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Sri Lanka

CrisisWatch Sri Lanka

Unchanged Situation

Ahead of presidential elections due by end 2019, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa 18 Aug told media his Sri Lanka Podujuna Peramuna party would formally request Supreme Court’s opinion on whether 19th amendment to constitution prohibits him running for third term, as widely believed when amendment adopted in April 2015. Mahinda questioned at his residence 17 Aug by police investigating 2008 abduction of journalist Keith Noyahr. New High Court for major corruption cases began work 24 Aug with indictments of Rajapaksa’s former chief of staff and three others on charges of embezzling $3mn from state insurance firm, and of former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and six others for alleged misappropriation of public funds. Court of Appeal 8 Aug convicted Ven Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara, leader of radical Buddhist organisation Bodu Bala Sena, on four counts of contempt of court relating to incident that took place in Jan 2016, sentenced him to six years’ rigorous imprisonment; Gnanasara filed appeal. Sri Lanka country mission report of UN special rapporteur on promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism 23 July found that Sri Lanka’s “counter-terrorism apparatus is still tainted by the serious pattern of human rights violations that were systematically perpetuated under its authority” and “none of the measures so far adopted to fulfil Sri Lanka’s transitional justice commitments are adequate to ensure real progress”. In first ever visit by a Japanese defence minister, Itsunori Onodera 21-22 Aug met govt leaders and visited ports in Colombo, Hambantota, recently leased to Chinese state-owned company for 99 years, and Trincomalee, site of planned Indian and Japanese investment.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

24 Jun 2018
It is particularly damaging that the reasons the U.S. Government gave for leaving the Human Rights Council – for being hypocritical and biased, echo so closely criticisms that the previous Sri Lankan Government and many Lankan politicians in opposition and in the current Government have made about the Council’s engagement with and resolutions on Sri Lanka. The U.S. withdrawal will have lasting damage and will strengthen governments and politicians across the globe who prefer to be left to their own devices, even when this involves violating the fundamental rights of their own citizens. Sunday Observer

Alan Keenan

Project Director, Sri Lanka
8 Mar 2018
There is good reason to believe [the Sinhala Buddhists attacks in Sri Lanka] are partly designed to provoke a Muslim response, which would then justify more violence against Muslims. Al Jazeera

Alan Keenan

Project Director, Sri Lanka
6 Mar 2018
Many Sinhalese and Buddhists have [the sense] that Sri Lanka [is a] Sinhala and Buddhist island, and [that] other communities are here on the sufferance of the majority. The Guardian

Alan Keenan

Project Director, Sri Lanka
18 Feb 2018
The [Sri Lankan] government will need to figure out how to come together. They need to go back to the drawing board and return to their fundamental principles and start to deliver. CNN

Alan Keenan

Project Director, Sri Lanka
15 Feb 2018
[Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa] has a strong core constituency and a good set of issues, whereas the government has to pull together a range of minority constituents. The Economist

Alan Keenan

Project Director, Sri Lanka
7 Nov 2017
2017 has seen a worrisome return of violence and hate speech in Sri Lanka. U.S. News

Alan Keenan

Project Director, Sri Lanka

Latest Updates

Watch List 2018 – First Update

Crisis Group’s first update to our Watch List 2018 includes entries on Burundi’s dangerous referendum, militant Buddhists and anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka, the impact of the Venezuelan crisis on the region, and the situation in Yemen. This annual early-warning report identifies conflict situations in which prompt action by the European Union and its member states would generate stronger prospects for peace.

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: Jumpstarting the Reform Process

Seven years after its civil war ended, Sri Lanka’s democratic space has reopened but strains are building from a powerful opposition, institutional overlaps and a weakened economy. To make reforms a real success, the prime minister and president should cooperate with openness and redouble efforts to tackle legacies of war like impunity, Tamil detainees and military-occupied land.

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Alan Keenan

Project Director, Sri Lanka
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