Winning the Peace Through Reconciliation: A Case Study of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka concluded a brutal civil war between the state and the separatist group in May 2009. Since then the president of Sri Lanka appointed the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) to investigate human rights violations and present recommendations to achieve reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

This dissertation seeks to understand the concept of reconciliation and how it has been applied in Sri Lanka and the impact it has had on the society in Sri Lanka. The research involves interviews with NGOs in Sri Lanka and outside Sri Lanka who works towards reconciliation and sustainable peace in Sri Lanka.

Through this research what we have come to understand is that whilst many great recommendations have been made by the LLRC, the implementation of these recommendations has been a failure. What we have further come to understand is that whilst the government is developing infrastructure and the economy, nothing much has been done to heal the emotional wounds of the war affected people. Therefore, NGOs have been instrumental in giving their knowledge and experience in finding an effective way to go about achieving reconciliation in Sri Lanka. Whilst many further recommendations were made by the NGO representatives interviewed, what stood out most was that the Sri Lankan government should be open to involving third parties , such as local NGOs and international bodies, in the reconciliation process in order to make it more efficient, effective and successful, to see a Sri Lanka that has been healed of its wounds and taking a path towards sustainable peace.

To download the full dissertation Click Here

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Zero Dark Thirty – Is It Conveying the Right Message?

MV5BMTQ4OTUyNzcwN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTQ1NDE3OA@@._V1_SX214_Yesterday whilst visiting family I watched the film ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, which narrates the capture and killing of the most wanted terrorist at the time, Osama Bin Laden, by American troupes. Whilst overall it was a well produced film, the first 10-15 minutes of the film was painful to watch; it made me extremely uncomfortable and angry because it went against everything I have learnt about international human rights law. While I admire the creators of this film, and respect the real life heroes who were brave enough to venture this dangerous operation, and most of all the woman who was the mastermind of the operation, I would like to present my criticism about what I learned from the first few scenes of the film. Continue reading “Zero Dark Thirty – Is It Conveying the Right Message?”

In the shoes of Nimalaruban’s Parents

Whilst going through ‘Groundviews’ I came across the link to this shocking and disturbing article (http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/7855). It’s about the murder of 28-year-old Nimalaruban from Vavuniya, allegedly by state authorities.  I’m surprised that I didn’t come across it much sooner (see http://groundviews.org/2012/07/31/ganesan-nimalaruban-a-damning-murder-funeral-and-silence/ ).

I will not speculate the authenticity of this story, there is always two sides to a story, but considering that it is true, there are a few things that I would like to draw attention to that will help the reconciliation process of Sri Lanka.

First of all, I was saddened by just reading what the parents would have gone through, not only that they  were unable to understand completely what was going on due to the language barrier, but just being sent from place to place with no proper direction, and not being able to see their son for five days, whilst being told that he was in a seriously critical condition. I was sitting on my desk, safe and sound, but my body felt like it was somewhere else, frozen, my eye threatening to tear.

Continue reading “In the shoes of Nimalaruban’s Parents”

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Continue reading “Phenomenal Woman”

There is no other way to solve human problems other than with loving-kindness and compassion

I wanted to share this video because I’m relieved that someone is speaking out. Let’s not let another 30 years of destruction and grief be repeated again. Let’s work together to stop this conflict before it escalates. Let’s not let the paradise that is Sri Lanka be turned into hell.

“We should be alarmed if our society is moving towards another conflict again… we can blame our foregone generation for the last war. But, if the same thing repeats, it is a sign of our failure. It is our responsibility to prevent such a thing from happening again” – Ven Dhammananda, Lecturer at the University of Kelaniya.

‘Red My Lips’ – Stop Blaming Victims of Abuse!

Me with my 'Red Lips'... inspired and empowered to talk!
Me with my ‘Red Lips’… inspired and empowered to talk!

I was invited by a friend on Facebook to join this amazing campaign called ‘Red My Lips’… It’s a campaign to create awareness and stop blaming victims of sexual abuse. And a really creative way of creating awareness is to wear red lipstick for the month of April. It’s not only empowering to wear such a bold colour all the time, but it’s the perfect opportunity to get the conversation started.

So, today a girl at work commented that she liked the colour of my lipstick… I told her that I’m wearing it for a cause and that got us talking… and I’m 99% percent sure that, it will get her talking and her friends talking and it’s going to create a wave of talking about this ridiculous trend of victim blaming. From the girl who was gang raped on a bus in India being blamed for it to the 14 year old girl in Maldives being blamed for ‘having underage sex with her stepfather’… when in fact she was raped… it’s everywhere.. and women are not the only victims of sexual abuse, men are too. So this campaign is for everyone.

Continue reading “‘Red My Lips’ – Stop Blaming Victims of Abuse!”

The next time before you complain…

Hussein witnessed his entired family been killed except for his brother who takes care of him now in Norway. He too was stabbed and has lost the ability to walk and has a serious mental condition. Because his story was heard the Norwegian government has granted him temporary permission to remain. Still Image from the film courtesy of the web trailer from http://vimeo.com/52241270
Hussein witnessed his entire family been killed except for his brother who takes care of him now in Norway. He too was stabbed and has lost the ability to walk and has a serious mental condition. Because his story was heard the Norwegian government has granted him temporary permission to remain. Still Image from the film courtesy of the web trailer from http://vimeo.com/52241270

Today I had the privilege of watching the documentary ‘Nowhere Home’ by the inspiring Norwegian film-maker Margreth Olin at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in London.

She tells the story of boys from Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Iraq and other war-striken countries who seek asylum in Norway, but who will be sent back to their countries as soon as they turn 18.

They try to escape a horrific life; experiencing people been killed, even their close family and friends, and to think that they have to go back to these conditions. Khalid, a boy portrayed in the film, say there is no hope in Afghanistan, there is no humanity.

For most of us, the day we turn 18 is special, we celebrate with big parties and embrace a life of freedom as an adult. But for these boys, the day they turn 18 is the end of their lives.They know no freedom, they have no hope for a future. It makes me wonder, and I hope it makes you wonder too… what is it that we have to complain about? We have hope for a future, we have the freedom and the choice to choose our paths… But these boys, they have a future of fear, trying to illegally cross borders to be safe and face the ruthless authorities who imprison them.

We have a lot to be thankful for. And if you don’t have the desire or the ability to take a risk like Margreth Olin to give a voice to these boys and so many others who suffer like them, the least you can do is to think about them the next time before you complain.

My best wishes are with Margreth who is working tirelessly to change the system in Norway to give children like Khalid and Hussein hope.