Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s acute economic crisis and sovereign debt default, along with its people’s uprising in 2022, has drawn attention across the world. It is described as the ‘canary in the coal mine’, that is, a harbinger of the likely future for other global south countries. Eric Toussaint, spokesperson for the Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt (CADTM) interviewed via email Colombo-based Balasingham Skanthakumar of the Social Scientists’ Association of Sri Lanka and the CADTM’s South Asia network.

By Liberation editorial board

By B. Skanthakumar

July 11, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from CADTM — Sri Lanka’s citizens’ movement, known as the Janatha Aragalaya (‘Peoples’ Struggle’), notched its most significant victory yet when Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced through the Speaker of Parliament that he would quit on 13th July, mid-way through his presidency. His admission of surrender, after resisting for months the central demand of public protests — #GotaGoHome — in the political fallout of the island’s devastating economic crisis [1], followed mass protests on 9th July.

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By Chris Slee

April 28, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Sri Lankan police opened fire on a demonstration in the town of Rambukkana on April 19, killing one man and injuring 14.

The demonstration was part of a wave of protests that has spread throughout Sri Lanka in recent weeks, sparked by an economic crisis. The country has suffered shortages of food, medicine, petrol, diesel, cooking gas and other commodities. There have also been electricity blackouts.

The protesters blame official corruption and nepotism, and have called for the resignation of president Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his government. Rajapaksa’s cabinet resigned on April 3, but the president did not.

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March 17, 2018
— Links International Journal of Socialist RenewalIn recent years many people have fled Sri Lanka by boat and sought political asylum in Australia. Most are members of the island's Tamil minority. They are survivors of the war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who fought for an independent Tamil state but were defeated in 2009. The Australian government has begun sending back asylum seekers to Sri Lanka, claiming that Sri Lanka is now peaceful and democratic. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has produced two “country reports” on Sri Lanka, which purport to show that it is now safe to send people back. A group of people who disagree with this conclusion came together and produced a counter-report (see below). This document was launched on March 3 in Melbourne. Michael Cooke, one of the authors of the counter-report, gave the following speech at the launch.