Sri Lanka's disregard to Tamils' lives, rejects rebel's ceasefire
Sri Lankan government has unleashed another round of assaults on the slim sliver of land concentrated with over 160,000 Tamils civilians. These Tamils civilians do not have food, medicines or medical care as the government has denied to allow access to any foreign aid and denied to send in any internal aids.
Sri Lanka on Sunday rejected a ceasefire declared by Tamil Tiger rebels, as the United Nations said the ongoing fighting was preventing essential aid from reaching thousands of trapped civilians.
Defense secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse said there was no need for a truce as the military was on the verge of defeating the separatist forces, who have fought for 37 years for the creation of an independent Tamil homeland.
The LTTE have declared a unilateral ceasefire at the face of a catrasophic humanitarian crisis and the IC's calls for ceasefire of both sides.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who are accused of holding thousands of civilians hostage, said its ceasefire was "in the face of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis" and in response to international appeals.
When asked why the government wouldn't take this opportunity to evacuate the Tamils civilians out from the conflict zone, the Defense Secretary of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya said that "they are in the verge of defeating separatists forces". Somehow, closer to 160,000 Tamils civilians lives and well being seems to never have concerned honorable Gotabaya.
It is estimated that there are less than 200 LTTE cadets in the so called "safety zone". The Sri Lankan government has rejected to provide Amnesty for LTTE or to carry on the peace talks effort left in 2006. Tamils consider LTTE a major player in their Tamils nationalism.
The Sri Lankan governments attitude towards the Tamils in Sri Lanka is apparent in this humanitarian crisis.
For the sake of argument, if the LTTE is supposedly resided among 160, 000 Sinhalese, would the Sri Lankan government would have taken the same measures to fight against LTTE?
If this means committing genocide against the Tamil people, the politico-military junta, which has the temerity to call itself the “Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri lanka”, is more than willing to do so.
Problem of ethnic cleansing
There are four options to achieve an exclusively Sinaha-Buddhist Sri Lanka.
1. Drive them out of the country. Although 1.3 million have already been driven out, there are still 2 million left.
2. Make them “non-people”, ie: internal refugees. Currently, there are 500,000 Tamil civilians living in refugee camps in the Tamil north and east or have fled into the jungles in the north to escape SLA bombing. There are also 200,000 Tamil refugees in south India.
On November 19, Amnesty International USA, in a publication titled Sri Lanka government must act now to protect 300,000 displaced persons, stated: “In September 2008, the Sri Lankan government ordered the United Nations (UN) and non-government aid-workers to leave the region (the Tamil North). The government then assumed total responsibility for ensuring the needs of the civilian population affected by the hostilities are met.”
On December 23, the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) came out with a detailed 49-page report entitled Besieged, Displaced, and Detained. The Plight of Civilians in Sri Lanka’s Vanni Region of the Sri Lankan government’s responsibility for the plight of 230,000 to 300,000 displaced people in the Vanni (northern) conflict zone.
It documents that thousands of Tamils fleeing the fighting in the north are trapped by the government and are being denied basic provisions.
Brad Adams, HRW Asia Director, one of the people who wrote this report, said: “To add insult to injury, people who manage to flee the fighting end up being held indefinitely in army-run prison camps.”
He went on to make the situation abundantly clear: “The government’s ’welfare centers’ for civilians fleeing the Wanni are just badly disguised prisons.”
3. Make them “disappear”. Today, Sri Lanka leads the world in “involuntary disappearances”.
On November 24, HRW published report entitled Sri Lanka: Human Rights Situation Deteriorating in the East in which Adams stated: “The Sri Lankan government says that the ‘liberated’ East is an example of democracy in action and a model for areas recaptured from the LTTE. But killings and abductions are rife, and there is total impunity for horrific acts.”
4. Kill them — i.e. commit genocide. “Genocide” is defined by the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide as “an act committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group”.
Genocide has nothing to do with numbers killed, it is the intention and the act(s) to achieve this intention that defines it.
Bombing, shelling and shooting are not the only ways to kill. One could starve them, withhold essential medicines, prevent survival activity (e.g. fishing and agriculture), destroy businesses, markets, homes, hospitals and schools. Once the intention is there, the ways to achieve genocide are endless.
There are also different types of genocide. I have called these, “educational genocide”, “cultural genocide”, “economic genocide” and “religious genocide” — defined as the intention, backed by the act, of destroying in whole or part the education, culture or economy and religion of an ethnic group.
The Sri Lankan government is guilty of all of these.
Massacres by the Sri Lankan security forces is not new to Tamils. They have seen many since 1948, and witnessed a horrendous one in 1983.
"The violence was vicious and bloody. In street after street in Colombo groups of rioters hit only at shops and factories, as well as homes owned by Tamils. Troops and police (almost exclusively Sinhalese) either joined the rioters or stood idly by. The events were so well organized no one doubts that there was a master list of targets." - Financial Times, 12 August 1983.
The 1983 Black July enabled LTTE get stronger support from the Tamils in Sri Lanka; consequently LTTE has been the fighter of Sri Lankan Security forces atrocities against Tamils.
The numbers of Tamils civilians deaths has already reached epic proportions in the current humanitarian crisis; over 10,000 Tamils civilians have been confirmed dead and over 13, 500 Tamils civilians have been wounded in just last 3 months; Over 50,000 Tamil refugees are at the government ran detention camps. Above all, the actual numbers are feared to be far higher when the dust settles in the blood bath of the government defined "safety zone".