ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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In a State of Denial

Triumphalism prevails as the Sri Lankan government remains in a state of denial regarding alleged war crimes.

That the Sri Lankan government and its armed forces committed a series of war crimes against the Tamil people in the course of the civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is a known fact to many. That after the civil war, in a state of triumphalism, and invoking chauvinism, the government refused to hold accountable those guilty of war crimes and did not make any effort to address the long-standing grievances of the Tamils is also well known. Following a UN “Report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka” though, there is more international scrutiny of these matters.

Based on preliminary evidence, the UN report has tabulated specific allegations about the conduct of the civil war by the Sri Lankan government. It has mentioned that the Lankan government, in its drive to militarily defeat the LTTE, went on to shell hospitals in the Vanni area, as also, relief supply lines, UN hubs, and even near Red Cross ships trying to rescue the wounded and their relatives. The report says that the Lankan government was irresponsible and callous in its treatment of the internally displaced people even after the end of the war. Those interned in camps after the war were subjected to humiliating treatment in appalling living conditions. Intimidation of the media and dissenting voices among the public is also documented. Further, the government’s “Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission”, set up to look into the conflict following the breakdown of the ceasefire agreement with the LTTE in 2002, suffers from partiality and lack of independence.

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