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Published in The Colombo Telegraph, on 21st July 2018.
When writing about ethno-national politics in post-war Sri Lanka, this writer has constantly sought to highlight one point – that there is such a thing called Tamil nationalism. Tamil nationalism is a given, and whether some of us like it or not, it continues to exist and in some quarters thrive. A key component of reasonable steps towards reconciliation involves understanding and acknowledging the existence of stakeholders with colliding and opposed views.
Sri Lankans who are Tamil nationalists have the right to espouse their Tamil nationalism. However…Read more here.
[Published in The Colombo Telegraph, on 6th July 2018].
The conduct of [now suspended] Brigadier Priyanka Fernando, Defence Attaché of the High Commission of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the United Kingdom has already made viral headlines not only in the UK and Sri Lanka, but also across the world. The Brigadier’s ‘throat-slitting’ intervention, intended at Tamil nationalist/secessionist protesters who were protesting on the National Day of Sri Lanka, has resulted in many a debate on social media and beyond. While what happened was unfortunate, this incident sheds light upon crucial issues of relevance to post-war Sri Lanka, which are equally important …[read more here].
[Originally published in The Colombo Telegraph, on 8th February 2018].
The National Human Rights Action Plan [hereafter referred to as ‘Action Plan’] is one of the best developments that came out of the otherwise jaundiced Sirisena–Wickremesinghe joint government. A crucial component of the Action Plan was a call to work towards repealing legislation of… [read more here].
[Originally published in The Colombo Telegraph, 16th January 2018].
Note: This article was written back in August 2015, and was originally published on 11 August 2015 in Slugger O’Toole, a popular politics blog with a strong readership in Northern Ireland. It was written when the Jeremy Corbyn entered the leadership campaign fray for the first time, when there was widespread speculation all over about Jeremy’s lack of ability to win the leadership election, let alone steer the party in a positive direction as Labour leader. Two years and a general election later, this article provides a glimpse into the debates and arguments that surrounded the Corbyn leadership election in 2015, and it is an avenue to compare, and take stock of, the contributions that the Corbyn phenomenon has since made to the Labour Party, to politics of the left across Europe and beyond, and to British politics at large. — Chamindra Weerawardhana, Belfast, 17 September 2017.
Read more here.
Above: the print version of this article, published in The Sunday Times [Sri Lanka], Sunday 10th September 2017.
Read more here [online version], published in the Colombo Telegraph, on 12 September 2017.
In this festive period of Pride celebrations across the world, a peculiar incident takes place in Sri Lanka, with increased mobilisation of the Buddhist monks, who are apparently opposed to the proposed new Constitution. The multitude of disagreements on the Constitution, and especially on what goes in the Constitution within the Joint Government itself have repeatedly come to light. Debates that are necessary and somewhat intriguing are taking place, which is just about the only positive sign.
On 4th July 2017, academic and diplomat [read more here].
Published on 11 July 2017, Colombo Telegraph.
In June 2016, the United Nations appointed a Special Expert on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) issues. This was a crucial step in the supranational sector, where the emphasis on SOGIESC has long lapsed. The appointment was subjected to two votes, firstly at the UN HRC in Geneva and secondly at the UN Headquarters in New York. It was vehemently opposed by a number of governments (especially African and Middle Eastern states). Yet, the majority of member states voted in favour of appointing a SOGIESC Special Expert.
Indeed, every Sri Lankan citizen can be proud of the decision of the government of Sri Lanka to vote in favour of the Special Expert. In this season of Pride celebrations, it is necessary to reiterate the fact that the Government of Sri Lanka voted in favour of the SOGIESC Special Expert. If anything, Sri Lanka’s SOGIESC vote at the UN is an indication that SOGIESC-related…[Read more here].
Published, Sunday 2 July 2017, The Sunday Leader [print & online]
It has been eight years since Sri Lanka underwent one of the most decisive turns, if not the most decisive and epoch-changing turn, in her post-1948 history. The conclusion of the final military offensive against the LTTE, Colombo’s resounding victory, and the LTTE’s defeat, resulted in a substantive transformation of the national and regional security configurations. This was an outcome previously deemed impossible in practitioner and academic circles. To so-called ‘Sri Lanka researchers’ – a mixture of anthropologists…[Read more here].
Published in The Colombo Telegraph, 19 May 2017.
[Colombo Telegraph, 8 May 2017]
At a parliamentary debate on 5 May 2017, a less than pleasant verbal exchange occurred between Mangala Samaraweera MP, the Minister of External Affairs, and the opposition benches, especially with Wimal Weerawansa MP of the Jathika Nidhahas Peramuna. The former was accusing the latter of corrupt practices during the Rajapaksa administration, providing evidence of specific cases. One such case included financial malpractice (and diplomatic misdemeanour) in relation to a foreign trip on state business. The External Affairs Minister was clearly seeking to make a political statement, and so was Weerawansa, who found an opportunity to slam Samaraweera. At one point, a statement came from…
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[Colombo Telegraph, 24 April 2017]: Political commentary on the on the convoluted trends in opposition political mobilization in Sri Lanka. Read in full here.
his time around, the proverbial cat is definitely out of the bag. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (CNA) has made a public statement that she does not recognize trans women as women. The statement comes coated with a feel of pseudo-acceptance, claiming something along the lines of ‘let trans women and trans people be’. CNA’s foremost argument in making this claim is that those grown up and socialised as ‘men’ have male privileges and that their lived experience differ…[continue reading here].
published, 11 March 2017.
Since June 2016, two attempts have been made to annul the U.N. Human Rights Council’s appointment of an Independent Expert on the protection of peoples against violence and discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE).
The appointee, Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn, teaches law at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University. Despite the expert being from a Southeast Asian country, many governments in the Global South opposed his appointment.
Read more here.
Published, 1 March 2017
Read online version here.
Published: Sunday 26 February 2017, The Sunday Times
Sri Lanka’s LGBTIQ Equality Stalemate & Victorian Hangovers: Reflections On A Decolonizing Approach To Sexual And Gender Justice
The week of the 16th of January 2017 carried bad news for Sri Lanka’s LGBTIQ community. At the weekly meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, a number of ministers had vehemently opposed the abrogation of Articles 365 and 365A of the Penal Code. This also implies vehement opposition to the inclusion of a constitutional clause on equality to all Sri Lankan citizens, irrespective of their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. In other words, this cabinet decision, reached by a cabinet of ministers that describes itself as advocates of ‘yahapalanaya’ (good governance) does not recognize the fundamental rights of Sri Lankan citizens who are not heterosexual in terms of their sexual orientation. Although regulations have been slightly altered with regards to the tedious process of ‘correcting’ the civil service documentation of Transgender citizens, this cabinet decision also amounts to a rejection of Transgender (and indeed other gender-plural) Sri Lankan citizens, as it clearly hints at a reluctance at the highest levels of government to ensure the fundamental rights of citizens irrespective of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. In other words, the government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and its President, whose election was described as the dawn of an era of good governance, does not recognize non-heterosexual and non-cis-hetero-normative Sri Lankans. Despite the tremendous contributions they make to society home and abroad, the highest levels of government have concluded that LGBTIQ people, due to their sexual orientation and gender identity, as a second, if not third class, pariah category. This writer, for instance, a Sri Lankan citizen and a multilingual Trans woman with a Franco-British education plus an International Politics PhD, is, to go by the cabinet decision… [Read more at Colombo Telegraph).