- Monday, 21 April 2014
Less than five years after the end of the three decade long internal war, the government has warned that the LTTE is regrouping and plotting to renew its violent campaign for a separate state again. This warning has come in the context of a shootout reported in the North that led to the killing of three LTTE members by the military, who according to the government, had shot and injured a policeman in the leg. It is plausible that there are small groups within the local population as well as internationally who may be plotting some violent acts, even if they know that the conditions at the present time do not permit sustained rebellion. The slain persons are accused of having had connections with the Tamil Diaspora and had prominent targets in mind. It will be ironic if Sri Lanka, which achieved what seemed impossible by defeating the LTTE, should lose its prospects for peace so rapidly.
- Monday, 21 April 2014
URGENTLY RESUME THE DIALOGUE TO AVOID DANGEROUS BACKSLIDE TO PAST
Less than five years after the end of the three decade long internal war, the Sri Lankan government has warned that the LTTE is regrouping and plotting to renew its violent campaign for a separate state again. This warning has come in the context of a shootout reported in the North that led to the killing of three LTTE members by the military who, according to the government, had shot and injured a policeman in the leg. The security forces conducted extensive cordon and search operations and arrested over 60 persons, including civic activists, prior to the final shootout. The slain persons are accused of having had connections with the Tamil Diaspora.
The National Peace Council notes that this violence, which is the first LTTE-related violence since the end of the war, occurred soon after the passage of the UNHRC resolution calling for an international investigation into the last phase of Sri Lanka’s war. The government has refused to cooperate with this investigation. It has also banned 16 Tamil Diaspora organizations and 424 individuals whom it has accused of promoting terrorism. Reports from the North indicate that the military role has grown and the space for civil society to function has shrunk due to permission for activities that has to be obtained and is either not forthcoming or is deemed to be impossible to obtain.
- Monday, 14 April 2014
Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunge gave an early warning of things to come during his visit to Washington DC in February to lobby against the proposed UNHRC resolution on war crimes that was being led by the United States and reached its denouement in the vote in Geneva on March 27. The presidential secretary drew upon his knowledge of the workings of Sri Lankan society and government to warn of chaos if the resolution was passed. At that time he was criticized for making this statement. It was seen as reviving the ghosts of Sri Lanka’s most tragic episodes, the anti Tamil riots of 1983, behind of which were sections of the then government. The larger implication of his statement was that an international investigation into the last phase of the war, which would implicate those who ended LTTE terror in the country would be resisted to the fullest extent possible.
- Wednesday, 09 April 2014
The issue of the vote at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva became the main political issue during the provincial council elections in the Western and Southern provinces. The government’s decision to conduct those elections in the same week as the UNHRC resolution was being voted upon was likely to have been prompted by political considerations. It reflected the government’s continuing belief in the domestic electoral process, and obtaining a renewed mandate, as providing it with the legitimacy to rule regardless of other considerations. The threat to the unity of the country and to its sovereignty was brought to the fore by government campaigners in the run up to the provincial council elections to the Western and Southern provincial councils
While the government has shown resilience in its ability to utilize nationalism to win the support of the general population in relation to electoral politics and defeat the opposition, it has been meeting with increasing resistance and disenchantment on the ground. There are localized pockets of political activity where there is increasingly strong opposition to the government. While the election reflected in the main a continuing trust in the stability and security represented by the current ruling party, it also gave more than a hint of the disenchantment due to governance and insecurity issues faced by the ethnic and religious minorities. While the margin of victory achieved by the government at the provincial council elections was impressive there is unease in government ranks.