The Clash of Identities in Post-War Sri Lanka by Kamaya Jayatissa

My perspective is the one of a 25 year old who was born in Sri Lanka during the war and who came to France at the age of 1; one who is considered or seen as a French in her country of birth but who is expected to behave as a Sri Lankan; one who also happens to “belong” to both the ethnic and religiousmajority of the island.

In a country comprising mainly of Buddhists, one would think that Sri Lanka would be more tolerant, more understanding and open to other people’s beliefs and cultures -yet, though I may not know much about the ground reality, when I hear about anti-Muslim demonstrations, when I hear about discriminatory behavior and attitude towards Tamils, or when I do not hear at all about Burghers, I do not see much effort towards understanding and certainly not much tolerance in my country. Though this is not to be generalized, what I sometimes notice are various forms of marginalization, frustration, and sometimes even extremism from all sides. It seems to me that one of the main challenges in post-war Sri Lanka is therefore to resolve the current clash of identities. Continue reading

Radhika Coomaraswamy Receives Fondation Chirac Special Jury Prize 2012 In Paris

By Colombo Telegraph –

On November 22nd, 2012, Radhika Coomaraswamy, former Under Secretary General of the United Nations/Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, was awarded the Special Jury Prize 2012 by the Fondation Chirac for her actions in favor of the protection of children during armed conflict in the presence of Bernadette Chiracwife of the former French president Jacques Chirac.

Radhika Coomaraswamy

Presenting the Special Jury Prize, former President of Senegal and Secretary General of La Francophonie, H.E. Abdou Diouf highlighted Coomaraswamy’s contributions to the protection of children during armed conflict “Dear Radhika Coomaraswamy, you appear in the same rank as these courageous womenwho devote their talent and energy to help the victims while making sure that their social rights are better protected both normatively and institutionally.Continue reading

Sri Lanka army recruits 100 Tamil women from war zone

COLOMBO — Sri Lanka’s military has recruited 100 women soldiers in the biggest single intake of ethnic Tamils from the island’s former war zone, according to a spokesman.

The women, who come from the northern district of Kilinochchi where Tamil Tiger rebels had their political headquarters before they were defeated in 2009, were enlisted on Saturday. Continue reading

SRI LANKA: Needs outstrip housing construction in north

Rajina Mary still searching for home

SELVANAGAR, 14 November 2012 (IRIN) – Rajina Mary, a 38-year-old widow and mother of four looks at her new home in Sri Lanka’s northern former conflict zone as if admiring a long-lost relative. But in reality, the home’s mostly unplastered walls bruise anyone who leans on them too hard, and there are large holes in the walls for non-existent windows and doors; the floor is cemented only in the living area.

No one wants to stay indoors between mid-morning and late-afternoon because the house heats up like a furnace due to asbestos roofing sheets.  Continue reading

Analysis: Sri Lanka’s long road to reconciliation

Two countries in one
Militarization of north deepens distrust
Limited efforts to bridge divide
Problem of impunity

PUTHUKKUDIYIRUPPU, 9 November 2012 (IRIN) – Genzia Mary, 10, is fascinated by the buses arriving in northern Sri Lanka, their jovial travellers singing in a language that, until two years ago, was completely foreign to her.

Mary lives in Kilinochchi District, part of the country’s northern former war zone popularly known as “the Vanni”. Thousands of southerners, mostly from the majority Sinhala ethnic group, come to visit war attractions as well as a well-known Buddhist temple north of the Vanni.

“There are lots of people in [the buses]. Sometimes there are old ammas [grandmothers] in them, all dressed in white,” she said. Many girls her age also visit, especially during school holidays. “But I have never spoken to anyone of them,” Mary said, disappointed. “They never talk to us.”  Continue reading