Sri Lanka: Snapshot of Sri Lankan Conflict for last 60 years.
" Can you give us a simple breakdown of what this battle is all about? "
I am writing this for anyone who may have the same question as above, otherwise feel free to skip this article.
Thank you so much for asking. I much appreciate your interest in the issue. I am providing basic details here for even basic reader, so please don't take any offense. I will try to keep it brief. So please bear with me.
Sri Lanka is the tear-drop island right below India.
There are two communities, a Sinhalese Kingdom to the South and a Tamil Kingdom to the North and East, have been living the Island for over 2000 years. These two communities speak different language and mostly also follow different religions.
As many other Asian and African countries, Colonial powers came to Sri Lanka, then known as Ceylon. Portuguese, Dutch and then British. Portuguese and Dutch ruled the Island separately. However the British decided to combine the two separate kingdoms in to one state for administrative convenience in 1833.
When British left in 1948, they left the country as the combined state. Consequently, the Sinhalese became majority 72% and the Tamils became minority in Sri Lanka 18%.
The Sinhalese Politicians had an internal jealousy that Tamils held many high posts during British ruling and wanted to see to it that the Tamils are deprived of education, employment and other rights. Hence they started to fuel Sinhalese chauvinism among Sinhalese majority and used it as a main method to gain votes. Tamils oppression has started in Sri Lanka and the Sinhalese chauvinists’ majority has been sustaining similar mind-set government since then.
Considering the emphasis of articles in the UDHR, it is important to analyse how far the UDHR has been respected by the governments of Sri Lanka regarding the human rights of Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka (or formerly Ceylon).
Over 100, 000 Tamils have been killed, tortured and raped by the Sri Lankan Government and Army in Sri Lanka so far.
State sponsored mass massacres have been staged by the Sri Lankan Government to threaten and deplete Tamils’ aspiration to live freely in Sri Lanka.
1977 the Tamils’ Political leaders decided, enough is enough and declared Tamil Eelam is the only solution that will give Tamils rights and freedom in Sri Lanka. This event and decision is called the Vaddukoddai Resolution. This was a political attempt to preserve Tamils rights in Sri Lanka.
Due Sri Lankan Government’ violence towards the request, few Tamils rebel groups have emerged among Tamils. India provided training and financial support to these rebels and encouraged them to grow.
LTTE survived time due to its strong alignment with Tamils’ aspiration to find Tamil Eeleam.
However, mass massacres were organized by the Sri Lankan Government to root out any resistance from Tamils:
July 1983- 52 Tamil prisoners massacred at Wellicata
July 1983 - 3000 Tamils killed mostly burnt alive in Capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo
15/5/1986 - 38 Tamils of Kumudhini boat passengers were massacred by Sri Lankan Navy- Neduntheevu,Jaffana
7/9/1995 - 65 Tamils massacred at refuges camp -St. Peter church - Navali Jaffana
10/9/1990 - 185 Tamils to massacred by stabbing at Sri Lankan Army Camp- Saththurukondan,Batticola
28/10/2000 - 28 Tamils were massacred at the Rehabilitation Centre - Bindunuwewa
LTTE accepted peace talks with the Government since 2002 – 2006 with the previous Sinhalese Government. However, the Sinhalese majority made the government lose the office in 2005, and elected the Mahinda (President) and Gotabaya (Defense Secretary) Sri Lankan Government.
The current government ended the peace talk with LTTE for Tamils’ rights and declared an all military solutions to Tamils’ aspiration to be free in Sri Lanka.
The current Sri Lankan Government has killed 4 Tamil Parliamentarians Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham, MP, Batticaloa District (in December 2005), Mr.Nadarajah Raviraj, MP, Jaffna District (in November 2006), Mr. T. Maheswaran, MP, Colombo District (in January 2008) and Mr. Kiddnan Sivanesan, MP, Jaffna District (in March 2008).
Since then many journalists have been killed:
January 8, 2009 – Dying for Journalism: Lasantha Wickrematunge of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka special report: Failure to Investigate
In the current "all-military-solution-to-Tamils", the Tamil civilians have been bombed and shelled mercilessly by the Sri Lankan Government in the name of rooting out “terrorism” under the veil of banned media.
Over 4700 Tamils civilians are dead in the three months attacks, and over 1000 of them are children.
The Sri Lankan Government has used Chemical weapons on Tamils civilians areas and have killed over 1500 just in last two days.
Strict ban on media prohibits any war zone details to get out.
The current fight in killing Tamils civilians and LTTE will be over in one or two days.
Then LTTE will be gone.
Then what for Tamils in Sri Lanka?
Lasantha' Last Editorial - What is more, a military occupation of the country's north and east will require the Tamil people of those regions to live eternally as second-class citizens, deprived of all self respect. Do not imagine that you can placate them by showering "development" and "reconstruction" on them in the post-war era. The wounds of war will scar them forever, and you will also have an even more bitter and hateful Diaspora to contend with. A problem amenable to a political solution will thus become a festering wound that will yield strife for all eternity. If I seem angry and frustrated, it is only because most of my countrymen - and all of the government - cannot see this writing so plainly on the wall.
The oppression will get even worse now that the rebel force is nearly killed.
Tamils' autonomy in Sri Lanka is the only sustainable arrangement to restore relative peace and stability in the Sri Lankan Island as it has been proved to work for over 2000 years.
Otherwise, time will produce a new rebel force among Tamils again to fight for pure survival and basic rights in Sri Lanka.