CCCS Seminar: The Elusive Constitutional Settlement of Sri Lanka’s Ethnic Crisis

Monday, 8 October 2012 - 1:00pm - 2:00pm

Sri Lanka has both geographically concentrated and dispersed minorities. The majority Sinhalese are a minority in two Provinces. Reluctance to accommodate the minorities in State power and discrimination led to demands for federalism and finally to separatist violence. Sinhala and Tamil extremism aggravated the crisis. While Tamil separatists have been militarily defeated, the search for a political solution to the ethnic conflict continues with no immediate prospects of an agreement, due to extremist pressure and lack of political will. Compounding the situation are serious issues of governance, a strong executive presidency without effective safeguards and waning respect for the rule of law. Today, the resolution of the ethnic crisis has become a part of a wider struggle for democratic governance.


Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne, a legal practitioner from Sri Lanka, specialises in constitutional law and human rights. He is a President’s Counsel, equivalent to Queen’s Counsel.  His doctoral thesis was titled “Fundamental Rights in Sri Lanka”. He was Senior Advisor, Ministry of Constitutional Affairs and a member of the team that drafted the Constitution Bill of 2000. Dr. Wickramaratne was a member of the panel of experts appointed by the President to service the All Party Representative Committee and was a signatory to the “majority report” which proposed a strong power-sharing arrangement as a solution to Sri Lanka’s ethnic crisis.

 

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