Le rapport de la Commission des Droits de l’Homme des Nations Unies

Le Conseil des Droits de l’Homme des Nations Unies réuni en session à Genève en septembre 2015 a adopté une résolution concernant la situation passée et présente de Sri Lanka sur la base du rapport détaillé fourni par le Haut Commissaire des Droits de l’Homme. Nos lecteurs peuvent prendre connaissance de ces deux textes dans leur version anglaise; une analyse détaillée en sera faite ultérieurement

OHCHR Report 2015
United Nations Resolution

« Torture of Tamil detainees in Sri Lanka has continued, says charity » by Julian Borger

Sri Lankan security forces have continued to torture Tamil detainees even after the election of reformist president Maithripala Sirisena in January, according to a report.

The report, by the UK-based charity Freedom From Torture (FFT) and published on Thursday, comes just four days before critical parliamentary elections on 17 August. Sirisena, elected on a promise to lift government repression, is seeking to prevent a comeback by his predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa, whose government has been accused of systematic brutality against the country’s Tamils after the military rout of the Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009.

see: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/13/torture-tamil-detainees-sri-lanka-report-alleges

« Dark clouds over the Sunshine Paradise: Tourism and Human Rights in Sri Lanka » by Society for Threatened Peoples by

‘During the war, many Tamils fled the north and settled abroad or in other regions of the island. Since the end of the war, many of them have wanted to return and reclaim their land. However, the army has other plans: the appropriated estates have become
Military Camps, High Security Zones (HSZ) or Special Economic Zones (SEZ).’


CPA’s extensive work on land issues that has been referenced in this report can be accessed here http://bit.ly/1EgJoEp

« Transitional Justice in Sri Lanka and Ways Forward » by Centre for Policy Alternatives

With the end of the war in 2009, the need to address the widespread death, destruction, and displacement was overwhelming. Allegations against all sides of potential war crimes and crimes against humanity demands an independent investigation and the prosecution within a credible court of law of those responsible for international crimes committed during the final stages of the war and during its aftermath. The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) has consistently called for such independent investigations and other accountability measures to address truth, justice, reparations and non-recurrence of violence in Sri Lanka. This appeal continues six years after the end of the war. In this report, CPA sets out a range of processes and mechanisms available to the Sri Lankan government to ensure accountability for serious human rights violations and alleged crimes committed during the war. While many stakeholders are identified in the report, the ultimate responsibility for truth and justice in Sri Lanka lies with its citizens; accordingly they must play the central role in the design and implementation of future processes and mechanisms. CPA hopes that the options provided in this report enrich the discussions and debates about the design and implementation of a credible domestic process with the long term goal of achieving truth and justice in Sri Lanka.

« The ‘Unfinished War’ Against Sri Lanka’s Tamils » by Taylor Dibbert

This is a well-written, timely document which underscores the grave and comprehensive challenges that ethnic Tamils continue to face in post-war Sri Lanka. The detailed accounts of torture and rape are difficult to read, but – aside from the horrific violations recounted – what really stands out is the comprehensive, wide-ranging and pernicious nature of Sri Lanka’s state security apparatus, which continues to operate with impunity.

see: http://thediplomat.com/2015/07/the-unfinished-war-against-sri-lankas-tamils/

« Sri Lanka: New report names torture camps and perpetrators » by Athula Vithanage

« A security force insider has told ITJP researchers that military intelligence officials operating from JOSEF camp ‘were actively looking for any Tamils returning home from abroad in order to interrogate them’, since President Maithripala Sirisena was elected to office in 2015. ITJP has recorded eight accounts of torture and abuse that happened after January 8, 2015, the most recent in July 2015. »

see: http://www.jdslanka.org/index.php/news-features/human-rights/543-sri-lanka-new-report-names-torture-camps-and-perpetrators

« The ‘Unfinished War’ Against Sri Lanka’s Tamils » by Taylor Dibbert

This is a well-written, timely document which underscores the grave and comprehensive challenges that ethnic Tamils continue to face in post-war Sri Lanka. The detailed accounts of torture and rape are difficult to read, but – aside from the horrific violations recounted – what really stands out is the comprehensive, wide-ranging and pernicious nature of Sri Lanka’s state security apparatus, which continues to operate with impunity.

see: http://thediplomat.com/2015/07/the-unfinished-war-against-sri-lankas-tamils/

Report « Broadening gender: Why masculinities matter » by by CARE International Sri Lanka

The study, « Broadening gender: Why masculinities matter – a study on attitudes, practices and gender-based violence in four districts in Sri Lanka » was conducted by CARE International Sri Lanka, under its Empowering Men to Engage and Redefine Gender Equality project and launched in April 2013.

via: http://www.partners4prevention.org/resource/broadening-gender-why-masculinities-matter

Présidentielles 2015: nouvelle analyse

Après le rapport de deux chercheurs de l’Université de Colombo reproduit antérieurement (slkdiaspo.hypotheses.org/4222), nous attirons l’attention sur une nouvelle analyse préélectorale, à deux jours du scrutin, qui parvient aux mêmes conclusions sur la base d’une méthode différente.


Présidentielles 2015: l’analyse de deux chercheurs de l’Université de Colombo

L’analyse pré-électorale proposée par deux chercheurs attachés à l’Université de Colombo, qui avait fait l’objet de fuites dans la presse, est la seule à ce jour à avoir été publiée et à avoir exposé les méthodes employées. C’est à ce titre que nous la proposons ci-dessous à nos lecteurs.

January 01, 2014

We, the undersigned, wish to put the record straight regarding a research we two jointly have undertaken to develop an empirical model to analyse the Sri Lankan voter behavior at Presidential elections over the past 10 years with the objective of contributing to the body of social research.

1. This research team was jointly led by us; T L Gunaruwan, Senior Lecturer attached to the University of Colombo and D S Jayaweera, an independent policy analyst, currently the Director General of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.

2. There is no formal involvement of the University of Colombo or SLTDA in this research, as it is the case with regard to most of our research activities, and any involvement one could imagine is limited to the extent of us being employed at these organisations, and the research team being comprised of several junior researchers and research students attached to the University of Colombo, and our academic and research contact points at several other Universities.

3. Our interests were purely academic and research in nature, and thus, we never released any of the interim outcomes of our still-ongoing research to media. However, we have recently observed several news items in media pertaining to a “Colombo University survey” on presidential elections, some of which even contained our names, but with some contents we cannot claim ownership.

4. Even though we cannot exclude the possibility of there being other surveys conducted by other researchers attached to the University of Colombo and other academic and research institutions on this subject, it would be unfair if such are quoted or published without the explicit consent of any such researchers, including us, and more so if the contents are not properly reported so that misleading opinions could be developed in the minds of the readers.

5. Since we realise the possibility of these numerous reports quoting out of context our research and their various outputs, we thought of putting the record straight by releasing to media the outcomes of our research as it stood at 27th December 2014, while requesting all concerned to avoid using these for any marketing or propaganda purposes. We, however, have no objection of anyone or organisation using these for further research work or for their internal planning and strategic decision making purposes.

T Lalithasiri Gunaruwan, Senior Lecturer (Economics), University of Colombo, and

D S Jayaweera, Policy Analyst (Currently the DG/SLTDA)

January 01, 2015

Attached: Outcomes of our Research as at Dec 27, 2014.

SURVEY ON VOTING PATTERNS – Presidential Election 2015

(Survey conducted by a research team of the University of Colombo)

Sample :

(a) Relatively smaller sample (little less than 1000) compared to total population of little over 15 million. Survey forms were collected at convenience, and therefore, district-wise or electorate-wise representative sampling could not be realised. The results have to be perceived having proper understanding of this aspect.

(b) Over 80% of the sample were Sinhala Buddhists, and thus this sample has that bias, given that the overall share of Sinhala Buddhist voters is approximately 70% of the total votes.

(c) No survey responses were obtained from North (except one respondent from Jaffna, and two from Mullativu), while much larger number of responses were obtained from East, North Central, Western and Southern provinces. Only a few responses were obtained from Central, Uva, Wayamba and Sabaragamuwa Provinces.

(d) Sample characteristics indicate that it is overwhelmingly biased towards Mahinda Rajapaksa, as out of those who have cast their votes in the respective elections, over 75% had voted for MR in 2010 and 2005 elections (when his national average stood around 58% in 2010 and just above 50% in 2005).


1. Around 20% for the first time voters and nearly 13%-15% of the total respondents are still undecided. This indecision is still substantially high, and means that a lot could still change, particularly through the events and behavior of parties over the next two weeks.

2. Only 1% of the respondents in the aggregate sample pronounced preference to vote for a third candidate, while nearly 3% would vote for no one. These ratios are 2% and 7%, respectively, with regard to fresh voters. This indicates the likelihood of relatively lesser share of votes polled by any candidate other than the two main contenders, while the cancellation rate also is likely to be relatively low (please note that this percentage is compatible with what was observed at past national elections).

3. In the face of it, 44% to 39% split between MR and MS in a highly “MR-biased” (as explained in “d” above) sample points at the highly competitive nature of the forthcoming election, where the possibility of MR’s share going below 50% is substantial.

4. The present survey thus adopted a different approach to examine the trends. The 2015 vote base was divided into “new votes” and “non-new votes”; and the share of votes polled by individual candidates were considered with regard to “new votes”, while the “shifts” away from MR (in 2010) to MS (in 2015) and vice-versa were estimated and applied on to the population with regard to “non-new votes”.

5. As per the survey results, MR would obtain 38% of the “new-votes” while MS would obtain 33%. The balance would be accounted under votes obtained by other candidates, non-voters, and those who are still undecided.

6. With regard to “non-new votes”, nearly 28% of those who voted for MR in 2010 would shift towards MS this time and 11% would still be undecided, while 4% of those who voted for Sarath Fonseka in 2010 would shift towards MR in 2015 while 11% would be undecided. It is interesting to note that nearly 30% of those who voted for MR in 2005 Presidential election would deflect towards MS in 2015, and around 9% of those voted for Ranil Wickramasinghe in 2005 would deflect towards MR in the coming election.

7. Applying the basic survey results to the overall population, and using the 2010 election results as the basis for projections, it could be estimated that the chances are greater for MS to win this election with around 53% of the total valid votes, assuming that the absentee voter ratio stays unchanged at around 25%.

8. This pattern was cross examined through an “ethnicity based” analysis. This was attempted because the survey sample appeared overwhelmingly “Sinhalese”, and any shift calculated based on such a biased sample would only apply to that particular ethnic electorate. The results indicated the likelihood of MS securing a lead of over 2 lakhs of votes over MR in this electoral block, paving the way for an MS victory with a likely preference for him in Tamil and Muslim electorates. The survey results indicate that MS could secure the required 50% of total valid votes if he manages to get around half of the Tamil and Muslim votes, while MR would require over 60% of the Tamil and Muslim votes if he is to surpass MS in the overall competition and to cross over the crucial 50% threshold.

9. The results thus indicate the importance for both candidates of their margins secured in the Sinhalese electorate, which accounts for over 112 lakhs or three-fourth of the total number of registered voters. For instance, one lakh of lead lost for MS in the Sinhala electorate than the above indicated survey estimates would necessitate him to secure over 57% of minority votes (compared to nearly 50% required in the case of two lakhs of lead in the Sinhala electorate) for overall election victory.

10. Based on the survey estimates and a hypothetical 35:65 ratio of minority votes split between MR and MS respectively, the ethnicity specific analysis would yield an overall outcome closer to that projected under (7) above, with nearly 60 lakhs of votes (53%) polled by MS, 50 lakhs (44%) by MR, and 3% going to others.

11. However, it must be emphasised that nearly 20% of the first time voters, and around 13% of the overall electorate, are still undecided, which could go into either camp over the next two weeks, and could either reinforce or reverse the overall estimates made in this analysis. It is interesting to note that only less than 1% of the overall respondents pronounced interest in constitutional reforms or economic hardships such as high cost of living or unemployment. An overwhelming majority expressing preference for MR was for his war effort, strong leadership against external intervention, national unity and not reverting back to war or separatism, and those preferring MS were largely owing to accountability, transparency and governance issues in the MR rule. It is therefore very clear that the Sinhalese vote base, largely reflected in the sample surveyed, is sensitive to the national issue, and those still undecided among them, even though a majority has not given reasons for their indecision, are prone to tilt towards the camp which assures them of peace and national security. Strategic sail through the next two weeks of campaigning is therefore likely to be crucial for both candidates.


This analysis therefore tends to indicate a probable victory for MS at the forthcoming Presidential elections. However, there is a significant share of undecided voters, which makes the competition still wide open for both parties; and the estimates made in this analysis are likely to be influenced by the decision that will be made by these undecided voters over the next two weeks.

T L Gunaruwan (University of Colombo) and D S Jayaweera (SLTDA)

Joint Survey Analysts

December 27, 2014

« The Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons: Trends, Practices and Implications » by CPA

The present critique by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) captures key issues and trends observed during public sittings of the Commission and the perceptions of affected communities and civil society who have observed and engaged with the present process. At the very outset CPA notes that the Commission, operating under the Commissions of Inquiry apparatus, is structurally flawed, given its dependence on the Executive for appointments, financing and follow up action. Having observed a string of failed State initiatives at transitional justice in recent years and the lack of progress with past Commissions appointed by successive governments, CPA calls for immediate steps to be taken for legal and policy reform that provides for a genuine and credible domestic process at truth seeking, justice and accountability. Failure in this regard further confirms the inability of domestic processes to address grievances in a post war context and strengthens calls for international investigations.

Access the full document here – http://www.cpalanka.org/the-presidential-commission-to-inv…/

« Infographic: 5 Facts about Sri Lanka’s Up Country Tamil community » by CPA

This is the second in a series of infographics that have been designed using the latest findings from the ‘Democracy in Post War Sri Lanka’ survey conducted by Social Indicator, the survey research unit of the Centre for Policy Alternatives.

In light of the Koslanda landslide tragedy, the findings from the survey with regard to the Up Country Tamil community is of significance – here is a community badly affected by the state of the economy, whose key issues are poverty and unemployment and feel like they have very little say about the affairs of the country. These findings are not new – looking at survey data from four years ago it is evident that things have only got worse or stayed the same.

When comparing the findings from the four main communities, it appears that the Up Country Tamil community is the most affected by the current state of the Sri Lankan economy, making serious cut backs in the household expenditure. Almost 60% of households in the Up Country Tamil community say that they have cut back on the amount or quality of food they purchase while 58.2% of households have gone without medicine or medical treatment.

Overall, the findings from the Democracy survey show that priorities when it comes to development, impact of the cost of living on the household, freedom of expression and movement, satisfaction with reconciliation efforts, sense of empowerment as citizens of Sri Lanka vary by different ethnic communities and even by Provinces.

Read the latest top line report in full here.

« Legal and Policy Implications of Recent Land Acquisitions, Evictions and Related Issues in Sri Lanka » by Bhavani Fonseka (CPA)

Land has a central place in the post war debates involving resettlement, reconstruction, development and the search for a political solution. With the ten year anniversary of the tsunami nearing and more than five years after the end of the war, many questions regarding land issues persist including continuing challenges to individuals being able to fully enjoy, access and use their lands and reside in their homes, due to restrictions placed in the name of security and development. Furthermore, Sri Lanka has a complex framework for legal and possessory rights, covering both State and private land. This framework is meant to provide tenure security for individuals residing and using the land and safeguards to prevent arbitrary displacement and eviction. The legal and policy framework, despite its shortcomings and the need for reform in specific areas, is a basic starting point of a governance system as well as constituting recognition of the rights of those owning and in possession of land. Unfortunately, present practices and recent policy decisions undermine the framework in place and demonstrate a deliberate disregard and/or ignorance of what is in the books. These challenges are highlighted in the present brief with recommendations provided for immediate reform.

« Top line survey results: Democracy in post-war Sri Lanka » by CPA

According to the latest ‘Democracy in Post War Sri Lanka’ survey conducted by Social Indicator, the survey research unit of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, divisions between people’s opinions when it comes to reconciliation still persist. The state of the economy and cost of living continue to adversely affect the household with people compromising on food quality and medical care. With Presidential elections due early next year, it is interesting to note that 44.3% of Sri Lankans think that the Constitution should limit a President to serving a maximum of two terms.

On the Sri Lankan economy, 31.9% of Sri Lankans believe that the general economic situation in the country has got a little better while almost 27% say that it has got a little worse and 18.5% say that it has got a lot worse. When it comes to the current economic situation of the country, 36.7% of Sri Lankans believe that it is somewhat good while 30.6% say somewhat bad and 19.5% say that it is very bad.

The financial situation of the household seems to have got worse in the last 2 years – almost 30% of Sri Lankans say that it has got a little worse while 25.6% say that it has got a lot worse. 24.2% of Sri Lankans state that they have gone without medicine or medical treatment in the last year, with the Up Country Tamil community (58.2%) being the most affected. Compromising on food quality, 42.7% of Sri Lankans say that they have cut back on the amount or quality of food they have purchased with again the Up Country Tamil community being the most affected (almost 60%).

When it comes to reconciliation, divisions in opinion between the communities persist. 40.8% of Sri Lankans believe that the Government has done a little, but not enough to address the root causes of the conflict, which resulted in thirty years of war. 39.9% from the Tamil community and 33.3% from the Up Country Tamil community believe that the Government has done nothing to address the root causes of the war while 35% from the Sinhalese community said the Government has done a lot to address the root causes.

Around 54% of Sri Lankans say that they approve of the increase in the role of the forces in civilian tasks, with 17% saying that they strongly approve. 41.6% from the Sinhalese community said that they somewhat approve of this role while 30.2% from the Tamil community said that they strongly disapproved.

With Presidential elections due next year, it is worth highlighting that 44.3% of Sri Lankans think that the Constitution should limit a President to serving a maximum of two terms while 27.6% say that there should be no limit. From the four communities, it is mainly the Muslim community (69.7%) who believe that there should be limit of two terms while 59.5% from the Up Country Tamil community, 57.3% from Tamil and 38.4% of Sinhalese say the same.

Commenting on the media in Sri Lanka, 30% of Sri Lankans said that they somewhat agree that the media in Sri Lanka is completely free to criticise the government as they wish. 40.5% of Sri Lankans believe that the media should have a right to publish any views and ideas without Government control while another 34% of Sri Lankans believe that the Government should have the right to prevent the media from publishing things it considers harmful to society.

On the role of religion and ethnicity in politics, 37.9% of Sri Lankans said that the role of Buddhism in Sri Lankan politics is the right amount while 37.8% of Sri Lankans said that the role is too much. The view that the role of Buddhism in Sri Lankan politics is too much is felt by majority of the Tamil (79.3%), Up Country Tamil (91.1%) and Muslim (83.4%) communities while only 23.1% from the Sinhalese community felt the same. Close to 50% of Sinhalese believe that it is the right amount.

‘Democracy in post-war Sri Lanka’ sought to record public perspectives on democracy in Sri Lanka today and the findings are presented under five key sections – Economy and Development, Post War Sri Lanka, The Government, Media and Role of Religion and Ethnicity in Politics. The first wave was conducted in 2011 and the second wave in 2013.

Conducted in the 25 districts of the country, the 2014 survey captured the opinion of 1900 Sri Lankans from the four main ethnic groups. The selection of respondents was random across the country except in a few areas in the Northern Province where access was difficult. Fieldwork was conducted from June – July 2014.

Access the full report from here.


Social Indicator (SI) is the survey research unit of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and was established in September 1999, filling a longstanding vacuum for a permanent, professional and independent polling facility in Sri Lanka on social and political issues. Driven by the strong belief that polling is an instrument that empowers democracy, SI has been conducting polls on a large range of socio-economic and political issues since its inception.

Please contact Iromi Perera at iromi@cpasocialindicator.org for further information.

« Liking violence: A study of hate speech on Facebook in Sri Lanka » by CPA

24 September 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) is pleased to launch ‘Liking violence: A study of hate speech on Facebook in Sri Lanka’, authored by Shilpa Samaratunge and Sanjana Hattotuwa.

Download the full report here or read it online here. Download just the Introduction and Executive Summary here or read it online here.

The report is the first in Sri Lanka to focus on hate and dangerous speech in online fora, contextualising the growth of this disturbing digital content with increasing violence against Muslims and other groups in Sri Lanka. As the blurb on the front cover of the report avers,

« The growth of online hate speech in Sri Lanka does not guarantee another pogrom. It does however pose a range of other challenges to government and governance around social, ethnic, cultural and religious co-existence, diversity and, ultimately, to the very core of debates around how we see and organise ourselves post-war. »

The report looks at 20 Facebook groups in Sri Lanka over a couple of months, focussing on content generated just before, during and immediately after violence against the Muslim community. Detailed translations into English of the original material posted to these groups (including photographic and visual content) and the responses they generated are provided. It is the first time a study has translated into English the qualitative nature of commentary and content published on these Facebook groups, indicative of a larger and growing malaise in post-war Sri Lanka.

More generally, the study looks at the phenomenon of hate speech online – how it occurs and spreads online, what kind of content is produced, by whom and for which audiences. In addition to Sri Lanka, policy frameworks and legislation around online hate speech in Kenya, Rwanda, India, Pakistan, Canada and Australia are also flagged in the report.