THE LEGACY OF SRI LANKA'S CIVIL WAR; Congressional Record Vol. 159, No. 69
(Extensions of Remarks - May 16, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E681]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                  THE LEGACY OF SRI LANKA'S CIVIL WAR

                                 ______
                                 

                          HON. DAVID E. PRICE

                           of north carolina

                    in the house of representatives

                         Thursday, May 16, 2013

  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Mr. Speaker, four years ago this week, 
the Sri Lankan military declared victory over the Liberation Tigers of 
Tamil Eelam (LTTE) after more than 25 years of conflict. Thus ended one 
of the most devastating civil wars of the century, offering hope of a 
brighter future for the Sri Lankan people characterized by peace, 
reconciliation, and economic prosperity.
  Unfortunately, four years later this brighter future remains elusive 
for much of Sri Lanka's population. The Sri Lankan military's final 
offensive against the LTTE left hundreds of thousands of civilians--
most of them Tamils--in a situation of forced relocation, humanitarian 
disaster, and precarious political rights. We have also learned that 
the government likely committed serious abuses during the fighting 
itself, leading to the death, torture, or disappearance of tens of 
thousands of Tamil civilians. A recent report by Human Rights Watch 
sheds a startling light on these abuses, documenting widespread and 
potentially systematic incidences of rape, torture, and sexual assault 
of Tamil detainees by Sri Lankan forces.
  Since the end of the conflict, the Sri Lankan government has 
blatantly and repeatedly defied the demands of the international 
community and commonly accepted norms of justice and human rights by 
failing to reintegrate large numbers of Tamil citizens in a timely 
manner, denying access by journalists and humanitarian organizations to 
conflict-affected areas, and detaining former combatants indefinitely 
without access to legal recourse. The government has also persistently 
rejected calls by a growing number of governments, international 
bodies, and human rights organizations for an independent investigation 
into potential war crimes. If the government truly has nothing to hide, 
why resist even this basic measure of accountability?
  On this anniversary of the end of the 2009 conflict, I call on the 
government of Sri Lanka to act expeditiously to reintegrate Tamil 
civilians into their communities, provide ex-combatants with 
appropriate legal recourse and a path toward reintegration, and open 
its doors to a truly independent international investigation. I also 
call on our own government to redouble its efforts to pursue 
accountability for atrocities committed by all sides of this tragic 
conflict. In the meantime, I urge Congress to expand current conditions 
on aid to the Sri Lankan government to cover all forms of military 
assistance.
  It is past time for the international community to finally bring an 
end to this dark chapter in Sri Lanka's history so that the Sri Lankan 
people can realize the future they so badly deserve.

                          ____________________