International access needed to Sri Lankan former war zone

For those who haven’t already heard, the Sri Lankan government announced today that its forces had defeated the opposition Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), with all the LTTE leaders being killed this morning.  The LTTE (or Tamil Tigers, as they’ve been called) have been fighting for over three decades for an independent state for the Tamil minority in the north and east of the island.  The Sri Lankan military has now reconquered the territory once controlled by the Tigers.

I have previously posted entries on this blog expressing concern for the estimated 50,000 civilians being held as human shields by the LTTE in the war zone.  Should I be happy that the war is over?  After all, the Sri Lankan government announced yesterday that all the civilians trapped in the war zone had been rescued by the army.  According to a Sri Lankan minister, it had been done “without shedding a drop of blood;” he also said that there “was no bloodbath as some people feared.”  I’d like to believe him and the Sri Lankan government.  But they’ve denied access to the war zone for months to aid agencies and journalists, so we only have their word for it.  As the UN said today, it’s hard to be sure about reports from the former war zone.  The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today said that it hadn’t been able to reach the area so it didn’t have first-hand information about the needs of civilians and wounded people in the area.

Amnesty International today called on the Sri Lankan government to provide aid agencies, including the UN and the ICRC, with full access to the former war zone in order to help all those in need of assistance.  Beyond that, the government should take additional steps to prevent abuses of the displaced.  We’ve already reported that some young men fleeing the war zone had “disappeared” after being detained by the army.  The Sri Lankan government should immediately implement a proper registration process for the displaced civilians and allow international monitors into the area to observe all camps, detention places and registration and screening points.   That’s the best way to protect the displaced and avoid any further human rights violations.  I’m sure we all hope for a better future now for Sri Lanka’s long-suffering people.  Having the Sri Lankan government open itself now to international scrutiny would be an important step toward securing that future.

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6 thoughts on “International access needed to Sri Lankan former war zone

  1. I was wondering what we can do get the International community to put more pressure into letting aid and media into these areas. It seems like the Sinhalese government will only let media in after they finished disposing of the dead bodies. I realized today that there is no value for human life in this world and what is the point of the U.N existing? Is the U.N only going to go into the war zone after all the evidence is hidden. I am tired of going to protests to stop further killings because I realized no one cares and the value of a my peoples life is nothing.

  2. I was wondering what we can do get the International community to put more pressure into letting aid and media into these areas. It seems like the Sinhalese government will only let media in after they finished disposing of the dead bodies. I realized today that there is no value for human life in this world and what is the point of the U.N existing? Is the U.N only going to go into the war zone after all the evidence is hidden. I am tired of going to protests to stop further killings because I realized no one cares and the value of a my peoples life is nothing.

  3. Priya, Know that people all over this dark & bloody earth are mourning today with the Tamil Nation. You're right, the UN. is without use or value, they're there to bully the oppressed & uphold the interests of the butcher powers. But move along all survival channels for your people — new paths must be found, & we will find it, my friend.

    i thank Amnesty for its lanka coverage & campaign, & understand it must be neutral in its approach. But i cannot lie & equate the lanka government & the Tigers as being both responsible for the genocide of the Tamils. The lanka army inflicted the genocide, & the Tigers for decades have been their people's shield against this genocide. But all liberation movements, in their hour of mortal peril, take final refuge among their own people, who are their only source of strength. From the dawn of the world this has been so, without a single exception. And the Tigers were no exception. Naked, they went back to their mother to live or die.

    The butcher powers like lanka or america avoid blame for their own crimes by saying they're unavoidable as the insurgents mix with the people & use them as shields. They're saying this today in Palestine Lebanon Afghanistan Pakistan, they said this in all the American Indian villages they destroyed across the Americas–because they cannot separate the people & the Resistance in their unjust wars. The Tigers have lived up to their name, & so have their leaders, unlike the lanka politicos & generals safe in colombo or behind their army lines & artillery. History will remember who committed the massacres & who resisted it to the end. So will the Tamils & all other real Nations.

  4. Priya, Know that people all over this dark & bloody earth are mourning today with the Tamil Nation. You’re right, the UN. is without use or value, they’re there to bully the oppressed & uphold the interests of the butcher powers. But move along all survival channels for your people — new paths must be found, & we will find it, my friend.

    i thank Amnesty for its lanka coverage & campaign, & understand it must be neutral in its approach. But i cannot lie & equate the lanka government & the Tigers as being both responsible for the genocide of the Tamils. The lanka army inflicted the genocide, & the Tigers for decades have been their people’s shield against this genocide. But all liberation movements, in their hour of mortal peril, take final refuge among their own people, who are their only source of strength. From the dawn of the world this has been so, without a single exception. And the Tigers were no exception. Naked, they went back to their mother to live or die.

    The butcher powers like lanka or america avoid blame for their own crimes by saying they’re unavoidable as the insurgents mix with the people & use them as shields. They’re saying this today in Palestine Lebanon Afghanistan Pakistan, they said this in all the American Indian villages they destroyed across the Americas–because they cannot separate the people & the Resistance in their unjust wars. The Tigers have lived up to their name, & so have their leaders, unlike the lanka politicos & generals safe in colombo or behind their army lines & artillery. History will remember who committed the massacres & who resisted it to the end. So will the Tamils & all other real Nations.

  5. It's true unjust wars by dictatorial repressions don't distinguish between the people & the resistance — the repression falls on both indiscriminately, but on the people disproportionately. On the other hand, the people & the resistance are symbiotically related, but they're not identical entities. The resistance, despite its heroism, can turn into a repressive force itself. It's still not as historically primary a violator as the original unjust aggressor or oppressor — but Amnesty is definitely right to say, i feel, that the people have suffered from the actions of both sides.

  6. It’s true unjust wars by dictatorial repressions don’t distinguish between the people & the resistance — the repression falls on both indiscriminately, but on the people disproportionately. On the other hand, the people & the resistance are symbiotically related, but they’re not identical entities. The resistance, despite its heroism, can turn into a repressive force itself. It’s still not as historically primary a violator as the original unjust aggressor or oppressor — but Amnesty is definitely right to say, i feel, that the people have suffered from the actions of both sides.