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.