Posts Categorized: Military

The Empty Findings of Sri Lanka’s Military Court of Inquiry

by Yasmin Sooka, ‘GroundViews.org,’ Colombo, April 11, 2013 Image courtesy RNW   Colombo’s contempt for the international community seems to be increasing. The recent media release on the findings of the Military Court of Inquiry stretch credibility. While I have not had access to the full report and to the evidence presented to the Military Court… Read more »

‘Haunted by Her Yesterdays’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nSSv9Kk3tkI Haunted by her yesterdays This documentary tells a story of silent agony, trapped screams and repressed mourning. A story of women forced to deny their identity – who are trapped in between a government which sees them as “Tigers,” and a society whose norms they are no longer deemed worthy of. These women fought… Read more »

Militarization & Reconciliation

Is it possible to secure the dignity, rights and well-being of a conflict-affected population by incorporating them into a military juggernaut that has quickly grown to dominate all spheres of life?

Mullikulam: Restrictions Continue

The people also told us about how approximately 25 Navy families now live in their lands and that 33 houses have been repaired and occupied by the SLN, with more than 20 female Navy personnel having taken up residence within the former hospital building. Furthermore, of the two school buildings, only one has still been released for the 35 students from Mullikulam to study in. The remaining building is still being utilized to conduct Civil Engineering classes for the SLN.

The Truth Unravelling

The Rajapaksa government enjoys the support of the Sinhalese population when it comes to withstanding war-related international pressure. But when Gossip9 posted the photo feature of Balachandran’s death, around 30 percent of the comments were against the cold-blooded killing of the young boy. Usually, comments on war-related stories are anti-LTTE and full of praise for military action. The innocence of the young boy seems to have made the difference.

The Final Atrocity

It appears the Sri Lankan government did not want to take senior leaders of the Tamil Tigers prisoner, especially those who were well connected and spoke English. Their detention and any legal proceedings would be subject to international scrutiny for a long time to come. This was a risk as they were witness to multiple war crimes – the deliberate bombing of hospitals, food queues and civilian safe zones by government forces. And there was the chance that alive these men could lead Sri Lankan Tamils in another chapter of their struggle. The victors wanted a definitive end to the conflict. But in their haste they violated one of the most basic norms of war. Without respect for the white flag there’s no way to protect civilians and those who decide to stop fighting.

Why Balachandran Had to Die

In executing Balachandran, the Sinhala military was also annihilating the Tamils’ struggle and affirming to itself its complete dominance over the Tamil people. The Sri Lankan military’s abuses cannot be seen as individualised violations. Rather they are part of the state’s collective targeting of the Tamil population…

[The international community] must also understand and recognise the symbolic, targeted and collective nature of Sri Lanka’s crimes.

Revisiting the Horror in Sri Lanka

Letter from India NEW DELHI — In the series of photographs shot in 2009, the bare-chested boy is first shown seated on a bench watching something outside the frame. Then he is seen having a snack. In the third image he is lying on the ground with bullet holes in his chest. The photographs, which… Read more »

Interaction Transition Case Study

Sri Lanka: Transitioning from a Humanitarian Crisis to a Human Rights Crisis InterAction Transition Case Study – Sri Lanka – January 2013 Sri Lanka is recovering from a devastating 26-year civil war, which ended in May 2009 with the military defeat of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by the government of Sri… Read more »

Last Hours of Prabhakaran’s Son

Sri Lanka has always insisted it did what it could to ensure no civilians were killed during its operation against the LTTE. Yet a team appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon found that up to 40,000 civilians may have been killed. The team said there were credible allegations both sides committed war crimes.

‘Civilian Areas Not Shelled’

Holding on to the war-time catchphrases “Humanitarian Operation” and “Zero Civilian Casualty” — which have been disputed by independent observers, the United Nations and other credible institutions — the Court insisted that “commanders at all times obeyed… the directives from the higher headquarters with regard to No Fire Zones (NFZs) and even when the LTTE terrorists had fired from NFZs, commanders refrained from firing at such NFZs.”

Broken Dreams: The Truth about SL

The government’s talk about a military drawdown lacks merit, especially in the Northern Province. “We are living under military occupation,” notes one community member living near Jaffna. Even though several checkpoints have been removed, a large number of them have been converted into shops – such as grocery stores and cafés – that are run by the military. The ubiquity of military personnel does not leave people feeling safer; ordinary citizens feel more vulnerable and the country’s continued militarization has contributed to a host of widespread social problems including alcohol abuse, sexual violence and rape.

TCHR Arbitrary Arrest/Detention January – June 2008

TAMIL CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS – TCHR 9, rue des Peupliers, 95140 Garges les Gonnese – FRANCE – Tel/Fax : 33 – 1 – 42 67 54 36 Documented cases of ARBITRARY ARRESTS/DETENTION – January 2008 – June 2008 (actual arrests higher than documented by TCHR)   http://www.tchr.net/cp_sum_jan2008-june2008.htm   No. Date Full Name Sex Age… Read more »

Ini Avan: Hauntingly Beautiful But…

Ini Avan, Asoka Handagama’s latest film, in Tamil, has won international cinematic acclaim. And it is easy to see why. The film has interesting characters who within their confined destinies take some unpredictable turns and moves at a compelling and deliberate pace through carefully designed frames with strong aesthetic appeal that are also revisited, like recurring… Read more »

An Eerie Silence Takes Over

Ground zero is Kotkai, which sits amid barren saffron and chocolate colored hillsides above a snaking river cutting through South Waziristan. The town was one of the first targets of the 2009 strike and now is at the heart of the military’s rehabilitation zone…

But the government has given little to help individuals rebuild homes that were damaged or destroyed during the offensive…

Some residents of South Waziristan remain wary of their own military, which is sometimes seen as the heavy hand of the nation’s dominant Punjab class used against the country’s Pashtun population, a large ethnic group from which the Taliban draws most of its fighters.

[Sound familiar? Editor]

The Story of the People of Kepapilavu

by ‘The Sunday Times,’ Colombo, January 6, 2013 The life and times of the people of Kepapilavu should make for a study in endless suffering. After witnessing the war at its cruellest, experiencing multiple displacements and spending the longest interval of time confined in Menik Farm, one would expect that life can hardly get any… Read more »

Resettled

Many of those displaced during the war are now gradually being resettled at their original residences by the Vanni  security forces headquarters. Residents are pictured acclimatizing themselves to their old abodes and environment after a lapse of several years. Pix by Romesh Madushanka

Do Less Harm

Nonetheless, in modern warfare, the need to protect civilians is in constant tension with the desire to destroy the enemy. Getting that balance right has been a rocky process, with one mistake after another jolting U.S. policymakers into improving the way the military deals with civilian harm…

If American leaders abandon the war-fighting model they ultimately adopted in Afghanistan and Iraq, they may find it harder to counter a more brutal and cynical narrative about the best way to win a war — one that treats civilians as irrelevant.

In 2009, the Sri Lankan military cornered an estimated 5,000 or more Tamil Tiger insurgents on a narrow strip of land, alongside hundreds of thousands of uprooted civilians. By shelling the area indiscriminately and summarily executing the group’s escaping leaders, the government wiped out the insurgents — and killed tens of thousands of civilians in the process. Just like Russia’s brutal war in Chechnya during the first decade of this century, Sri Lanka’s campaign proved that if a government is willing to expel aid groups and journalists and employ indiscriminate force, it can defeat insurgents.

To make matters worse, Sri Lanka has been actively promoting its model abroad: since 1999, its leaders have been traveling to other countries facing domestic insurgencies, including Myanmar (also called Burma), Pakistan, and the Philippines, to share the lessons of their victory. They have staged annual defense seminars attended by military officers from across the world. Sri Lanka’s lethal counterinsurgency strategy requires having a strong stomach for civilian bloodshed and turning a blind eye to international criticism. But there are countries willing to go this route, because it can work. As one of the world’s leading exporters of military ethos, aid, and training, the United States can and should provide a counterweight.

Sri Lanka’s Genocidal War -’95 to ’01

“…Against partisans backed by the entire population, colonial armies are helpless. They have only one way of escaping from the harassment which demoralizes them …. This is to eliminate the civilian population. As it is the unity of a whole people that is containing the conventional army, the only anti-guerrilla strategy which will be effective is the destruction of that people, in other words, the civilians, women and children…” Jean Paul Sartre’s Statement ‘On Genocide’