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Sri Lanka

CrisisWatch Sri Lanka

Unchanged Situation

Parliamentary committee on constitutional reform 21 Sept presented parliament delayed interim report with blueprint for new constitution: deals with nature of state, unit of devolution, electoral reform and religion; unclear if and when constitutional assembly will debate report. Coalition govt 20 Sept passed Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Bill postponing provincial polls planned for 2018, despite opposition protests. Supreme Court ruled that sections of proposed 20th amendment were unconstitutional and would require a referendum. Under bill, polls to be conducted under new hybrid system combining first-past-the-post and proportional representation. At 36th session of UN Human Rights Council, high commissioner for human rights Zeid al Ra’ad Hussein 11 Sept urged Colombo to accelerate “essential confidence building measures” such as replacing Prevention of Terrorism Act and reducing militarisation in north. President 12 Sept operationalised Office of Missing Persons (OMP), breaking deadlock in transitional justice related reforms, but maintained hard-line position on trying military officials amid renewed allegations against retired army commander General Jagath Jayasuriya for war crimes in north during final stages of civil war. Jayasuriya’s predecessor General Sarath Fonseka said he would be ready to testify against him; President Sirisena said he would not allow any “war hero” to be tried by “foreign group”. Addressing UN General Assembly 20 Sept, Sirisena asked international community to recognise and support Sri Lanka’s “slow” but “steady” reform on democratisation and human rights. Govt failed for second time 21 Sept to bring to parliament scheduled legislation to criminalise enforced disappearances, amid campaign by opposition that it could be used against military.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

9 Aug 2017
There are lots of little initiatives under way [in Sri Lanka.] But they don't add up to a coherent or effective response to the desperate situation so many women are facing in the north and east. Reuters

Alan Keenan

Senior Analyst, Sri Lanka
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

Report / Asia

Sri Lanka Between Elections

Sri Lanka’s 17 August parliamentary elections will test the country’s fragile democratic opening. With the hardline Sinhala nationalism of ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa challenging the “good governance” agenda of the United National Party and President Sirisena, the outcome will affect chances for reconciliation and lasting resolution of the country’s long-running conflicts.

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Alan Keenan

Senior Analyst, Sri Lanka
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