“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.

Report “Discriminating Against Excellence: Abuses in Recruitment Practices at the University of Jaffna”

“The most prevalent form of abuse documented is in the selection of probationary lecturers (or assistant lecturers), resulting in the most highly qualified candidates such as First Class degree-holders being systematically excluded from consideration or denied positions.”

to download the report: click here

source: http://jfnusta.blogspot.fr/2014/07/httpsdrive.html?spref=fb

“Information on Aluthgama – Fact Finding by a Women’s Collective” by Ahilan Kadirgamar

On the 15th of June 2014 ethnic riots took place in Aluthgama following a rally organized by the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), a Buddhist fundamentalist organization. Even though the police and state officials had been informed of the potential of the rally to turn violent, no steps were taken to stop the same, instead a large number of police and Special Task Forces (STF) personnel were deployed in the area. In the aftermath of the violence that shocked the country, a women’s team visited Aluthgama and met with several survivors with the objective of documenting the events that took place. Below is their report. Considering the safety of the survivors their names, location and other identities are not recorded.

via: http://kafila.org/2014/07/07/information-on-aluthgama-fact-finding-by-a-womens-collective/

Report “Attacks on Places of Religious Worship in Post–War Sri Lanka” by CPA

Four of Sri Lanka’s most senior hardline Buddhist monks appeared in court Monday accused of insulting the Koran, in the first such case following a spate of religious hate attacks.

Read full story via http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/news/sri-lanka-buddhist-monks-in-court-accused-of-insulting-koran/842681624

Since the end of the war there have been high-profile incidents such as the attack on the Mosque in Dambulla in April 2012, however other incidents, have received little or no public and media attention. This has resulted in a limited understanding of the scale and nature of these incidents.

This report published on 09 March 2013 documents incidents of attacks on places of worship in Sri Lanka since the end of the war in May 2009 and discusses the broader context of such attacks.

Read report here – http://www.cpalanka.org/attacks-on-places-of-religious-worship-in-post-war-sri-lanka/

Download the report in Sinhala here.

Download the report in Tamil here.

source: http://www.cpalanka.org/attacks-on-places-of-religious-worship-in-post-war-sri-lanka/

“Forced evictions in Colombo: The ugly price of beautification” by CPA

Hard questions for the World Bank in Sri Lanka from Harsha de Silva MP. We have been told the World Bank wasn’t aware of key concerns enumerated in a report by Centre for Policy Alternatives around the social impact of the “beautification” of Colombo. This in turn begs the question as to why an institution that promotes good governance, in this instance unhesitatingly and directly supports practices and policies inimical to it.

CPA’s report can be read here – http://www.cpalanka.org/forced-evictions-in-colombo-the-ugly-price-of-beautification/

source: CPA

“Forced evictions in Colombo: The ugly price of beautification” by CENTRE FOR POLICY ALTERNATIVES

9 April 2014: The Centre for Policy Alternatives’ latest report “Forced Evictions in Colombo – The Ugly Price of Beautification” raises serious concerns with regard to the displacement of citizens in the city of Colombo due to the Urban Regeneration Project of the Urban Development Authority (UDA) and the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development. It questions both the ostensible goals and purpose underlying the Urban Regeneration Project as well as the means and processes employed by the UDA and the Government of Sri Lanka to realise them, in particular those pertaining to land acquisition and involuntary resettlement.

Drawing from interviews with affected citizens from across different parts of the city and short case studies of the experience of three different communities – Java Lane and Mews Street in Slave Island and Castle Street in Borella, the report outlines the major issues and concerns with respect to the forced evictions in Colombo.

Of particular concern are the involvement of the military controlled UDA in forced evictions, the modalities of which are similar to those employed in the North and East of Sri Lanka, and the scale which, according to some estimates, could even dwarf displacement in Northern Sri Lanka during the final two years of the war. The report also argues that viewing the forced evictions in Colombo as part of a development project only serves to hide the enormous social, public and human costs.

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) believes that in the process, a range of existing domestic legal and policy safeguards and standards are being flouted with impunity. The report underlines that respect for domestic and internationally recognised standards is crucial to both prevent and minimise forced evictions and ensure that any resettlement results in a significant accretion rather than erosion of civil, economic, political and social rights.

“This report is about yet another key contemporary issue that goes to the very heart of democratic governance in our country – transparency, the rule of law and equality before it. It deserves our critical attention. It cannot and should not be ignored”, says Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, Executive Director, CPA.

Download the report in full here, or read it online here.

source: CPA

“An Unfinished War: Torture and Sexual Violence in Sri Lanka, 2009 – 2014″ by Yasmin Sooka, the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) and The International Truth & Justice Project, Sri Lanka

A new report named “An Unfinished War: Torture and Sexual Violence in Sri Lanka, 2009 – 2014″ published today details evidence of ongoing sexual violence and torture in Sri Lanka – some as recent as February 2014 – from international human rights lawyer Yasmin Sooka, the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) and The International Truth & Justice Project, Sri Lanka.

via: https://www.colombotelegraph.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/STOP_report.pdf

source: http://www.stop-torture.com/#

“Sri Lanka Tamils subjected to horrific abuse after 2009 civil war, says report” by Paul Farrell

“Horrifying details of sexual and physical abuse, including forced oral sex, anal rape and water torture, have been documented in a new report on Sri Lanka’s treatment of Tamils after the end of the 2009 civil war, which includes testimony from returned asylum seekers and raises further questions about Australia’s deportation of Tamils.”

via: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/21/sri-lanka-tamils-subjected-to-horrific-abuse-after-2009-civil-war-says-report

The full report with witness testimonies can be downloaded from here: http://www.stop-torture.com/

“A Commentary on the Presidential Commission to Investigate Missing Persons During the Period of June 1990 – May 2009 in the Northern and Eastern Provinces: Issues and Concerns in the Search for Truth, Justice and Accountability” by CPA

6 March 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) has closely monitored previous Commissions of Inquiry (CoI) appointed by the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and recommended policy alternatives in the search for truth, justice and accountability. While CPA acknowledges the need to have credible domestic processes, the present framework does not provide for an independent inquiry. As such, CPA at the outset calls for legislative reform to amend the present Commission of Inquiry Act to ensure that future CoIs are independent and free from the interference of the Government and its agents. CPA also calls for the ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and for domestic legislation to be brought in line with international standards.

The present document consists of two sections. Section “A” briefly examines the shortcomings of the CoI mechanism in general in the context of the existing legal and constitutional framework. This section draws on the substantial body of work previously done by CPA in relation to CoIs in the past.

In this document CPA has broadly highlighted the underlying shortcomings of the CoI mechanism in Sri Lanka, calling into question its legitimacy and independence, as control over appointments, formulation of mandates and functions are all powers deeply embedded within the Executive. CPA believes that there needs to be societal and victims’ consultation throughout the CoI process in order for it to be an inclusive one that assures confidence in the system. Furthermore, all CoI reports should be made available to the public, thereby complementing the process with transparency.

Section “B” examines the latest commission appointed on disappearances. Several concerns are raised and recommendations are made to address these concerns. The concerns and recommendations highlighted are made in the spirit of constructive engagement. CPA urges the Commission to consider these recommendations when designing its future work plan and their specific inclusion in the interim report to be handed over to the President.

CPA’s specific examination of the ongoing work of this CoI, leads us to the conclusion that on the basis of its formulation and current operation, the Commission is incapable of carrying out a comprehensive, independent and transparent inquiry.

The issue of missing persons and the connected social and psychological challenges confronting families of missing persons pose serious challenges to reconciliation in a post war setting. It is hoped that the Commission will continue its functions mindful of these challenges. Similar initiatives in the past have failed to ensure victims’ right to truth and justice. The present Commission, beset by structural flaws and the specific concerns regarding its functioning, does not inspire confidence that it will prove to be any different. CPA urges therefore that the Commission takes onboard the proposed recommendations to provide victims and affected communities with much needed redress and to make the call for much needed reform in the search for truth, justice and accountability in Sri Lanka.

Download the full report here or read it online here.

source: Centre for Policy Alternatives

“Commentary on the Census on human and property damages due to conflict 2013” by CPA

5 March 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The results of the ‘Census on human and property damages due to conflict – 2013’ are due to be published in March 2014, in time for the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva from 3 – 28 March 2014. However, despite the Director General of the Department of Census and Statistics claiming that this census will “help arrive at an exact decision on the persons missing and died during the period of conflict in the country”, it is evident from the methodology juxtaposed against the fear and intimidation people feel in the Northern Province alone, that the ‘Census on human and property damages due to conflict – 2013’ will not reveal the true extent of death, disappearance and damage caused by the war.”

Download the full report here, or read it online here.

source: CPA

“Our new report points to ongoing crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka’s north” by Sri Lankan Campaign for Peace and Justice

Sri Lankan Campaign for Peace and Justice has today released a report that presents credible allegations pointing to the commission of crimes against humanity by Sri Lankan security forces during the five years since the civil war ended.

It is endorsed by a host of legal experts including UN Panel of Experts author Yasmin Sooka, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez, former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak, and international criminal law and human rights law scholar Professor William Schabas.

You can read it here:http://blog.srilankacampaign.org/2014/03/our-new-report-points-to-ongoing-crimes.html

Channel 4 refutes Sri Lankan “propaganda offensive”

Channel 4 News takes the unprecedented step of blasting the lies of the shadowy pro Government of Sri Lanka group “Engage Sri Lanka” out of the waterhttp://www.channel4.com/info/press/news/channel-4-refutes-sri-lankan-propaganda-offensive

source: www.channel4.com