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akootha

May, we always remember!

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May 18th will be forever etched in our memories as a day when Tamils around the world watched in horror as the 27 year old ethnic conflict came to a disastrous end. Tens of thousands of innocent people were slaughtered.  Today, we mourn those men, women and children, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, whose lives were taken.

 

 

While we mark the anniversary of this emotional day with prayers and remembrance activities, it is equally important to ensure that the perpetrators of this massacre, and of the decades-long persecution against Tamils, are brought to justice.  We cannot let their suffering and death be in vain.


While the past year was meaningful, including inching towards achieving justice with the release of the United Nations report in November and the UN Human Rights Council resolution in March, the work has just begun.  We must work hard, on many levels and through many means, to push for justice for our people.

 

On this solemn day, let us unite together as Tamils, and resolve to work together as a community to move forward.

May we always remember.


 

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Statement filed in US Congressional Records by Representative David Price today.

 

http://price.house.gov/images/stories/issues/Foreign_Policy_and_Defense/CommemoratingSriLankanCivilConflict.pdf



Congressman David Price
Extension of Remarks
The Legacy of Sri Lanka’s Civil War

May 17, 2013

 

 

MR. SPEAKER: Four years ago this week, the Sri Lankan military declared victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) after more than 25 years of conflict. Thus ended one of the most devastating civil wars of the century, offering hope of a brighter future for the Sri Lankan people characterized by peace, reconciliation, and economic prosperity.


Unfortunately, four years later this brighter  future remains elusive for much of Sri Lanka’s population. The Sri Lankan military’s final offensive against the LTTE left hundreds of thousands of civilians – most of them Tamils – in a situation of forced relocation, humanitarian disaster, and precarious political rights. We have also learned that the government likely committed serious abuses during the fighting itself, leading to the death, torture, or disappearance of tens of thousands of Tamil civilians. A recent report by Human Rights Watch sheds a startling light on these abuses, documenting widespread and potentially systematic incidences of rape, torture, and sexual assault of Tamil detainees by Sri Lankan forces.

 

 

Since the end of the conflict, the Sri Lankan government has blatantly and repeatedly defied the demands of the international community and commonly accepted norms of justice and human rights by failing to reintegrate large  numbers of Tamil citizens in a timely manner, denying access by journalists and humanitarian organizations to conflict-affected areas, and detaining former combatants indefinitely without access to legal recourse. The government has also persistently rejected calls by a growing number of governments, international bodies, and human rights organizations for an independent investigation into potential war crimes. If the government truly has nothing to hide, why resist even this basic measure of accountability?

 

On this anniversary of the end of the 2009 conflict, I call on the government of Sri Lanka to act expeditiously to reintegrate Tamil civilians into their communities, provide ex-combatants with appropriate legal recourse and a path toward reintegration, and open its doors to a truly independent international investigation. I also call on our own government to redouble its efforts to pursue accountability for atrocities committed by all sides of this tragic conflict. In the meantime, I urge Congress to expand current conditions on aid to the Sri Lankan government to cover all forms of military assistance.

 

 

It is past time for the international community to finally bring an end to this dark chapter in Sri Lanka’s history so that the Sri Lankan people can realize the future they so badly deserve.

 

 

Edited by akootha

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