Sunila, a founder member of INFORM, exemplified how the global and local intersect. For over 40 years, she worked for justice and redress for human rights abuses in Sri Lanka during a time of great challenge and conflicts. Her work placed a special emphasis on gender, human rights and peace building, which included documenting the impact of conflict on civilians, introducing nonviolent strategies of conflict transformation and challenging impunity to hold perpetrators accountable. Hers was a holistic vision that addressed many issues, ranging from violence against women to sexual and reproductive rights, including the rights of communities, such as sex workers, people living with HIV/AIDS, and lesbian, gay, and transgender people. She also nurtured and supported countless women and men of all ages the world over, inspiring many, both directly and by example, to challenge abusive authority at the local, national and international levels.
The packed hall at the Galle Literary Festival was stunned into silence by a series of abuses hurled on a Sri Lankan human rights activist by a member in the audience.The hurler of abuses, a well-known journalist, questioned the activist’s patriotism, labelled her pro-Tiger, and described her as a ‘stooge’ of the Western nations. Oh yes, that was just the printable part.
The activist at the receiving end was Sunila Abeysekera. She was one of the panelists on ‘Aftershock: The lingering legacy of civil war,’ presented by the BBC World Service. Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and event moderator Bridget Kendall(BBC’s diplomatic correspondent) were on stage. The exchange presented a clear idea of the differing perceptions on the concept of reconciliation.
Muslims of Sri Lanka who, decades ago, grew up in communities that were moderate and broadminded often wonder why Islamic fundamentalism has come back with such force. What made a once-tolerant people want to set themselves apart from everyone else?
This question lies at the heart of Stay, Daughter, a memoir that gives an intimate glimpse into the world of Muslims as times changed and the impact of the modern and Westernized world was felt.
It has been something of a shock for me to discover that the Sri Lankan authoress Karen Roberts had passed away in USA in 2018 while only in her middle-aged fifties (about the same age as my daughters). What a tragedy!
Political Editor of the Sunday Times, 5 January 2019, where the title runs “UNP leadership: Parliamentary group to decide next week”
Switzerland has publicly expressed regrets for challenging Sri Lankan “authorities’ commitment to due process” and for calling that “into question” over the saga involving an embattled staffer at the embassy in Colombo. Their about turn, embarrassingly coming down a few notches, was spelt out in an official Third Person Note (TPN) Bern sent on December 30, 2019 to the Ministry of Foreign Relations. This was after diplomatic consultations got under way with a special envoy to ease tensions between the two countries. The note was released both in Colombo and Bern simultaneously.
News Item in Island, 4 January 2019,where the title reads thus ….“BASL takes umbrage over Swiss Govt. statement”
The Bar Association of Sri Lanka yesterday took umbrage over the high handed statement issued by the Swiss government on December 30 relating to proceedings pending in the magistrates Court of Colombo over the purported abduction of one of its Colombo embassy’s local employees.
Thuppahi's Blog · This web site presents the interventions of MICHAEL ROBERTS in the public realm with reference to Sri Lankan political affairs. It will embrace the politics of cricket as well. ROBERTS was educated at St. Aloysius College in Galle and the universities of Peradeniya and Oxford. He taught History at Peradeniya University and Anthropology at Adelaide university. He is now retired and lives in Adelaide.