Introductory Note from Michael Roberts
The public event organised by Chatham House to discuss recent events in Sri Lanka on 17th January was chaired by a University Lecturer at University College London whose specialty is “human rights,” rather than any one of the Sri Lankan specialists teaching at British Universities (for e.g. Rajesh Venugopal, Asanga Welikala, Sujit Suvisundaram, Zoltan Beidermann and Alan Strathern). The combination of ignorance, distortion and prejudice that guided the organisation and direction of the debate was exposed in the opening lines of this Chairperson, one Kate Cronin-Furman. “[We are meeting today some ten years after the “final push” of the Sri Lankan Army in a war that ended in May 2009 – “a final phase where the UN estimates said that more than 40,000 civilians were killed by that military [action].”
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Chatham House Public Notice: “A Divided Island: Sri Lanka’s Constitutional Crisis” … 17 January 2019 1:00pm to 2:00pm ……………….Chatham House | 10 St James’s Square | London | SW1Y 4LE ….. NB: “Chatham House” is The Royal Institute of International Affairs
Overview: …… A decade since the end of Sri Lanka’s 25-year civil war, the country has recently been plunged back into turmoil. A constitutional crisis created by the sacking of Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe by President Maithripala Sirisena, and a plan to replace him with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, paralysed the country’s legislative and executive branches as both Wickramasinghe and Rajapaksa claimed the office of prime minister. Against this background, the panel considers how Sri Lanka’s opaque domestic politics is reflected by the government’s slow progress toward its pledges to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to address accountability and political reconciliation emerging from the country’s 26-year civil war. Looking forward, will Wickramasinghe pursue reconciliation, and accountability for past abuses? And what will Rajapaksa’s disputed return to frontline politics mean for a nation still reconciling the violence of its recent history?
LONDON, UK – Apr 19, 2017: Metropolitan police officers on duty at 10 St James’s Square The Royal Institute of International Affairs Chatham House
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