Boston Globe advocates "Self-rule in a confederal structure for Tamil region"

[TamilNet, Monday, 17 March 2008, 10:01 GMT]
Pointing to Sri Lanka's documented pattern of "abductions of civilians by security forces," and Rajapakse Government's complicity in "large scale disappearances," Boston Globe in an editorial Monday said: "[t]he bottom line is Sri Lanka's conflict is political, and it must be resolved by political means. A lasting solution will require that the central government grant meaningful self-rule to the Tamil region, perhaps in a confederal structure that maintains the unity of the country. Continuing attempts to resolve the conflict militarily can only produce more suffering and more war."

Quotes from Boston Globe's Past editorials
Full text of the editorial follows:

Sri Lanka's recurring fever

ALL TOO many regions of the contemporary world are afflicted with recurring outbreaks of warfare between nation-states and ethnic or sectarian minorities. One of the worst has been festering for the past quarter-century in Sri Lanka, where 70,000 people have perished in intermittent fighting between a government dominated by a Sinhalese Buddhist majority and minority Tamils, who are mostly Hindu.

Over the past two years, that war flared up worse than ever. In January, Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, disavowed a 2002 cease-fire that Norwegian mediators had negotiated between the government and the armed group known as Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Cease-fire monitors from several Nordic countries were then called home. The monitors had been sidelined for the past year while the army assaulted the predominantly Tamil eastern and northern provinces and the Tigers responded with attacks on army forces in the north and east as well as bombings in the capital, Colombo.

The government, under pressure from Sinhalese hard-liners, has opted to end the conflict by winning the war. Political and military leaders speak of crushing the Tigers by the end of the year. They insist the Tigers are nothing but terrorists and that once their funding from abroad is cut off, the army will solve the conflict over Tamil minority rights by wiping out the Tigers.

The reality is not so simple. A recent Human Rights Watch report shows how Rajapaksa's government has committed grave human rights abuses. In its 241-page report, "Recurring Nightmare: State Responsibility for 'Disappearances' and Abductions in Sri Lanka," the human rights group documents a pattern of abductions of civilians by security forces. The report calls on the government to acknowledge its "responsibility for large-scale disappearances and take all steps necessary to stop the practice."

Human Rights Watch also calls on the Tigers to "cease abductions and extrajudicial executions." Still, it is hard to deny that the government's human rights violations deprive it of the ethical high ground.

Asian powers China and India, competing for influence in Sri Lanka, do not help its government by withholding criticism. At bottom, Sri Lanka's conflict is political, and it must be resolved by political means. A lasting solution will require that the central government grant meaningful self-rule to the Tamil region, perhaps in a confederal structure that maintains the unity of the country. Continuing attempts to resolve the conflict militarily can only produce more suffering and more war.


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22.10.06   US should support "confederal Sri Lanka"- Boston Globe
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04.12.05   Recognize Tamil need for Self-Government- Boston Globe


External Links:
BG: Sri Lanka's recurring fever

 

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