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Updates on the 18th SAARC Summit On Social Media

The ongoing summit of the The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was covered by international media with different perspectives. However non-official initiatives such as 18th SAARC Summit blog, Facebook account, Twitter and Google+ account are aggregating updates on the summit for easy archiving.

Here are some examples:

Sri Lanka's Slow LLRC Implementation

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was a commission of inquiry mandated to investigate the facts and circumstances which led to the bloody civil war in Sri Lanka. After an 18-month inquiry, the commission submitted its report to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa almost three years ago, on 15 November 2011. The Sri Lankan citizen journalism website Groundviews recently posted an infographic released by Center For Policy Alternatives, a think tank, showing the slow progress of implementing the LLRC's recommendations.

LLRC-implementation-JPG1

It is noteworthy how Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe in March 2013 claimed that 99% of the LLRC Action Plan had been implemented, with President Rajapaksa claiming in May 2014 that only 30% had been implemented. These discrepancies highlight the lack of clarity across the GoSL [Government of Sri Lanka] on reconciliation efforts.

Deported Sri Lankan Asylum Seekers Speak of Mistreatment by Australian Authorities

Thirty seven Sinhalese and four Tamil asylum seekers from Sri Lanka sailed in a boat towards Australia and were intercepted west of the Cocos Island late last month by Australian authorities. They were returned to Sri Lanka, their point of origin, and they appeared in a court in the country's southwest yesterday.

Journalist Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai reports that the Sri Lankan deportees claimed that they were mistreated. He also tweeted (@DushiYanthini) photos and news from the ground:

Citizen journalism site Groundviews also commented:

9 Essentials Uncles You Need In Sri Lanka

Cerno opines that ordinary Sri Lankans need the right network of relationships with many ‘powerful uncles’ to survive properly.

Traditional Media Conspires Against Facebook

Tech blogger Amitha Amarasinghe alleges that Facebook is being portrayed negatively in mainstream media in Sri Lanka accompanied with saucy headlines like “Student commits Suicide over a Facebook photo”, “Facebook love ends in Death” etc:

All of a sudden, there is a huge increase in number of mass media content highlighting the bad side of Facebook and Social Media. If you look at these stories, the local media is highlighting the “Facebook” part of the story as the ‘news’, but undermine the social, cultural, and political factors leading to those sad incidents.

Sri Lanka's Best Bus Terminal

Freelance writer, translator and blogger Nandasiri Wanninayaka writes about the multi-purpose bus terminal-cum shopping and entertainment complex in the resort town of Negombo:

You wouldn’t expect a bus stand in Sri Lanka to be like a mini airport. But if you happen to go to Negombo Bus Stand, renamed as “Negombo Bus Terminal,” it is a little airport. It has almost all the facilities needed in a modern day bus stand. It is considered Sri Lanka’s best bus stand in terms of facilities.

Sri Lanka's Census On War Dead – A Step Towards Transparency and Reconciliation

Tamil Demonstrators held a rally in UK. Image by LK Aldama. Copyright Demotix (2/11/2013)

Tamil Demonstrators held a rally in UK. Image by LK Aldama. Copyright Demotix (2/11/2013)

The Government of Sri Lanka has started a census on the deaths, missing people and damage to property in the conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam affecting the Tamil minorities from 1983 to 2009. Serendipity blog hopes that the counting would be done properly:

Whilst the press and the HRC and other bodies are hailing it as a first step, I personally would like to see a proper accounting of ALL people NOT accounted for since 1982, as it also may include the 30,000+ people missing during the second JVP uprising, whose remains have NOT yet been found.

Brain Drain Or Brain Save

Indrajit Samarajiva refutes the notion that Sri Lankan talents invariably end up migrating in a foreign nation resulting in brain drain. In fact talent is there among:

Not only professionals but also many innovative village youth who would be National assets elsewhere, unseen and unrecognized in Sri Lanka. The issue is that their talent is not visible in the corrupt system till they leave Sri Lanka.

Discovering the Bouquinistes of Colombo

Paris may be famous for its bouquinistes, stalls selling second hand and antiquarian books lining the banks of the River Seine, but Colombo also has them. They don’t line the banks of the Beira Lake and tourists seldom find them but they are invaluable for the traveller.

In this lovely guest post, author and travel writer Royston Ellis, a British resident of Sri Lanka, tells us where to look for the bouquinistes of Colombo.

Screening Of Sri Lankan Movie Forcefully Stopped In Nepal

Sunanda Deshapriya at Freedom Of Expression Sri Lanka reports that the international screening of No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka has been stopped in Nepal due to the pressure of Sri Lankan government. Earlier, the investigative documentary about the final weeks of the Sri Lankan Civil War was also banned in Malaysia.

Infographic: 5 Facts About Sri Lanka’s Tamil Community in the North

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), a civil society think tank in Sri Lanka, has recently conducted a top line survey on “Democracy in post-war Sri Lanka 2014“. The results show that difference of opinion on the reconciliation still exists between the Tamil and the Sinhalese people after the Sri Lankan civil war.

The findings from the survey with regard to the Tamil community is very significant. Their key issues are poverty and unemployment and they feel deprived having very little say about the affairs of the country. Here is an infographic depicting their plights:

Infographic courtesy of Centre For Policy Alternatives

Infographic courtesy of Centre For Policy Alternatives

Sri Lanka Plans to Deport 1,500 Pakistani and Afghan Refugees

A Christian man stands inside his destroyed house in Gojra town. Image by Muhammad Tahir. Copyright Demotix (4/8/2009)

A Christian man stands inside his destroyed house in Gojra, Pakistan. Image by Muhammad Tahir. Copyright Demotix (4/8/2009)

Facing persecution in Pakistan, many Ahmadiyya Muslims and Christians have taken refuge in Sri Lanka. These refugees are mostly held in Boossa and Mirihana detention centers and have to live on government-provided rations as they are not eligible for work.

According to the media, the Sri Lankan government is preparing to deport about 1,450 Pakistani and 50 Afghan refugees who have apparently fled to rural areas in Sri Lanka. More than 1,400 of the targeted refugees have been registered as asylum seekers at the UN refugee agency office in Colombo.

Human Rights Watch has requested the Sri Lankan government not to summarily deport these minorities. Meanwhile, Pakistan has disowned these refugees and an uncertain future awaits for them if they are deported.

W3Lanka English blog opines:

The practice of deporting them is very unethical. They can be economic migrants per se the claim of the Pakistan government. What if they are actually threatened people?

Attacks Against Muslims Continue In Sri Lanka

It has been two weeks since the violent riots against Muslims in the Sri Lankan coastal cities of Aluthgama and Beruwala. Although the situation has died down after widespread condemnation, sporadic violence against Muslims continues in different parts of Sri Lanka.

Blogger Abdul Khaleq tweets about one such recent incident in the Ratmalana division in Colombo district:

Blogger D. B. S. Jeyaraj has details on the unsuccessful arson attack on the Thalayan Bawa Jumma Mosque on Borupane road in Ratmalana in the early hours of 29 June, 2014.

Contraception Woes For Sri Lankan Women

Journalist, photographer and blogger Meg at Life in Lanka blog reports that in remote Sri Lankan villages some women do not have a say in what type of contraception they use.

Their husbands were not keen on using condoms and preferred that their wives used contraception instead; so the inexpensive, easily available and quite effective condom for men was not an option, leaving contraception entirely up to the women.

Due to the fact that contraceptives for women usually have side effects their sufferings never end.

Legalizing And Regulating The Sex workers in Sri Lanka

Shilpa Samaratunge, a development worker, discusses in Groundviews about the problems surrounding the sex workers in Sri Lanka. Instead of abolishing and criminalizing them, which is the path Sri Lanka currently is on, she suggests to legalize the profession and impose regulation and provide health-services for the sex workers.

Enforced Disappearances in Sri Lanka: 2006-2013

Groundviews highlights a report (pdf), which aims to facilitate the criminalization of enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka during 2006-2013, recognize and uphold the rights of the victims families.

A Durian Village In Sri Lanka

Image of Durian. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0

Image of Durian. Image via Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0

In Southern parts of Sri Lanka the cultivation of Durian, regarded by many in southeast Asia as the “king of fruits”, is becoming popular as it has export demands. The Sri Lanka Ministry of Agriculture has taken steps to commercially cultivate Durian, reports Ajith Parakum Jayasinghe. A 30-acre Durian village in Minuwangoda Divisional Secretariat in Gampaha district will be established.

Sri Lanka: Debate On Legalizing Sex as a Profession

“Sex work finds its place in the underbelly of most societies, more so in conservative cultures like that of Sri Lanka,” comments Shilpa Samaratunge at Groundviews. The question remains whether the sex workers can demand their rights confronting stigma.

An Alternative Guide to Colombo for CHOGM 2013

The prestigious Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013 is taking place in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo and the government ensured an expensive makeover of the city for the distinguished guests. Groundviews posts a guide to the other sides of the city which are apparently invisible to the guests.

Council Elections 2013 of The Northern Province of Sri Lanka Updates

The Sri Lankan Provincial council elections are being held today (September 21, 2013) to elect 148 members to three of the nine provincial councils in the country. The Northern Province, which was plagued with civil war, is having its first council elections in 25 years. Centre for Monitoring Election Violence blog is providing regular updates on the Northern Provincial Council elections 2013.

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