30 May 2015
There is little hope of post-war reconciliation in Sri Lanka unless the new government acts to end the oppression of minority Tamils and ensure reconciliation, a US think tank said on Thursday, urging continued pressure on the country.
President Mathripala Sirisena’s government was elected earlier this year with promises of reconciliation, and secured the delay of a United Nations report due in March after the UN human rights chief praised its willingness to open the country up to scrutiny.
However, the California-based Oakland Institute said no progress had been made in resolving pressing human rights issues, including the fate of tens of thousands of people missing since a long civil war ended in 2009, and in investigating and prosecuting war crimes.
It said six years after the war ended with victory by the Sinhalese over the Tamil Tiger separatists, thousands of Tamils were still displaced and the military occupation of the north and east of the country continued.
An “aggressive” process of “Sinhalization” over the past six years had seen Tamil culture systematically replaced by victory monuments dedicated to Sinhalese hegemony and the majority Buddhist religion, the report said.
“A new government was elected in early 2015 with the promise that it will engage in a process of truth and reconciliation,” the report said. “It is unclear how such a process could effectively take place, given the current level of military occupation and the ongoing Sinhalization efforts.”