"Sri Lanka, stop" says Le Monde
[TamilNet, Friday, 11 September 2009, 11:44 GMT]
"After winning the war, the Sri Lankan regime is in the process of losing the peace. Following the historic, but bloody and distasteful victory, against the armed struggle of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa could be magnanimous and reach out to the Tamil minority and open the way for national reconciliation. But Rajapakse has chosen another path, the path of domination...Under the tents of the refugee camps tomorrow's Tigers may already be rising to mount a future rebellion," warned France's popular daily, Le Monde in Thursday editorial.
Excerpts from the translated editorial follows:
More than three months after the end of the war, some 280 000 Tamil refugees are kept as prisoners behind of barbed wire, unhealthy and overcrowded camps.
Official reasons for the delay are that the Government is screening the civilians to identify combatants and to protect the village refugess from the mines planted by the LTTE.
These excuses are fanciful. The truth is, the Sri Lankan government seeks to control this population [Tamil refugees] and to silence the refugees who were witnesses to the horror of the last weeks of the conflict.
International assistance to camps will be forthcoming only if the Sri Lankan regime shows urgency in weeding out the suspects and release. For proof, Sri Lanka did not hesitate to remove and torture two local staff of the United Nations.
NGOs and UN must confront an existential question: did they help a population in distress or are they complicit in a large-scale incarceration? This question has become increasingly complex as the rainy season approaches, which could sow chaos inside the camps. Already in the month of August, rain has washed away the tents of thousands of refugees, and hundreds of families are inconvenienced and agitating inside the camps.
Instead of making peace, President Rajapaksa and his brother Gotabhaya, Secretary of Defense, are exhibiting vengeance: they have declared the war against the civil society.
In recent weeks, a renowned Tamil journalist was sentenced to twenty years in prison; a human rights activist has received death threats; a video seemingly showing Sri Lankan soldiers executing naked men convinced the UN to consider investigation.
The Sri Lankan Government is in a position of strength. It has developed dependent friendships with with the least recommendable regimes on the planet and has had to deal with minor retaliatory measures on the part of the Western powers.
The LTTE and its local supporters are destroyed. But, under the tents of the refugee camps, tomorrow's Tigers may already be rising to mount a future rebellion.