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Response to Sri Lanka Consul General

It is amusing to see the Sri Lanka Consul General (“Biased Article on Sri Lanka” EPW, 25 June 2011) impeaching the credibility of the United Nations report on Sri Lanka, which is actually perfectly consistent with reports based on first-hand information, notably one by University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna). Further, I would like to clarify that my article (“The UN Report on Accountability in Sir Lanka: Substance and Reactions”, EPW, 11 June 2011) was about the UN report, as the title itself suggested, and did not require “first hand information”. As for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), there is no suggestion on my part that holding civilians as hostages and human shields or forcibly conscripting adults and children are “petty offences”. On the contrary, I consider these to be war crimes and crimes against humanity. The article states that the LTTE “greatly intensified its policy of forcible conscription” at the end of the war. Is it not clear from this that I regard this as something the LTTE practised throughout the war?

Rohini Hensman

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