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Sri Lanka

CrisisWatch Sri Lanka

Unchanged Situation

Public discontent with national unity govt rising amid serious drought and administrative inefficiencies. Collapse of large garbage dump in Colombo suburb on New Year’s day 14 April, killing over 30 and destroying over 100 houses, prompted widespread criticism of govt for ignoring warnings. Hopes for constitutional reform remained dim: reports emerged 11 April saying Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) informed Constitutional Assembly steering committee that it opposed any changes to constitution requiring referendum, suggesting President Sirisena has made little progress in persuading SLFP ministers to support new constitution. Protests on land and disappearances continued in Tamil majority north, with military agreeing to further modest land releases. Army 7 April returned 29 acres to owners in Valikamam, Jaffna; officials reportedly claimed another 5,250 acres still held by military in Jaffna alone. At 24 April meeting with govt ministers and Tamil politicians, Navy agreed initial release of 40 acres surrounding Catholic church in Mullikulam; 600 additional acres of agricultural land expected to be released in coming months. European Parliament 27 April defeated resolution to block Sri Lanka regaining EU GSP+ tariff benefits, virtually guaranteeing GSP+ renewal on 15 May. Following mid-April visit to Sri Lanka of EU MPs and letter from delegation to PM outlining steps still needed to meet human rights requirements before 15 May deadline, cabinet 25 April approved framework for Counter Terrorism Act, designed to replace Prevention of Terrorism Act, and amendment to Criminal Procedure Code. Human rights advocates criticised draft laws for broad definition of terrorism and range of clauses liable to abuse, and for being shared with EU but not with local population.

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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

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Alan Keenan

Senior Analyst, Sri Lanka
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