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Suffering in Sri Lanka

[Telegraph, Thursday, 14 May 2009 19:31 One Comment]

The long agony of civilians trapped inside the inferno of Sri Lanka’s northern war zone may, at last, be easing. Some 2,000 are reported to have escaped this ruined enclave, ironically named a "no-fire zone", where a devastating bombardment has claimed hundreds of lives and struck the only working hospital in the last week alone.

 

If this terrible episode is drawing to a close, with the final defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels, that is wholeheartedly to be welcomed. The Tigers have cynically maximised human suffering by trapping innocent people inside the only territory still under their control.

 

Yet President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government cannot escape its share of responsibility. The Sri Lankan authorities offered repeated assurances that heavy artillery would not be used to bombard the "no-fire zone". Satellite imagery and eyewitness accounts presented by Human Rights Watch suggest this solemn promise has been broken. Hospitals and clinics have been hit on 32 occasions since the army’s offensive escalated in December. If these strikes were intentional, they could amount to crimes under humanitarian law. While the rebels have stopped civilians from fleeing the war zone, it beggars belief that the army could not have called a unilateral ceasefire to ease their escape.

 

Instead, Mr Rajapaksa has brazenly ignored outside concerns. There is a simple reason for his confidence: China has given Sri Lanka its full support. Until Wednesday night, it had managed to stop the Security Council from even discussing the crisis. China is building a port on Sri Lanka’s coast which could serve as a future Indian Ocean naval base. Once again, Chinese strategic interests seem to override all else. This affair is another blot on Beijing’s reputation.

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One Comment »

  • fdimul said:

    China should be condemned by international community for its stand on Srilanka.

    It is not only supplying weapons to srilanka for perpetuating the genocides in Srilanka but also seeing to it that the U.N. does not interfere to stop it.

    China should be removed from the U.N. membership and some other country which has concern on human sufferings should be made a member of U.N.

    India too is out of purview to be recommended for U.N. member. India is a silent partner for the genocides.

    The irony is both India and China are enemies but they have joined hands in helping a terrorist government Srilanka in its genocides. Both Governments in order to have a good name in the books of Srilanka are competing themselves in helping Srilanka by supplying weapons. India is also doing the heinious act of sending Indian army which is actively taking part in the war and genocides for which it has to be prosecuted.