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        Society for Policy Studies

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has just experienced the worst communal violence in decades but you wouldn’t always know it from the behaviour of its politicians. Six members of the main Opposition party went on a fact-finding mission to look into the well-being of the animals in Dehiwala Zoo, in particular the deaths of lions and hippopotamuses. 

Provincial Council elections are loose balloons launched to gauge political weather patterns. The most formidable factor emerging is, unless there is a common candidate from the opposition it is a one-horse race but a formidable candidate can mount a serious challenge in view of an avalanche of votes from the North and to an extent from the East coming to offset the southern majorities at a presidential election.

During the week of March 24, the U.N. Human Rights Council countries will be asked to show where they stand on a resolution on Sri Lanka. That resolution seeks to support the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights’ call to establish an international mechanism to investigate alleged violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law by both sides during Sri Lanka’s war. The resolution is also expected to ask the government of Sri Lanka to address human rights concerns, make progress towards a political settlement and support reconciliation for all Sri Lankan people.  

The TNA despite winning 30 of the 38 seats of the Northern Provincial council seats at elections held on September 21st 2013  has been unable   to ensure the smooth functioning of the new provincial administration so far. The TNA which earlier blamed Chandrasiri –described as a “military governor by it- for this situation is now re-directing its wrath against the NPC Chief Secretary Ms. Wijiyaludchumi Ramesh in this respect.


Why is there an obdurate reticent to give equitable power sharing to the Tamils in the Cabinet? Does the South postulate that affording ministerial posts to Tamils in the Cabinet would bring harmony among the communities or culminate the parting of the ways?


What looks like a sideshow, namely the growing confrontation between Chief Minister Wigneswaran and Governor Chandrasiri, is much more than that. It is the thin end of the wedge of a clash of two projects: that of the strategy of escalating globalisation by Tamil nationalism and narrowing of space by the defence establishment which seems to drive much of state policy at a subterranean level.

The recently-ended Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka, unfortunately, shifted focus away again from CHOGM’s agenda, to the secondary issue of the host country’s internal affairs.  

Some believe the chairmanship of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), officially referred to as 'Chairperson-in-Office,' which will be bestowed on Mahinda Rajapaksa, could be more of a crown of thorns than a crown of power and glory.


The Commonwealth Summit is the biggest gamble of the President and his government, locally and internationally.  By pleading with the Royal Palace and the Commonwealth Secretariat, the government has managed to make sure that the Colombo Summit goes ahead as planned. 


Government forces under Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa annihilated well over 40,000 Tamils by May 19, 2009 in the last eight months of war (if one goes by Bishop of Mannar Rt Rev. Rayappu Joesph another 100,000 and we will never know) which began with a ferocity fuelled by the generous gifts of war machinery from several Commonwealth countries.


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