11/26/2013, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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Paying tribute to Tamil Tigers banned in Sri Lanka

by Melani Manel Perera
In order to prevent commemorations of the birth of rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, the government has banned all events that directly or indirectly honour the rebels. For some people, "This is a violation of basic human rights".

Colombo (AsiaNews) - The Sri Lankan government has outlawed every event, commemoration and effort that directly or indirectly honour the Tamil Tigers (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, LTTE).

The authorities took this decision because today is the birthday of Velupillai Prabhakaran, an LTTE leader whose death in 2009 brought to an end the 30 years of conflict.

Between 1983 and 2009, LTTE rebels fought to establish an independent state in the predominantly northern and eastern provinces of the island nation in a war against government forces that soon turned into an ethnic conflict between the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority. The fight ended in the Tamil Tigers' defeat with heavy losses on both sides.

"The LTTE is a proscribed organisation in Sri Lanka as well as in several other countries worldwide. LTTE terrorists have carried out a large number of destructive attacks against people and public institutions and facilities in Sri Lanka. [. . .] The population representing all ethnicities, including Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims suffered three decades of terrorism and violent acts carried out by the LTTE," an army spokesman said.

However, for some people the action taken by the government is according a violation of basic human rights. "Even the UN accepts that it is a basic human right to erect a statue or a monument in honour of someone you esteem," said MA Sumanthiran, a lawmaker with the Tamil National Alliance.

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