Electoral Earthquake in Sri Lanka

Electoral Earthquake in Sri LankaWith the fog having cleared away from Sri Lanka’s Jan. 9 election, there is cautious optimism that the country, devastated by one of the longest and bitterest ethnic conflicts in history followed by a thuggish dictatorship, may be on the road to democratic recovery. If the new president, Maithripala Sirisena – who defected from the…

Sri Lanka Once Again on the Brink

Sri Lanka Once Again on the BrinkFears are growing in Sri Lanka that communal violence will break out again following the worst clashes in five years, leaving at least two dead and over 80 injured. On 15 June clashes between Muslim community members and hardline Buddhist groups broke out in Dharga Town, a Muslim-majority town in the southern Kalutara District, about…

Sri Lanka’s crumbling democracy

Sri Lanka’s crumbling democracyIt is disappointing that Sri Lanka, a country with such a serious democratic deficit, is chairing the Commonwealth for the next two years. All signs indicate Sri Lanka is descending into authoritarianism, and much work is needed if democracy is to be saved. Given Sri Lanka’s chairmanship, it is not clear what the values and…

Survival Sex in Sri Lanka’s Crippled North

Their husbands dead or missing, more women are being forced to turn to survival sex as family breadwinners in Sri Lanka' northern former war zone. According to estimates by local groups working with women to boost their incomes, the number of women engaged in sex work is said to be as many as 7,000, considered…

Housing Crisis for Sri Lanka’s Tamils

Four years after Sri Lanka's bitter, 26-year civil war ended in 2009, thousands of permanent homes needed for returnees to northern Sri Lanka are not being built because of a lack of donor funding. "Although the remaining gap in the housing sector in the north keeps changing due to new returnees, there is a serious…

Sri Lanka’s Ominous Authoritarian Turn

The Mahinda Rajapaksa government in Sri Lanka, more than three years after the end of the devastating civil war that paralyzed the country for 22 years, has instituted a virtual reign of terror against not only its defeated Tamil minority but against many of its own citizens in the south, critics say. The government's repressive…

Sri Lanka Rejoining the World

The government of Mahinda Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka has probably botched its dealings with the United States, the European Union and the United Nations. Still, the disenchantment with Colombo may be overblown three years after the end of the 26-year civil war, which ended in 2009. While major countries and agencies continue to wag their…

A Cautionary Tale on Sri Lankan Refugees

During the final quarter of 2009, a cargo ship called the Jaya Lastari, with 256 Tamil asylum seekers aboard, was impounded off the island of Java by the Indonesian navy. The Tamil asylum-seekers refused to disembark, saying they no longer had a country of their own. The three-year-old story has relevance today because of the…

Sri Lanka’s Missing Thousands

Three years after the government of Sri Lanka declared an end to decades of civil conflict with separatist rebels, thousands of people are still missing, according to the United Nations and Sri Lankan activists, and more continue to disappear. The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances of the UN Office for the High Commissioner…

Sri Lanka’s Top Media Jobs Still Elude Women

In post-colonial Sri Lanka, women have reached the top in medicine, engineering, banking and business. But while this encouraging trend has spread to family-owned business houses and even small-scale enterprises in the rural areas, the one profession where women have yet to enjoy that kind of equality and success is the media. The numbers of…
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