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Nov-21-2011 18:26printcomments

London Calling: Time for Sri Lanka's Release of Post-Conflict Report

Foreign Office Minister calls on Rajapaksa regime to take the opportunity to show cooperation.

Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt
Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt Photo: The Guardian

(SALEM) - Britain's Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt is calling on

Sri Lanka's Majinda Rajapaksa

Sri Lanka's government to publicly release the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee's report on post conflict issues in Sri Lanka.

A long-running feud between the minority Tamil population in the country's north coastal region, and the Sinhalese Buddhist government, came to a head two summers ago and culminated in the brutal extinction of large numbers of Hindu and Christian Tamils.

In launching the full-scale attack, the government set out to permanently end the breakaway state of Tamil Eelam, and blamed many of the deaths on the military force that represented the Tamil population, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, (LTTE) which had tried for many years to bring and maintain equal rights for Tamils.

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Burt's call should be a golden opportunity for Sri Lanka President Majinda Rajapaksa to show the world that those searing media reports 'falsely labeling" his government and army as war criminals and highly organized Genocidal maniacs- responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent civilians and Tamil Tigers who according to many accounts, carried white flags when the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) cut them down- were false.

This is Rajapaksa's big chance to justify his claims, and to exonerate his government from the terrible accusations of Genocide and ethnic cleansing that are shown in thousands of photos and in extensive video recorded at first by the Tamils, and then by the soldiers themselves.

Equally, it is a perfect point to justify his 'fakery' charges against the Channel 4 documentary 'Sri Lanka's Killing Fields'. It would also be a chance for Rajapaksa and his brothers to demonstrate that they are simply the victims of an organized media campaign, that is after all what they said from the start.

Perhaps most importantly, the president could explain the part that bothers me the very most- he could explain the silenced voices of Sri Lanka who might otherwise have watched the war and been able to report their findings.

It would be a simple act, he just needs to bring back the reporters and news editors who were disappeared and Murdered by the SLA and its henchmen in their 'white vans' that put a fear in Tamils that is unshakable, and unforgivable.

Of course the administration denies this having happened, regardless of the number of reports and witnesses; they just deny it, that's how things are done. But oh, are the complications increasing, gaining traction like a dragster blasting away from a green light. The story of media trickery and deception is becoming increasingly harder to prove for the government of this island nation that relies largely on tourism for revenue. By many appearances, Sri Lanka's decision to ethnically cleanse the Tamils included shooting itself in the foot.

Since former SLA officers have come forward corroborating the charges of Genocide, it makes the road a little harder to negotiate, but still...

The clock is ticking since the Sri Lankan Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee presented their report to President Rakapaksa yesterday, on 20 November.

The Foreign Office Minister said:

Many hope this report will mark a significant milestone in Sri Lanka’s recovery from conflict, and I call on the Government of Sri Lanka to seize this important opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to national reconciliation and accountability. Making the report public at the earliest opportunity is a vital part of this commitment and I look forward to the Government of Sri Lanka setting out the steps it will take in response to the report.

Tick tick tick...

British High Commission in Sri Lanka Website

Also see UK Mission to the United Nations - New York


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