« CBK demands suspension of multimillion dollar Chinese water project » by Namini Wijedasa

A multimillion dollar Chinese-funded water supply project has run into controversy with former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga openly demanding its suspension and an inquiry on the grounds that it is overpriced. In August 2016, the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) awarded a contract to China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) for the Gampaha, Attanagalla and Minuwangoda Integrated Water Supply Scheme. The project cost is US$ 229.5mn (Rs 35.8bn). It is 85 percent funded by a China Development Bank (CDB) loan while the Bank of Ceylon will lend the Government 15 percent of the contract price or US$ 34mn (Rs 5.3bn) as local funding.

via: http://www.sundaytimes.lk/180325/news/cbk-demands-suspension-of-multimillion-dollar-chinese-water-project-287633.html

Table ronde sur Sri Lanka à Edimbourg

Une table ronde consacrée à la situation politique et sociale actuelle de Sri Lanka est organisée à Edimbourg le 26 et 27 mai 2016 par Jonathan Spencer, professeur d’anthropologie à l’Université.
Nous reproduisons ci-dessous le programme provisoire de ces journées d’étude:

Sri Lanka Roundtable (DRAFT PROGRAMME)
Edinburgh 26-27 May, 2016

Thursday 26 May, Techcube, Summerhall (t.b.c)
9.00-9.15 Introduction and welcome
9.15-11.00 Youth and war Isabelle Clark-Decès (Princeton), Youth in the cultural politics of contemporary Jaffna
Dhana Hughes (Durham), Sinhala Youth and Military Enlistment
Giacomo Mantovan (CEIAS/CRH, EHESS) “They were kings…” The farewell to arms of former Tamil Tiger fighters in exile in France
Giyani Venya De Silva (Oxford) Living with continuity, waiting for change: commentaries from students in Colombo
11.00-11.15 Coffee
11.15-12.45 Gender Asha Abeysekera (Colombo) Balancing Modernity and Morality in the Sinhala-Buddhist Family Exploring the Rhetoric of Sinhala-Buddhist Nationalism
Kristine Hoglund (Uppsalla) Gender and the Pursuit of Justice in Sri Lanka: Testimonies of Peace and Conflict
Jayanthi Lingam (SOAS) Gendered working lives in the post-war transition in Jaffna district, 2009-14
12.45-1.30 Lunch
1.30-3.00 Justice and Security Georg Frerks (Utrecht), Rajapakse’s Peace’: The President’s discourse on the post-war situation in Sri Lanka (2009-2015)
Ali Brown (Amsterdam), Human Security in the Era of Sirasena
Gerrit Kurtz (KCL), The evolution of post-war transitional justice in Sri Lanka
3.00-3.15 Tea
3.15-5.00 Transitional Justice and Constitutional Reform: State of Play and Future Prospects Harini Amarasuriya (Open University and Public Representations Committee on Constitutional reform), Alan Keenan (international Crisis Group), Asanga Welikala (CPA and University of Edinburgh), with Christine Bell (University of Edinburgh)
6.00-7.00
7.30 Dinner, Mother India, Infirmary Street

Friday 27 May, Seminar Rooms 1 and 2, Chrystal Macmillan Building
Please note, in the morning we will split the space to run parallel panels in the two rooms. In the afternoon, we will open up the two rooms for our final plenary sessions.

9.00-9.15 Introduction and welcome
9.15-10.45 Work and Livelihoods (Seminar Room 1) Urs Geiser (Zurich)The making of control over land in Wattamadu – local organisations, engaging the state, changing conjunctures
Charles Wilkinson and Maura van den Kommer
(Amsterdam) Living the Uncertainty: Exploring the Effects of the EU Ban on Sri Lankan Fisheries
Joeri Scholtens and Maarten Bavinck (Amsterdam) Facilitating change from the bottom-up? Reflections on civil society efforts to empower marginalized fishers in post-war Sri Lanka
Religion and transition (Seminar Room 2) Mahinda Deegalle (Bath Spa) The Vision and Leadership of the Architect of Yahapālanaya: Venerable Māduluwāwe Sobhita’s Exemplary Role in the Political Transition of Sri Lanka in 2015
Neena Mahadev (Max Planck) Notes on contemporary religio-economic linkages between Sri Lankan & Singapore
Dominic Esler (UCL) Northern Tamil society after the war: the revival of Catholic kūttu in Mannar
10.45-11.15 Coffee
11.15-12.45 Work and Politics (Seminar Room 1) Sandya Hewamanne (Essex) Neoliberalism’s New Recruits: Tamil Workers, Human Rights Thrashings and ‘Mundane’ Politics in Post-War Sri Lanka
Mythri Jegathesan (Santa Clara) Is a progressive politics possible? Examining the contemporary intersections of industrial sustainability and political shifts in Sri Lanka’s plantation sector
Darshi Thoradeniya (Heidelberg/Colombo) Women Citizens in Welfare State of Sri Lanka
Past and present (Seminar Room 2) Deborah Winslow (NSF) Contexts of Caste
Alessandra Radicati (LSE) Precarious Patriots: Reflections on Past, Present and Future in a Coastal Community
Carolina Holgersson Ivarsson (Gothenburg), Religious identity, nationalism and social media among Sinhala-Buddhist youth
12.45-1.30 Lunch
1.30-3.30 Borders and Margins Vagisha Gunasekara,
Prashanthi Rasadhari Jayasekara,
Gayathri Hiroshani, Hallinne Lokuge,
Aftab Lall (Centre for Poverty Analysis, Colombo), Production of Marginality: Findings from a six-year research programme on basic services, social protection and livelihoods in the North and East
Jonathan Goodhand (SOAS/Melbourne), Vagisha Gunasekera (CEPA), Alice Kern (Zurich) and Thiruni Kelegama (Zurich), with Rajesh Venugopal (LSE), discussant, Sri Lanka’s borderlands and frontiers
3.30-3.45 Tea
3.45-5.30 Writing War and After Sunila Galappatti will read from her new book, A Long Watch: War, Captivity and Return in Sri Lanka, and V.V. (Sugi) Ganeshananthanan will read from her work in progress, The Missing are Considered Dead.

Also in attendance (participating but not presenting): Ashwini Vasanthakumar
(York), Dennis McGilvray (Colorado), Anne Blackburn (Cornell), Rose Fernando (Utrecht), Niels Terpstra (Utrecht), Eric Meyer (INALGO, Paris), Oivind Fuglerud (Oslo), R.L. (Jock) Stirrat (Sussex), Kanchana Ruwanpura (Edinburgh), Anthony Good (Edinburgh), Jonathan Spencer (Edinburgh), Sidharthan Maunaguru (NUS), Tanya Ekanayaka (Edinburgh), Deborah Menezes (Edinburgh)

 » North awakens to adulthood sans a childhood it never had » by Chris Kamalendran and Lakshman Gunathilake with N. Parameswaran

Ordinary folk such as S. Sivanesan, a teacher in a government school in Jaffna, says, “We will vote for candidates who are willing to speak on behalf of the Tamil people and their causes. They should be able to help people affected by the war and not able to resettle in their respective land. That’s our immediate need. It has to be done.”

see: http://www.sundaytimes.lk/150802/news/north-awakens-to-adulthood-sans-a-childhood-it-never-had-159253.html

« Ghosts Of War Give Way to Development in Sri Lanka » by Amantha Perera

JAFFNA, Sri Lanka, Jun 26 2015 (IPS) – It is an oasis from the scorching heat outside. The three-storey, centrally air-conditioned Cargills Square, a major mall in Sri Lanka’s northern Jaffna town, is the latest hangout spot in the former warzone, where everyone from teenagers to families to off-duty military officers converge.

via: http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/06/ghosts-of-war-give-way-to-development-in-sri-lanka/

« Revisiting Sampur: How Long Will it Take to Return Home? » by Bhavani Fonseka

For the people of Sampur the benefits of peace are yet to be fully realized. Community members speak about living in a no man’s land between war and peace, where their lives are governed by ‘military rule.’ While other parts of the country are able to enjoy peace dividends, including security and opportunities for economic growth, in Sampur there has been little progress over the last few years. This article follow a visit we made to Sampur last weekend and highlights what we term the ‘Sampur Model’, its implications for communities, post-war reconstruction and reconciliation, and identifies areas requiring urgent attention and action.

via: http://groundviews.org/2015/01/28/revisiting-sampur-how-long-will-it-take-to-return-home/

« A struggle for democratic space » by Ahilan Kadirgamar

Ahilan Kadirgamar: « Sri Lanka is facing a crucial election, possibly its most important since 1956 when the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) came to power. For the first time since S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike split from the United National Party (UNP), the two-party system may be reconfigured as members of the two elite parties come together in an attempt to overthrow the Rajapaksa regime, which has gone too far down the path of authoritarianism. »

via: http://m.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/comment-on-sri-lanka-presidential-election/article6732968.ece/

« Sri Lanka opposition vows to scrap China port deal if wins election » by Shihar Aneez

A leader of Sri Lanka’s opposition said he would scrap a $1.5 billion deal with China Communications Construction Co Ltd (601800.SS) to build a port city if the challenger to President Mahinda Rajapaksa wins next month’s election.

via: http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/12/17/sri-lanka-china-portcity-idINKBN0JV1QA20141217

« 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.

« A Newly Cosmopolitan Colombo » by Rupert Mellor

Can Sri Lankans guide their capital to an authentic new future? Or will the ambitions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to fast-track the city to world-player status create a corporate megalopolis that loses its soul along the way? Your move, Colombo.

via: http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-newly-cosmopolitan-colombo-1418339727

« Launch of ‘Mudivuraatha Yuththam’ (The Unfinished War) » by Maatram

Maatram, the Tamil civic media initiative based at the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) is pleased to present ‘Mudivuraatha Yuththam’ (The Unfinished War), Sri Lanka’s first example of long-form journalism for produced specifically for the web.

 

Inspired by award-winning examples of modern day story-telling on the web by the New York Times, Al Jazeera, The Global Mail and other leading media institutions, ‘Mudivuraatha Yuththam’ is designed to be accessible over broadband on any modern browser as well as via recent smartphones and tablets. Cutting-edge presentation is married to compelling original content, anchored to five key sections.

  • Displacement: Focussing on families from Sampur in Trincomalee, who have been IDPs since 2007.
  • Abductions: With information derived from the Red Cross and other institutions, both domestic and international, this section looks at abductions both during and after the war. Ways through which the government has tried to address this issue are flagged, with a focus on the civilians participating in these official mechanisms. A video interview with a woman who had handed in her son to the Army at the end of the way is also featured in this section.
  • Land grabbing: Incidents of land grabs by the Sri Lankan military in Walikamam North are highlighted in this section. The story of a family affected by these land grabs is included as a video documentary. An important feature under this section is information obtained through a member of the Northern Provincial Council about the Sinhalisation of Mullaitivu.
  • Militarisation: The presence of military in the Northern Sri Lanka is looked into and depicted through images and text. This section also looks at how the military is heavily involved in the development processes of the North.
  • Development: This section looks into the illegal destruction of personal property by the military and the Ministry of Defence, and the resulting displacement of these affected.

Each section features video, photography and text respectively shot and written specifically for the site.  Access ‘Mudivuraatha Yuththam’ here.

***

Maatram, established in early 2014, is aimed at Tamil readers across Sri Lanka and in the diaspora. In addition to original reporting and content generation in Tamil, Maatram also features translations of material sourced from Groundviews and Vikalpa to ensure a wider readership and deeper appreciation of issues mainstream media in Sri Lanka will not or cannot publish, produce or promote.

Maatram is also on Twitter and Facebook.

Research Paper from the International Centre for Ethnic Studies, « Competing for Victimhood Status: Northern Muslims and the Ironies of Post-war Reconciliation, Justice, and Development. »

The International Centre for Ethnic Studies is pleased to announce the launch of Working Paper No: 13 on the theme of Post War Reconciliation titled,Competing for Victimhood Status: Northern Muslims and the Ironies of Post-War Reconciliation, Justice and evelopment by Farzana Haniffa.

The northern Muslims together with all protracted IDPs displaced prior to 2008 became a low priority case load for return and resettlement assistance in the aftermath of the ‘end’ of the war in Sri Lanka in 2009. Framed in terms of an ethics of ‘greatest need’ connected only to funding availability, all Old IDPs lost out in the resettlement process. This paper attempts to decentre this idea of economic limits and humanitarian need by discussing the manner in which such ideas of ‘greatest need’ actually emerge from discourses about victimhood that are part of an ethical humanitarian project to which local politics are irrelevant. This paper will show, however that these initiatives consistently intersect with local power hierarchies and local ideas of legitimacy and belonging. Therefore this paper will look at the manner in which the war related victim discourse of International Humanitarianism, helped to exacerbate northern Muslims own marginality and continued exclusion from the north. Looking also at the manner in which victimhood narratives are mobilizsed in Sri Lanka by electoral politics, and displaced IDP activists themselves, this paper will speculate about the efficacy of the victim identity for political and social transformation during this time of transition in Sri Lanka.

This paper can be downloaded via this link

Box: PDF 

Scribd PDF (Facebook required for download)

source: ICES

« Lack of trust slows Sri Lanka reconciliation » by Al Jazeera

Five years after Sri Lanka’s war with the Tamil Tigers ended, the group’s former members say that cultural insensitivity from the government is still an issue.

via: http://www.aljazeera.com/video/asia/2014/07/lack-trust-slows-sri-lanka-reconciliation-2014715102222303152.html

« Does Diplomacy Stand a Chance in Sri Lanka? » by Taylor Dibbert

Sri Lanka has made some progress when it comes to reconstruction and development, but authoritarianism, ethnic tension and majoritarian triumphalism still plague the country. And a feckless, fragmented opposition ensures that the Rajapaksa regime will be around for some time yet.

For those members of international community concerned about human rights, accountability, and reconciliation on the island, now would be an inauspicious time to look the other way.

Viahttp://southasia.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/01/16/human_rights_diplomacy_in_sri_lanka_retreating_or_resilient

source: www.southasia.foreignpolicy.com

« Sri Lanka religious ‘extremism’ causing tensions » BBC News Asia

Sri Lanka’s long civil war, arising out of ethnic tensions between the majority Sinhalese and the Tamil minority, disfigured the country’s politics and hobbled economic growth.

Now there are signs of development across the country but critics say the peace has come at a cost.

The BBC’s George Alagiah reports from Colombo.

Via http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-24950787

source: www.bbc.co.uk