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Nilan Fernando


Helping Sri Lanka’s Banks to Trust Small Businesses

February 1, 2012


Since Sri Lanka’s decades-long civil war ended in 2009, we’re now witnessing the beginning of reconstruction in the country’s battered North and East. The government is rapidly investing in roads, rail, ports, and telecommunications that help connect marginalized communities with the vibrant, growing capital of Colombo.


Calling on Overseas Sri Lankans to Spur Post-War Progress

October 19, 2011


For many first- and second-generation people of Sri Lankan heritage, Sri Lanka casts a curious spell. It may be a result of being fed a steady diet of their parents’ nostalgia pie. Other children of recent immigrants from Asia, Eastern Europe, Central America, and Africa might experience the same emotional tug, but if you’ve grown up in a Sri Lanka… Read more


Sri Lanka’s Local Elections Test Government’s Popularity in North but Development Continues

July 27, 2011


On July 23, Sri Lanka had the second of three rounds of local government elections planned for this year. Sixty-five councils were up for grabs but the focus of attention was on 20 councils in the Tamil majority Northern Province. The first round on March 17, was for 234 councils out of a total of 335. The balance will be elected in a third round before the end of the year. In last week’s election, the opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA) won 15 of 20 councils in the North.


Will the Debt-Ceiling Logjam Undermine U.S. Influence?

July 27, 2011


In Hong Kong on Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Asian business leaders to stay calm and not “overreact” to the U.S. debt-ceiling crisis. Despite such a call for calm, some say the saga is swiftly eroding American moral standing in Asia and throughout the world in the areas of governance and democracy.


Constitutional Changes Poised to Consolidate Presidential Power in Sri Lanka

September 8, 2010


The dust has settled from two general elections in Sri Lanka this year. In the presidential election on January 26, incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) defeated former army commander Sarath Fonseka, who was the common candidate put forward by opposition parties including the United National Party (UNP), Sri… Read more


In Northern Sri Lanka, Local Governments Prepare for Post-War Development

February 24, 2010


Although the civil war in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province ended in May 2009, decades of armed conflict have damaged the relationship between state and civil society, between the government and the governed. Because of the war, elections for municipal councils, urban councils, and pradeshiya sabhas (local authorities that mostly govern in rural areas)… Read more


Sri Lanka’s Presidential Election: The Suspense Builds

January 25, 2010


Sri Lanka’s presidential election will be held on January 26, 2010. The race has been more competitive than people expected. The incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), elected in 2005, is battling for a second term against the former army chief, General Sarath Fonseka, who together with the president and his… Read more


In Sri Lanka: Economic Revival in Landslide-prone Nuwara Eliya

June 24, 2009


Situated at Sri Lanka’s highest point, the Nuwara Eliya District is one of the county’s most popular tourist destinations with refreshingly cool breezes that offer a respite from the sultry tropics of the lowlands. The hillsides shimmer a vibrant green from the tea bushes that produce the famous Ceylon tea enjoyed throughout the world. The resident… Read more


Sri Lanka: Rising to the Challenges after the War

April 22, 2009


The civil war in Sri Lanka has taken a terrible toll. No one knows for sure how many people have died, but it is probably not an exaggeration to say that, on average, 5,000-10,000 people have died annually for the past 25 years. Most of these casualties, both Tamil and Sinhalese, have come from the ranks of the poor. The war has triggered massive d… Read more


Study Released: Mapping Legal Aid in Sri Lanka

March 25, 2009


In Sri Lanka, legal aid is implicitly recognized as a fundamental right of all citizens under the constitution. Both the governmental and non-governmental sectors are committed to common goals for legal aid service delivery, service providers operate independently, and beneficiaries indicate a high level of satisfaction with services provided to th… Read more


In Sri Lanka: Election Opportunities and Risks in the East

April 23, 2008


Amidst the escalating war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the north, voters in the multi-ethnic Eastern Province will vote on May 10 for a provincial council for the first time since 1988. In 1987, the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord merged the Eastern Province with the Northern Province; a referendum wa… Read more


In Sri Lanka: Politics and the Ceasefire Agreement

January 9, 2008


The Sri Lankan government’s decision to abrogate the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) with the LTTE on January 2 is the final act in the long, slow unraveling of Sri Lanka’s peace process. The CFA has only existed on paper for the past two years; both the government and the LTTE abrogated it long ago through their actions. Now the CFA is no more in word a… Read more


In Sri Lanka: New Laws to Protect Victims and Witnesses of Crime

October 17, 2007


In April 2005, the Law Commission of Sri Lanka began work on the first-ever law in Sri Lanka to guarantee the rights of witnesses and victims of crime. The law’s enactment has been “a long-felt need in Sri Lanka,” which, according to Dr. Lakshman Marasinghe, Chairman of the Law Commission, will “greatly enhance the country’s quality of criminal jus… Read more