1/Comment shows that Tamils are viewed not as equals but as subordinates. Viewed as the ‘other’- ‘they’ as he says. Expected to be grateful for benevolence & should not demand rights. Should know one’s ‘place’. Made to feel unwanted in one’s own country.
2/In a country where the citizen is expected to be a subject. Where citizen is not expected to hold the state accountable. Where citizen should not challenge or critique state & could be labelled a terrorist or traitor for doing so, this is not surprising but still frightening.
3/We deny we have an unresolved ethnic conflict & say we had only a terrorist problem, which we militarily resolved. We speak of reconciliation but deny the right of families of disappeared to know the truth & right to memorialize. We deny their right to protest for these rights
4/No, a couple of Tamil ministers or a famous sportsman doesn’t mean these problems don’t exist. When we struggle to even issue statements in Tamil we cannot claim to respect diversity & pluralism. Our multi ethnic & multi religious nature is viewed as a threat & not as strength.
5/In such a context, will Tamils be able to hold state accountable? Accountability is not related only to HR violations. Every citizen should be able to hold elected reps & govt accountable– re everything from bad roads to rights violations-that is a core element of democracy.

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More from @ambikasat

7 Nov
1/Thread on state of health care in prisons in Sri Lanka. Illustrates urgent need to take measures to prevent further spread of #COVID-19 in prisons. Prison Hospitals (PH) are on level of divisional hospitals & provide only primary health care. Often lacking in basic facilities.
2/Medical Officers (MO) with whom we spoke mentioned lack of medical equipment & lack of ambulances to transport prisoners to General Hospitals. Sanitary conditions of many PHs were unsatisfactory & they did not have separate wards to isolate those with infectious diseases.
3/Shortage of medical personnel is common. As at 14 Feb 2019, based on DOP statistics, ratio of prisoners to Medical Officers was 616:1 at CMB Remand Prison, 224:1 at Welikada Closed Prison, 105: 1 at Anuradhapura Remand Prison & 88:1 at Galle Remand Prison.
Read 10 tweets
28 Oct
1/ The following persons I’ve met in prison have been in prison for several years, even decades. 37 yr old woman on death row. Married at 16 yrs, suffered severe daily domestic violence by husband for years. Complained to police who mediated, which only led to increased violence.
2/One day her mother intervened when she was being beaten & husband lunged at mother with crowbar. Woman took a club that lay nearby & hit him on head once to save mother. He fell down. She was afraid he might get up & kill her. So she hit him a few more times. He died.
3/Male on death row for killing his uncle when he was 18 yrs. Father left family & uncle who was supporting them assaulted boy’s mother & allegedly abused his sisters. They escaped domestic violence & lived elsewhere.
Read 8 tweets
27 Sep
1/Thread on use of community-based corrections (CBC) instead of imprisonment. As per sec 5(1) Community Based Corrections Act 46 1999, if imprisonment is not mandatory or penalty does not include imprisonment of more than 2 yrs, judge can issue CBC order instead of imprisonment.
2/Judge may ask the CBC officer for a pre-sentencing report with social & medical history of offender, previous offenses etc. CBC is currently implemented in 125 Magistrates courts & CBC officers are stationed in courts.
3/In 2017 JSC issued circular to all Magistrates’ courts instructing judges to ensure implementation of CBC Act. Yet, CBC is under utilized by criminal justice system. Lawyers seem unaware of CBC & it is not common to request it for clients. Offenders too have no knowledge of it.
Read 9 tweets
9 Sep
1/ The term ‘death row’ has been used frequently in public discourse during the past week due to a person sentenced to death taking oaths as MP. Since manner in which term is being used implies acceptance of death penalty/row, purpose of thread is to dispel myths re death row.
2/The majority of persons on death row seem to have been convicted for crimes that are not premeditated but committed due to sudden provocation/heat of passion. As per Dept of Prisons stats, majority on death row have no history of criminality & it is their first time in prison.
3/In 2018, of 168 sentenced to death, 137 were from rural areas. 13 had income of Rs 250 & under Rs 300 per month, & 5 had no income. Majority from economically disadvantaged backgrounds & engaged in unskilled, informal sector occupations or low pay occupations in formal sector.
Read 9 tweets
25 Jul
1/Thread on few instances of police corruption, allegation of violence etc reported in last few months. Show that the problem is deep rooted & structural & hence underlying causes must be addressed. Focusing only on individuals will result in only superficial, temporary change.
2/ Police probing alleged torture incident involving police in Kalutara - 21 May 2020. Man alleges he was inhumanely beaten when he was taken by 2 men to inquire about weapon & beating was repeated when he was taken CI Unit of Katukurunga Police. newsfirst.lk/2020/05/21/pol…
3/ Three police officers of Aranayake Police Station interdicted for evidence tampering – 24 June 2020. Investigations revealed the officers in question had solicited Rs 60,000 to tamper with the evidence.
newsfirst.lk/2020/06/24/03-…
Read 10 tweets
7 Jul
A prisoner sent to Welikada Remand Prison from Kandarkadu drug rehab center on June 27 has tested positive for #COVID19. Persons who came into contact with prisoner are being sent to PCR testing & quarantine according to Dr Anil Jasinghe quoted in Govt Info Dept press release. Image
2/Pertinent Qs to ask:
- Is he a remandee sent to Kandarkadu for quarantine pre-remand? If so, does it mean that symptoms didn't appear during quarantine?
- When was he sent to Kandarkadu? - Do authorities know how he was infected?
3/ Or did he serve part of his sentence at rehab & was transferred to WCP to serve rest of his sentence? Whether he was at CMB RP, New Magazine RP or Welikada Closed Prison matters as size of pop & level of overcrowding in each prison vary & would impact containment measures.
Read 6 tweets

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