Europe gets it wrong on Sri Lanka: N. Ram

June 2nd, 2009 - 6:56 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 2 (IANS) An Indian newspaper editor has faulted European countries for their reaction to the Sri Lankan army’s defeat of Tamil Tiger guerrillas, saying they have been wrong to equate the actions of a banned terrorist outfit with “the responses of a legitimate government”.
Although international concern at the unfolding humanitarian crisis was “justifiable”, said N. Ram, editor of The Hindu, “in my opinion, the international - and especially west European - response has got it wrong on two counts.

“There has been a tendency to mechanically balance responsibility for the crisis, and therefore to equate the desperate, last-ditch actions of an extremist organisation - banned or designated as terrorist by some 30 countries including India - with the responses of a legitimate government.

“Second, justice has not been done to (President) Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government for its astonishing feat of rescuing by military means close to 275,000 civilians who were, in the view of the whole world, confined by the Tigers for use as a human shield,” Ram wrote in an article published in The Guardian newspaper Tuesday.

The Indian editor’s comments come after India, China and Russia last month helped defeat an attempt by European countries at the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to criticise both the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for human rights violations during the civil war.

Ram said the Sri Lankan government had turned conventional wisdom on its head to find “a military solution to what used to be regarded as an intractable secessionist and terrorist challenge”.

Tigers supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran’s “war of ‘national liberation’ for a separate, Pol Pot-ist state of Tamil Eelam,” Ram said, is over.

The Hindu editor said the Sri Lankan government was now faced with the challenge of dealing “humanely and justly” with 300,000 displaced Tamils, including those who had supported the LTTE willingly or under duress.

“The task of relief, de-mining, rehabilitation and reconciliation is daunting. The situation cries out for massive external assistance to Sri Lanka - but also for an approach that looks sympathetically ahead instead of obsessively going over what went wrong,” he added.

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