Bow­ing Down?

Southasia - - Briefing -

Sri Lanka has faced heated crit­i­cism from the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity re­gard­ing se­vere hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions fol­low­ing the end of a three decade long, bru­tal civil war. The Sri Lankan armed forces and gov­ern­ment have been ac­cused of killing tens of thou­sands of Tamil civil­ians to­wards the end of the war. While the gov­ern­ment has de­nied all such al­le­ga­tions, in­ter­na­tional hu­man rights or­ga­ni­za­tions have been adamant at ral­ly­ing sup­port and push­ing for leg­is­la­tion.

Tissa At­tanayake, Gen­eral Sec­re­tary of Sri Lanka’s main op­po­si­tion United Na­tional Party (UNP) re­cently stated that the gov­ern­ment has de­cided to con­form to the de­mands of the UNHCR and the United States. Ad­dress­ing a UNHCR sem­i­nar in Geneva, Min­is­ter Mahinda Sa­ma­ras­inghe agreed to im­ple­ment the de­mands set forth in the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Lessons Learnt and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion (LLRC), as stated in the US draft res­o­lu­tion. The Sri Lankan gov­ern­ment will be ex­pected to present a com­pre­hen­sive strat­egy at the next UNHCR sum­mit.

Al­le­ga­tions have flared up time and again, with the re­lease of me­dia re­ports and video footage, all of which have been ve­he­mently de­nied by the Sri Lankan gov­ern­ment. A move away from its pre­vi­ous stance of not bow­ing to in­ter­na­tional pres­sure, the gov­ern­ment in a face sav­ing claim, stated that even though it was im­ple­ment­ing an in­ter­na­tional rec­om­men­da­tion, it had al­ready con­ducted most of the rec­om­men­da­tions on its own. The gov­ern­ment claims that is has con­ducted the re­set­tle­ment of IDPS, dem­i­ning, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of ex­com­bat­ants, im­ple­men­ta­tion of the lan­guage pol­icy, re­cruit­ment of Tamil po­lice of­fi­cers and is grad­u­ally re­mov­ing the mil­i­tary from the civil ad­min­is­tra­tion in the North.

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