Rajapaksa exacerbates tension between Tamils, Sinhalese: US Republican

[TamilNet, Thursday, 22 December 2011, 12:04 GMT]
Instead of pursuing genuine reconciliation, which is essential for the country's long-term stability, Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa continues to exacerbate tensions in his country, particularly those between Tamils and Sinhalese, New York Republican Rep. Michael Grimm told Roll Call Newspaper online Wednesday. “A prime and alarming example of this is the attempts by Rajapaksa's regime to whitewash horrible actions by the government in the final stages of Sri Lanka's civil war, where 10,000 to 40,000 ethnic Tamils were slaughtered by government forces made up almost entirely of ethnic Sinhalese,” said the former FBI agent and U.S. Marine.

“[The US] Congress must not stand idly by as the Sri Lankan government continues to carry out policies that could stir up long-standing tensions and lead to another large-scale civil war,” he further said adding that only a handful of countries, including China and Pakistan, are backing Sri Lanka's calls for asylum from international intervention, which is deeply concerning considering each nation's own record on human rights abuses.

“Not only is an independent international investigation the right thing to do for the people of Sri Lanka, but it is the right policy for the U.S. as we continue to work to spread freedom and democracy throughout the globe,” the Republican who represents Staten Island told the paper.

“As a Representative serving in the greatest democracy in the world, I feel Congress must not stand idly by as the Sri Lankan government continues to carry out policies that could stir up long-standing tensions and lead to another large-scale civil war,” Michael Grimm further said.

“Failure by the United States and international community to act sends the message that leading democratic bodies are unwilling to consistently protect and promote fundamental human rights and the core tenets of democracy.”

On the LLRC, he said:

“The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, established by the government to investigate these final months, was given no mandate to bring anyone to trial or hold anyone accountable for their actions. Although the government has actively pursued accountability outside of the LLRC for members of the LTTE, it fails to hold itself to the same standard.

“In addition to its flaws in composition and mandate, the LLRC has moved at a suspiciously slow pace in conducting its investigation and putting together its report. The LLRC was granted two six-month extensions by President Rajapaksa prior to his receipt of the report on Nov. 20, and no timetable has been set for the report's publication. This could very well be because an inadequate report would spur more calls for international intervention, and a viable report would not serve the interest of the president and his family because they have so much to lose should the truth be brought to light.”

External Links:
RollCall: Grimm: Sri Lankan Government Risks Squandering Hard-Won Opportunity


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