“A systemic crisis in context: The Impeachment of the Chief Justice, the Independence of the Judiciary and the Rule Of Law in Sri Lanka” by CPA

20th April 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The impeachment of Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake was the single most contentious political issue in Sri Lanka in late 2012 and early 2013. Four months since her removal from office in violation of decisions by the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, the issue appears to have receded from the public square. While the government may appear to have resolved the political crisis occasioned by the impeachment, the constitutional crisis that emerged has not been resolved, leaving a number of troubling questions for the future of the rule of law unanswered. Can a decision of a court of law be considered binding if the executive opposes and disregards it? What is the role of the judiciary vis-à-vis the virtually unchecked power of the executive presidency? Is the judiciary independent of the President and Parliament? How does the claim to legal supremacy by Parliament affect the way in which it relates to the judiciary?
This Policy Brief seeks to address these issues and outline the urgent reforms needed to arrest the serious erosion of public confidence in the judiciary and the rule of law that has resulted from the impeachment. Section 2 outlines the political context and sequence of events relating to the impeachment. Section 3 examines the structural defects of the Sri Lankan constitution, which enabled the successful ouster of Chief Justice Bandaranayake, notwithstanding rulings by the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal to the effect that the process adopted was unlawful. The two main constitutional claims enabling the impeachment – presidential immunity and parliamentary supremacy – are examined, in the context of how they have developed throughout Sri Lanka’s recent constitutional history. The conclusions from this analysis reveal the need for a range of constitutional and legal reforms, from legislative measures needed to restore a more credible framework for judicial independence and impartiality, to other more fundamental reforms to the Sri Lankan constitution itself.

Download it as a PDF here, or read it online here.

Our contact details are:
24/2, 28th Lane,
off Flower Road,
Colombo 7,
Sri Lanka

Tel: +94 11 2565304-6, 5552746, 5552748
Email: info@cpalanka.org

Overall Coordinator of CPA Programmes
Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
Executive Director
Tel: +94-11-2301634 (direct)
Email: psara@cpalanka.org


The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) was formed in the firm belief that there is an urgent need to strengthen institution- and capacity-building for good governance and conflict transformation in Sri Lanka and that non-partisan civil society groups have an important and constructive contribution to make to this process. The primary role envisaged for the Centre in the field of public policy is a pro-active and interventionary one, aimed at the dissemination and advocacy of policy alternatives for non-violent conflict resolution and democratic governance. Accordingly, the work of the Centre involves a major research component through which the policy alternatives advocated are identified and developed.

“Communally motivated attacks on Hill country Tamils in Ratnapuri district” by Nirmala Rajasingam

We would like to thank warmly Nirmala Rajasingam for providing us  a summary in english of the news report given below by the BBC Tamil Oosai.

Communally motivated attacks on Hill country Tamils in Ratnapuri district: – source namathu malaiyaham

In recent days communally inspired attacks have been perpetrated on the dwellings of workers living on Alupola estate, in the Wewalwatte police division of Ratnapuri district in the hill country. The most recent attack took place yesterday,in the early hours of Wednesday 17 April when a gang from outside the estate had entered the estate and attacked people. Owing to the clashes that ensued 3 people have been admitted to the local hospital. These incidents have been reported by the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council Member Mr.K Ramachandran who is a member of the Ceylon Workers Congress, (CWC – the main party representing Hill country Tamils), a member of the ruling coalition. MP K. Ramachandran has reported these incidents to the BBC Tamil service.
Mano Ganesan of the Democratic People’s Front has reported that in recent times attacks on Hill country Tamil estate workers have been carried out in six other estates, in Galaboda, Nivitigala, Dolaswala, Konakumbura and Wellupitiya. The Kegalle district and Ratnapuri district combinedly form the Sabaragamuwa province from which two MPs had been returned to parliament from the hill country Tamil community. Local Sinhala nationalist and communal politicians are believed to be behind these attacks.

link to read to read the BBC Tamil Oosai’s article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/tamil/sri_lanka/2013/04/130417_ratnapuraattacks.shtml
The last big attacks on hill country Tamils in this area was in 1998.

dbsjeyaraj also reports Sinhala Mob Attacks against Tamils at “Thondamanpura”Housing Scheme in Ratnapura District :


here is more detailed info in English about the attacks.

Sources: namathu malaiyaham, BBC Tamil Oosai and dbsjeyaraj

“Publishing and Getting Read: A Guide for Researchers in Geography” by the Royal Geographical Society-IBG and Wiley-Blackwell

Dear Colleague,

The RGS-IBG and Wiley-Blackwell are delighted to announce the publication of their free guide toPublishing and Getting ReadThe Guide provides clear, practical and constructive advice on how to:

 publish research in a wide range of form

– think strategically about publication profiles and plans

– understand authors’ opportunities and responsibilities

– get published research read.

Download your free copy: www.rgs.org/guides


If you would like us to send you a printed copy of the guide we are happy to do so. Please contact us with your request.  We hope you will find this guide useful and recommend it to your fellow researchers and colleagues.

Kind regards,

Alison Blunt, Madeleine Hatfield and Catherine Souch

source:  RGS-IBG and Wiley-Blackwell



“Sri Lanka police to monitor tourists for their own safety” (Brisbanetimes.com)

Hotel owners said they have been asked to pass on passport and visa details of all foreigners in addition to information already given to the authorities for maintaining industry-related statistics.

“Some people may be put off because this looks like surveillance,” a hotel executive, who declined to be named, said.

Read more: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/travel/travel-news/sri-lanka-police-to-monitor-tourists-for-their-own-safety-20130416-2hy3e.html#ixzz2Qh7mFHwq

source: Brisbanetimes.com

“Review of ‘Fire and Storm’ by Michael Roberts” (Groundviews)

Michael Roberts’ book Fire and Storm is an important contribution towards a dialogue on the Sri Lankan polity. It records contrasting views on Eelam and the politics of Eelam. It also provides a basis for clearer understanding of the LTTE terrorism and armed conflict. This book would enrich one’s understanding of recent Sri Lankan history. The perceptive reader would also find ideas for national unity and nation building.

Via http://groundviews.org/2013/04/17/review-of-fire-and-storm-by-michael-roberts/

source: Groundviews

“Sri Lanka’s Troubles. Niromi de Soyza and Frances Harrison” (The Monthly)

Frances Harrison, journalist and author of Still Counting the Dead, and Niromi de Soyza, former child soldier and author of Tamil Tigress, talk to David Corlett about Sri Lanka’s civil strife, then and now. Adelaide Writers Week, March 2013

To watch the interview: http://www.themonthly.com.au/video/2013/04/15/1365982211/sri-lankas-troubles-niromi-de-soyza-and-frances-harrison

source: www.themonthly.com

Video: Sinhala Nationalism, Tamil Nationalism And Military Triumphalism – Interview With Nirmala Rajasingam (Newsclickin)

Nirmala Rajasingam, founder of the Sri Lanka Democracy Forum and who is based in the United Kingdom speaks to Newsclick about the challenges faced by the civil society and democracy activists in Sri Lanka. Nirmala the sister of the late Rajini Thiranagama who co-authored ‘Broken Palmyrah’ and who was murdered in cold blood by the LTTE for exposing the fraud behind a misguided Theleepan’s famous Nallur fast, has given a balanced interview about the current situation in the island.

Her analysis about the background of the majority of the people who were trapped in the war zone has been from the up-country is not without accuracy as is her preception about the attitude of the Jaffna Tamils for those people.

Her call for all those who aspire for the struggle for a democratic SL and her special appeal to all progressive sections on the left of the political spectrum in the country to unite in that task is something that ought be taken into account seriously.

To watch the video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ty9mp7P3ac&feature=player_embedded

Source: Youtube


“Amid Abuse and Fear, Tamils Continue to Flee Sri Lanka” by Krista Mahr (Word.time.com)

To escape this climate of fear, it appears that an increasing number of Tamils are fleeing Sri Lanka, boarding barely seaworthy vessels, bound for an uncertain future as asylum seekers. This is despite the government’s official effort to reconstruct the war-torn north of the country. “You have a significant number of people leaving postwar, at a point at which the government is assuring that economic development is prioritized and reconciliation is being effected in earnest,” says the CPA’s Saravanamuttu. The fact that so many people are choosing to go “seems to suggest people in the north don’t feel that way. They are voting with their feet, so to speak, and they are paying fairly large sums of money and risking life and limb to do it.” Saravanamuttu says that official numbers of the number of people leaving are unavailable, but to give just one example, over 6,000 Tamils arrived in Australia in 2012, some 30 times higher than the 2011 figure.

Read more: http://world.time.com/2013/04/15/krista-sri-lanka-draft/#ixzz2QZcvXdWG

source: Centre for Policy Alternative

Nirmala Rajasingam’s interview “Sri Lanka: Many Challenges apart from the Tamil National Question” (Newsclickin)

Nirmala Rajasingam, founder of the Sri Lanka Democracy Forum and who is based in the United Kingdom speaks to Newsclick about the challenges faced by the civil society and democracy activists in Sri Lanka. She appeals to the Tamil speaking people in India, the international civil society and the Left in India, to be cognisant of the new challenges faced in post-civil war Sri Lanka, where militarisation, military triumphalism, neoliberalism and Sinhala Buddhist Nationalism have created new discontents apart from the still un-rehabilitated and traumatised Tamil populations – both in the North and the East and in the plantations and the hill country.

To watch the interview click on the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1ty9mp7P3ac

source: www.youtube.com

“L’Asie insulaire, forte exportatrice de main-d’oeuvre féminine possède-t-elle un système migratoire propre ? Les cas indonésien, philippin et sri-lankais” Laurence Husson


L’Asie insulaire, forte exportatrice de main-d’oeuvre féminine possède-t-elle un système migratoire propre ? Les cas indonésien, philippin et sri-lankais.
Les migrations de travail ont une longue tradition en Asie. Instaurées par les puissances coloniales européennes par le biais des contrats de travail, après l’abolition de l’esclavage, elles ont ainsi favorisé l’expansion de deux solides diasporas, l’une chinoise, l’autre indienne.
Ce vaste continent qui abrite désormais 60 % de la population mondiale et les deux tiers de la force de travail mondiale demeure, pour longtemps encore, une zone de très forte mobilité.
Trois pays, dont deux archipels et une île, les Philippines, l’Indonésie et le Sri Lanka, sont devenus, en l’espace d’une à trois décennies, les principaux exportateurs de main-d’œuvre à l’échelle mondiale. Ces politiques migratoires visent d’une part à réduire la pauvreté et le chômage et d’autre part à accroître les indispensables rentrées de devises par le biais des transferts financiers des migrants.La féminisation des flux migratoires est particulièrement marquée en Asie insulaire où la proportion de femmes avoisine les 70 % du total des migrants

L’article de Laurence Husson sur “L’Asie insulaire, forte exportatrice de main-d’oeuvre féminine possède-t-elle un système migratoire propre ? Les cas indonésien, philippin et sri-lankais” est disponible en intégralité et gratuitement sur le site Etudes Caribeennes :

Pour accéder directement à l’article veuillez cliquer sur ce lien : http://etudescaribeennes.revues.org/982#authors

Electronic reference

Laurence Husson, « L’Asie insulaire, forte exportatrice de main-d’oeuvre féminine possède-t-elle un système migratoire propre ? Les cas indonésien, philippin et sri-lankais », Études caribéennes [En ligne], 8 | Décembre 2007, mis en ligne le 08 septembre 2008, consulté le 14 avril 2013. URL : http://etudescaribeennes.revues.org/982  ; DOI : 10.4000/etudescaribeennes.982

Source: etudescaribeennes.revues.org

“Office of outspoken Tamil newspaper Uthayan attacked in Sri Lanka” by Andrew Buncombe (The Independent)

Uthayan, an outspoken Tamil newspaper in northern Sri Lanka whose premises have been repeatedly targeted, and its employees killed, was attacked by armed men who stormed into the building and set the printing presses ablaze. It is the second attack on the newspaper in two weeks.

via: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/office-of-outspoken-tamil-newspaper-uthayan-attacked-in-sri-lanka-8570776.html

Source: The Independent

Link to listen to BBC Radio 4’s broadcast “Broken Paradise” about Tamil Sri Lankan civil war poetry

To mark the fourth anniversary of the ending of Sri Lanka’s civil war, in May 2009, translator Lakshmi Holmström introduces some of the most powerful Tamil poetry to emerge from the 26 year long conflict, in which an estimated 70,000 people were killed as militant Tamil Tigers fought to establish a separate Tamil state in the north of the island.

These poems bear witness to the atrocities committed by both sides and reflect on some of the war’s most significant turning points, from the deadly introduction of female suicide bombers to the final bloody showdown on a beach near Jaffna, where government forces conclusively defeated the Tamil Tigers.

Poets featured include Cheran, probably the most significant living Tamil poet, whose poems chart the history of the war and of a landscape once idyllic, now devastated. There is also a poem by S. Sivaramani, a promising young woman poet who committed suicide in 1991. In Oppressed by Nights of War she describes the impact of the violence and fear on children.

Presenter Lakshmi Holmström MBE is a widely acclaimed translator of Tamil fiction and poetry. A collection of her translations of Cheran’s poetry is to be published this summer, titled In a Time of Burning.

Readings by Hiran Abeysekara, Vayu Naidu and Vignarajah

Producer: Mukti Jain Campion
A Culture Wise production for BBC Radio 4.

To listen to the radio broadcast: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01rqhw3

Source: BBC Radio 4



“Sheep No More…” by SCT (Groundviews)

This evening (Friday, April 12th 2013) around 7.15pm on Havelock Road in front of the Sambuddhatva Jayanthi Building adjoining Laurie’s Road, I was reminded anew that there is no freedom in our land.

I am nearly 45 years old now, and for 30 long years, I have been reminded over and over again in different places, at different times that in many ways the citizens of Sri Lanka are trapped. We have been and still are, in fact increasingly so, trapped by our fear, our intolerance, our ignorance, our sheep like obedience, either to the powers that be or to our own desperate need to play safe and stay safe.

I am not a lawyer, a journalist, an academic or an activist. I am just an ordinary citizen who is sick of being intimidated by the forces that are empowered by us to protect us. I am tired of our short sighted, nepotistic governments, our corrupt politicians, our arrogant law enforcement officers, our extremist religious leaders, and our ignorant, complacent citizenry. I am just plain tired.

Read the article in full – http://groundviews.org/2013/04/13/sheep-no-more/

Source: Groundviews

“A Tolerant Sri Lanka: Report on online poll” By Groundviews

The past few weeks have seen a rise in incidents and publicly expressed sentiments against the Muslim community by groups who claim to represent the rights of Sinhala Buddhists in Sri Lanka. Expressing concerns of undue place given to Muslims in Sri Lanka – from entrance to the Law College to issuing Halal certification to even increase in Muslim population and property ownership by Muslims, groups such as the Bodu Bala Sena and Sinhala Ravaya have taken it upon themselves to educate the Sinhala Buddhists on these concerns. While these groups declare to be non violent, speeches given by them at various rallies, defamatory references to individuals and the attacks on Muslim owned businesses in the past few weeks give the impression of a situation of vigilante groups gathering strength.
It is in this context that Social Indicator, the survey research unit of the Centre for Policy Alternatives created an online questionnaire to gauge the views of people on this issue.
Topline Results
  • More than 75% of respondents also believe that it is realistic to think that Sri Lanka might see another Black July.
  • 75% believe that the Defence Secretary’s association with the Bodu Bala Sena have strengthened the power of the group to continue their vigilante activities.
  • With majority of respondents labelling groups like the BBS as ‘intolerant’, on the issue of Mobitel including a song (for sale) by the BBS in their mTunes library, around 42% believe that Mobitel should remove the song from their library, that people should not have anything to with businesses that support groups like the BBS and that calling for a boycott of Mobitel is necessary to send a clear message that people will not tolerate anyone supporting groups like the BBS.
  • 60% of respondents believe that the Media should not give a voice to groups like the Bodu Bala Sena.
  • With regard to the highly controversial Halal issue, majority do not believe it is the win-win solution as claimed by those who were involved in arriving at this decision. 40% of respondents believe that it is unfair by people who buy only Halal products while around 30% believe that this decision is only a temporary solution that would aggravate the anti Muslim issue further.
  • Faith in law enforcement is low, with around 40% of respondents believing that vigilante groups engaging in raids and attacks on private property would never be arrested.
Access the full results of the poll, read the report and see the related data visualisations here.

source: Groundviews

Documentary “Haunted By Her Yesterdays” by The Social Architects South Asia

This documentary tells a story of silent agony, trapped screams and repressed mourning. A story of women forced to deny their identity — who are trapped in between a government which sees them as “Tigers,” and a society whose norms they are no longer deemed worthy of.

These women fought bravely alongside men as members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during Sri Lanka’s bloody thirty-year civil war. From protectors and defenders of their families, villages and nation, thousands of female ex-combatants have now returned home to assume more traditional roles as mothers, wives, widows, and teachers — in communities where they are perpetually shunned. Through several powerful voices, “Haunted by Her Yesterdays” allows a few to share their pain and suffering — the wounds that remain unhealed, the scars that are impossible to ignore and the hearts that still burn with pain, passion and grief — for the world to hear. This film is a gripping tale of loss, betrayal and struggle, but –above all else — it is a search for inspiration and a call for action. As the country’s war-torn North and East struggles to rebuild itself, this documentary tells a deeply moving story that has been overlooked for far too long.

to watch the documentary click on the link : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSSv9Kk3tkI

source: Youtube