CSIS discusses civil war in Sri Lanka

June 23, 2010, 4:11 p.m.

While the civil war in Sri Lanka ended with the defeat of the Tamil Tigers, policymakers and scholars have been unsure of the feasibility of rapid reconciliation. In a Center for Strategic and International Studies report, Uttara Dukkipati and former Ambassador to Sri Lanka Teresita Schaffer, trace and analyze the recent election cycle and efforts to normalize life in the South Asian nation. From the report.

"There is still a lot of work to do. In the United States and in Europe, reports of atrocities committed during the war have raised the question of whether there should be an international investigation of the LTTE and the Sri Lankan forces for possible war crimes. The Sri Lankan government has sharply rejected any international investigation, arguing that this is the job of the Reconciliation Commission. Removal of remaining emergency regulations and ending the harassment of the press and of the opposition in Sri Lanka will go a long way toward restoring Sri Lanka’s relations with its friends in Europe and North America. These same measures and the current economic development efforts will ease some of the frustrations within Sri Lanka. But the roots of Sri Lanka’s civil war lay in the marginalization of the Tamil community, which created a divided polity even before the LTTE and terrorism turned it into a bitter civil war. Sri Lanka has created a moment of hope. It still needs to take advantage of it."

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