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Colombo, Tamil diaspora flayed in UN report

Wednesday April 27, 2011 08:21:29 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: A UN report that reported war crimes in Sri Lanka towards the end of the war says both Colombo and the Tamil diaspora are obstacles to post-conflict accountability.

"It is exceedingly difficult for a nation to deal with grave human rights violations of the past and more so if violations continue into the present," said the report which Sri Lanka has dismissed as "fundamentally flawed".

It said Sri Lanka had used its military success over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009 to create a discourse of triumphalism, "couched in terms of Sinhala majoritarianism that presents the defeat of the LTTE as the defeat of Tamil political aspirations".

The report also faulted Colombo for denying that tens of thousands of lives were lost as the military crushed the Tamil Tigers in May 2009, ending one of the longest running insurgencies in the world.

By doing so, the government "sends the message that the lives of those Sri Lankans killed there, mainly Tamils, were of no value to the society".

The report, made public this week, sought dissolutiion of High Security Zones in Sri Lanka's northeast, the former war zone, and said Tamils should get more chances to enter public service in all sectors.

It criticised the Sri Lankan military for being dominantly Sinhalese -- the majority community.

"A mono-ethnic military representing the victorious side of a protracted ethnic conflict, and which continues to play a highly visible and assertive role in the country's administration even two years after the war ended, is no less than a recipe for future disharmony."

But the report also blasted the Tamil diaspora, living mainly in the West and large sections of which have traditionally supported the Tamil Tigers.

"Significant sections of the diaspora create a further obstacle to sustainable peace when they fail to acknowledge rights violations by the LTTE and its role in the humanitarian disaster" of 2009, it said.

"Members of the Tamil diaspora through their unconditional support of the LTTE and their extreme Tamil nationalism have effectively promoted divisions within the Sri Lankan Tamil community and, ironically, reinforced Sinhalese nationalism.

"The diaspora, which is large and well educated and has considerable resources, has the potential to play a far more construccive role in Sri Lanka's future."

The report, submitted to the UN Secretary General, has invited sharp reactions in Colombo for saying there was credible evidence to suggest war crimes were committed, mainly by the government forces.





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