Sri Lanka and the culture of impunity: human rights challenges in a post-war and post-conflict environment
Thursday 20 June 2013
Speakers: Dr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu; Asanga Welikala; Uvindu Kurukulasuriya
Chair: Professor Chetan Bhatt
Sri Lanka’s civil war, which spanned more than a quarter of a century, ended in 2009. With more than 100,000 war casualties and one million refugees, it represented one of Asia’s most violent, destructive and intractable conflicts. Four years since active military hostilities ended, there has been no progress towards constitutional and political reforms addressing the problems of pluralism and democracy that lay at the heart of the conflict, nor a legitimate process of truth and accountability for war-time abuses. Instead, Sri Lanka is steadily moving in the direction of becoming an authoritarian state, with the rule of law and governance under attack, the ascendance of majoritarian ethno-religious intolerance, and an overall decline in democratic and human rights standards. This event will explore the pervasive culture of impunity in Sri Lanka, both with regard to past abuses as well as post-war governance. The broader challenge of transition from a post-war to a post-conflict situation will be discussed in relation to ongoing efforts regarding peace and good governance.