‘It’s hard to imagine a worse idea,’ said Human Rights Watch Media Director Andre Strehlein, commenting on Nigeria’s announcement to use the ‘Sri Lanka model’ to tackle issues faced with militants in Nigeria.
Extracts from his opinion piece reproduced below.
But, before opting for “the Sri-Lankan method” to deal with an insurgency, Nigeria would do well to examine what that actually means.
Sri Lanka's war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), particularly in its final stages in 2009, caused tremendous and unnecessary human suffering.
The military repeatedly and indiscriminately shelled the area, including a government-declared "no-fire zone" and hospitals trying to care for the sick and wounded.
In the last months of the conflict, as many as 40,000 civilians died, according to the United Nations Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts report. And since the defeat of the LTTE in May 2009, serious abuses against ethnic Tamils by the military, including systematic rape of suspected LTTE supporters, have continued to the present.
Those responsible for the numerous wartime abuses on both sides have yet to be investigated, let alone brought to justice. For years, Sri Lanka tried to block an international inquiry into alleged war crimes, but in March 2014 the UN Human Rights Council endorsed an investigation into Sri Lanka’s wartime atrocities.
Is this really the model Nigeria wants to follow?