No excuse for anti-Tamil policies
National Post, a new paper that was "broadly sympathetic to the Sri Lankan government's goal of confronting and subduing the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam", posted an opinion that "there is no excuse for anti-Tamil policies.
Sri Lanka must now be judged by the human-rights standards that typically govern developing countries. And by those standards, the country's recent conduct should be of great concern. According to UN figures, over 280,000 people -- about 10% of the country's Tamil population -- are still being detained in 30 military-guarded camps. While we do not believe the overheated theory currently making the rounds among Canadian Tamils that the Sri Lankan government is seeking to ethnically cleanse the nation, Colombo's actions have fed Tamil suspicions that they are destined to remain second-class citizens.
The opinion piece expressed dismay of the brutal treatment of reporters in Sri Lanka.
As journalists, we also are particularly appalled at the brutal treatment of reporters in Sri Lanka -- especially those who happen to critique the country's military. Over the last decade, about 20 journalists have been killed -- often by murderers linked to the government, the military or their supporters. In many cases, the murders were unsolved, and the government seems to have done precious little to unravel the crimes: Sri Lanka placed fifth on the recent Impunity Index circulated by the Committee to Protect Journalists. Only Iraq, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Colombia do less to track down those who murder journalists.
The journalist is puzzled at the double stardard on Israel and Sri Lanka.
The silence from CUPE, left-wing churches, Naomi Klein, campus activists and all the other folks who boycott Israel at the first sound of gunfire in Lebanon or Gaza is especially puzzling: The human-rights abuses and overall death toll in Sri Lanka are orders of magnitude above those witnessed in the recent Sri Lanka fighting. Press freedom, moreover, is vigilantly protected in Israel, a country where the most vicious criticism of the state, and even of Zionism itself, routinely appears in the country's media.
So why is it that Israel is the world's bete noire while Sri Lanka was recently commended by the UN Human Rights Council following its victory over the LTTE? Apparently, some humans' human rights count for more than others.
Given its large Tamil population and commitment to human rights, Canada is the right country to ensure that the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils is on the world's radar screen. The war in that country is over. Colombo no longer has any excuse for its brutal policies.