When those in power disregard human rights and undermine the rule of law, the results can be horrific, observes Savitri Hensman, commenting on recent developments in Sri Lanka. It is to be hoped that, today, non-violent means of resistance will be used, as Sri Lankans and those who care about Sri Lanka seek to defend democracy and civil liberties.
Sri Lanka is facing a constitutional crisis after the chief justice was impeached, in a process ruled unlawful by the supreme court. The bid by cabinet members to replace her with one of their own legal advisers has been widely criticised as an attack on the independence of the judiciary. Pro-democracy activists are challenging the move, despite the danger they face from an increasingly dictatorial regime.
Father Michael Rodrigo’s life and witness in Sri Lanka reflect the importance of perseverance, hope and faith in a better future, says Savi Hensman. This remarkable man still has something to say today, when all too many people live precariously in a divided and often violent world.
In May 2009, Sri Lanka’s civil war came to an end. On 14 March 2012, Channel 4 broadcast Sri Lanka's Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished, a follow-up to an earlier documentary. This focused on the last few months of the armed conflict, when large numbers of civilians were killed or injured.