« Remembering Lasantha six years on: Launch of photo-essays on Sri Lanka » by Groundviews

Journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge‘s murder on 8th January 2009 was utterly horrible and yet, even more unforgettable was the Rajapaksa government’s reaction to it. Lasantha’s last editorial, published posthumously, didn’t mince words.

It is well known that I was on two occasions brutally assaulted, while on another my house was sprayed with machine-gun fire. Despite the government’s sanctimonious assurances, there was never a serious police inquiry into the perpetrators of these attacks, and the attackers were never apprehended.

In all these cases, I have reason to believe the attacks were inspired by the government. When finally I am killed, it will be the government that kills me.

Six years on, his killers remain at large.

To commemorate Lasantha’s death, Groundviews, in collaboration with The Picture Press and supported by Sri Lankans Without Borders, is pleased to release a set of three compelling investigative photo-essays, looking at Sri Lanka’s religious diversity as well as flagging to what extent it is under threat today.

As noted in the introduction to each photo essay, this content is « a tribute to a journalist whose brutal murder has impoverished us all, irrespective of whether we agreed with him or not… and also a tribute to Sri Lanka as it has always been and must continue to be – a rich, diverse, multi-religious and multi-ethnic society. »

Click on the link to access each essay:

The photo essays use Microsoft’s new Sway platform, which is completely responsive and tailors the content to whatever browser you are viewing it from, from desktop to mobile.

« Why Sri Lankan children in north drop out » by IRIN Asia

Most of the dropouts are from poor families who find it difficult to make ends meet as humanitarian assistance dries up almost five years after decades of civil war ended. This situation is being aggravated by an acute lack of job opportunities and a rising cost of living. “It’s a vicious cycle,” said Sivalingam Sathyaseelan, Secretary to the provincial Ministry of Education.

“The main reason is the lack of jobs. There is no money in these families, and they need everybody that can work, to work,” Sathyaseelan told IRIN. “They are able-bodied and can find odd jobs or agricultural work more easily,” so there is growing pressure on children in their early teens, mostly at secondary school level, to leave the classroom.

The top public official in Kilinochchi District, Rupavathi Keetheswaran, the government agent, agreed. She described the situation for the estimated 40,000 households in the north that are headed by women, or those families with disabled members, as particularly dire, saying, “Sometimes the children don’t have any option but to work. There is no one else to make money for the family.”

Via http://www.irinnews.org/report/99606/why-sri-lankan-children-in-north-drop-out

source: www.irinnews.org

« Child abuse at the Vavuniya children’s home: The government’s inaction » by Womens Action Network

At a time when the Sri Lankan government claims to be on a path of peace and development post war and calls Sri Lanka the wonder of Asia in international forums, it is imperative that the violence that is taking place against women and children is stopped, especially violence against women and children from minority communities.

Via http://groundviews.org/2014/01/02/child-abuse-at-the-vavuniya-childrens-home-the-governments-inaction/

source : www.groundviews.org

« Women and children in the North: Sexual harassment, grievances and challenges » by WATCHDOG

Four years since the end of the war in Sri Lanka, women and children remain as, or more vulnerable and insecure than ever before. With the number of female headed households (i.e. war widows, spouses of the disappeared and long-term detained, teen mothers and wives abandoned by their spouses) and poverty having drastically increased as a result of the war, so have the grievances and hardships they are made to face. The State has set up few (if any) mechanisms/structures to ensure their security, and have nurtured a climate of absolute impunity with regard to how it treats perpetrators, particularly those directly affiliated to the State (i.e. police, military, local authorities).

Via http://groundviews.org/2013/10/31/women-and-children-in-the-north-sexual-harassment-grievances-and-challenges/

source: Groundviews

« Military teaching in North schools defies LLRC [updated] » by Sunil Jayasekera

According to a letter issued by the Kilinochchi zonal education director on the 03rd of January 2013, hundred and three security personnel have been employed to teach the Sinhalese language in all schools within the Kilinochchi zone.

It is illegal to employ any person for teaching in government schools other than those who have been appointed by the Ministry of Education and who have been properly trained according to the teacher services regulations. This decision also goes against the LLRC Recommendation which urges that security forces personnel should move out of civil administration activities as a vital step towards post war reconciliation. As per Recommendation 9.134 of the LLRC report, “the security forces should dis-engage itself from all civil administration related activities as rapidly as possible.” In addition to this, Recommendations 9.171 calls for “the phasing out of the involvement of the security forces in civilian activities…”

click to read the article: http://vimarsanam-vimansa.org/report/military-teaching-in-north-schools-defies-llrc/

source: vimarsanam-vimansa.org