Sri Lanka is trying to block efforts by the United Nations to investigate possible human rights abuses by the government in its war with the Tamil Tigers which ended last year. UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, however, says he will press on, and the International Crisis Group NGO is demanding an inquiry into suspected war crimes by both sides.
The ICG believes the Sri Lankan government may have killed tens of thousands of Tamil civilians. Ministers say it killed none at all, but in northern Tamil areas, people have been demonstrating to demand information about 12,000 who have disappeared. Some may be being held by the army.
The ICG’s head, Louise Arbour, says Sri Lanka’s tactics were based on allowing the army complete freedom to pursue scorched earth policies in rebel territories, making no distinction between combatants and non-combatants, and ignoring any international criticism.
Whatever the IGC’s qualms, some applaud, like Myanmar’s military dictator, Than Shwe. General Than rarely strays from the shores of the country he represses so relentlessly. But he did make a visit to Sri Lanka to see if there were any tips he might pick up. (See also my blogs of Feb 24 and May 11, 18 and 24, 2009.)