The Unknown Killing Fields: Looking into the Sri Lankan Civil War

Summary executions, bodies of raped women, and families hiding from bombs in hastily dug trenches. The images shown in a recent Channel Four documentary bring back memories of tragedies such as the killing fields in Cambodia and the genocide in former Yugoslavia. But these massacres occurred just two years ago in Sri Lanka, at the bloody end of a conflict that had been going on for more than twenty-five years. Despite suggestions from the United Nations, the Red Cross and Amnesty International that war crimes and crimes against humanity had possibly been committed, there has not been an international inquiry. Why is it that Sri Lanka does not seem to be able to keep the international community’s attention?

The civil war in Sri Lanka was a result of an attempt by the Tamils’ (the largest minority group in the country) to create their own, independent state. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), also known as the Tamil Tigers, initiated a bloody conflict, fully controlling a part of Sri Lanka for years. In 2008, the government launched a large-scale offence on Tamil areas. They encouraged civilians to gather in ‘no fire-zones’, and proceeded to shell these areas, targeting hospitals and denying humanitarian assistance to the 330,000 people trapped there. With the LTTE preventing civilians from leaving the area, estimates of casualties ranged from 40,000 to 75,000.

While the International Criminal Court opens investigations into Africa very regularly, it seems strange that there has not been an investigation into what happened in Sri Lanka. However, since Sri Lanka is not a member of the Court, the Court can only have jurisdiction if the Security Council refers the situation to the prosecutor. With the lack of interest from the permanent members of the Security Council, this is not very likely to happen.

One reason for rest of the world’s disinterest might have been the lack of information. With foreign observers removed “for their own safety”, no journalists present, and conflicting stories from the army and the LTTE, it was not an easy story to report. The images that have surfaced now were made on small cameras and on mobile phones as trophies for the army; a far cry from the constant twittering and the abundant presence of television crews during the uprisings in the Middle East.

Another problem might be that over the years, the word ‘Tamil’ has become synonymous with terror. The LTTE was responsible for several high-profile attacks on politicians, and introduced the use of the suicide belt and female suicide bombers to the world. To change this narrative and identify the government as the main perpetrator against Tamil civilians proved to be a very difficult task without sufficient evidence.

A less immediate factor that could have contributed to the lack of attention from the world’s media and governments is the fact that there was and still currently is not much at stake for other countries. The UK has hardly been involved in Sri Lanka since the country gained independence in 1948. As opposed to conflicts in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, there is little chance for a spill-over: the situation is essentially an internal problem. With regards to the War on Terror, Sri Lanka is one of the few remaining Buddhist countries, and apart from rumours that certain LTTE tactics were copied by Al-Qaeda, there is little evidence that the groups are linked. In short, Western countries did not have anything to gain by getting involved in the conflict in Sri Lanka.

With the beaches once again open for tourists, and the country hosting part of the cricket world cup this year, it seems as if peace has returned to Sri Lanka. Refugees are flocking back: last year, almost 200,000 internally displaced persons were able to go back to their homes, and this trend is expected to continue this year. However, many more Sri Lankans are still displaced, both inside the country and abroad. Sri Lanka is still a large recipient of foreign assistance, but the economy is starting to catch up now that the war has ended.

The government’s defeat of the LTTE seems to have brought some stability to the country. However, hundreds of thousands of civilians have had to pay a large price for this. Even if the story does not fit into a larger narrative, powerful states should act to make sure it is not forgotten.

Dineke Pardijs

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52 Comments on this post.
  • Sam Lank
    30 September 2011 at 12:28
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    Tamil terrorism was a cancer to the world, we are glad that Sri Lankan government has finally liberated the country. LTTE Tamil Terrorist thugs were killing not only Sinhalese but their own innocent Tamils including brilliant moderate politicians such as Kathirgamar and Thiruchelvam (Google them). Sri Lanka has finally started to counter disinformation machine of Tamil terrorists and it’s sympathizers. See the Lies Agreed Upon video at youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5O1JAfRXew

  • Varun Selvanathan
    30 September 2011 at 13:43
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    Every one know that channel 4 video was a fake one produced by the Foreign LTTE TERRORISTS. All Sri Lankans know what the LTTE TERRORISTS have done to them. Sad thing is some international groups are trying to protect LTTE TERRORISTS without listening to the civilians of Sri Lanka.

    • Shawn
      1 October 2011 at 16:34
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      Wow, entire world believes the killing field, however these Sinhalese people still support the GENOCIDE of Tamils. The counter video by SL government isn’t gvaining any attention because that video is not real. If killing field is fake, why is Sri Lanka so scared of UN security council taking this up?

  • dan
    30 September 2011 at 13:45
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    The third reason is why there is no real attention. There no real resources at stake and no neo-colonial issues at hand. Only the British post-colonial/neo-colonial) or the Americans (neo-colonial/strategic) could find a reason to get involved and neither can find a significant reason. The other reason is the Tamil Tigers were a nationalistic/separatist organisation rather than a communist organisation. Therefore they had little impact on Cold War machinations.

    Don’t bother with the human rights angle. That only matters when there are resources at stake and we don’t like the state elite.

  • Thanbu
    30 September 2011 at 13:45
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  • Kumar
    30 September 2011 at 17:09
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    Yes Sri Lanka was a killing field during british ruling period (1815 to 1948). Why chanel 4 doesnt make any film about that things. Your masters are the people who made that beautiful country to a killing field. But fortunately President Mahinda Rajapaksha change that situation and made that as a very peaceful country. I think British government must pay compansation to all Sri Lankan. Also SL must ask to investigate the war crime that british did in their country.

  • Murugan
    30 September 2011 at 17:15
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    All fabrication. Why not watch a war film that was shot at Hollywood. Where are the bodies of the 50,000? look for skeltons, you may find them in Channel4’s almeras

  • Niro
    30 September 2011 at 17:27
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  • Percy de Silva
    30 September 2011 at 17:40
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    Those who contribute and participate in funding the properganda war to establish there is war crimes and trying to bring down SL is a waste of time. Lord Jesus said Those who are heavy laden come unto me I will give you rest. You can try & try & try nothing will happen. All civilian killings were done by LTTE and the whole world knows about it. The west is wasting their time, let them take more & more extortion money. Good luck to them.

  • Dill
    30 September 2011 at 17:44
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    Lanka, only democracy that defeated terror – US Congressman

    US congressman Heath Shuler in an open letter to his fellow colleagues in the House of Representatives has emphasized that the US future policy towards Sri Lanka should be focused on supporting the country’s reconciliation efforts and engagement with the US.

    The member for North Carolina and a member of the Steering and Policy Committee, Shuler, who visited Sri Lanka in May 2009, just days after the operations against the LTTE concluded, begins his letter ‘Today, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International-USA are screening a controversial documentary about Sri Lanka.

    There is a great deal of misinformation and debate about what occurred during the final days of Sri Lanka’s war.’

    Recounting his experience, in the backdrop of the screening of the controversial documentary, he has said ‘Sri Lanka is the only democracy to have defeated a terrorist organization in recent memory’.

    ”When I arrived in Sri Lanka, after the end of the war, the optimism and hope of the Sri Lankan people was palpable.

    With the defeat of the Tigers for the first time in decades Sri Lankans felt safe from terror.

    Even the Tamils I met in the recently constructed camps felt optimistic about the future of their country, knowing that security would bring much needed progress to everyone in the country.’’

    ‘’I saw the toll that the 26-year-long terror campaign waged by the Tigers had on the nation.

    Our own government designated the Tigers as one of the world’s worst terror groups.

    Over the past quarter of a century, the Tigers reigned terror on the nation, including suicide bombings, summary executions, ethnic cleansing, recruitment of child soldiers, drug smuggling, piracy and international money laundering.’’

    Reminding that Sri Lanka is a long time ally of the US, the member for North Carolina has pointed out that ‘US cannot discount the long standing and strategic relationship’ with Sri Lanka which is an ‘enduring democracy’.

    ”Since my visit, I have been following the progress Sri Lanka has made. Since the end of the war, there has not been a single terrorist attack in Sri Lanka.”

    ‘’Based on news accounts and UN documents, almost all of the 300,000 displaced persons in Sri Lanka have returned to their homes, over 11,000 former LTTE fighters and child soldiers have been rehabilitated and re-integrated into society, and nearly 60% of the two million landmines have been cleared.’’

    Shuler has also recognized that a ‘commission to investigate wrongdoings conducted by both sides during the conflict and to foster national healing and reconciliation’ is making progress.

    In conclusion he has written ‘As we work together to develop our policy on Sri Lanka, I am happy to tell you about my experience there’, adding that he was willing to discuss with any of his colleagues about the true situation in Sri Lanka as he had been closely watching the unfolding developments at the ground level – which was very much different to the picture portrayed in the public domain.

  • shehan
    30 September 2011 at 17:50
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    Tamil diaspora funded only for arms for LTTE. those canibals killed even tamils who against them & after credited to sl troops. that means diaspora collected money for shoot their relatives.diaspora killed tamil nation. difference they hand over the gun for LTTE to kill own relatives, even father & mother. today innocent tamil people trying to build their lives.without a shelter without enough foods.HELP THEM TO BUILD UP DONATE A WATER BOTTLE OR BISCUIT PACKET.THAT IS WORTH THAN A BLOODY BULLET. USE MONEY FOR THEIR LIVING NOT KILLING. THIS WHAT NOT HAPPEN YET. “STUPID DIASPORA”

  • Silva David
    30 September 2011 at 18:07
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    We need to have an UN investgation in this matter. This is disgrace to all human race. In this day and age to have Genocide. Why free media not allowed in tamil areas of Srilanka? Hope the western world will bring justice to innocent Srilankan Tamils.

  • naren
    30 September 2011 at 18:07
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    This artilce is very misleading. The safe zones were declared by the goevenment fo rthe civillians. The LTTE went there when they didn’t have any other place to. Then the SL army went after the LTTE. SL, army didn’t deliberatly shell civillians. The LTTE used human as cover to attac the Army from the safe Zone. Therefore the blame should fall on the LTEE.

    30 September 2011 at 18:09
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    You can get more information of the barbaric and ruthless atrocities committed by the Tamil Tiger terrorists against Sri Lankan people on the following link. Warning : the pictures depicted thereby of the gruesome atrocities committed by these cowardly Tamil terrorists, are extremely horrific : http://www.spur.asn.au/ltteatrp.htm

  • Sam
    30 September 2011 at 18:12
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    It is unfortunate that the Sri Lankan government and its supporters are defending the War Crimes committed by the Sri Lankan government by citing LTTE terrorism. Crimes against humanity committed by the Sri Lankan government cannot be excused and negated by this argument. Every crime should be punished irrespective of the perpetrator (SL govt. or the LTTE). Let us agree to have international probe to bring the perpetrators of war crimes to justice whoever it may be (i.e., SL govt. or the LTTE).

    It should be noted that the channel 4 documentary used the material provided by victims as well as by the personnel of the SL military who made these as trophies or out of personal guilt of witnessing the atrocities against fellow human beings. The international community should be thankful to those individuals who contributed to this documentary under the difficult circumstances to tell the story of these victims.

    Sri Lankan government’s goal was not to liberate people, it was to commit genocide which continues unabated under the guise of resettlement (grabbing traditional Tamil land to colonize Sinhala settlers from the South who are provided with the resettlement aid meant for the victims given by the international community) and from the murdering of detainees in prisons/camps. If there is nothing to hide, why not allow the international investigators to probe these war crimes without the interference by the SL govt and the Sinhala chauvinists. These Sinhala chauvinists should stop from calling themselves Buddhists. Lord Buddha is crying in his grave that his name is being misused by a race which commits crimes against humanity.

  • Velu
    30 September 2011 at 18:21
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    It’s same old story, Look at present that how NATO forcers are KILLING unarm people in Libia.. Howmany thousand? Any clue??? Where are those HR??

  • Prabath
    30 September 2011 at 18:29
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    As a tamil who lived in Sri Lanka war zone during last 30 years Personaly I know what happened and not. LTTE properganda usually maked false statements and videos. But nothing happened as Channel 4 claiming based on LTTE terroist’s front organisation. There may be 1 or 2 isolated incidents but i know how LTTE behave badly to the Tamil people but tamil diaspora doesn’t know about true colours of LTTE. We faced around 30 years but now free to live a life that man can expect. I like to plead tamil diaspora not to spoil our youth again and ruin their happy future. You all having peaceful life in abroad with joy and try to spoil ours.

  • sinhacub
    30 September 2011 at 18:30
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    Civilians are the biggest casualty in any war, not just Sri Lanka’s war on terror. Sad as it may be, sometimes one has to ask if some lives sacrifised isn’t better than a war dragging out for years killing many , many more. Did anyone ask about human rights abuses when the US dropped two atomic bombs in Japan to end the bloodshed of the second world war, killing not thousands but millions of innocent civilians?

  • Piranha
    30 September 2011 at 18:50
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    Sam Lank,
    You have no answers to the allegations levelled against the Sri Lankan military’s actions during the war – war crimes were committed and thousands of tamil civilians were massacred. Your rant against the LTTE is pointless and does not help to hide the atrocities of your government and your military against innocent tamils. They are guilty and should be punished. Period.

  • anand
    30 September 2011 at 18:56
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    Its so easy for the writer to equate Tamils to LTTE. Truth is, so many tamils voiced against LTTE and now they are left to wonder whether LTTE is the only way the world listened to their woes. AUthor conveniently forgets those woes that brought about LTTE. Even after 2 years of war being endedd, those woes are not addressed. If internationational pressure does not solve those woes, who will? – may be another LTTE. only time will tell

  • Murali
    30 September 2011 at 19:17
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    I am so sorry to tell, all the Tamils are not LTTE supporters and there majority people suffered due to their inhumanity propaganda.We lost our parents, brothers, sisters and properties and still they forcibly collecting money from us for their unethical manners. Please aware people, there are minority Tamil people have made these kind of non-son genocide things to secure their main income sources. Think wise my Tamil brothers and sister!!!

  • P.Riyad
    30 September 2011 at 19:24
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    What a pity that the Uni of N’ham magazine Impact is unable to distinguish between truth and the propaganda of the LTTE ‘economic’ migrants. The canard that the civilians were asked to go to a safe place and then harmed is so totally false, that it is difficult to imagine that the writer had any intelligence..or maybe he or she was comletely brainwashed by interested parties!! Real pity..

  • Lakbima
    30 September 2011 at 19:33
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    “Another problem might be that over the years, the word ‘Tamil’ has become synonymous with terror.” WHICH IS UNFORTUNATE FOR MANY TAMILS WHO ARE WONDERFUL PEOPLE. “The LTTE was responsible for several high-profile attacks on politicians, and introduced the use of the suicide belt and female suicide bombers to the world. To change this narrative and identify the government as the main perpetrator against Tamil civilians proved to be a very difficult task without sufficient evidence.” REALLY, IT IS INTERESTING HOW HARD IT IS TO CHANGE THE TRUTH, EVEN THOUGH THE LIMP/PROG MEDIA MIND MELD TRYIES TO DO THAT QUITE OFTEN. LTTE KILLED MORE TAMILS THAN ANY NON TAMIL GROUP, JUST LIKE ISLAMIST TERROR KILLS MORE MUSLIMS THAN ANY NON MUSLIM ETITIES.

    Btw, how about the Sinhalese who were killed during moronic marxist agitations in Sri Lanka? Where is the sympathy and “outrage” for the Sinhalese? Believe me I don’t want you to make Sinhalese a victim group in your ladder of victimhood. But it is clear that you place value on human lives based on what journalistic and political value a particular group will bring to you. In the end, your concern for human lives is matched only by my concern for road kill.

  • kathiragamanadan
    30 September 2011 at 20:21
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    Now LTTE is gone. Let us live in peace. You all who want LTTE back get lost!

  • Ray
    30 September 2011 at 20:27
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    State terrorism has been taking place in Srilanka from the day of independence from the British in 1948.
    Before the British arrived in the island, there were one Tamil and 2 Sinhala kingdoms. Once the British left, the Sinhala Buddhists wanted to colonized the whole land and make it a Sinhala Buddhist state. The minority rights were violated and atrocities took place.

  • Akootha
    30 September 2011 at 20:39
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    Well, let us all lobby for justice. Let us urge our members of legislation to bring to the UN and ICC. Those who are responsible must be punished so that these types of crimes do nor surface again and again.

    There is a strong connection between China and Sri Lanka. Also, Sri Lanka has support from Pakistan and Iran. These are helping to avert the pressure for impartial inquiry into alleged killing of 40000+ civilians.

  • Ampanai
    30 September 2011 at 20:42
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    Sri Lanka committed and continues to commit atrocities without witness. As individuals we can atleast boycott Sri lanka and its products and services.

  • kristensen
    30 September 2011 at 21:11
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    Everytime someone brings the war crime issue the govt supporters immediately react to say how bad LTTE was and the killing fields were lies. When asked for independent investigation, they react to say it is an internal matter and point out other countries like the US and UK’s war on terror and the massive civilian deaths in Iraq and Afganistan. Pretty much all these people knew there was a massive wipeout of the minority tamils in that country by the majority govt forces during the last months of the war. For them it is OK to wipe out these people as they hate them so much (Though they dont admit). There is a lot of ethnic hatred in that country. I see similarities in Rwanda and Burundi between the Tutsis and the Hutus.

  • Saj
    30 September 2011 at 21:54
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    I hope Dineke Pardijs is not studying journalism. I have never seen a more one-sided hatchet job of a job character assassination of a country than the Channel 4 so-called documentary on Sri Lanka. It is nothing more than a montage of Tamil Tiger propaganda video clips mixed with stories created in the Ealam blogosphere. Here is Sri Lanka government’s reply – the documentary Lies Agreed Upon: http://www.defence.lk/new.asp?fname=20110801_LAUvdo

  • Vasan
    30 September 2011 at 21:54
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    Sam and Varun, you guys are too late for the comments you made. The world has analysed and accepted the facts and war crimes have been committed by the SL govt. It is very clear that you guys are singhalese in disguise. Good try.

  • warrior king
    30 September 2011 at 22:58
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    well.. the victory over ruthless LTTE, is a hard thing in the belly for most that cannot be digest for the years to come, more over the LTTE proxy’s who sepnt millions dreaming about a ‘kolam’ state in the Island.. so the best thing to do is now help the Srilankans to heal the wounds..let them unite so nomore civilians will die…. let us live in peace… LTTE dreamers should look in to purchase a seperate island from somewhere in the world..if there’s any left uninhabited..

  • mahinda
    30 September 2011 at 23:11
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    Its great. Alot of contries now finnaly relased about the state terrorism Sri lankan government have commited. Its good.. Very soon we will see mr. mahinda and his brother in criminal court 🙂 Sadam… dont worry.. you will get three new fridns soon in hell to play with.. gadaffi, mahinda, and gotha.. 🙂

  • Ulysses Grant
    30 September 2011 at 23:12
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    A UN investigation is needed to show why the West and the UN allowed Tamil Terrorism to continue on for thirty years, resulting in the deaths of thousands and thousands of Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims. Also, even in the the final stages of the Government’s efforts to eradicate terrorism, UN officials, prominently, Vijay Nambiar, were trying to stop the Government’s efforts and secure the release of mass murderer, Prabakaran. An independent investigation should shed light on how US and Western powers shielded and helped the diaspora collect millions of dollars to fund the Tamil Tigers. If anyone wants to investigate the Governemnt of Sri Lanka, every aspect of the evolution of the Tamil Tigers should also be looked at.

  • randy mathew
    30 September 2011 at 23:15
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    Both sides in the conflict commited human rights violations. Frankly I see no difference between the tigers & the so called government of Sri Lanka–both are a bunch of terrorists.

  • Sundar
    30 September 2011 at 23:32
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    Because LTTE was committed to liberate the Tamils from the atrocities of Sri Lankan governments over the 70 years. If their demands were not reasonable why the International countries signed a peace agreement. The LTTE and Tamil nation lost the war on peace table not in war. While they tied the hands of LTTE on peace and aided the Sri Lankan government to destroy the organisation and the Tamil people. Today Tamils cannot raise the voice against the government, where is the peace independent for tamils.

  • Malraj De Silva
    30 September 2011 at 23:36
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    Dear Engishman,
    Lokk in to your back yards of your british troops in Iraq and Afganistan. Sri Lankan forces liberated 300, 000 + civilans from terror and did not kill one. We only eradicated terror menace. Live with it.

  • The Unknown Killing Fields: Looking into the Sri Lankan Civil War « Sri Lanka
    30 September 2011 at 23:36
    Leave a Reply

    […] The Unknown Killing Fields: Looking into the Sri Lankan Civil War impactmagazine Summary executions, bodies of raped women, and families hiding from bombs in hastily dug trenches. The images shown in a recent Channel Four documentary bring back memories of tragedies such as the killing fields in Cambodia and the genocide in former Yugoslavia. But these massacres occurred just two years ago in Sri Lanka, at the bloody end of a conflict that had been going on for more than twenty-five years. Despite suggestions from the United Nations, the Red Cross and Amnesty International that war crimes and crimes against humanity had possibly been committed, there has not been an international inquiry. Why is it that Sri Lanka does not seem to be able to keep the international community’s attention?       Full story>>> Posted by Thavam Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  • naren
    30 September 2011 at 23:52
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    srilanka is a terror state

  • ravi
    1 October 2011 at 00:00
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    ex-imperial Britain is a kinder, gentler country given to pontificate on the benefits of international humanitarian law, human rights and the rest of the tedious drivel. Its politicians are unable to resist their lecturing, hectoring and proclamatory urges regarding Sri Lanka’s post-war political and military landscape, with incessant demands for accountability, justice, truth-telling and independent investigations about the ending of Eelam War 4.
    Despite no longer being the ruling Imperial power in Sri Lanka, British pWhen Britain ruled Sri Lanka
    Who issued this scorched-earth policy in response to local resistance against a foreign invasion army?
    ….”cut down every yielding tree, pull down every dwelling house, destroy all fields, canals and irrigation reservoirs, kill all males over the age of 14 years and slaughter all cattle leaving those which are needed for the use of the army.” The army followed the orders to the letter, killing between 40,000 to 100,000 enforcing the promulgation. The rebel leader was beheaded.
    Was it the Waffen SS Einsatzgruppen in Ukraine and Poland? Was it the Imperial Japanese Army in Manchuria? Was it the Imperial Belgian Army in the Congo? Was it Spanish Conquistadores destroying the Aztec Empire? No, it was Governor Brownrigg’s order to the British Army in 1818 to crush the “Uva Wellassa” rebellion in Ceylon.
    Today’s oliticians and its foreign ministry (charmingly called the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) are unable to accept the uncomfortable political reality that, despite Sri Lanka’s lack of economic and political power, Britain’s proclamations demanding obedience no longer receive an reflexively deferential response from Sri Lanka’s political leadership. British politicians genuinely see nothing untoward in the ex-colonial power acting in loco parentis to an ex-colony.

  • Simon Gopallasamy
    1 October 2011 at 00:46
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    Ch4 documentary? Really we should call it Ch4-LTTE garbage. LTTE terrorists abroad (living cozy lives in the west, living cozy lives and educating their children to be “somebody” while they goaded/encouraged/supporeted the LTTE to kidnap SL Tamils’ children and send them battle the SL defense forces and perish) are known to be sitting on a war-chest over $4Billion and it is no secret that they are throwing this money lavishly to/at anyone who is willing to act/speak/produce anything to get-back at Sri Lanka – for liquidating their belvoed LTTE terrorist darlings. We can expect more fake videos, photos, victim-accounts to surface and we just need to say to ourselves “No, we are not interested in LTTE terrorists’ propaganda!”

  • eureka
    1 October 2011 at 00:56
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    Conscientious Sinhalese have been telling LLRC that the ethnic minorities have been oppressed from independence till today:

    Jayantha Dhanapala’s written submission to Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation
    Commission(LLRC), August 2010: ‘’The lessons we have to learn go back to the past – certainly from the time that we had responsibility for our own governance on 4 February 1948 . Each and every Government which held office from 1948 till the present bear culpability for the failure to achieve good governance, national unity and a framework of peace, stability and economic development in which all ethnic, religious and other groups could live in security and equality. Our inability to manage our own internal affairs has led to foreign intervention but more seriously has led to the taking of arms by a desperate group of our citizens’’. (Dhanapala was formerly UN Under-Secretary Generak for Disarmament)
    No war, no peace: the denial of minority rights and justice in Sri Lanka, Report by Minority Rights Group International, 19 January 2011:
    With the end of the conflict between Sri Lankan government forces and the Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam (LTTE or ‘Tamil Tigers’) in 2009, normality has returned for much of the population of Sri Lanka. But for members of the country’s two main minority groups – Tamils and Muslims – living in the north and east of the country, harsh material conditions, economic marginalisation, and militarism remain prevalent. Drawing on interviews with activists, religious and political leaders, and ordinary people living in these areas of the country, MRG found a picture very much at odds with the official image of peace and prosperity following the end of armed conflict. … In light of the findings of this report MRG calls on the government of Sri Lanka to respect the economic, cultural and political rights of minorities living in Sri Lanka and to ensure that they gain from post-conflict reconstruction and development projects in the areas where they live. Failure to do so may have long-term repercussions for peace and stability in the country. … The UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues should be granted an invitation by the government to visit the country in order to report to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the situation of minorities in Sri Lanka.’’

  • eureka
    1 October 2011 at 00:59
    Leave a Reply

    This is how Sinhalese politicians have been surviving in politics:

    M.Rajapakse, 15 June 2011: ”If I make any devolutionary concessions to the Tamils, it
    will be curtains for me”
    L. Athulathmudali, 4 Feb 1985: ‘’Proposing a federal constitution will be
    political suicide.”
    R. Wickremasinghe, 13 May 1997: “We are a political party. Like any other
    political party, we will not do anything that will not get us into power, nor
    would we do anything when we are in power to lose power.”

    Sri Lanka and Fiji: Ghost Human Rights Commissions, Vanessa Spencer, Strategic Initiatives Programme, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, 20 September 2011

    (Fiji has been discussed every CMAG in the last few years but not Sri Lanka in spite of the fact UN Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial Killings has been refused entry for the last 4/5 years as well as those for i.enforced disappearances, ii.press freedom and iii. minority rights).

    THE SANGHA AND ITS RELATION TO THE PEACE PROCESS IN SRI LANKA, A Report for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Iselin Frydenlund, International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) (2005): ‘’Lack of political consensus in the south and opposition to the various peace processes by nationalist and Buddhist pressure groups have time and again made peacebuilding difficult in Sri Lanka. …. One possible strategy for supporting pro-peace actors might be to encourage support from countries like Thailand – which, like Sri Lanka, is also a Theravada Buddhist country”

    Review(2007) of Buddhism, Conflict and Violence in Modern Sri Lanka, Dr Elizabeth Harris, Liverpool Hope University(2006): ‘’ Chandra R. de Silva implies that Buddhist monastic opposition to a non-unitary state has contributed to the conflict. He appreciates the reasons for this, but pleads for a system of monastic education that would expose monks to other religions and cultures. …. one of the most complex and intractable conflicts in the world’’.
    OUT OF HURTING STALEMATE, National Peace Council, 18 September 2011:

    ‘’On the surface it appears that the concerns about human rights in Sri Lanka are both unfair and exaggerated. …. Those who visit the north and east of the country where the war was fought most ferociously, and talk to the people, come away appalled at the continuing plight of those who suffered so terribly during the war. The misallocation of resources to the electorates of government leaders is grotesque. The continuation of militarized governance in the north and east, regardless of the lifting of the State of Emergency, undermines the promise of normalcy there. Election results from that part of the country bear out the disenchantment with the government. But criticism of the government is muted. Much of the media engages in self censorship not wishing to be overly critical of the government. The memory of white van abductions is still alive and the association of grease devil attacks with the government continues to perpetuate a culture of fear at all levels.’’

  • eureka
    1 October 2011 at 01:07
    Leave a Reply

    ‘’A confidence building measure that the government could take with respect to moving forward in the political process would be to announce the date for the conduct of provincial council elections for the Northern Province. So far it is only the people of the Northern Province who have been deprived of the benefits of provincial level devolution. They need to enjoy the same rights and privileges in respect of devolution of power that the people in the rest of the country enjoy.’’

  • Sinthu
    1 October 2011 at 02:25
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    I was very happy that LTTE terrorist was eliminated. But I can not believe that few SL friends try to justify the SL Govt Forces’s Mass Killing of around 50,000 innocent Tamils within just few last days. Thank you C4 and UN report for bringing the TRUTH. But where is the JUSTICE?

  • Saleem
    1 October 2011 at 06:40
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    There is sufficient evidence of war crimes, genocide and violations of human rights and international laws committed by the government of Sri Lanka and to a lesser degree by the Tamil Tigers. The problem is it is politics that determine fairness and justice and not the merit of the allegations. Muslim countries parade to prosecute Israel while protect Sri Lanka in the UN SC and UN HRC though they persecute Palestinians and Tamils in their respective regions.

    1 October 2011 at 08:04
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    “war on terrer”—-srilanka hide behinde the us war on terrer policy ,then 23 countrys help srilankan army did this genocide.still 23 countrs helping to srilanka indrictly

  • Varun Selvanathan
    1 October 2011 at 14:22
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    LTTE TERRORISTS used child soldiers,force of elderly persons and females such as SUICIDE BOMBERS. When they were killed on the battlefields they published those photos as civilian deaths. That is what TERRORISM is…

  • Green
    1 October 2011 at 15:24
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    I have a bit of advice to the writer of this article.
    You may be a good novel writer, specifically a fiction writer. But if you are writing an article of this nature, please do your home work and get the actual facts before you start writing. Otherwise it will convey a wrong/distorted message to the reader and that can have very damaging effects to everyone, especially the people whom you make reference in the article.
    I can categorically say that there are many attempts by you to portray a totally different picture by distorting the truth.
    To mention a few is that your assertion (or assumption) that the Sri Lanka government created the “no fire zone” to destroy the civilians when they get there. What a piece of FICTION is this? To put the record straight, SL government nominated a certain area as a “no fire zone” only for the civilian’s safety. However the LTTE terrorists who occupied this strip of land with all their machine guns mounted along with the civilians who have been forcibly herded as a human shield.
    You also says tat the civilian casualty figure is between 40,000 to 75,000!!. It looks like these figures are just plucked from thin air. They keep changing from 30,000 to 50,000 and the from 20,000 to 10,000 and so on. If someone challenge you to substantiate these figures you will have no place to hide I guess. Same thing happened to another LTTE terrorist sympathiser turned writer called Gorden Wies. He has been promoting his book full of fabrication stories to earn a quick buck. When questioned about the casualty figures he mentioned in the book he was left with nothing to talk back.
    Also you seem to have ignored the fact that the Western countries have no apparent vested interest in Sri Lanka and you reason out that as the reason for (lack of attention from the world media) western countries not to interfere in these affairs. What a joke! Do you know that these so called developed western countries including US, UK, Canada etc were hell bent in trying to persuade SL government to halt their military advances when the LTTE terrorist leaders were cornered. They did their utmost to save the LTTE leadership so that this war can continue and that is what they wanted. They wanted to see our motherland being divided so that they have all the avenues in the world to position themselves in this part of the world by making use of the strategical location of Sri Lanka.
    I think you need some data about the history of this conflict. To this end I have appended a link below. You need to read this to understand the background to this conflict.
    I would also like to point out that this is not a civil war. It is a war between the SL government and LTTE terrorist.


  • aratai
    1 October 2011 at 15:37
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    Srilanka’s first terrorist was a Buddhist Monk… who killed then Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranayake in 1958.

    Since then, Srilanka has become a Killing Field.


  • eureka
    1 October 2011 at 21:15
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    SILENT DIPLOMACY IS NOT ENOUGH, Maja Daruwala, Executive Director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), CHRI Newsletter, Winter 2010 : ‘’…. the Commonwealth including the Secretary-General is yet to make any formal remarks on gross human rights violations in Sri Lanka which is amongst the ranks of the worst human rights abusers(1). …. in the last few years from Cameroon to Uganda to Sri Lanka heads of governments have skewed their Constitutions to allow themselves power for unlimited terms(2), …. The Secretary-General’s views on naming and shaming which he also characterises as “crude megaphone diplomacy” seem identical to those Bangladesh, Egypt, China, Cuba, India, Pakistan, Russia and Sri Lanka amongst others in opposition to UN scrutiny over country situations before the UNHRC. ….’’

  • sen
    2 October 2011 at 05:09
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    “Lies agreed upon”, whose lies? the Tamil prisoners, who were taught what to say, so it is actually the lies of the Sri Lankan government agreed upon, it should be the correct title for the movie masterminded by Mahinda’s devil brother Kotha malli

  • Mathi
    3 October 2011 at 00:37
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