30 October, 2020

Blog

Sri Lanka’s Potemkin Peace: Democracy Under Fire – International Crisis Group Launches New Report Ahead Of CHOGM

Despite recent moves meant to show progress towards post-war reconciliation and respect for human rights, Sri Lanka’s government has not altered the authoritarian direction of its policies, and the rights and security of all communities remain under threat.

Mahinda Rajapaksa

Mahinda Rajapaksa

In its latest report, Sri Lanka’s Potemkin Peace: Democracy Under Fire, the International Crisis Group examines challenges facing the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) following its landslide victory in Sri Lanka’s north, the central government’s hostility to devolution, and the ever-shrinking democratic space nationwide. The Colombo government’s attempts to mask its growing authoritarianism as it hosts this month’s Commonwealth summit appear increasingly flimsy.

The report’s major findings and recommendations are:

  • The long-awaited northern province elections were a success, but to go forward the TNA-controlled council needs both Colombo’s cooperation and financial, technical and political support from the international community. Influential governments, including India and other Commonwealth members as well as the U.S., should make clear to Colombo that diplomatic pressure will intensify if it pushes through constitutional changes that weaken or eliminate provincial councils.
  • Militant Buddhist attacks on mosques and Muslim businesses have continued with tacit government support, while violence against Christian churches and worshippers appears to be on the rise. There have been no serious government efforts to prevent or punish attacks.
  • Participants in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) this week in Colombo should press the government to address human rights abuses, prevent attacks on religious minorities and restore judicial independence.
  • Legal and administrative moves responding to the government’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and the UN Human Rights Council’s March resolution have not restored judicial or police independence, curbed militarisation or ensured accountability for war crimes in the conflict that ended in 2009.
  • If the government cannot show progress by March 2014, when the UN Human Rights Council next meets, members should design an international mechanism to investigate the many allegations of violations of international law by both sides in the civil war and to monitor continuing human rights violations and attacks on the rule of law.

“The government’s policies badly damage rule of law and democracy, undermine the rights of Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese alike and render all citizens insecure”, says Alan Keenan, Sri Lanka Project Director. “If it continues to close avenues of peaceful change, the risks of violent reaction will grow”.

“The small window of opportunity that exists in the northern province shows that sustained and focused international pressure can work”, says Jim Della-Giacoma, Asia Program Director. “With opposition parties and civil society weakened by years of government intimidation, international pressure on Sri Lankan leaders is essential to preserve the remaining space for democratic dissent, prevent regression on ethnic issues and restrain growing authoritarianism”.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    International community,

    Sri Lankan Tamil speaking people need justice, peace and harmony that was refused by the Sri Lankan state governments for the past 65 years. It is evident that Tamil speak people cannot get justice under a governance system where the Sinhalese exercise their power over Tamil speaking people. We don’t want dispute with Sinhalese or their way of life or way of practicing law and order or justice system. We ask you to recognise our right of self determination in the land area where we have been inhabited historically in the island currently known as Sri Lanka.

    • 0
      0

      Ajith,

      We are struggling to build a Sri Lanka governed by rule of law. Where all citizens have equal rights, but obligations as well.

      We want to have a country where discrimination based on ethnicity will be a thing of the past.

      Meanwhile you are whining about your need for racial segregation for Tamils. Your need for Tamil racism. About a land mass where Tamils only can live. Despite Sri Lanka being a multi-ethnic country.

      Sri Lanka has many serious problems. Your brand of romanticised Tamil Nationalism is one big problem among them. Poisoning our country. And hindering its progress.

      We have nothing to do with your Tamil ethno-nationalistic, racist struggle. Why don’t you move to Tamil Nadu? True homeland of Tamils.

      Cheers!

      • 0
        0

        I do not see how democracy is going to be possible while criminalizing the Eelam project and a few other equally idealistic ones as well. There must be space for people to canvass their ideas and their projects.

        We must also understand that Sri Lanka is very much a part of India whether it be looked at geologically from the point of view of the continental shelf and the Western Ghats or biologically in terms of genetic materials. Most Sri Lankans are of Indian origin and there is no reason why Indians should not have access to what is in effect part of the Indian subcontinent.

        I seriously doubt as to whether the concept of “sovereign Sri Lanka ” can survive for very long so its not really a question of Tamils going to Tamilnadu but Tamiladu going to Sri Lanka. I know that this contradicts both the eelam project as well as the sinhala buddhist sri lanka project as well but as you will soon see it is the only way that you are going to have anything like law and order.

        Another factor of interest is that “India” like “America” is not really a place but rather a concept. So the notion that there is something other than tamilnadu that governs india and which is contradicted by tamilnadu is a mistaken notion held by many sri lankans. India is the outcome of a vision that all the people of the subcontinent contribute to and it is the outcome of a confluence of their various interests.

        In sri lanka we do not have any such mechanism and so in time the stronger will subsume the weaker.

      • 0
        0

        tadpole(゜゜)~ Sri Lanka has many serious problems(゜゜)~ Gobbledegook!

        Caused by the hoodwinking majority Sinhala Buddhist ethnicity !!!

        You have a heart ache just throw out the chintz that you have and never be capable of administering.
        The UK were invited by the Dutch East India Company to administer. In 1948 UK was blitzed by the Germans in the great European war WW2
        .
        Northern Ceylonese joined the British forces and fought for HM even at Rangoon against the fascist Japanese while the southern Ceylonese worked behind the lines to help the Japanese and hid in Tamil Nadu.

        Let’s bring the nation once again under Baharat so that all citizens be treated as equal lets start by embargo and then continue with IAF manning the Lankest no fly zone- carpet bombing!!

        Brahman Ki Jai
        0:3

      • 0
        0

        Ben,

        You are not struggling to build Sri Lanka governed by law. It is you who supported Sinhala racism that lead to the jungle law. It is not about segration. The whole Tamil community will be massacred by your race when you build up a Sri Lanka by rule of law. The North East will be a land mass where all ethnic groups can live peacefully under rule of law unlike the South it is a butcher shop run by Sinhala racist. You will be welcome in the North East and you will get the same rights as a Tamil or Muslim in the North East. You cannot solve your problem because you all ignored and deny that Tamils were massacred by Sinhala military. I am a Tamil born in the North East of this island with the similar way you are. If you think I came from Tamil Nadu, you identify yourself as a racist Sinhala. Do you know your homeland? Is it the jungles of Guyarat or Orisa?

      • 0
        0

        Ben,

        Tamils are not crying for racial segregation. Nor do they say that the land mass where they live should exclusively be for Tamils. They are happy to welcome the Sinhalese or Muslims to live among their midst, if they come of their own will, but would strongly resist all deliberate state aided colonisation with intent of changing the demographic pattern that existed for centuries. You speak of Tamil ethno-nationalism as though Sinhala nationalism is not ethno-centric. What do you think for instance of the case of compelling Tamil students of the North to sing the national anthem in Sinhala only?

        Sengodan. M

        • 0
          0

          Sengodan,

          “They are happy to welcome the Sinhalese or Muslims to live among their midst”.

          I truly beleive your statement. I have no reason, what so ever, to doubt the goodwill & hospitality of ordinary Tamil Sri Lankans. It is the Tamil racists, I do not trust.

          “deliberate state aided colonisation with intent of changing the demographic pattern”

          I support Tamil Sri Lankans in this struggle. I am not for ethnic re-engineering. Any Sri Lankan can live anywhere they want. Out of their free will.

          “Sinhala nationalism”

          Sinhala nationalism is ethno-centric as well. It has been as destructive as Tamil Nationalism or even worse.

          “compelling Tamil students of the North to sing the national anthem in Sinhala only”

          Totally unacceptable. Nobody should be forced to sing a national anthem in any language. It is something you feel. In your heart. If Tamil Sri Lankans choose to sing it in Tamil. I support them. I would be happy for them.

          However, I would prefer a national anthem that we all can share, own and sing together. We can include Tamil versus as well.

          As an example, I love the national anthem of South Africa. Makes me want to become South African. Sung in all official languages of South Africa:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gr0414FrN7g

          Cheers!

    • 0
      0

      Ajith,
      The North and East were part of Rajarata, under Sinhala Kingdom long before Tamils arrived as invaders. There will not be areas in Sri Lanka for Tamils only. Self determination for Tamils in the North will not give self determination for majority Tamils, who live in WP and elsewhere in Sri Lanka. The present arrangements are good, and they will stay that way. Tamils in the north will have a better understandings with the Sinhalese as transport and communications improve and as they intermingle. Tamils in the north will understand they have been fooled by power hungry high caste Tamil politicians. The demand for self determination is already fading and will be a thing of the past soon, as with the Tamil caste system.

      • 0
        0

        Lal,

        I don’t want your bullshit explanation of who arrived first to this island and who came late. Tamils are living in the North East over 1000 years. There is no evidence to prove Sinhalese lived in the North East. We Tamils have to tell rather than you telling that now everything is good and there is better understanding between Tamils and Sinhalese. The elections held in the North East is a clear cut indication of what Tamil People’s understanding of your military rule in the North East. You Sinhalese need to understand how you all are fooled by high class, high caste converted Christian Sinhala rulers fool all Sinhalese. You can’t exploit or divide Tamils based on the Caste system because it is no longer an issue among Tamils, the concern is how to survive from the murderous Sinhala racist. The self determination of Tamils is a demand of 99% Tamils of North East.

    • 0
      0

      I completely agree with Ben. Give up your imaginary Tamil homeland in the Nort and East where Sinhalese and others also have a say. Ajith yours and other militant Tamils claiming to process the North and East destroyed the country for 30 odd years. Now we need to bring the present Mahinda Rajapaksa regime to account for all violations of Rule of Law and many other atrocities they do with imputing their thugs in military uniform. So give your corporation to all Sri Lankans to bring this country to allow every one to live in peace.

    • 0
      0

      Alan, good one! But you need to focus on the need to hold Kamlesh Sharma and the Commonwealth of Nations as much as Rajapakse ACCOUNTABLE.
      Rajapakse aside from the northern PC elections has used the Colombo Commonwealth Circus to further his dictatorship and silence the sick and corrupt UNP and civil society.
      A clear distinction must be made between the people of Sri Lanka and the corrupt and criminal Rajapakse regime which does NOT represent the great silent majority.

      Thus, we the people of Sri Lanka, which is supposed to head this corrupt circus called the Commonwealth, DEMAND a comprehensive, measured and results-based EVALUATION of this British colonial relic organization’s performance in the past 2 decades.
      We also demand that Mahinda Rajapakse demonstrate progress in restoring the proper Chief Justice, the 17 Amendment to the Constitutions, return of lands and demilitarization of north before being made Head of Commonwealth Circus.

      No organization is above MONITORING, EVALUATION and results measurement. Given its track record a TRANSPARENT EVALUATION of the organization and its RESULTS is required and should be the HIGHEST PRIORITY. It is time to hold Kamlesh Sharma ACCOUNTABLE to the common citizens and peoples he claims to benefit by the CHOGM circus.

      If it is proved as it no doubt will be, that this British Colonial old boys club for third world Dictators really promotes the “Common Poverty of Nations” and inequality and leaves a massive CARBON FOOTPRINT with NO measurable benefits to the peoples of these countries with regard to promoting EQUITABLE growth, development and democracy this WHITE ELEPHANT British Colonial Outfit should be SHUT DOWN.
      All Sri Lankans know that the CHOGM circus to celebrate Prince Charles 65th Birthday party in his post-colony, for which the Rajapakse military dictatorship has purchased fleets of Mercedes Benz cars and super luxury buses with massive kick backs will further beggar and indebt this already highly indebted country. The CHOGM circus will also boost the Rajapakse DEEP STATE and military dictatorship with its FACADE OF DEMOCRACY and further damage democracy and the Rule of Law in Sri Lanka.
      It is also clear to Sri Lankans that the Common Poverty of Nations is the more appropriate name for the Commonwealth Circus – a British Colonial relic. At this time in Sri Lanka it is clear that the Commonwealth is not just irrelevant and obsolete, it is positively DANGEROUS to the PUBLIC GOOD in the Global South. DEMOCRACY, GOOD GOVERNANCE AND RULE OF LAW which it claims to be its “core values” are constantly and consistently violated and undermined by this British colonial outfit’s support for third world dictators.
      The Common Poverty of Nations is an organization that promotes MILITARIZATION covertly, while boosting Asian and African Military Dictators (like Mahinda Rajapakse whose regime is accused of war crimes), to whom Britain sells arms and intelligence technologies during CHOGM Business Forums, while preaching human rights and rule of law!
      2. The fact is, all the SPIN generated at the Common Poverty of Nations (CHOGM) will not fool foreign investors – as indicated by the miniscule FDI figures for Sri Lanka. Foreign investors look for good governance, honest regulators and regulatory institutions and economic stability to invest in the REAL ECONOMY that produces real as opposed to fictional growth. Foreign investors except for Casino Kings are not even looking at Sri Lanka because the CORRUPT and UNEDUCATED Rajapakese brothers are a bunch of looters of public and private wealth.

    • 0
      0

      I’M AFRAID YOU’RE ASKING FOR THE MOON AJITH.

      FREDERICK DOUGLAS, WAY, WAY BACK IN CIRCA 1870 PUT IT IN CORRECT PERSPECTIVE WHEN HE SAID THAT SENTIMeNTS sUCH AS YOURS BELONG TO THE ” “NAtural History of Nonsense” [please google it]

      HERE’S HOW HE PUT IT :

      “the whole history of THE PROGRESS OF HUMAN LIBERTY shows that all concessionS yet made to her august claims HAVE BEEN BORN OF EARNEST STRUGGLE.

      IF THERE IS NO STRUGGLE THERE IS NO PROGRESS.
      THOSE WHO PROFESS TO FAVOUR FREEDOM…
      AND YET DEPRECATE AGITATION
      ARE MEN WHO WANT CROPS WITHOUT PLOWING UP THE GROUND
      THEY WANT RAIN WITHOUT THUNDER AND LIGHTNING
      THEY WANT THE OCEAN WITHOUT ITS AWFUL ROAR OF MANY WATERS”

      WE ARE TOLD THAT THERE WERE NO WAR CRIME, THAT THERE WERE ONLY MARGINAL INEVITABLE COLLATERAL DEATHS. WE OF COURSE KNOW THAT “NECESSITY” IS THE PLEA FOR EVERY INFRINGEMENT OF HUMAN FREEDOM. BUT WE ARE ALSO TOLD THAT THIS IS THE PLEA ONLY OF TYRANTS.

      YES, WE ARE TOLD AD INFINITUM THAT IT WAS NECESSARY TO KILL.

      AND SO IT WAS..AND EVER WILL BE, FOR TYRANTS TO RETAIN THEIR HOLD ON
      POWER.

  • 0
    0

    Yes indeed. With Piraphakaran and his LTTE out of the way there is hope of democracy in north though it seems unlikely that the Vellalla grip will loosen.

    • 0
      0

      Didn’t the majority of them seek their fortunes in Canada/UK because Prabhakaran did not bend to their NEEDS based on caste.

    • 0
      0

      As if Sinhala give a dam about Vellala or non Vellala Tamils, so spare us the faux concern for non Vellala.

    • 0
      0

      “vellala”?? hahaha aisey sumane! long time no see! how?

  • 0
    0

    Look at this foto of our king. Isnt he the most handsome and Ms. Darshani Ratnawalli the most beautiful Sinhala Buddist two people on earth?
    Can anyone deny it?
    And then who the next most attractive male and female, Mr. Malinda & Ms Waduge?
    Sorry aney readers for my jargon, coming to the point…

    The very first point above is an utter rubbish. Our king and his brave American experienced brother Mr. Gota are anytime ready to support the TNA and Northern people anytime without any hesitations or deliberations. I think UNP’s Ranil faction plus Dr Wickramabahu and some NGOs joined with Mr Sumanthiran, Mr Sambanthan, and Mr Vigneshwaran in order to tarnish the image of this democratically elected wonderful goverment. Certainly they are upto something.
    Tamils and Mr Ranil Dr. Bahu are real enemies of our king.

    Who attacked the Muslims? If you have any doubt ask good Muslims like Mr. Aswar or Mr. Faiser Mustappa, Mr. Hakim or Mr Richard Badurdeen, They will never say that they have been attacked. In fact the Muslims attacked us. They forced us to eat Halal food. Why did they come every day to each and every Sinhala Buddist house and asked us to eat only halal food? Muslims also as bad as the Tamils. Bloody traiters they are as same as the Sinhala Elite. We hate Tamils, Muslims, Burghers & Sinhala Elite or in a nutshell we hate any educated rich respectful people who live in dignity. Our king at Al Jazeera interview said in some language (I cant remember, was it Arabic or Qatar language maybe?) that there was love affair stuff and also about a six year old. Although the anchor didnt understand our king because of the language barrier like me, our his majesty gave the massage some how. One should not forget that our king has many degrees from different parts of the world (honarary or whatever who cares, our village fools are proud of it) so any language is OK for him. Onema apabrangsayak!

    Who attacked churches. This isreal international conspiracy. How can he attack the church when Mr Don Alvin, kings papa was a Christian and his beloved queen HRH Shira is a catholic. Patta borune aney kiyanne megollo!

    Now again LLRC lu. Cant these buggers forget it for once and for all.
    Why are they behind our king and his family. We told clearly no LLRC and no Tamils or Muslims or Burghers or Sinhala Elite. How many times we had to ask Mr. ‘Sangili Weerawanse’ and Mr ‘Champika BoTree’ to make a mini storm within the party to fool the Sinhala Public.

    This is enough now. Our patience is running out. Our king may ask our economy (an expert in world economy) minister Mr. Basil to embargo West since we are self sufficient in every aspect.

    What a plot to disgrace hon mahinda, so sad!

  • 0
    0

    That report of the ICG will be taken as bite by the Rajapakshe’s during CHOGM.

    Ajith ” Quote “Tamil speak people cannot get justice under a governance system where the Sinhalese exercise their power over Tamil speaking people.”…. TAMILS LIVING IN THE SOUTH ARE QUITE HAPPY WITH SINHALESE EXERCISING POWER OVER THEM IN THE COLOMBO AND ELSEWHERE IN THE COUNTRY….. What is your problem? Want to create another mayhem?

    The Bulluocks that need to pull the cart are attempting to go in all directions. AS SUCH, THE CART GOES NOWHERE.
    Therefore, its time for compromise. I am certain with a little leverage it will work will be able to build the nation gradually.
    Think……….

  • 0
    0

    ******** Whether people care enough about local news to pay for it is, sadly, an entirely different question than whether our democracy requires a strong watchdog function at the local level to ensure safeguards against abuse, chicanery, and outright dishonesty **********************

    Eric Alterman

  • 0
    0

    It is not only the mosques and churches that have been attacked. Even Hindu shrines as in the case of the Kaali Temple in Dambulla have not been spared. One cannot dismiss these as isolated incidents.

    The only hope for the NPC to sustain and develop it’s devolved powers is the unstinted support that is expected from the international community. At least this time, let us hope that the I. C will not fail the Tamils.

    Sengodan. M

  • 0
    0

    If Tamils think that Northern part of Sri lanka is their traditional Homeland, what will happen to other Tamils live in other parts of Sri Lanka. They enjoy all the privileges equally other community in this Island.

    If want to self determination in that particular part of the country other people will chase them to north.Because they should go and settle their homeland.
    Will they agree to accept all the other Tamils live in other parts of Sri Lanka.

  • 0
    0

    in my opinion Sri Lanka is in serious trouble..

    1. We have voted for a President who now believes to be a King
    2. We have a government that does not know the meaning of to govern
    3. We have elected citizens to Parliment as Legislators who can barely read and cannot fathom to understand to pass laws
    4. The MP’s who believe that they are holding the previlege office and its resposibilty first is only to ensure that the next election win is also assured and secondly as a money making oppurtunity to enrich themself.
    5. The burden of government expenses is given to us the tax payers & to our children
    6. We have no credible oppositions – all are divided and all are self serving
    7. We have no independant institutions for – Police, Judicial, Media, finance etc
    8. We have a bribery commission but corruption is now the norm

    the list does not end here.. We are a divided nation of gullible, self serving unpatriotic citizens

  • 0
    0

    Some of the pro tamil comments show lack of historical facts for ex. One has written “there is no evidence to prove Sinhalese lived in the north east” he seems to be pathetically ignorant of sri lankan history and archeology. There are hundreds of sinhala buddhist ancient archeological sites not only in the n east but all over the north. I am a national tour guide lecturer and have led several tour groups to these sites before 1983.

    • 0
      0

      Tadpole (゜゜)~ I am a national tour guide lecturer and have led several tour groups to these sites before 1983.Tadpole (゜゜)~

      You are the typical kallathoni Bihari bandit- Mahawamse is poppycock as proved by your ever loving China at Longman Grottoes and Terracota and Lumbini (hindu kingdom)SL’s have only got closer to proving that the Mahawamse is but poppycock.
      The UK were invited by the Dutch East India Company to administer. In 1948 UK was blitzed by the Germans in the great European war WW2. Churchill was tired, Roosevelt was dead, Truman was new. In the aftermath of the conflict, tensions with the Soviet Union increased,(steady in roads to Germany) marking the start of the Cold War. Therefore the creation of Pakistan east and west to place the nuke against Russia- independent Lanka was an accident in convenience.

      Northern Ceylonese joined the British forces and fought for HM even at Rangoon against the fascist Japanese while the Southern Ceylonese worked behind the lines to help the Japanese and hid in Tamil Nadu.

      Let’s bring the nation once again under Baharat so that all citizens be treated as equal. Let IAF draw a no fly zone over Lanka and bomb it Libyan style to protect the citizens from the dictator.

      Gota “Gooo”ta “Booo”ts

      Mugabe loves you Lankets

      O:-) :* :*

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.