Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sri Lanka "Protecting" Tamils - You Can't Be Serious

The Guardian has a story up – Sri Lankans divided by war: Tamils trapped in internment camps tell of desperate hunt for loved ones – that illustrates the psychological and physical harm so many of the now interned Tamils are enduring as the Sri Lankan government sifts through the internees to identify supposed Tamil Tigers (LTTE). In the mean time, the Tamil population is left tending to their own struggles, displaced, frequently injured and divided from loved ones.

The government’s excuse is that identifying remnant LTTE members takes priority over basic human rights, and that their efforts are "protecting" the internees.

More than 200,000 refugees are corralled inside Menik Farm, a sweltering 1,400 acres of scrubland sealed off by barbed wire. Some are still hoping to find relatives amid the rows of tents that provide a temporary home. But others say relatives were separated out by the military, suspected of being Tamil Tigers. The Sri Lankan government says it has so far identified more than 9,000 members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and is sending them to "rehabilitation centres", where they will be held for a year.

The government claims that it needs to keep the civilians in camps it is building in the north of the country until it can be sure that they are not members of the LTTE. The camps sprawl out over a vast area, mile after mile of tents where the unfortunate civilians displaced by the recent fighting have been told they could spend up to two years before they are allowed to go home.

Two years before the Tamil internees can go home? That lag will do wonders to foster reconciliation and integration. And is anyone buying this espoused rhetoric of working to "protect" Tamils, or this "rehabilitation centers" thing? Given that the Sri Lankan government systemically banned media from covering the conflict, my bet is that these "rehab centers" involve things like water boarding, if not worse.

(Photo courtesy of
The Guardian)

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1 comment:

  1. Sri Lanka Tamils 'facing misery' (6/1/09; BBC)