Tag Archives: Sri Lanka

Human rights in Sri Lanka take center stage at the United Nations

Sri Lanka has captured attention recently for a deteriorating situation around human rights. International Crisis Group researcher Alan Keenan explains why the Human Rights Council review is so important, and why the world should care.

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Detained without charge in Sri Lanka

I’m a regular subscriber to Jurist, a legal news site run at the University of Pittsburgh. They write excellent explanations and backgrounders of the most interesting legal happenings around the world. This afternoon, I got news that Sri Lanka will be easing emergency regulations and reducing how long the terrorism suspects can be held with out charge. A few days ago, Sri Lanka’s president pardoned a journalist, J.S. Tissainayagam, who was arrested in 2008 under the country’s stringent anti-terrorism laws.

I wrote a piece in the Far Eastern Economic Review last year about Sri Lanka’s broken judiciary — the the emergency rules that extend executive power, violence against attorneys, and the inaccessibility of legal counsel, particularly for those from the embattled North. Much has changed on the island since the end of major conflict between the Sri Lankan Army and the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) last year, but judicial and constitutional problems still plague the country. The piece I wrote about this was a bit long [PDF] so here’s an excerpt: Read more on Detained without charge in Sri Lanka…

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A courtroom drama unfolds in Sri Lanka

J.S. Tissainayagam is a journalist who wrote magazine articles critical of the government. Now he faces 20 years in jail. He was arrested on Mar. 7, 2008, and was convicted on Aug. 31, 2009, of causing ethnic disharmony and for collecting money for the purpose of furthering terrorism. He became the first person to be sentenced under Sri Lanka’s terrorism laws explicitly because of his writing.

How Tissainayagam’s journalistic work translated into offenses punishable under Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act and Emergency Regulations has been difficult for many Sri Lankans, journalists in particular, to understand. The International Commission of Jurists released a report last week that might clear up some of the details. Read more on A courtroom drama unfolds in Sri Lanka…

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A journalist’s role in reporting on conflict

Two Sri Lankan bloggers who I read regularly have recently had interesting things to say about the reporters who write about the long conflict on their island. They raise fundamental questions about the role of journalism in society, a debate that is heightened in conflict zones.

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silver linings

I’ve been absent from the blogosphere for about a month to pursue projects and travel. (Lucky for me, slow blogging is in for 2009.) For most of the last few weeks, I have been in Sri Lanka, meeting people and learning about their lives. For its beautiful sunsets, delicious varieties of tea and wild elephants, there is little escaping the fact that this is an island at war. Colombo’s one-way boulevards are littered with army and police checkpoints, where heavily-armed “vigilance committees” question travelers and check ids. Sometimes the soldiers and officers are serious and to-the-point; sometimes they are conversational, like a welcoming committee with machine guns.

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Posted in Asia, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand | Also tagged , , , | 1 Response

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