Sri Lanka massacred up to 40,000 Tamil civilians – former UN official

[TamilNet, Friday, 12 February 2010, 00:29 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s military massacred as many as 40,000 Tamil civilians in the final onslaught against the Liberation Tigers in 2009, according to a former United Nations official with detailed knowledge of events, press reports said. The former United Nations’ spokesperson in Sri Lanka, Gordon Weiss, has resigned from the UN after 14 years and returned home to Australia, where he was interviewed by ABC News. “He’s now free to speak openly about the situation in Sri Lanka, for the first time and does so candidly and unflinchingly,” the media agency said.

Gordon Weiss, former UN spokesperson
Gordon Weiss, former UN spokesperson
“About 300,000 civilians, plus the Tamil Tiger forces, were trapped in an area of territory about the size of Central Park in New York,” says Weiss.

“They were within range of all the armaments that were being used, small and large, being used to smash the Tamil Tiger lines … the end result was that many thousands lost their lives.”

Gordon Weiss says his information comes from reliable sources who had a presence inside the battle zone, not Tamil civilians or fighters.

"The Sri Lankan government said many things which were either intentionally misleading, or were lies", Weiss told ABC’s reporter Eric Campbell.

Weiss says that after the war ended, a senior civil servant openly admitted that the authorities had deliberately underestimated the number of trapped civilians “as a ploy to allow the government to get on with its business.”

Soon after Sri Lanka’s declared victory over the LTTE in May 2009, the British newspaper, The Times, concluded an extensive investigation into the last days of the offensive and confirmed that up to 20,000 Tamil civilians were slaughtered.

Pointing out that not only the United Nations but several Western governments knew of the ongoing slaughter of Tamil civilians by the Sri Lanka Army, but kept silent for fear of upsetting the Colombo Government, The Times also demanded international action to prevent further atrocities.

“Such a monstrous collusion in covering up an atrocity must not go unchallenged. If the UN Human Rights Council refuses to investigate what has happened, the West must do so forthwith,” the paper said in an editorial.

“The silence of those who were warned of civilian deaths in Sri Lanka is shameful. They must speak out now to prevent future atrocities,” the editorial charged.


Chronology:


Related Articles:
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External Links:
NYT: Sri Lanka Disputes Report of 20,000 Dead
Times: The hidden massacre: Sri Lanka’s final offensive against Tamil Tiger
ABC: Hell or High Water
Times: UN chief knew Tamil civilian toll had reached 20,000
SMH: Attack killed 20,000 Tamils: UN

 

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