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Dual citizenship Restriction: Time for Change

Colombo Telegraph, 5 September 2020 The draft 20th Amendment to the 1978 Constitution of the 2nd Republic of Sri Lanka, in its current form, lifts the existing restriction on Sri Lankans with dual citizenship holding elected office. This is a laudable decision, and also a long overdue one. In an increasingly interconnected and globalised world, it simply does not make sense to prevent suitably qualified people from accessing opportunities based on criteria of this nature. Pre

Pride amidst Pandemic: Sri Lankan Perspective on Pride 2020

Colombo Telegraph, 25 June 2020 Pride 2020 is markedly different from previous years. Apart from the obvious reality that we are unable to organise pride events and social gatherings, the pandemic situation has impacted pride, and SOGIESC rights advocacy in general, in a number of very specific ways. Pandemic as a ‘grounding’ force? Impact on NGO sector and Philanthropy Firstly, the pandemic has clearly demonstrated how the most marginalised and least represented segments of

Pandemic politics, or politicised pandemic?

Colombo Telegraph, 24 April 2020 The management of the Corona crisis in Sri Lanka has no shortage of critics. Some are purely cynical. Others opt to take a critical posture because it helps with their political, financial and careerist agendas. Certain news websites run by Sri Lankan journalists in exile, for example, have been consistently critical of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government’s management of the Covid-19 crisis. Just as the majority of these critics would do themsel

Sri Lankan Foreign Policy in the New Decade

Colombo Telegraph, 9 March 2020 Part One: Managing Big-Power Relations: a story of rocks and hard places In this series of articles, this writer seeks to shed light upon certain salient aspects of managing Sri Lankan foreign policy in the 21st century’s third decade. This series is penned from a perspective of foreign policy analysis and management, with a strong focus on realpolitik and the challenges that we face, right here and now. Veteran diplomat and External Affairs Mi

Interview with Dr Chamindra: University of Victoria

University of Victoria, 4 March 2020 Dr Chamindra Weerawardhana was interviewed by the Chair in Transgender Studies and Transgender Archives at the University of Victoria, in the traditional territories of the W̱SÁNEĆ people, in Turtle Island. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uheNlmWfW5g #chamindraweerawardhana #transfeminism #intersectionalfeminisms #BlackFeminism #southasianfeminisms #internationalpolitics #archivalresearch #transpolitics #womeninpolitics #sogiesc #ie_sogi #

The politics of SOGIESC in Sri Lanka: a year-end reflection

Colombo Telegraph, 2 January 2020 There has been no better time for SOGIESC advocacy in Sri Lanka. Like in many countries across the global South/s, SOGIESC advocacy in Sri Lanka has long been, and continues to be, donor-funded. In some cases, it is extremely challenging to not to make this body of work not donor-driven. Working with donors, and engaging with donor bodies in terms of the most pressing needs of communities non-cis-het communities remains a major challenge for

Liberals for Gota? Politics at the hour of populism/s

Colombo Telegraph, 18 August 2019 As the SLPP National Convention was taking place in Colombo, an intriguing dialogue was taking place on a social media platform between two people this writer seldom agrees with, but nonetheless acknowledges their commitment to their convictions, their experience in the political and media [and in the case of one of them, the diplomatic] fray. One of them was the editor of the Colombo Telegraph [CT], and the other was Sri Lanka’s serving amba

Queering The JVP

Colombo Telegraph, 22 July 2019 At a rally held in Nugegoda on Sunday 7th July 2019, the JVP made history in Sri Lanka’s political discourses of the mainstream. Delivering the final fiery oration, the party’s General Secretary, long-term stalwart, and one of its senior-most personalities, Comrade Tilvin Silva, stated that his party fully recognises the rights and agency of people with non-cis-heteronormative sexual orientations, gender identities/expressions and sex character

Interview with Dr Chamindra Weerawardhana: Lak Handa Te-Whanganui-a-Tara

On 16th March 2019, Dr Chamindra Weerawardhana was interviewed by Ms Pavithra Jayawardena, for the Lak Handa Sinhala language radio [@lakhandawellington on Facebook], in Te-Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand. https://www.facebook.com/1048422215299279/videos/766805260385489 #intersectionalfeminism #socialjustice #genderjustice #economicjustice #aotearoa #srilanka #lka #sogiesc #ie_sogi #humanrights #tewhanganuiatara #wellington #chamindraweerawardhana #pavithraj

Thoughts On Decolonising Lanka: From Servility To Dignity

Colombo Telegraph, 5 February 2019 To mark the seventy-first anniversary of Sri Lanka gaining dominion status. One of the most insightful pieces of writing one would read this year is scholar-activist Senel Wanniarachchi’s excellent account of encountering Tara, a Buddhist and Hindu mother goddess of mercy and generous compassion at…the British Museum. Several excerpts of Wanniarachchi’s article are worth quoting at some length, and in this ‘independence month’, these words a

Advising Mahinda Rajapaksa: A Strategic Perspective?

Colombo Telegraph, 3 November 2018 The publication of an email, sent by Ambassador Dr Dayan Jayatilleka to Prime Minister Rajapaksa via Vasudeva Nanayakkara MP, in the Colombo Telegraph has triggered much interest among many Sri Lankans and foreign observers. In what follows, my objective is to very briefly reflect upon the role of political advisors and strategists in the political camp of a populist and successful national leader. This is a crucially important area of conce

The Rajapaksa Return: Slap On The Face Of Sri Lankan Neoliberalism, Once again?

Colombo Telegraph, 27 October 2018 In a move that left the world shocked, President Maitripala Sirisena ‘appointed’ former President Mahinda Rajapaksa MP as Prime Minister, in the evening of Friday 26th October 2018. As soon as this appointment was made at Presidential Secretariat, Temple Trees mobilised, with a statement by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, followed by a press conference. Wickremesinghe, although visibly (and understandably) shaken, made an important obs

Serena To Tharjini: The Battle For Gender Justice In Sport

Colombo Telegraph, 16 September 2018 Sri Lanka achieved a spectacular victory of 69-50 against Singapore at the 2018 Asian championships. The fantastic performance of the Sri Lankan team’s power women was very much an example of resilience, in a local context in which women in sport face a range of specific challenges, primarily linked to ways in which patriarchy reigns in the sporting sphere. Most often, women in sport do not receive the same visibility, facilities, exposure

Sri Lanka’s LGBTIQ Equality Stalemate & Victorian Hangovers: Reflections On A Decolonizing Approach

The week of the 16th of January 2017 carried bad news for Sri Lanka’s LGBTIQ community. At the weekly meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, a number of ministers had vehemently opposed the abrogation of Articles 365 and 365A of the Penal Code. This also implies vehement opposition to the inclusion of a constitutional clause on equality to all Sri Lankan citizens, irrespective of their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. In other words, this cabinet decision, reached by

LGBTQI Rights In Sri Lanka: Long Way Ahead

The 2016 world conference (#ILGA2016BKK) of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association (ILGA) was held in Bangkok last week. ILGA carries out a great deal of work regionally (Europe, North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Oceania, Pan Africa and Asia), and the world conference brings together all the regional bodies. The 2016 conference included some 700 delegates from 98 countries. In sum, it happened to be a microcosm of global L