Sri Lanka, 2010-2019: Positive Changes but Sinhala Buddhist Dominance still prevails — Alan Keenan

Alan Keenan, in Sri Lanka Mirror, April 2019, where the title runs Sri Lanka is a ‘nation favourable to the Sinhala Buddhist majority’ –ICG,”

After ten years since the end of the war, Sri Lanka being a country that favours the Sinhala Buddhist majority is detrimental to its progress, an NGO head has warned.  The Project Director of International Crisis Group (ICG) Alan Keenan made this statement to the Tamil media after a tour of the North Eastern province and border villages.

Having visited the war monument in Mulliwaikkal where the last fight occurred and meeting with residents fighting for the release of their ancestral lands in Keppapilavu and the protesting families of the missing persons, he had determined that the government is still discriminating the Tamil and Muslim people.

“Many things have improved”

“Having visited many places and having studied the country for many years, one thing is clear that there have been lots of positive changes since the end of the war,” Alan Keenan told journalists. “There is no more fighting, mass killings and bombs going off. I think this is a good thing for all communities. However, one thing is clear and that is that the Tamil people still feel that the issues that led to the war are still not been addressed such as not having self-governance and the fact that many have no secure place of their own. These issues have not been resolved.

The Sri Lankan Government’s structure clearly indicates the favouration towards the Sinhala Buddhist majority which is strongly felt by the minority Tamils and Muslims. This was clearly manifested in the recent Kandy and Digana clashes. If a system is not formulated where every community is incorporated and the government structure is formed in that manner, I am disgruntled that there could be further issues.”

Alan Keenan said if these issues are not resolved there could be a recurrence of the issues, he warned.

A BIO-NOTE = Alan Keenan currently covers Sri Lanka for the International Crisis Group. Alan is the author of “Democracy in Question: Democratic Openness in a Time of Political Closure” (Stanford UP: 2003). Alan has a PhD in Political Theory and has taught and written on democratic and social theory, constitutional jurisprudence, American politics, human rights, and peace and conflict studies. His current academic research interest is in discourses and practices of “the international” in human rights and peace building and is working on a book tentatively entitled “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: The Politics of Human Rights, Peacebuilding and International (In)Justice in Sri Lanka”…..


Alan Keenan: Sri Lanka Is Not Yet The Success Story That Many Claim It To Be: International Crisis Group,” Colombo Telegraph, 18 June 2016,

[Keenan et al]

Gerald H. Peiris:The Doctrine of Responsibility to Protect: Impulses, Implications and Impact,” 30 June 2010,  AND

Michael Roberts: A Response to Rajan Hoole re reviews of Eelam War IV and Western Deceit,” 28 October 2018,

Tony Donaldson: Western Neo-Colonialism Today: An Incisive Note from Tony Donaldson,” 12 June 2018

Tamara Kunanayakam: “Creeping Imperialism in Sri Lanka via Neoliberal Impositions and the UNHRC,” 27 January 2019, Creeping Imperialism in Sri Lanka via Neoliberal Impositions and the UNHRC

Roberts, Michael 2011 “Amnesty International reveals its Flawed Tunnel-Vision in Sri Lanka in 2009,” 10 Aug. 2011,

Roberts, M. 2013 “BBC-Blind: Misreading the Tamil Tiger Strategy of International Blackmail, 2008-13,

Roberts, Michael 2015 “A Drama in Four Acts: Dishonest Reportage by Amnesty International and Aussie Journalists remains Unmasked,” 2 September 2015,

Narendran, Rajasingham 2014 Harsh Ground Realities in War: Decomposing Bodies and Missing Persons and Soldiers,” 28 January 2014,

Jeevan Thiagarajah: Confronting the OCHR Investigation in Geneva, September 2014: Memorandum from Jeevan Thiagarajah,” 19 November 2015,

Sunday Times: “Marga/CHA confront the OISL Investigation in Geneva, September 2014: Godfrey Gunatilleke in Q and A with Lasanda Kurukulasuriya,” 19 November 2015,


On 16th October  2018 Alan Keenan told his Twitter readers this:What I’ve never understood is why Michael Roberts, a well-respected & careful scholar, doesn’t push hard for a proper, independent investigation into end-of-war casualties. What’s to fear from open inquiry – which the govt has never allowed?” —

I think this was in response to an article of mine published in Colombo Telegraph. I replied to Keenan via Thuppahi within the article addressed to Rajan Hoole — in this style:

Dear Alan …. I cannot navigate TWITTER …Does it have space limits?

SO HERE GOES with a copy to a Sri Lankan who sent me your TWITTER LINE

You are avoiding the substantive issues raised within my essay on the foundations of detailed studies (both mine and others) and your comment seems to be an exercise in deflection.

Your brazen bravado is amazing: International Crisis Group has been charged with altering “CREDIBLE ALLEGATIONS” int “CREDIBLE EVIDENCE” …. And not correcting that (’error’ {!!@!!) when one Harshula pointed it out.

Let me confine myself to one strand of rebuttal here. The Western Powers became an active PARTY within E-War IV in 2008/09 when they bought into and supported the LTTE strategy of depicting an “impending humanitarian catastrophe”. When P SARAVANAMUTTU of CPA demanded in public that the SL forces should not direct artillery fire at the so-called NFZ [ which contained LTTE artillery, its HQ and its Sea Tiger forces], the CPA became an ally of the LTTE camp and its strategy (vide Pulidevan’s reasoning on this issue). This particular intervention was the more powerful because his was not a lone voice, but part of the Human Rights agencies//Western power lines of intervention.

It is a BASIC PRINCIPLE that any party to a conflict cannot sit in judgement in a trial relating to that conflict.

Can you provide facts that contradict those presented in my article, please.”

Alan Keenan responded directly and briefly but asked me not to place the reply in the public realm.


Filed under accountability, american imperialism, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, democratic measures, devolution, ethnicity, fundamentalism, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, landscape wondrous, language policies, law of armed conflict, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, Muslims in Lanka, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, reconciliation, Responsibility to Protect or R2P, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, Tamil migration, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, UN reports, war reportage, world events & processes

3 responses to “Sri Lanka, 2010-2019: Positive Changes but Sinhala Buddhist Dominance still prevails — Alan Keenan

  1. Ruwan Silva

    ‘Alan Keenan responded directly and briefly but asked me not to place the reply in the public realm’
    Transparency is Keenan’s middle name.

    Those who counter Keenan & co’s much fabricated reports have been targeted and smeared by Keenan and LTTE Lobbby as Sinhala Buddhist extremist or Rajapaksa payroll stooges. A typical blitzkrieg method.

    They can never be Transparent in their reporting and so called leaking [sic LURKING] in the dark shadow witness whom they get their so called reports.

    We have seen these well practised western political and NGO methods during the Syrian war.

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