A mechanism to monitor Sri Lanka`s human rights is needed | Times of India
By Sameer Arshad
Interview with Alan Keenan, Sri Lanka Project Director
According to the ICG, how is Sri Lanka`s consolidation of power impacting the process of post-war reconciliation?
There is no process of reconciliation or accountability — the government has made no attempt to remedy the long-standing poli-tical marginalisation of Tamils. It has made it clear it has no intention to devolve meaningful power to Tamil and Muslim areas in the north and east. It has refused to acknowledge the terrible suffering of Tamils and the loss of civilian lives in the last stages of the war, focussing only on the sacrifices of government troops.
Also, it has refused to conduct any independent investigations into alleged war crimes by government and LTTE forces or other violations of human rights suffered by members of all of Sri Lanka`s communities. The further concentration of power in the Rajapaksa family and the executive, achieved through the impeachment of the chief justice, will make reconciliation and accountability even harder.
What does such a situation mean for minority rights?
The rights of Tamils and Muslims are under grave threat. Tamils have long suffered from a denial of their collective right to self-rule within a united Sri Lanka as well as from a regular denial of many of their indivi-dual civil and political rights. These problems have continued and, in some ways, grown worse since the end of the war.
Unfortunately, Muslims, generally treated better by the government, have now come under sustained attack by extremist Sinhala Buddhist groups. Unless the government takes decisive action, there is a real danger of communal violence against Muslims.
Photo: Iouri Goussev/Flickr