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May-03-2013 12:49printcomments

Sri Lanka Needs to Come Clean on Rights Issues

Tamils’ rights need to be restored and they should be allowed back into the nation’s mainstream.

Tamil Genocide by Rajapakse
Image by Carlos Latuff

(COLOMBO, Sri Lanka) - The government of Sri Lanka should sense an opportunity to get into the good books of the UN by using the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government summit, that it is scheduled to host in November, by heralding confidence-building measures against the country’s minorities, particularly the Tamils.

Recent reports by Amnesty International, stating that President Mahinda Rajapakse’s government was exerting a vice-like grip by clamping down on dissidents and critics to consolidate their power base is only damaging Sri Lanka’s international image.

Space for criticism in the country seems to be diminishing rapidly, yet there is no panacea for age-old wounds. An independent international probe into allegations that up to 40,000 civilians were killed by Sri Lankan troops in the war against the Tamil rebels in 2009 seems to be the logical solution. Though Colombo has denied the charge, Rajapakse must demonstrate fairness and accept the call to pursue this serious allegation to give his country and its citizens the legitimacy they deserve in the international community.

An alarming number of Tamils are still displaced inside and outside Sri Lanka. Their rights need to be restored and they should be allowed back into the mainstream with due political and social representation. Their human rights must not be violated or infringed upon. Rajapakse should seize this opportunity and address international concerns.

Source: Gulf News



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