Sharif Abdullah: Sri Lanka is a humanitarian disaster

Are the Tamils safe in Sri Lankan concentration camps? by aquaview.Sharif Abdullah writes:

I continue to monitor the lack of progress in Sri Lanka since the end of the war. Now, months after the crushing defeat of the Tamil Tigers as a military force, there are still hundreds of thousands of innocent Tamil civilians locked in detention camps, with no relief in sight.

Today, the trustworthy and independent International Crisis Group, quoting the International Herald Tribune, stated in part:

The guns have fallen silent in Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war, but the deep wounds of ethnic animosity have not even begun to heal. An estimated 300,000 Tamil civilians remain essentially prisoners in internment camps run by a Sinhalese-dominated government.

To begin easing the deep mistrust between the communities, donor countries will have to pressure the government to be as serious about securing a just peace as it was earlier this year about winning the war.

(To read the entire article, click here.)

The promises of the Sri Lanka government to close the prison camps can now be seen for what they are: empty gestures to mollify the Sinhalese people into complacency. The government is not listening to the international community, donor countries, international NGO’s… the Rajapakse government is only listening to the sound of its own voice.)

(Believe me, if the Tamil Tigers still existed, I would be just as critical of them for using the innocent Tamil civilians as “human shields.” But, they don’t exist — the government has wiped them out. In a perverse way, the brutality of the Tigers acted as a check on the brutality of the SL Government.)

What is needed in Sri Lanka is the same thing that is needed in a dozen other countries with out of control governments (and/or out of control insurgent groups like the FARC, Taleban, etc)… in these situations, the people need a voice that is independent of the government and insurgents, one that is aligned with the deepest values of all of the people. People in the Sudan, in Zimbabwe, in Burma and in Sri Lanka need a nonviolent way to hold their violent rulers in check.

Stay tuned… I predict this situation will get much worse before it gets better…

(Sharif and I surmised that the government had no interest in peace.  Sadly, we were proven right.  Once again, the hopes of the Sri Lankan people have been dashed.)