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WEBCAST: SRI LANKA BRIEFING #4
Discussing the University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) Special Report: on A Marred Victory and a Defeat Pregnant With Foreboding
SAJA presents the fourth in a series of webcasts about Sri Lanka (recordings of previous sessions below).
SAJA features a rare interview with a member of University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna), Dr. K. Sritharan. UTHR(J) has just issued a special report focusing on the last two months of the war in Sri Lanka—and in particular, its ramifications for civilians.
Kopalasingham Sritharan, former Mathematics Lecturer at the University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka, is a co-founder of University of Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna). The group formed in 1988 at the University of Jaffna, and documented human rights violations and abuses by all sides in the nation's conflict, including various armed groups. After the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) assassinated Dr. Rajani Thiranagama, another prominent founding member of UTHR(J), in September 1989, Sritharan and fellow UTHR(J) member Rajan Hoole were forced to leave the university. For the past 20 years, in hiding and on the move, they have systematically documented human rights violations, provided political critiques and recorded voices of ordinary people from all communities. UTHR(J) was awarded the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for human rights in 2007. K. Sritharan is also a co-author of The Broken Palmyra.
Official report summary:
This report covers key issues arising from the recently concluded war. It begins by examining current political prospects, and then moves on to a sketch of the last two months of the war primarily from the standpoint of civilians. While being frank about the LTTE’s cynical use of civilians, the report raises questions about the Sri Lankan government’s relentless move to crush the LTTE leadership while placing the civilians it held hostage at unacceptable risk. It examines humanitarian and human rights issues, the detention of the doctors who served with courage in the No-Fire Zone, questions about the fate of the injured left behind and moral questions arising from the action against the LTTE leadership and the fate of Prabhakaran’s family. The report closes with a warning, noting the danger posed by the present government behaving increasingly like a replica of the LTTE, and makes some recommendations that UTHR(J) believes would be profitable at this juncture. The report and its recommendations emphasize two aspects in particular: the need for urgent measures to address the concerns of the recently displaced living in camps and to secure accountability of the state to ensure the due rights of its citizens.
Full report here:
Featuring: K. Sritharan, University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna).
Moderator: V.V. Ganeshananthan, current SAJA board member, former SAJA vice president and author of "Love Marriage," a novel set in Sri Lanka and the diaspora.
Friday, June 12, 2009
10:30 am-11:00 am NY time
8 pm-8:30 pm Colombo time
Listen live or to a recording:http://www.blogtalkradio.com/saja/2009/06/12/Sri-Lanka-Briefing-4-The-Human-Rights-Situation
(you can go and set an e-mail reminder for yourself)
or listen live via your phone by dialing this NYC number +1-347-324-5991
Please post your questions in the comments section below or e-mail saja[at]columbia.edu (subject=webcast). You can also call into the show live.
You can listen to previous webcasts here and here:
BRIEFING #1: http://www.sajaforum.org/2008/12/webcast-sri-lanka-the-.html
BRIEFING #2: http://www.sajaforum.org/2009/01/webcast-sri-lanka-briefing-2.html
BRIEFING #3: http://www.sajaforum.org/2009/05/webcast-lanka-briefing-3.html
Another discussion co-sponsored by the Asia Society and SAJA: