Ilankai Tamil Sangam

23rd Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Message Not Clear!

In short, was the Sri Lanka government given a pass in the last year to kill its own citizens in the name of irradication of terrorism? From a layman's perspective, the answer is: yes.

Mr. Richard Boucher’s recent visit to Jaffna, Sri Lanka is a good start to make some progress and changes in the US Policy and to understand the ethnic genocide in Sri Lanka. The earlier lack of commitment by the US policy-makers to understand the depth of the Sri Lankan ethnic cleansing from the stand-point of victims was an oversight. Understanding and correcting such oversight, even at this late stage, would be a starting point to make the future US policies work more effectively in this part of the region. First, let’s all acknowledge some fundamental shortcomings that the US policy-makers have confronted in the past.

Mr. Richard Boucher joined the Sri Lanka Co-Chairs a long time ago, yet he has not made any valid initiatives to discover the minority Tamil perspective; thus, he has not met the elected law-makers of the minority community, nor visited the Tamil ancestral land to find first-hand the suffering endured…up until now.

Why so late? Is it likely that overlooking such shortcomings acted as a catalyst in the killing of more than 2,000 Tamils in the last one year by the government soldiers and its paramilitary proxies? During the same one-year period, the speeches and gestures made by the US ambassador, Mr. Blake, contradicted the recent findings by Mr. Boucher of the deterioration of human rights that has continued to haunt not only Sri Lanka, but also the entire international community.

In short, was the Sri Lanka government given a pass in the last year to kill its own citizens in the name of irradication of terrorism? From a layman's perspective, the answer is: yes. If the current trend continues, as the past, one can expect that more of the same will continue by the Sri Lanka government if a drastic message is not delivered by the US policymakers.

For starters, let’s take a closer look at Mr. Richard Boucher’s current status report regarding his findings after his latest trip to Sri Lanka. His recent fact-finding mission came to the following conclusions:

According to him,

    1) "There's a deterioration of human rights on the island.”
    2) “There are two aspects that concern us most: one is abductions and killings, and the second is freedom of the press.”
    3) “There's a responsibility not just to deal with the behavior of people in government employment, in official circles, in the security forces, but also to have government get control of the paramilitaries so the people can live more safely.”

The above has been happening regardless of the earlier assurance by the Sri Lanka government to US policy-makers. So the time has come to call a spade a spade.

Based on the current observations by Mr. Boucher, the following facts can be derived:

    1) Sri Lanka is a failed state that has continuously failed to protect its own citizens.
    2) The Sri Lanka foreign aid program has done little or nothing to alleviate the problems of the minority Tamils.
    3) Paramilitaries and/or government forces are behind the current escapade of killings.
    4) The government continually ignored such killings and allowed them to continue.

Under current facts, US policymakers may consider the following:

    1) Revoking all financial aid to Sri Lanka.
    2) Declaring Sri Lanka a failed state.
    3) Revoking all military assistance to Sri Lanka.

Anything short of this would be slap-on-the-wrist for the current Sri Lanka government. Revisiting the findings of Mr. Boucher will only reflect the failed policies of the US in the contest against Sri Lankan ethnic cleansing.