Prepared by: Dilrook Kannangara
Already three resolutions against Sri Lanka have been passed in UNHRC in 2009 (wrong to classify it as a win as today’s problems stem from it), 2012 and 2013. A fourth is on the way in 2014. As per threats made by UK and US officials, it will focus on imposing an international investigation into alleged war crimes. Facing the war crimes issue and defeating it are essential.
1. The Context
UNHRC resolutions, focus and action have little to do with human rights. They are more about wrestling control of matters internal to nations and manipulating them for the continued world dominance by cartels within the UNHRC. At all times the most powerful western cartel maintains a majority in the 47-member UNHRC.
Western interests and Indian interests converge on Sri Lanka. Both these interests want the island nation divided into two nations for their global and regional domination strategies to work. Peaceful rise of China further necessitates such a move to disintegrate the island nation as the west and India fear their hegemonic interests compromised. With that in mind, ‘Co-Chairs’ (donor group of aid to Sri Lanka) and India engineered the 2002 CFA (Ceasefire Agreement) which recognised a de facto territory in Vanni and parts of Jaffna, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara districts that fell within LTTE control. A ‘Line of De facto Control’ was recognised by them. Pursuant to their disintegration strategy, various approaches were discussed including ISGA, PTOMS, etc. However, by 2007 Sri Lanka had successfully procured better borrowing avenues bypassing the Co-Chairs. These included China financing and direct borrowing in bond markets. The ability of ‘Co-Chairs’ to dictate terms to Sri Lanka ended. UNHRC replaced the ‘Co-Chairs’ arrangement.
Today the western and Indian interest in dividing the island nation is far greater. Peaceful rise of China has continued, India is planning for power projection beyond its territory with aircraft carriers and foreign military bases, A2/AD (anti access/area denial) tactics have become most important in naval warfare, US troops leaving Afghanistan in 2014 loosing a vital foothold in South Asia and the Diego Garcia lease is up for renewal in 2014 (expiring in 2016) risking the US its largest overseas military base.
Since the unification of Germany, a few dozen new nations have come into existence. Apart from Serbia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, all other new nations are strong pro-western bastions. Since Tamil Elam, if created, will be a permanent suckling of India and the west, its creation is a top strategic, geopolitical and even electoral priority for them. It will be perfectly positioned to safeguard Indian Territory, deploy weapons and troops against China and other sea lane users (A2/AD strategy) and use it as an expendable territory in warfare.
The end result of all UNHRC manoeuvres will be the creation of Tamil Elam. Therefore, it is crucially important to put the war crimes allegation matter to rest and desist from conceding into any and all political demands. It is not the business of the UNHRC to propose or impose devolution, demilitarisation, civilian rule in the north or any other governance related matter.
2. The Correct Legal Position on the Conflict
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) conducted a study on customary international humanitarian law (IHL). It was originally published by Cambridge University Press. It is a near close practical guide to IHL as it applied. These laws must be the basis of any defence Sri Lanka mounts against UNHRC allegations. They can also be used in any international investigation or war crimes tribunal if the need arises.
It is vitally important to base the case on these principles as it is the only method to ensure all allegations are addressed within the applicable legal framework. Moral, political and propaganda issues must not be entertained in addressing these legal issues.
“An Armed Conflict exists whenever there is resort to armed force between States or protracted armed violence between government authorities and organized groups or between such groups within a State” (International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia 1995 (ICTY)).
Going by the ICRC study and the ICTY definition, the conflict in Sri Lanka can be defined as a non-International Armed Conflict (NIAC). The armed conflict lasted from July 1983 to May 19, 2009 stemming from the Vadukoddai Resolution (May 1976). In such a case Rules of War applies. It must be noted that UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts correctly interpreted the conflict as an Armed Conflict. Yet there was lack of evidence presented on the conduct of the LTTE which led to a highly biased and partial outcome. Sri Lankan government didn’t participate in the Panel of Experts investigation. Witnesses were not cross examined and evidence was not verified for accuracy. Another drawback was the absence of a national or international mandate for the Panel of Experts investigation. Due to this false evidence could be given. Yet another drawback was the narrow categorisation of the LTTE camp (a party to the war). It was not LTTE alone that fought against Sri Lankan government troops. The LTTE camp included Tamil political parties that incited violence, functioned as the mouthpiece of the LTTE, provided ideological and legal guidance to the LTTE camp, justified acts of terror by the LTTE and made use of LTTE acts of violence to extort political demands. LTTE camp also included Tamil Diaspora sections, NGOs/INGOs and other connected entities that provided weapons, finances and protection to LTTE cadres, leaders and localities.
Report on ‘Possible War Crimes’ by the US government in 2009 also classified the conflict as an armed conflict. However, it involved no investigation and failed to recognise the LTTE camp in its entirety.
When the conflict is defined correctly as an armed conflict, rules of war applies which make it imperative for both parties to the conflict to observe rules of war.
2.1. Application of Rules of War
2.1.1. Indiscriminately attacking No Fire Zones (NFZs) is an allegation levelled against government troops. However, it has no legal basis.
“Protected Zones referred to as No Fire Zones or Safe Zones are created specifically to protect civilians and the wounded and sick” (ICRC Rule # 35). The Rule further states such zones must be “accepted in writing by the parties to the armed conflict”. There was no such acceptance in the case of NFZs in Sri Lanka which were unilaterally declared by the government of Sri Lanka. LTTE violated even the very concept of NFZs by moving its combatants, leaders and equipment into NFZs. As no NFZ existed in reality, the government forces responded with small arms fire to LTTE infiltration into the NFZs. These NFZs were just part of the battlefield of the Armed Conflict where Rules of War apply.
2.1.2. Attacks on medical centres including established hospitals is another allegation against government troops.
“Medical units exclusively assigned to medical purposes must be respected and protected in all circumstances. They lose their protection if they are being used, outside their humanitarian function, to commit acts harmful to the enemy” (ICRC Rule #28).
Evidence exists, gathered from UAVs, visual observation, civilian accounts and military accounts that LTTE used hospitals and hospital premises to fire artillery and mortar shells at government troops thereby causing to lose their protection. Having so lost the legal protection granted under IHL, government troops cannot be blamed for attacking LTTE positions close to hospitals in an attempt to neutralise them. Proportionality was respected at all times. Only minimum necessary force was used.
2.1.3. Restriction of humanitarian aid and access is another allegation against the government.
“The parties to the conflict must allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for civilians in need, which is impartial in character and conducted without any adverse distinction, subject to their right of control” (ICRC Rule #55).
“The parties to the conflict must ensure the freedom of movement of authorized humanitarian relief personnel essential to the exercise of their functions. Only in the case of imperative military necessity may their movements be temporarily restricted” (ICRS Rule #56).
Government forces allowed all humanitarian missions unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for civilians in need in all government controlled areas. Unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for civilians in need in LTTE controlled areas (including what were called NFZs) was also allowed subject to safety concerns. Imperative military necessity temporarily restricted humanitarian access. ICRC praised Sri Lanka Navy for allowing and facilitating unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for civilians in need.
Making humanitarian supplies is not a duty of the government which was a party to the Armed Conflict even though the government did provide the bulk of humanitarian aid. Estimation of humanitarian needs is also not a duty of the government which was a party to the Armed Conflict.
2.2. Application of Rules of War to Civilian Casualties
A credible local census as carried out by the government of Sri Lanka in 2013 into disappeared persons is needed to ascertain the number of total human casualties in the north during the war time (1983 to 2009). They must be verified against birth, school, immunization, death (if any), marriage and immigration/emigration records to ensure accuracy. A number so arrived gives the total number of war dead. This can be used to expel absurd numbers given by surviving parties to the Armed Conflict and other interested groups.
However, it does not say how many of them were combatants and how many were civilians. Obviously a very large number of LTTE cadres died in war as over a dozen LTTE battalions/regiments were decimated in the normal course of the war. Those who assert a civilian casualty number must prove it with irrefutable evidence. No such evidence exists.
Trapped in the battle zone and crossfire probably killed a large number of civilians.
Civilian casualties are commonplace in any war. In addition, LTTE acts in desperation including artillery and mortar attacks, explosion of explosives in hasty transport operations and execution for trying to leave the LTTE or for treason killed a large number of civilians. LTTE must be held culpable for these deaths.
Government troops’ action also possibly killed civilians as in any war.
2.2.1. There are many filters those classified casually as civilians must pass through before determining the culpability of their killing.
126.96.36.199. “For the purposes of the principle of distinction in non-international armed conflicts, all persons who are not members of state armed forces or organized armed groups of a party to the conflict are civilians and, therefore, entitled to protection against direct attack unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities” (ICRC, 2009).
In other words, civilians are not entitled to protection against direct attack if and as long as they take a direct part in hostilities. There is evidence of civilians taking a direct part in warfare including shooting at the army, manning LTTE military positions, operating artillery and gun positions and suicide bombers operating in civilian attire. Possibly a large number of civilians died in war while engaging in direct attacks on government troops. These casualties are not culpable. The government must not be held accountable for these civilian casualties.
However, participation in hostilities extends far beyond direct attacks on government troops by civilians.
188.8.131.52. “It is generally and increasingly considered that there are many activities which involve a more indirect role for civilians, where the civilian is not one or more steps (geographically or temporarily) away from the actual application of violence (which may be virtual rather than physical) and may not even consider him to be a direct participant in hostilities, and which do not actually involve attacks in the literal or kinetic sense, or where the casualty relationship is more indirect, yet which are also considered as direct participation in hostilities” (Asser Institute ” Centre for International & European Law). Evidence exists to show this type of involvements included transporting LTTE artillery guns and other equipment, helping LTTE dig trenches and bunkers to house various guns and artillery, willingly or unwillingly be part of LTTE human shields used to protect its leaders, living in tents in very close proximity to LTTE artillery positions (as indicated in photos of the last stages of the battle) and providing cover to LTTE gunners. Possibly a sizable number of civilians died in war while engaging in direct hostilities against government troops this way. These casualties are not culpable. The government must not be held accountable for these civilian casualties.
In addition to the above two situations, did government troops deliberately attack civilians? There is no evidence of it. Did government troops intentionally put civilians in harm’s way? There is no evidence of it.
This legal position sums up the case against alleging culpability of civilian casualties on the government. However, for these legal challenges to be mounted against allegations, the conflict must be defined as an armed conflict.
2.3. Taking this position will be highly sensitive as the Tamil populace will be disappointed by the government troops’ strict application of IHL principles in war without always (emphasised) going beyond the legal and moral standards of care in armed conflict. However, this moral standard is no defence in IHL and therefore useless. For instance a party that has always gone by very high moral standards of care in war may still be held accountable if it didn’t strictly comply with any one of IHL requirements. A legal comparable can be drawn in the case of theft which is defined as taking something from the due possession of another without his/her consent. Claiming ownership (as opposed to possession) is no excuse although on moral grounds the owner cannot commit theft on something he/she owns! In law, a person can still commit theft on something he/she owns. This exemplifies the need to separate moral issues from legal issues.
3. A Domestic Investigation into the Conduct of All Parties to the Armed Conflict
When the conflict is defined as an armed conflict where Rules of War applies, it necessitates an investigation into all the parties to it, not just the government troops. Conduct of government troops, the LTTE, Tamil political parties including ITAK, ACTC, TULF, particularly the TNA, PLOTE, TMVP, Tamil Diaspora, NGOs/INGOs and other connected parties must be investigated. Inciting war crimes is also a war crime and most Tamil political parties are answerable to such allegations. Former LTTE cadres released after rehabilitation must be subjected to prosecution. Former LTTE leaders including a MP, a PC councillor, ‘KP’ and others must also be investigated. They are not above the law. Sparing them is a serious flaw in the investigation.
This goes against the ‘spirit of reconciliation’ and party politics. However, national interest must take precedence.
All Channel 4 allegations must be looked into as to their authenticity and where authentic, the parties involved in the acts. No one should be spared the investigation. It must be complete and comprehensive.
3.1. Investigate All Allegations against Security Forces
Most of these allegations have already been investigated. These include the Trincomalee case, Bindunuwewa case, various misconduct cases against security forces personnel. Further preliminary investigations were carried out by the LLRC. All other allegations against security forces must be investigated impartially by a local panel of experts with no interest in anti-Sri Lankan activities.
3.2. Investigate All Allegations against the LTTE and Affiliates
So far Sri Lankan investigations have been partial as they only focused on allegations against security forces. LTTE war crimes were never investigated! Thousands of LTTE war crimes must be investigated. Wrongdoers, accomplices and abetters of these crimes must be identified and punished.
In order to do so, LTTE must be made a party to war in applying its obligations in war by defining the war as an armed conflict.
3.2.1. In an interview with Hindustan Times in September 2013, President Rajapaksa lamented the double standards in applying human rights and Geneva Convention obligations for states (liable) and for non-state actors (not liable). He explained the need to change it. However, there is a way to frame LTTE in war crimes and human rights violations.
184.108.40.206. In 2004 the Appeals Chamber of the Sierra Leone Special Court held that ‘‘it is well settled that all parties to an armed conflict, whether states or non-state actors, are bound by international humanitarian law, even though only states may become parties to international treaties” (Prosecutor v. Sam Hinga Norman (Case No. SCSL-2004-14-AR72(E)), Decision on preliminary Motion Based on Lack of Jurisdiction (Child Recruitment), Decision of 31 May 2004, para. 22.).
220.127.116.11. Therefore, if the conflict in the island can be defined as Non-international Armed Conflict (NIAC), the LTTE can also be held accountable for its share of horrendous crimes. In fact, UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Philip Alston enumerated how the LTTE is duty bound to honour human rights. LTTE ‘exercised significant control over territory and population and had an identifiable political structure’ and therefore it must be held accountable.
18.104.22.168. He further states, “The LTTE plays a dual role. On the one hand, it is an organization with effective control over a significant stretch of territory, engaged in civil planning and administration, maintaining its own form of police force and judiciary. On the other hand, it is an armed group that has been subject to proscription, travel bans, and financial sanctions in various Member States. The tension between these two roles is at the root of the international community’s hesitation to address the LTTE and other armed groups in the terms of human rights law. The international community does have human rights expectations to which it will hold the LTTE, but it has long been reluctant to press these demands directly if doing so would be to treat it like a State’.”
22.214.171.124. LTTE declared its intention to uphold UN Declaration of Human Rights in October 2005. The LTTE created North East Secretariat on Human Rights released the final version of the NESOHR Charter of human rights in October 2005. Its stated objectives include promoting respect for human rights ‘‘according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenants on human rights””, available at, http://nesohr.org/charter/Charter-English.PDF. (UN Doc. E/CN.4/2006/53/Add.5, 27 March 2006)
126.96.36.199. UN agencies exchanged letters with the LTTE on its obligations to uphold human rights.
Allegation letter sent to the LTTE 21 November 2005, UN Doc. E/CN.4/53/Add.1, 27 March 2006, p. 320.
188.8.131.52. Mediated by Norway, LTTE and the Sri Lankan government signed the CFA (2002). Although the Appeal Court declared it illegal in 2008, the signing of it shows that LTTE had ‘exercised significant control over territory and population and had an identifiable political structure’. PTOMS (2005) which aimed to create co-operation between the government and the LTTE in the aftermath of the tsunami also assumed ‘exercised significant control over territory and population and had an identifiable political structure’ though de jure it had no validity.
(Sourced from among others and further reading: http://www.icrc.org/eng/assets/files/other/irrc_863_clapham.pdf)
These pieces of evidence show that LTTE and the Tamil Elam camp, which is an accomplice in LTTE activities, cannot evade human rights obligations.
3.2.2. It is wrong to assume that using this evidence against the LTTE entails it getting the recognition of a state. It does not confer any statehood or anything remotely close. As non-state actors proliferate around the world engaged in unspeakable horror against humankind, it is only just that they are held accountable for their action. That does not necessarily mean a non-state actor achieves statehood or legitimacy as determined in the Sierra Leone case. On the other hand these provisions don’t affect the conduct of EPDP and TMVP activities as they never ‘exercised significant control over territory and population and had an identifiable political structure’.
3.2.3. Unless the LTTE is made a party obliged to uphold human rights and conventions of war in the Non-International Armed Conflict, the government will have to take the blame for most atrocities during the war. Unless LTTE’s war crimes are proven there is no way to implicate the culpability of sections of the Tamil Diaspora that financed terror, sections of the international community complicit in terror financing, the liability of Tamil political parties in hate mongering and other connected groups.
3.2.4. LTTE’s culpability can be used as a negotiating tool against India and the west that were complicit in allowing the LTTE raise over $300 million a year and for hosting LTTE political wings and front organisations until they were banned.
3.3. Investigate All Allegations against Tamil Racist Political Parties and Riots
LTTE never had an ideological wing guiding it. LTTE’s ideology was invented, popularised and militarised by Tamil political parties including the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC), Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK), Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Peoples Liberation Organisation of Tamil Elam (PLOTE), Tamil Elam Liberation Organisation (TELO) and other ancillary groups.
Anti-Sinhala Tar Brush Campaign (1957-58), Vadukoddai Resolution which called for war against Sri Lanka (1976), demands to unleash barbaric attacks against ethnic Sinhalese by Tamil leaders and their spouses (1977), LTTE-TNA Memorandum of Understanding (2002) and TNA manifestos of 2001, 2004 and 2010 are some of the key war crimes instigation activities. These must be investigated and offenders must be punished. These political parties spreading racism and hate must be punished.
Riots of 1958, 1977, 1983, 1985 and 2002 must also be investigated. It is not too late to rest these cases. For instance in 2013 Bangladesh concluded an investigation into war crimes committed in 1971. Agreements with the LTTE war criminals including the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) must also be investigated.
Tamil ethnic cleansing activities against Sinhalese in Jaffna (1977) and Muslims (1990) must also be thoroughly investigated. Sansoni Commission report must be revisited and its findings may be input to a comprehensive investigation. Continuation of colonial era divisive laws including Thesawalamei Law and their impact on national integration must be assessed. Their role in disrupting ethnic harmony in the north must also be looked into.
3.4. Investigate All Allegations against the Tamil Diaspora (“LTTE Rump”)
According to the internationally acclaimed defence journal Janes Defence, Tamil Diaspora remitted over $300 million to the LTTE in 2005 which it identified as a continuing activity. In 2006 FBI arrested 15 Tamils in Canada attempting to buy weapons. UK, Australia, France, Singapore and India also made similar arrests. As terrorist financiers, Tamil Diaspora and connected groups and persons including Adel Balasingham must be investigated. This can put the ball in the court of those alleging war crimes against Sri Lanka.
3.5. Investigate All Allegations against India, Norway and the Role of Colonial Rulers
India supplied weapons and provided training to Tamil terrorist groups to commit horrendous war crimes. Indian politicians including MGR, Rajiv Gandhi, Vaiko and others supported the LTTE. Once LTTE’s war crimes are established (as above) war crimes of these persons can be established. Indian secret service R&AW also had a hand in LTTE war crimes. They too must be investigated.
IPKF committed horrendous crimes mainly against Tamils (1987-90). They include crimes against ethnic Sinhalese, the Sri Lankan nation state and against Tamils. A book published by the Jawaharlal Nehru University on IPKF crimes and 12 massacres details some of these (In the Name of Peace: IPKF Massacres of Tamils in Sri Lanka). These also must be investigated.
Former colonial rulers displaced and caused to displace over a million Tamils from South India and also displaced hundreds of thousands of Sinhalese away from their land. Tamil migrants were used as agricultural slaves severely affecting the demographic balance within the island. These crimes must come under the microscope.
Norway, during the so called peace process, helped Tamil Terrorists and these activities must be investigated.
3.6. Investigate All Allegations against Religious Groups and Entities and NGOs
Certain religious groups and religious leaders were in the habit of justifying and supporting separatism, violence and LTTE war crimes. These persons and institutions must be investigated. A number of NGOs were supplying material to the LTTE and were promoting LTTE violent ideology. These must be thoroughly investigated and punished.
Only such a comprehensive war crimes investigation can put the matter to permanent rest. Only such an all inclusive investigation can bury the past so that the nation can move forward. However no investigation can take place within a short time frame of three months. A comprehensive investigation takes years, close to a decade. However it must be done.
Considering all this, an independent local investigation into alleged war crimes has merit. It must be initiated without delay. It will absolve the good name of Sri Lanka for good and identify real war criminals. Unless the government concludes such a comprehensive, independent and local investigation it will be exposed to a highly biased, international war crimes investigation which will be a kangaroo court. Soldiers who served the nation with dedication will be framed with bogus allegations creating internal divisions and subversion.
4. Political Concessions Must not be Granted to the Tamil Minority Beyond the UN Declaration of Human Rights
One main motivation for the Tamil Diaspora, Tamil Nadu politicians, local Tamil political parties and a section of the Tamil community to cling into war crimes allegations is that they can be used to extort political concessions. No political demands must be entertained in relation to war related allegations. Only a strict denial of concessions will put them off. UNHRC has no business in governance of the nation. As such there is absolutely no duty to grant power devolution, implement 13A in full, entertain Tamil aspirations, address Tamil grievances, demilitarise the north and disturb the delicate civilian-military participation in governance in the north.
The inability and unwillingness to entertain Tamil political demands must be conveyed to the UNHRC. There is no nation that is governed by the UNHRC or complies with all its recommendations.
5. Obstacles to a Coherent Action Plan for the UNHRC
The present mess the nation is in relating to its difficult relationship with the UNHRC, India and USA can be traced to a series of blunders made since 2008, particularly in 2008 and 2009. Promises that are not meant or cannot be kept must not have been given by government officials seeking temporary relief. It was wrong to have assumed that political concessions can be traded for war crimes allegations. No undertaking should have been given to India in 2008 for the full implementation of 13A. 2009 UNHRC proposal submitted by Sri Lanka was the start of many subsequent headaches. The proposal should have been thoroughly reviewed by the political leadership and legal fraternity before submission to UNHRC. LLRC was another blunder that costed the nation dearly in terms of its credibility. LLRC made only recommendations. Only useful recommendations to the nation must be implemented; not everything. This fact must have been communicated in no uncertain terms to the UNHRC.
Behind all these blunders are a few persons with dubious credibility, lack of legal expertise, questionable national allegiance and political immaturity. They must be replaced and restricted from advising the government.
6. Beyond UNHRC 2014
The outcome of the UNHRC 2014 session is not certain. It may opt to disregard, selectively choose or accept the proceedings of the domestic investigation which cannot conclude within a few months. UNHRC members are not judges or legal experts. However, the above approach will be useful in any further action UNHRC may take including its own investigation. A credible comprehensive domestic investigation goes a very long way in managing the UNHRC and regaining trust. It also offers options for weakening the separatist lobby of Tamil political parties as they are held accountable for their part in inciting violence and a war for a separate nation causing civilian casualties. Out of that renewed circumstances it is possible to seek a meaningful compromise.
UNHRC rotation policy may mean India and/or USA may not be members next year. However, other countries of the same cartel will be always in majority.
7. Limitations in Propaganda Efforts
Although it is productive to take Sri Lanka’s case to the world to counter malicious propaganda of the Tamil camp, it is not very effective under today’s circumstances. It is a minimum necessity but cannot change the balance in UNHRC. Most UNHRC members blindly follow the course of action of their cartels. The most powerful western cartel is relentless and unyielding. Heightened propaganda efforts must complement a comprehensive approach to address accountability issues without compromising on national security and other national interests.
8. Application of Legal and Constitutional Provisions Must Continue
The Constitution prohibits anti-national activities and separatism. However, under pressure from the UNHRC, law enforcement authorities take a lenient approach towards those who violate these provisions. Contrary to easing things out, leniency has fuelled more acts of separatism and treason. Law must be applied regardless of what the UNHRC or its powerful western cartel prefers.
9. Undue Fear
At the same time fear mongering on UNHRC must also be resisted. There is very little harm the UNHRC can do without the cooperation of Lankan leaders. USA, EU or India will not impose economic sanctions against Sri Lanka as they are ineffective and counterproductive. Appeasing the UNHRC and/or Tamils in fear of its resolutions and war crimes investigations is unwise. If fear of UNHRC drives appeasing UNHRC and/or Tamils, it sets a very dangerous precedent which will be repeated every year until Tamil leadership gets what was denied to the LTTE.
10. Divisive Reconciliation Verses National Integration
Reconciliation as it is found today is a one way street. The government of Sri Lanka and its majority Sinhala and Muslim communities continue to make compromises, allow concessions and provide appeasements for the Tamil community whereas the Tamil community has not compromised anything. The Tamil community has not reciprocated any of the goodwill and benefits showered upon it by the government. Reconciliation must be a two-way street. Tamils only seems to have rights and not responsibilities. Unless Tamils give up their exclusive homeland, demilitarisation, devolution and other demands that are of no use for other communities, it is unwise to continue along the current reconciliation path.
Instead a national integration policy must be followed towards reconciliation. Demands made under reconciliation that don’t advance national integration and social unification must not be entertained.
Prepared by: Dilrook Kannangara