lanka Mission to the UN hosted two panel discussions last week to coincide with the 61st annual session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) focusing on the themes: “Empowering Women’s Economic Leadership” and “Women in Post-Conflict Reconciliation.” In her opening address, Minister for Women & Child Affairs

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Yet another imaginative proposal to privilege the police

The tortuous dance of some in Government to ensure that a suspect in police custody is not allowed legal counsel at the earliest opportunity is indeed painful to observe. The latest amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure Act suggested by the Ministry of Justice reflects this reluctance exceedingly well. Now, instead of the earlier

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STRENGTHENING CREDIBILITY REQUIRES TIME LINE FOR IMPLEMENTING COMMITMENTS

The ongoing session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva is generating strong hopes and emotions especially in the former war zones of the north and east of the country and amongst the Tamil Diaspora.  Many of the people living there have been direct victims of the war that lasted nearly three decades.  They look to

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Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu participated at the inauguration;

Executive Director of the Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA) Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu yesterday participated at the inauguration of Masters Degree programme 2017 offered by the Faculty of Graduate Studies of the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University. On his arrival, Dr. Saravanamuttu, who functioned as the Secretary to the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanism

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Yahapalana foot soldiers intensify campaign for new Constitution : By Shamindra Ferdinando

Civil society groups that campaigned for Maithripala Sirisena at the January 2015 presidential poll, have stepped up their campaign for a new constitution. The project gets underway against the backdrop of members of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) reaching consensus as regards a new resolution to give space for Sri Lanka to

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EU asks for ‘concrete’ HR progress ahead of GSP+

Recognises progress on several fronts including RTI, legislation on the Office of Missing Persons Detailed exchanges with PM and Mangala on constitution-making and repealing PTA     EU Working Group conclusions to be reported to EU-Sri Lanka Joint Commission  The European Union has underscored the importance of the Sri Lankan Government achieving “prompt and concrete” progress

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CONVICTED OF SCREENING HUMAN RIGHTS DOCUMENTARY

MALAYSIAN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER LENA HENDRY HAS BEEN CONVICTED BY THE KUALA LUMPUR MAGISTRATE COURT FOR THE PRIVATE SCREENING OF THE DOCUMENTARY “NO FIRE ZONE: THE KILLING FIELDS OF SRI LANKA”. SHE FACES UP TO THREE YEARS IMPRISONMENT OR A FINE OF UP TO RM30, 000 ($7,200 USD). Lena Hendry, in her capacity as staff

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134 years of criminalization is enough

Ceylon’s colonization by the British rule had a sizeable impact on what we now deem as cultural and social norms in Sri Lanka today. When the British established themselves in this country, they brought in their morals and culture which contrasted dramatically with what we Sri Lankans practised pre-colonization. With colonization, the British forced upon

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Democracy Has Always Been a Contact Sport Interview by Julia Hanna

In the wake of a rancorous presidential election and the early, tumultuous days of the Trump administration, a new book by HBS professor David Moss—Democracy: A Case Study—serves as a reminder of that one word’s living, breathing origins. In a collection of 19 case studies, Moss examines key institutions and decision points of American democracy

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The Geneva ‘disconnect’

Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera heading the Sri Lankan Government delegation to the UNHRC’s 34th Session addressing a side event at the Palais des Nations last week. The event was organised by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva and chaired by Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, Ambassador

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Backlash against women’s rights progress hurts us all.

Statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein International Women’s Day, 8 March. GENEVA (8 March 2017) –Today we honour the human rights struggle of millions of women who have demanded respect for their rights and the rights of others. The women’s movement has brought about tremendous change but we must

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Speaking Frankly About Sri Lanka and Accountability

 Taylor Dibbert, Sri Lanka’s compliance with an October 2015 UN Human Rights Council resolution is being hotly debated at the Council’s 34th session, which began in late February and will run through March 24. At this point, it looks as though another resolution on Sri Lanka will be passed later this month and that the

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