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Underlying factors behind Sri Lanka’s history of violence remain unaddressed - PEARL

People For Equality and Relief in Sri Lanka (PEARL) condemned Western governments for failing to act on Sri Lanka’s “empty commitments and meaningless platitudes" and reiterated the need for an international justice mechanism, expressing solidarity with Tamils across the globe commemorate Tamil Genocide Day.

“To expect justice to come from domestic mechanisms under these conditions is at best naïve. The Sri Lankan state will not even allow the survivors to commemorate atrocity victims freely, let alone provide accountability for their deaths. But the Tamil people remember, and resist. Nine years after the most calamitous day in Eelam Tamil history, the nation’s resilience is nothing short of remarkable. PEARL stands with the Tamil nation today, in remembrance of what we lost," PEARL said in a statement released from Washington. 

“Today, Sri Lanka has largely rehabilitated itself in the international arena, despite a failure to acknowledge or punish the atrocities committed by the security forces. Meanwhile, the state has treated the victim-survivor community with disdain. Families of the disappeared have protested for over a year, waiting for the government to fulfil basic promises. Many of the families at the protests saw their loved ones taken into custody by state forces in May 2009. Yet the state continues to deny the evidence of their eyes, insisting that these accounts are untrue. While an Office of Missing Persons has now been established, the time it took for it to be operationalized, the resistance in the south to mere conversations about involvement of Sinhala “war heroes” in atrocities, and the complete failure of the state to build confidence in this office amongst Tamils, do not bode well for its work.” 

Stressing the failure of Sri Lanka to historically tackle Sinhala Buddhist nationalism, PEARL said,

“The Sri Lankan state runs on Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism. This is evident in its failure to honor its commitments to the Tamil community and it is evident in its anemic response to the recent attacks on the Muslim community. Any expectation that the recent violence would trigger critical introspection on Sinhala-Buddhist supremacism and racism amongst the Sinhalese population was misplaced. The underlying factors that have driven Sri Lanka’s history of violence remain unaddressed.”

See full statement here.