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  • » 12/23/2011, 00.00

    SRI LANKA

    Commission of inquiry defends Rajapaksa against UN

    Melani Manel Perera

    The report by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission set up by President Rajapaksa to investigate the final phase (2002-2009) of the civil war is a response to a UN report that accused the government of war crimes. For a Christian activist, it is necessary to break with the past to promote Tamil-Sinhalese reconciliation.
    Colombo (AsiaNews) – The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission set up by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to shed light on the 2002-2009 period released its report today. The 400-page report found that Sri Lankan Security Forces “did not deliberately target civilians in the last stages of the war against the Tamil Tigers”. Its conclusions appear to contradict a UN report, released on 26 April, that accused the government of Sri Lanka of killing more than 40,000 civilians through aerial bombing and coldblooded executions (see “UN publishes report on war crimes. Colombo protests,” in AsiaNews, 26 April 2011).

    “This report could be used to prolong the ethnic issue, not solve it,” said Fr Reid Shelton, from the Diocese of Colombo. “Sri Lanka needs restorative justice, which means the rule of law, the demilitarisation of the north and east, and Tamils into the police.”

    “From an international human rights point of view,” said Christian human rights activist Jehan Perera, “the most critical issue facing Sri Lanka seems to be that of human rights violations and war crimes and fixing the responsibility on the government leadership. However, from a Sri Lankan point of view the more important issue would be addressing the root cause of the war and issues of good governance. This is the absence of a political solution that addresses Tamil grievances.”

    “It is unfortunate,” Perera added, “that on numerous occasions after the end of the war, government leaders have said that with the end of the war peace has come, and with peace what is needed is economic development and nothing more.”

    “In this context, the LLRC (Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission) report reflects a shift of thinking that calls for a break with past, if Sri Lanka is to learn its lessons well and achieve reconciliation between its people of diverse communities.”
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    See also

    10/05/2011 SRI LANKA
    Despite government claims, civil society groups back UN report findings
    The charges are a national issue, and a lesson for all. Christian leaders, human rights activists and ordinary people criticise the government’s opposition to the report, and for failing to translate it into Sinhalese and Tamil, which leaves many Sri Lankans in the dark.

    02/11/2007 SRI LANKA
    Head of Tamil Tigers’ political wing killed
    Leader is killed in air raid launched by government air force this morning. Fear mounts that it could lead to escalation. A recent report by Sri Lanka’s Law & Society Trust notes that five people are killed or disappear every day in Sri Lanka as a result of the ongoing conflict.

    28/02/2012 SRI LANKA
    Rajapaksa brings thousands of people into the streets to oppose UN war crime charges
    The United Nations resolution alleges abuses that Sri Lankan soldiers and Tamil rebels committed abuses during the country's civil war. The government accuses the UN and Western powers of interfering in its domestic affairs. In April 2011, a UN report blamed the Sri Lankan air force of killing 40,000 people.

    20/04/2011 SRI LANKA
    Authorities reject UN war crime accusations
    The UN report speaks about civilian killings, failure to provide assistance and human rights violations. A government minister says the report’s “evidence is weak and not appropriate”. For the opposition, the document provides “irrefutable confirmation” of the crimes. Religious leaders from the Inter-Religious Alliance for National Unity (IRANU) express solidarity with President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

    23/09/2010 SRI LANKA
    Millennium Goal: Sri Lanka’s successes despite civil war and natural disasters
    Rajapaksa lists his country’s successes at the anti-poverty summit, says Buddhist values are the reason. In 17 years, poverty rate drops 11 per cent, as literary reaches 97 per cent.



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