ICG: Sri Lanka Far From Reconciliation

Posted July 19th, 2011 at 6:20 pm (UTC-5)
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An international research group says that two years after the end of Sri Lanka's 25-year war against the Tamil Tiger rebels, the country is further from reconciliation than ever.

In a new report published Monday, the International Crisis Group said what it termed the government's “intransigence and triumphalism” after crushing the rebels in May 2009 has meant “the island nation is yet to see any compromise or inclusiveness.”

The Brussels-based group said that since the end of the war, the government in Colombo has refused to acknowledge, let alone address, the Tamil minority's legitimate grievances against the state.

The ICG also urged Sri Lankan authorities to end the state of emergency, revise the country's anti-terrorism laws, and stop repression of media and political opponents.

In April, a United Nations panel report found “credible” allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity on the part of the government and the rebels during the final months of the civil war and recommended an independent international inquiry.

However, President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government rejected the findings, calling them an attempt to undermine Sri Lanka's postwar reconciliation process.

Mr. Rajapaksa said his government carried out a major humanitarian operation in the final stages of the war to rescue more than 300,000 people from the “clutches” of the rebels, as he put it.

The U.N. panel said it found evidence of Sri Lankan troops killing many civilians through widespread and indiscriminate shelling of hospitals and other humanitarian facilities during the period. It also cited allegations of the rebels using civilians as human shields, holding civilians as hostages, and recruiting child soldiers.