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Sri Lanka

CrisisWatch Sri Lanka

Unchanged Situation

President Sirisena continued to struggle to win support of his own Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) on constitutional reform; requested Constitutional Assembly (CA) steering committee draft new, shorter version of its interim report containing key elements of new constitution. After meeting consultation task force on reconciliation mechanisms 30 Jan, Sirisena reportedly confirmed transitional justice will not be pursued until after completion of constitutional reforms process. FM 7 Feb argued new constitution would be “most potent weapon for non-recurrence” of conflict and will be prioritised over accountability. FM 28 Feb told UN Human Rights Council a draft law for “Truth-Seeking Commission” would be presented to cabinet within next two months. European Parliament’s international trade committee began consideration of European Commission’s recommendation to grant GSP+ trade benefits to Sri Lankan; decision due by mid-May. Govt took some potentially positive steps on repeal of controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), including Right to Information Act, which became operational 3 Feb, and formally gazetting draft law criminalising enforced disappearances 9 Feb. Police 18-19 Feb arrested five military intelligence officers for 2008 abduction and beating of journalist; later told court same hit squad responsible for 2009 murder of editor Lasantha Wickrematunga, with police reported to believe they acted under orders of then-defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Tamil majority north and east saw wave of protest, including demanding return of land built on by army in Kepapilavu and action on missing persons, and “Tamils, Rise” demonstration demanding inter alia federal constitution. Under increasing pressure, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader 23 Feb told parliament issues of land, detainees, missing persons and reparation needed to be addressed urgently if current peace to last.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

9 Mar 2017
There is work to be done by both Sinhala and Tamil activists [in Sri Lanka], in persuading Sinhalese voters to support the new constitution and make the case for a shared interest in ending impunity. Daily Financial Times

Alan Keenan

Senior Analyst, Sri Lanka
26 Jan 2017
China sold a lot of weapons and lent a lot of money to Sri Lanka and remained a useful ally even in the Human Rights Council, all through the end of the war. Quartz

Alan Keenan

Senior Analyst, Sri Lanka
7 Dec 2016
There was always a doubt about the commitment of the [Sri Lankan] president and prime minister. As time goes on, those doubts have grown. The New York Times

Alan Keenan

Senior Analyst, Sri Lanka
1 Sep 2016
With the UN’s help, Sri Lanka could yet build a state that respects the rule of law and protects the rights of all its citizens. Inside Story

Alan Keenan

Senior Analyst, Sri Lanka

Latest Updates

Op-Ed / Asia

Sri Lanka’s Transition to Nowhere

The bloom is off two years of hope that the rule of law can be restored for all and that a 60-year failure to grant Tamils a fair share of power, in the Sinhala majority island, can be rectified.

 

 

Originally published in The Diplomat Magazine

Op-Ed / Asia

Unfinished Business in Sri Lanka

Originally published in Inside Story

Op-Ed / Asia

Time to seize the moment in Sri Lanka

Originally published in Inside Story

Our People

Alan Keenan

Senior Analyst, Sri Lanka
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