Opinion » Lead

Updated: March 22, 2012 02:29 IST

Sri Lanka's day of reckoning

Teresita C. Schaffer
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The U.S.-proposed resolution has deepened the rift between Colombo and Washington. The Obama administration must broaden its dialogue beyond Geneva.

At the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Sri Lankan and U.S. governments are facing off this week over a resolution that the U.S. has proposed but neither side wanted. Sri Lanka's response to the events at the end of its toxic war — the subject of that resolution — has become the driving issue in Sri Lanka's relations with the United States. The resolution may not have much impact on the reconciliation process that is so critical for Sri Lanka's future. For the sake of Sri Lanka, the region and indeed Washington, it is important that reconciliation actually takes place.

Human rights have had a high profile in U.S.-Sri Lankan relations for at least three decades. Only since the end of the long civil war in 2009, however, have human rights and war crimes issues come to dominate the relationship. The problem started out as an entirely predictable emotional disconnect between the two countries. Sri Lanka's victory was won in the face of the scepticism of most of its international friends, and in the teeth of its aid donors' urging not to seek a military solution to its ethnic problems. After defeating one of the world's nastiest terrorist organisations, Sri Lanka expected congratulations. Instead, those aid donors, while welcoming the end of the war, put their post-war emphasis on preventing a humanitarian catastrophe and on human rights. Europe and the U.S. reacted to Sri Lanka's declaration of victory by calling for disbanding the camps where displaced Tamils were living in misery. The demands for accountability became more insistent, and from Sri Lanka's perspective more threatening, with the release of information suggesting that Sri Lanka might have committed war crimes in those terrible final days, notably the British Channel 4 news film, replayed in recent days and highly controversial in Sri Lanka.

Sour tone

From the U.S. perspective, on the other hand, the sour tone that has come to dominate Washington's dialogue with Colombo stems from the Sri Lankan government's unwillingness to take these issues seriously. Sri Lanka became a symbol of human rights problems, a country where the U.S. could show that it was pursuing a serious policy. Washington has other interests in play in Sri Lanka, such as the island's business and economic ties with the U.S. and its strategic location. However, without some indication that the human rights and war crimes issues were moving toward resolution, those in the Obama administration who championed a broader dialogue with Colombo were outgunned in the Washington policy debate. Proposing a resolution in Geneva was the result.

But U.S. introduction of a resolution on Sri Lanka triggered a ferocious reaction in the island. In an unprecedented diplomatic effort to fight back, Sri Lanka sent its Foreign Minister all over Africa in an effort to line up votes. Even more striking was the reaction at home. Minister Wimal Weerawansa publicly called for a boycott of U.S. goods and services, and charged that “local Americans” were trying to kill him as a result. At an interfaith prayer service, thousands of monks joined by a few Christian and Muslim clerics spoke of the need for unity “to protect the country.” Dark suspicions were voiced that the resolution represented a U.S. effort to divide the country. The narrative of a beleaguered island facing the world is a familiar one in Sri Lanka; it gave the government's lurid charges about the content and motivation of the resolution even greater resonance at the popular level.

The resolution itself is actually quite bland. Its bottom line is to urge Sri Lanka to implement the “constructive recommendations” advanced by the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission. This commission was created by the Government of Sri Lanka, which had offered it as evidence that it was moving forward to deal with the after-effects of decades of civil war. The government had indeed spoken of plans to implement its recommendations. The commission had been criticised by international human rights-watchers as insufficiently independent and lacking in authority, but its recommendations were nonetheless clearly the most plausible home-grown starting point for binding up the wounds of war. Unfortunately, if the resolution passes, the furore it sparks will mean that any forward movement in this area will need to be camouflaged so as not to look like Colombo's submission to it.

'Peace dividend'

Washington's economic interests may not suffer too much, whether or not the resolution passes. The Sri Lankan government is eager to reap a “peace dividend,” and its diplomats in the U.S. are working zealously to attract more U.S. trade and investment. This is likely to continue whatever the resolution's fate. As to U.S. strategic interests, the “China card” no longer has the galvanising impact on Washington that it did in earlier decades. Nonetheless, the U.S. cannot ignore changes in China's military presence in the Indian Ocean, an increasingly important zone of military and oil transit, and the centrepiece of an increasingly active U.S.-Indian security dialogue. By the same token, U.S. ability to work with all the riparian states, including Sri Lanka, now has real strategic significance. That will be harder in the short term.

The Geneva drama also plays out against the background of Sri Lanka's recovery from its long civil war. After its declaration of victory, the Sri Lankan government has pursued “reconciliation” in two channels. The first was talks with the Tamil National Alliance. A recent visit to Colombo left me with the feeling that this effort was at best going round in circles, unlikely to break down completely but equally unlikely to produce a breakthrough. The TNA continues to speak in the pre-war vocabulary of “devolution” (giving provinces greater authority) and “merger” (combining the North and the East), recognising that merger is unlikely. In fact, neither the government nor its Sinhalese supporters have any interest in either. The opposition United National Party has a dramatically reduced presence in parliament. Even if it were inclined to pursue a more energetic reconciliation policy, it would not be well placed to put pressure on the government. It is an open question how long this process can keep the politics of the ethnic conflict quiet.

The second route to reconciliation was the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission. The TNA was critical of the document, but did find some aspects to praise. However, there is no movement toward serious implementation of its recommendations, at least not yet. The longer the report sits on the shelf, the greater the likelihood of old grievances being nurtured and eventually bursting out.

The Sri Lankan government, starting with those closest to the President, is more interested in two other avenues: local government and economic development. It sees in local elections and service as local officials a kind of safety valve for Tamil political aspirations. It remains to be seen whether the leadership is prepared to move ahead more energetically to hold these elections in Tamil-majority areas.

Economic development is where the government is putting most of its energy. This is indeed a critical ingredient in rebuilding both the polity and the economy. Northern Sri Lanka has had basically no economy for three decades. A generation of young people has grown up with an education — one of Sri Lanka's signal success stories — but no job skills. The government is encouraging investors to look at Jaffna, and at least some of those funding the rapidly growing tourist industry are starting hotel projects in Jaffna. Unfortunately, their efforts to hire local construction workers are stymied by the scarcity of people who know how to build modern buildings. Training programmes may eventually fill the gap; other kinds of investment may eventually follow the lead of the hotels. That is the one source of hope for the future.

Will economic development and local elections be enough to secure what one observer called “a grumpy peace”? That question will determine the future of Sri Lanka, and will powerfully influence the peace and security of the island and its neighbours. A positive answer would also be good for Washington, not only because it fosters human rights, but also for reasons of its own national security. Washington needs to broaden its dialogue with Sri Lanka beyond human rights. Its ability to influence Sri Lanka's policy in that area will atrophy in a one-issue relationship.

(Teresita C. Schaffer is a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, and co-editor of She spent much of her 30-year diplomatic career working on South Asia, and served as U.S. ambassador in Sri Lanka from 1992-1995.)

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Ed Hayden coveniently forgets that US, UK has routinely highlighted abuses in foreign countries as a means of invading/interfering for commercial exploitation of resources. Their citizens know that there are benefits to them as a result. There is no harm in asking the SL govt to implement LLRC recommendations but, US's UNHRC resolution is seen as a first step towards a grander plan. Their involvements have made things worse and not better for the inhabitants as in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam. UNHRC is treated as a mere vehicle for dirty tricks of the rich and the powerful nations. Pity India chose the way it did with that US resolution.India had more influence on Sri Lanka on its own, without partnering the US and its satellites, as it had done. India has clearly antagonised West Asian and SAARC members, and they are unlikely to support India's quest for a seat as a permanent member of the Security Council.

from:  lalith
Posted on: Apr 8, 2012 at 10:35 IST

There should be some limits for the so called "collateral damage". If it is like what US has been doing in Afghan in the name of Usama, then it is a crime. You cannot destroy a whole nation nor kill numerous human beings in the name of your security!

from:  Muhammed Kutty PV
Posted on: Mar 24, 2012 at 12:58 IST

The tragedy of ethnic war in Sri Lanka had its roots in the inequality meted out to Tamil minority community over a hundred years. This was somewhat similar to the relationship between the erstwhile East and West Pakistanis, which ended when the East Pakistan went on its own way. After decades of violence, Sri Lanka for better or worse has not broken up in two countries, but the inequalities have expanded to traumatic dimensions. It appears the majority community of Sinhalese, instead showing genuine remorse and acknowledging the original injustices that started the whole war, are holding millions of ordinary Tamil victims responsible for it. The Sinhalese should consider the model of racial integration offered by South Africa and the US. These societies, while not perfect, exemplify how genuine and effective measures to integrate and up lift the oppressed classes lead to peace and prosperity for all – not just for the minority. The alternative is imponderable.

Posted on: Mar 23, 2012 at 18:07 IST

Author of this article says "sri lanka has taken reconcilation in two ways" with TNA and Tamil population. This is enough to say he is unaware of ground reality in Sri Lanka. Even LLRC has said in its final report that its interim recommendations has not been implemented. 2. Tamils are subjected to ruthless military suppression for the past 3 years. 40% of their land under total military occupation. over 60% of the Tamil population that was displaced due to war has not been settled in their place where they had lived. sinhalese are settled in Tamil areas. Is this what the author means by reconcilliation? 3. Nastiest Terrorist organization? When the softest Tamil leadership under Selvanayagam suppressed by the state, the result will only be a armed revolt. If LTTE is terrorism what do you call the Sri Lankan State? Is that not State terrorism? Be balanced in your judgement.

from:  Madhachi K. Ayyanathan
Posted on: Mar 23, 2012 at 12:04 IST

Charith,I agree with you on most of the points you have indicated but sadly you have failed to mention the present position of this country regarding the human right abuses which take place every day with the backing of this government. Resolution is to implement the recommendation given by the LLRC which was appointed by this government. What is wrong in that? It clearly state to establish rule of law and good governance.I don’t see any thing wrong in that.Charith what this government is doing, it is systematically taking our democratic rights hood winking us in the name patriotism. In our country law applies only to the ordinary man it never applies to the cronies of this government. Charith we have a president who use his powers to pardon criminals and rouges sentenced by the judiciary of this country. This resolution is good as there is no way for the masses of this country to stop the dictatorial attitude of the present rulers. Hope at least this will bring some relief.

from:  Sarath
Posted on: Mar 23, 2012 at 06:38 IST

The vile hypocricy of the U.S. and the West (50 years of constant war on
colored people everywhere) still does not justify turning a blind eye to
Sri Lankan atrocities on Tamils or Indian atrocities in Kashmir or
Pakistani atrocities in Balochistan or Chinas in Tibet. We need to hold our noses at the stench of U.S. sanctimoniousness and still vote in favor of the resolution against Sri Lanka. Nobody is invading Sri Lanka or infringing on its sovereign rights.

from:  S Reddy
Posted on: Mar 23, 2012 at 00:30 IST

Hats off Ed Hayden,Expectation from International community from Sri lanka is plain and simple.
1. You used our weapons,eventhough you promised that they will not be used against civilians, we deserve to know what you did with it?
2. Why is every journalist with balanced view getting arrested in Sri lanka?
3. War ended in 2009, what degree of LLRC has been implemented?
4. Why retain disproportionate military in Northern parts?
5. Above all, why kill innocent Fishermen from my country? Is it your way of showcasing friendliness and gratitude to our nation.

from:  hemachandran d
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 23:08 IST

It is amusing when people compare one country against another to jsutify taking no action. Because the US does this in Afghanistan or Iraq, or Russian destroyes Grozny in Chechnya, or China represses Tibet that then excuses any action to redress problems in Sri Lanka? Take one country at a time, fix what you can, then move onto the next matter. Sri Lanka is only being asked to implement the LLRC recommendations which was in fact generated by their own commission, not the UN, not India, not Tamil Nadu, not the US. What is wrong with asking Sri Lanka to keep promises that it had made of its own volition? Or was LLRC a waste of breath and ink?

from:  Ed Hayden
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 20:22 IST

Schaffer's "After defeating one of the world's nastiest terrorist organisations" shows clearly how much she knows about the Tamil Eelam in SL. In other words, nothing! The Tamils were fighting a war for self-respect and human worth. LTTE was a group that was forced into existence due to the step-motherly treatment of the SL government. Now LTTE is gone and the the SL has full control over the Island and there is nothing called rights of the tamilian. So you can say and write what you want!

from:  Greggs
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 19:50 IST

Not sure why India is so concerned about China,SL relations. India has no power to stop them, except to appease SL with favors. When India, can't even take any steps to protect it's fishermen from harassment by SL navy, it's unqualified to think about such alignments. US intervention will best check the China, SL alignment.

from:  senthil
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 19:33 IST

Srilanka needed India's help in the final stages of the war and once they won they started showing their real color in that they did not do anything on a warfooting to reaccomodate the displaced tamil people.Why should India help Srilanka if they are not ready to reciprocate our help

from:  kirubakaran
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 18:37 IST

Gunasena: I have no doubt that rather than celebrating, India would very much like to see this problem disappear. So, stop barking up the wrong tree. It is the so called 'West' that has been trying to divide and dominate SL for a long time. When the US starts talking about Human Rights, it always gets VERY suspicious. It is very clear that US does not care about HR in principle, and that HRs are just a tool for the US to push its interests. Therefore, I am not surprised by SL's reaction. What is sad is that this resolution is making the relationship between Sinhalese and Tamils far worse. US should mind its own HR record, and stop killing babies all of the world. When 'feces starts setting hygiene standards', there is a real PROBLEM in this world.

from:  Rana
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 17:54 IST

To all the Nations who wants a better future for Sri Lanka
Stop this kind of things. The government and the people of Sri Lanka will co-operate with those Nations who makes a big Campain against Sri Lanka

Eg. : The advertising poster pasted in and around England requesting to watch the video against Sri Lanka-“Unpunished War Crimes”

It was reported that the Tamil contingent, LTTE supporters in England had given wide publicity even before they released the video in Channel 4 against Sri Lanka. The poster had been a colourful one, very large in size for which they have spent a huge amount of money to put up posters all over.
The posters which were put up at the London Railway Stations, Bus stops and other public places have been displayed giving an introduction about the protest against Sri Lanka and they have noticed to watch their video at 10.55.p.m.
It was also reported that these posters were funded by the Tamil Diaspora and not by the Channel 4.

from:  Alahapperuma
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 16:26 IST

This is what, I don't get.. Human right violations is a daily affair & it happens everywhere in the world, most of them happens in the US colonies in the middle east & Asia (Iraq, Afghan)itself. Then why is India willingly jeopardizing the friendship with Sri Lanka. Peace has been established on the island & no report says that the killing is continuing. If India is to interfere in Sri Lanka's violations then it should interfere in NATO's "mistakes"in Libya, the US soldier's violation of even dead bodies in Afghanistan & killings in the rest of the country. Or are we interfering just because few of the causalities of war who are citizens of Sri Lanka happen to speak the same language as the people in a South Indian state? If we are worried about people who at some point of time originated from our country & then would we interfere in Pakistan & Bangladesh's internal affairs with the same ferocity?

from:  Abhijith J
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 15:41 IST

I doubt the information provided by Gunasenaji is completely true.

from:  ashish gurav
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 15:28 IST

The Srilankan govt. says that it liberated lakhs of Tamils from terrorist, through "HUMANITARIAN OPERATION" ,but, why liberated people are guarded by three lakh SL army personel and not allowing them to breath new freedom given to them?.

from:  sm.mani
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 15:26 IST

While I agree with the author that the US needs to broaden its dialogue beyond Geneva, But what is more important is that the Sri Lankan Government in order to reconcile with the Tamil ethnic minority in Sri Lanka must introduce measures that will incorporate the Tamil community in the political, social and economic sphere of Sri Lanka which will greatly revive the strained relationship. It is time the Sri Lankan Government instead of questioning or criticizing the countries which are against it, and came out with a statement that Tamilians are its own citizens and that they are an integral part of their country. Working genuinely towards this will greatly revive a new ray of hope for Tamil ethnic community in Sri Lanka.

from:  Praveen Kodabagi
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 14:37 IST

Teresita, how can you claim that reconciliation is happening through talks with TNA (that is still in the LTTE stance) and through the LLRC commission? While you were the ambassador in Colombo, we saw the same lackluster thinking on your part.

Reconciliation will happen when communities live with each other (as they did since long, long before USA was even remotely thought of) without a terror group led by a megalomaniac pulling them apart. Communities living together means, getting on with their day-to-day endeavours, working on their livelihoods that mutually benefits; not trying to give power and resources to ideologically bankrupt politicians (rather front organization of a terror group) like TNA.

You seem to down play the economic development that is rapidly happening in Sri Lanka. Teresita, that is the real reconciliation that is happening. Apparently, and sadly, USA and its allies do not want to be a part of that!

from:  Darshi
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 14:36 IST

Tamils also can not happy with this situation as it's effect to all country's flow. this is not only affect to particular group of people but all the Sri Lankans.

from:  Darmendran
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 14:24 IST

Hold off the celebrations India! The Indian Government may fall to the pressures brought upon by TN Politicians, but this is no a hornet's nest India wants to upset. Indian Military personnel were in India during the said stages of the war, Delhi provided the SL forces satellite imagery, coordinates of targets and other such strategic information, too. India also helped set up on ground special radar systems that helped the final assault. So, this is going to be every bit as interesting as Wikileaks!

from:  Gunasena
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 13:50 IST

Human rights is to be respected and practiced by one an all. There is no room ofr negotiation. The US view of Human Rights at best is selective. Once US decides the abuse of Human Rights in any part of the World, the West follows blindly. US was and is very comfortable in dealing with regimes which trampled on the Human Rights (China, Pakistan, the gulf emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt to name a few). US has taken the mantle of the conscience keeper of the world which it does not derserve. The other countries should come out of their eunach like state and be more proactive in neutralising the US.

from:  mani sandilya
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 13:41 IST

The Tamil areas in the North and East of Sri Lanka has not seen any autonomy from the military presence since Sri Lanka declared the LTTE no more. What are they waiting for in terms of devolving power. Why have they not allowed local free elections. There is peace but also a sense of fear within the local Tamils as they have been watched by the military very closely. The LTTE was a radical presence and have gone, why not allow the local Tamils to continue to dictate how they live. Why do they need another radical presence to watch over them. Why is there extra judical kidnapping of Tamils and Singhalese alike? Why is there no rule of law? Its about time India took a stand in pushing for some form of autonomy for the Tamils. How can India trust a neighboring Government who turns to another country like China for its security and economic needs. Mother India must now help the remaining moderate Tamils to rebuild and develop into a better society.

from:  Kumar N
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 13:13 IST

as a person who is living in sl for the last 30 years i can safely say that the us backed resolution is not a good idea.Most people sees this problem as black & white but what it is is something in between.SL is probably the only country in the world which has succeeded in defeating a terrorist group.After 30 years of peace talks with the LTTE it was very clear that they were never going to succeed.Most indians think 40000 innocents were killed during the final days of the war.But as an ordinary sri lankan citizen (who always voted anti-rajapaksa) i can safely say that numbers are misleading.All sri lankans know the hard truth that despite claims by the goverment of 0 casualties many innocent people were caught between gunfire and lost their lives.But as sri lankans we can still sleep peacefully because we know in our hearts that our government did not systematically target civilians and killed them.Ideally we should give more power to our tamil brothers and live peacefully.

from:  charith
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 12:59 IST

There are double standards when it comes to HR violations and war
crimes. The US and the UK invaded Iraq over imaginary weapons of mass
destruction killing thousands of civilians but Sri Lanka can't wipe of
a real and nasty terrorist organisation because of possible civilian
casualties. Double standards, if you are a small poor country you have
to play by the rules but if you are the US / UK anything is possible.
I think the world has moved on from such imperialist views.

from:  Subasinghe
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 12:25 IST

In the name of exterminating weapons of mass destruction, thousands of civilians including women and children were killed. No destruction weapon was found. But according to the then US President,"We succeeded in getting rid of a tyrant from the face of the earth, and that is no mean achievement". There was no human rights violation then as in Sri Lanka! Money rules the world.When LTTE cadres annihilated Tamilians in Sri Lanka and outside,who did not subscribe to itheir agenda,there was no human rights violation! People in power should not be selectively blind and deaf.

Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 11:55 IST

While the USA has its reasons for bringing the Sri Lanka issue up at
the UN, India needs to think about what it will do a lot more
carefully. Sri Lanka has been moving closer to China of late, and
recent oil finds in Sri Lankan territorial waters will bring the
energy hungry Chinese even closer. What the USA can invest in Sri
Lanka during its current difficult economic situation, is limited, no
matter what Teresita Schaffer might claim about Sri Lanka "needing"
it. By taking the side of the US at this point in time, India might
not just lose whatever flexibility it has in Sri Lanka, it might find
itself shut out of any possibile future reconciliation process because
of hostile sentiments in Colombo. India also needs to carefully weigh
the possibility that what is a large market for Indian goods could get
shut out as the China - Sri Lanka relationship grows stronger, and
that the Sri Lankan Tamils would eventually suffer even more with
India unable to help them anymore.

from:  Mehul Kamdar
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 10:25 IST

Day by day the dual sense of Human Rights and War crimes that the US preaches is coming to the fore. With several acts of crimes against people of Iraq and Afganistan, USA has proved that its point of view on Human Rights is very skewed. The problem is that the countries of the first world as they call themselves are only interested to mark their authority over the third world countries . With steps like UN resolution on every other country where such incident of violation has come up, the 1st world starts shouting foul; but when they are at the wrong side then they will use all diplomatic means possible to cover their acts of gross violaton of Human rights. Be it the recent shooting of fishermen by Italian Marines or the killings in Afganistan and Iraq by american soldiers. its times for smaller nations not to succumb to American policies with has helped nations like PAKISTAN evolve into a fragile nation and a minefield of terror for the whole world at large.

from:  prithul singh
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 10:11 IST

In my opinion, this writer too has missed a very important factor in
his effort to solve Tamil grievances. That is; there are more Tamils
live in the south among Singhalese than the North and the East or the
so-called Tamil home lands put together. Pray the writer should tell
us; how devolution to a minority of Tamils in the North would elevate
grievances of majority Tamils in the south.

from:  Leela
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 09:41 IST

Countries don't learn from past mistakes. Sri Lanka is in a great
historical moment to reverse decades of suppression of Tamil minority
in its country. Instead of chest thumping and beating victory drums
daily by Rajapaksha and his clan, it is high time for Sri Lankans to
fight for justice for their own citizens. Indians did not support LTTE during the final war, but we can never support a government that ordered it soldiers to blindly shoot 40,000 innocent people.

from:  N Suresh Kumar
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 06:58 IST

While agreeing with most of what M/SC. Schaffer said she has missed so many points regarding how sistamaticaly the present regime took away the rule of law in this country.Earlier the dissapearanc of people took place in the north only now it takes place in the south as well.Law in the country applies to people differently.Criminals and roughes who were sentenced by the judicary are being released by the head of the country using his powers.People are helpless.I think this resolution will have some effect on this government

from:  Sarath
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 06:36 IST

The author asks: Will economic development and local elections be enough to secure what one observer called “a grumpy peace”? Well, Sri Lanka could aim for the "perfect peace" as in Iraq and Afghanistan.. please USA help Sri Lanka to achieve that "perfect peace" where everyone is equal, press freedom is unquestioned, and racial harmony is exemplary.

from:  Mark Souza
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 06:35 IST

US soldiers are killing brazenly in Afghan and killed hundreds in Iraq!!!Indeed they harassed the third world and middle east countries a lot!!A resolution indeed should be passed against USA in every country which suffered under it!!!!!It doesn't mean that if u r bankrolling UN bodies u can pass each and every resolution in your country and under the UN garb u can proceed as u like!!!!

from:  sankeerth
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 06:35 IST

Let me see, Sri Lanka indulges in serious human rights violations while crushing LTTE, it performs mass killings and summary executions even when the enemy is vanquished. India cooperates in the process to crush LTTE, then Sri Lanka turns around allows China to build strategic ports on Indian ocean and continues with increased business for Chinese companies, it doesn't take account India's concerns during oil exploration on the mannar basin. I think SL had it coming.

from:  Jitendra Dutta
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 05:10 IST

unlikely to happen until Hilary clinton is at state department. Sri lanka should look to china for more trade, since in 2016 chinese economy will be number one in the world. To this end sri lanka will have to take drastic decisions. Getting out of tea and into soy milk would serve everybody well.
whats the use of friends who disapprove when you are at peace.

from:  gajan
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 02:25 IST

It is a challenging situation for Sri Lanka. It is also the moment for Tamils to ensure their rights and privileges. Sri Lanka is in an unenviable position. The ability to come out of this situation and maintaining peace, will be a test for Sri Lanka.

from:  Vasu
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 02:13 IST

An excellent analysis of the situation. But in the back of our mind some bubbling questions. First, there was certainly human rights violations. Such violations were sometime brushed aside as "Collateral damage". Second, was it feasible to completely control terrorism without the so called "collateral damage"? Had there not been collateral damages when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed or in Iraq or in Afghanistan, Libya or in Kashmir. Finally, it seems some hidden agenda in cornering the Sri Lankan government...Had the emerging trend in Chinese dominance in the Region? Whatever may be the told and untold cover-ups. Its time for expeditious actions to help the Tamils in Sri Lanka to restore their well being and happiness. Will all parties, offenders and defenders, concentrate to rebuild the Tamil Areas and ensure constitutional equality and rights to Tamils there.

from:  Dr Kannan
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 02:06 IST

"The TNA continues to speak in the pre-war vocabulary of “devolution”
(giving provinces greater authority) and “merger” (combining the North
and the East), recognising that merger is unlikely. In fact, neither the
government nor its Sinhalese supporters have any interest in either."
Pre-war vocabulary? Its more than that. That vocabulary is part of the Sri-Lankan constitution vis-a-vis the 13th Amendment. If even that is not granted, get ready for another pre-war prelude to another war.

from:  Rajah
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 01:29 IST
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