Sri Lanka asked to go for political end to strifeJuly 25th, 2008 - 6:51 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) A Sri Lankan activists body Friday called for a political solution to the dragging ethnic conflict that has claimed around 70,000 lives since 1983. The Sri Lanka Democracy Forum (SLDF) said there never could be a military answer to the war between Colombo and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
“While the situation appears darker than ever before, we reiterate there is no military solution to the conflict and the need of the hour is to arrest impunity and find a just political solution that addresses the grievances and aspirations of all the communities in Sri Lanka,” SLDF said in a statement.
“We must espouse a political culture that eschews violence, pushes for de-militarization and works towards co-existence and democratization, by bringing together and re-energising the progressively minded individuals and organisations across all communities,” it said.
Referring to the 1983 anti-Tamil violence that triggered Tamil militancy, the SLDF said that Sri Lanka “is again mired in a horrendous war with the same attendant culture of impunity and rampant human rights abuses”.
“The little hope offered by mechanisms such as the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) and the Commission of Inquiry (COI) have disappeared following the government’s overt scuttling of the first and undermining the latter through executive interference.
“Both the government and the LTTE have shown absolute disregard to civilian life and the number of internally displaced people and civilian suffering have reached immense proportions.
“Inter-ethnic co-existence and pluralism have taken a serious toll. Communities have been polarised by a political culture of majoritarian hegemony creating new challenges for reconciliation.”
The group accused successive governments of failing “to use the memory of 1983 to bring about a change in our political culture and a process of reconciliation, or for that matter to create a national debate and dialogue to guarantee the safety and alleviate the fears of minorities”.
It also accused the LTTE of not showing any restraint in killing Sinhalese and Muslim civilians. “Militarization and a political culture of violence has decimated the Tamil polity and alienated the Tamil community from other communities.”
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