Editorial: Justice is Security

“It is the responsibility of the global Tamil community living beyond Sri Lanka's murderous reach to do everything it can to contribute to, and support, international efforts to bring President Rajapakse and the rest of the leadership to justice. “This is both our right and our obligation. Most importantly, this campaign is not only about the past, but the future : it is only in this way that we can ensure the chilling horrors being unearthed by global rights activists are not visited again and again on the Tamils.” See our new editorial, ‘Justice is Security’, here . See also discussion of...

Best bit?

Which was the high point of Indian External Affairs minister S. M. Krishna’s visit to Sri Lanka in late November?

Channel 4 special report on Sri Lanka war crimes

New investigations by Channel 4 and Human Rights Watch link the Sri Lanka Army's (SLA) 53 Division to war crimes recorded by a soldier on his mobile phone. "This horrific new evidence demonstrates graphically that the Sri Lankan army engaged in summary executions of prisoners during the final days of fighting in May 2009," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "The government's failure to investigate these serious war crimes in the face of overwhelming evidence shows the need for an independent, international investigation ." Meanwhile, Amnesty International Asia-Pacific...

Diatribe against the Diaspora

“The President came to UK and returned back to Sri Lanka, happy as a lark. Now what happened to these … Tamil Tiger Terrorist Lawyers?” “Your nudity is apparent, spineless shameless Britishers!” Not unexpectedly, President Mahinda Rajapakse’s disinvitation from speaking at the Oxford Union last week amid mass protests and new evidence of war crimes, has fuelled the Sri Lankan establishment’s hostility towards both the Tamil Diaspora and the UK. However, the invective-laden opinion published Monday on Sri Lankan government websites is striking. Accompanied on one by a disclaimer, the article...

Gap between UK’s rhetoric and action

Amid the furor that enveloped President Mahinda Rajapakse’s visit to Britain last week, a Foreign Office statement on Sri Lanka’s war crimes went largely unremarked, if not unnoticed. T he position it sets out suggests that, while no longer legitimizing Sri Lanka’s ongoing sham commission, Britain is still not putting its weight behind a proper investigation into war crimes.

Amid the noise, a telling silence

How does a citizenry respond when their president, his family (also the core of their government), their opposition leader and leaders of their armed forces stand accused of committing war crimes against their fellow citizens and there is damning evidence to substantiate the claim? Anger, disgust, embarrassment? Maybe even a protest? Or a complete absence of comment…

Ignore the bluster, Sri Lanka craves international acceptance

Sri Lanka’s defiance of international criticism over the past two years has been interpreted by some as proof of the lack of international leverage over Colombo’s conduct. Nothing could be further from the truth. President Mahinda Rajapakse’s disastrous visit to Britain last week clearly reveals that even as his government haughtily rejects criticism, it also craves acceptance. For all its bluster, the regime desperately seeks international respectability.

The contradiction

“Sri Lanka has employed a British PR firm to improve its reputation, [but] the one act that could surely do this – permitting a credible, international inquiry into war crimes – is something [President Mahinda] Rajapakse consistently, vehemently and unacceptably refuses to do.” In an editorial last Thursday, The Times newspaper argued: “ Sri Lanka cannot improve its damaged reputation until it accepts that it deserves it. ”

India’s troubles in Sri Lanka

China’s increasing influence in Sri Lanka is seen by some Indian and western security analysts as a threat to India's national interests. Given the proximity and location of Sri Lanka, activities on the island by hostile states, they say, is detrimental to India’s national security. However it is missing the point to see China as the ‘problem’ here; it is Sri Lanka’s conduct that should worry India. If Sri Lanka was not to entertain powers hostile to India, then neither China, Pakistan nor any other state can pose a threat via the island.

Too close for British comfort

On Wednesday we highlighted British Defence Secretary Liam Fox’s links with President Mahinda Rajapakse's government, and the minister's insistence on meeting the Sri Lankan leader this week despite the growing chorus of demands he be investigated for war crimes. It seems the much-publicised, yet supposedly 'private', meeting has also made the British government uncomfortable: The Times newspaper reported Thursday that Dr. Fox has been warned by Foreign Office officials.