sri lanka civil war

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Urgent need for humanitarian ceasefire in Sri Lanka

Article Date: 
7 Apr 2009

Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, has commented on the situation in Sri Lanka following worrying reports of fighting taking place in civilian concentrated areas within the country.

David Miliband said:

"Recent reports suggesting that the Sri Lankan military have now captured all the territory outside the so-called 'no fire zone' and that fighting is now going on inside the zone, where the civilian population is concentrated, are deeply worrying..."

Article Source: 
UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office

UN issues new Sri Lanka warning

Article Date: 
8 Apr 2009

The UN has issued a fresh appeal for a humanitarian pause or lull in the fighting in Sri Lanka to avoid a "bloodbath" on the beaches.

Article Source: 

Sri Lanka military sounds last warning to Tigers

Article Date: 
8 Apr 2009

Sri Lanka's military on Wednesday broadcast a final surrender offer to Tamil Tiger rebels surrounded in a tiny strip of coast, urging them drop their guns and free tens of thousands of civilians or be destroyed.

Article Source: 

Six Days in July

By: on 26 Jul 2008

At this time 25 years ago, Sri Lanka burned for six days in July in anti-Tamil pogroms. More than 3000 people were killed, one hundred thousand displaced, and 18,000 businesses destroyed. All for being suspected of being Tamil. The UNP government of then Executive President, J.R. Jayawardene, disingenuously claimed that the riots were a result of an ambush of 13 Sri Lankan soldiers in the north (a mission later claimed by the LTTE) that enraged 'the Sinhala masses' who were provoked into wholly 'spontaneous' acts of violence. Eyewitnesses testified otherwise, recalling local thugs who stalked their streets wielding machetes in one hand, and in the other, official voters lists to identify Tamil homes and businesses. Many of these survivors were saved by their Sinhala and Muslim neighbors, drivers, partners, friends. They waited, hiding in dark cellars and closets while their streets burned.

As the flames rose, whole families were consumed, their homes reduced to ash and rubble, their children, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, parents and grandparents lined up and shot, beaten, or covered in petrol and burned alive. Tamil political prisoners were killed by other prisoners with the aid of their guards. Over the next two decades, if they had the means or the contacts, what remained of these families was scattered to the far corners of the earth by an unwinnable war; a war waged by politicos with a love for power and a hatred aimed at anyone who would stand in the way. The targets were not only Tamils, but the journalists, poets, academics and activists of all communities who dared to speak truth to that power, regardless of who claimed it and to what end.

But even if "politics is the continuation of war by other means" in the continuing transformation of Sri Lanka from welfare to warfare state, those black days in July marked a turning point. Not in any simple, quantifiable sense of "more" or "real" violence, for to say that makes violence a very specific kind of object, it trivializes the lives of those who suffered through and continue to endure everyday discrimination and social and economic injustice, past riots (in 1956, 1958, 1977, 1981), disenfranchisement (in 1948-9 of the Indian Tamils, as well as other migrants from India/Pakistan) expulsion (of Muslims from Jaffna in 1990), and the ongoing war (1983-1985, 1987-1995, 1995-2002, 2006-present). Black July changed the social and political landscape of Sri Lanka; it led the country down a war path that has inflicted suffering and hardship on people from all communities. For many Tamils, the extraordinary events of July '83 crystallized into an experience that told them, once and for all, that they did not belong in the only home most of them had ever known. How? By showing them that they could be killed, simply for being themselves. For being a Tamil; or being mistaken for one; for being married to one; or being forced to pass as Sinhala, Muslim or Burgher. But also, by making everyone realize that they, too, could be complicit in violence against their own people when, instead of standing up to denounce violence against another, they stayed quiet to save their own skin, or spoke in the perpetrator's tongue to deflect a pointed finger.

Hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans, mostly Tamils, left the country; their deep shame masked by the guilt of having left, they sent money to support their families and oftentimes, paradoxically, the war that drove them out in the first place. The pogroms steered youth towards armed struggle as a means of redress; finding no way out in politics or peaceful protest, they sought refuge in militant movements. But violence begat more violence, within and among these groups as they sought to eliminate one another, giving rise to the LTTE, a group that many Tamils tenaciously cling to as their 'one and only hope' and defense again state violence. And so, violence begets more violence.

Sri Lanka Bombs East, Tells People For Their Own Good

By: on 30 Jul 2006

On Wednesday July 26th, Sri Lankan Armed Forces bombed LTTE-controlled areas in Trincomalee district in response to the July 22nd closure of the Mavilaru sluice gate preventing water from reaching farmers in government-controlled areas. Two civilians were wounded, and two houses were destroyed. This is the first aerial bombing since a June 15th SLAF retaliatory strike on LTTE-controlled areas in Trincomalee, following a landmine explosion that killed 63 civilians aboard a bus in Anuradhapura district. Trincomalee district was also subject to aerial strikes in the Muttur region, following a suicide bomber's assassination attempt on SLA Commander, Lt-Gen. Sarath Fonseka on April 25th. Both attacks were immediately attributed by the government and several media outlets to the LTTE. The group denies involvement, despite both events carrying the hallmarks of their previous actions.

Sri Lanka's most recent military action arrives in the wake of extrajudicial killings, disappearances and other outbreaks of violence on the part of the government, the LTTE, the Karuna group, and "other armed groups," killing over 800 people this year. The majority have been civilians.

In defense of the bombings, military spokesperson, Keheliya Rambukwella, had this to say:

"Aircraft carried out several bombings purely as a humanitarian gesture to support the movement of irrigation engineers who went there to open the gates," he said. [Link]

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