On May 18, some 800 women in Sri Lanka’s northern region will hold Hindu religious ceremonies for the welfare of thier husbands who disappeared or surrendered to the military as it moved in to mop up nearly three decades of armed Tamil separatism.
Krishnaveni Nakkeeran has fled the country of her birth twice and returned twice in the last two decades. The 36-year-old mother of four from the northern Jaffna peninsula in Sri Lanka first fled the bloody civil war to India when she was just 16 years old in 1990.
Reacting to a series of deadly crocodile attacks, the Sri Lankan government has drawn up plans to capture the free-ranging beasts and confine them to parks. Conservationists oppose this move.
The fear was palpable for Mohideen Ajeemal when he heard the news of an 8.6 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Indonesia on Apr. 11. The last time an earthquake of similar magnitude hit the same area, Ajeemal lost two of his children, a young daughter and an infant son, when massive tsunami waves crashed onto his house on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka on the morning of Dec. 26, 2004.
Sri Lanka’s capital city Colombo, the vibrant economic and administrative heart of the bustling island nation, is rapidly turning into a city of slums. Home to over 30 percent of the country’s population, one in every two people living in the Greater Colombo Area is a slum dweller.
Most things in Sri Lanka are becoming expensive these days. In early February fuel prices were increased by margins ranging from eight to 49 percent, with the all-important diesel, used widely in commercial transport and power generation, going up by 36 percent. The Sri Lankan rupee that was trading at 107 rupees to the dollar in January surpassed 130 rupees per dollar last week.
As the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voted in, Thursday, a resolution asking Colombo to act on recommendations made by its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), Buddhist prayers reverberated through the Sri Lankan capital.
The gentle waves of Weligama bay that lap at the small, tight-knit fishing village of Kaparratota, 140 km south of Colombo, can be deceptive.
Strung across the main road leading away from the international airport is a banner that has an intriguing message: ‘USA, Pls Do Not Support Terrorism’.
On the eve of the Feb. 27 Human Rights Council Session in Geneva, during which human rights advocates had hoped the issue of alleged wartime abuses in Sri Lanka would finally be put to rest, the Sri Lankan government announced its appointment of a five-member court of inquiry to investigate laws of war violations during the first five months of 2009.
With the Feb. 27 session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) looming on the horizon, human rights watchdogs are making yet another push to get Sri Lanka onto the agenda – and once and for all settle the issue of alleged wartime abuses that the government continues to deny.
Experts agree that Sri Lanka's free pre and postnatal clinics across the island nation have helped bring infant mortality down to 15 per 1,000 live births and the under-five mortality rate to 21 per 1,000 live births.