In May 2010, it has been a year since the Sri Lankan government declared victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), in a conflict where massive violations were committed by both sides.
The scale and nature of atrocities escalated in the last stages of the military assault between January and May 2009. Witnesses say, many thousands of civilians died, caught between the warring parties.
The Sri Lankan government’s armed forces and the LTTE completely disregarded protecting civilians through their appalling military actions. This is a blatant violation of international humanitarian law that prohibits indiscriminate or targeted attacks on civilians and hostage taking.
UN silence unacceptable
But where is the outrage? Why is the UN Security Council (UNSC) silent?
Countries like Russia and China have argued that there was no threat to international peace and security since the conflict was contained within Sri Lanka’s borders. But such gross violations of international humanitarian law impact us all if countries are allowed to get away with it. Today, it is Sri Lanka. Tomorrow, it could be another country and then another.
UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-Moon, tried to discuss the situation with the Sri Lankan President directly. But his actions to ensure accountability in Sri Lanka as elsewhere remain weak and fall short of pushing for an international inquiry that is so clearly needed.
The survivors of the conflict have no closure.
It is only international pressure in the form of a UN mandated independent investigation that will ensure that states like Sri Lanka are not allowed to hide from the crimes they commit inside their borders.