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Sri Lanka and state terrorism


Sri Lanka and state terrorism

Main cities in Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan state has been accused of state terrorism against the Tamil minority as well as the Sinhalese majority.[1][2][3][4] The Sri Lankan government and the Sri Lankan Armed Forces have been charged with massacres, indiscriminate shelling and bombing, extrajudicial killings, rape, torture, disappearance, arbitrary detention, forced displacement and economic blockade.[1][5][6][7] According to Amnesty International state terror was institutionalized into Sri Lanka's laws, government and society.[5]


  • History 1
    • 20th century 1.1
      • Marxist insurrection 1.1.1
      • Civil war 1.1.2
    • 21st century 1.2
  • Specific allegations 2
    • Murder of children 2.1
    • Inaction/aid to Tamil Peoples Liberation Tigers' Recruitment of children 2.2
    • Torture and rape 2.3
    • Interference with news media 2.4
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7


20th century

Sri Lanka gained independence from Britain in 1948 as the Dominion of Ceylon, although the British Royal Navy retained a base there until 1956. In 1972, the country became a republic, adopting the name Sri Lanka. Since this time, the country has experienced two major conflicts – a civil war and a Marxist uprising.

Marxist insurrection

From 1985 to 1989, Sri Lanka responded to violent insurrection with equal violence against the Sinhalese majority as part of the counter insurgency measures against the uprising by the Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) party.[8] In order to subdue those supporting the JVP uprising, a wide range of acts of cruelty were recorded as having been carried out by the state, including the torture and mass murder of school children.[9][10] This repression peaked among the Sinhala population during 1989–90.[11]

Civil war


  • Lanka's Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished

External links

Further reading


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Gananath Obeyesekere, Narratives of the self: Chevalier Peter Dillon's Fijian cannibal adventures, in Barbara Creed, Jeanette Hoorn, Body Taade: captivity, cannibalism and colonialism in the Pacific, Routledge, 2001, p. 100. ISBN 0-415-93884-8. "The 'time of dread' was roughly 1985-89, when ethnic Sinhala youth took over vast areas of the country and practiced enormous atrocities; they were only eliminated by equally dreadful state terrorism." Gananath Obeyesekere
  9. ^ a b Ishtiaq Ahmed, State, Nation, and Ethnicity in Contemporary South Asia, Continuum International Publishing Group, 1996, p. 55. ISBN 1-85567-578-1.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Tambiah, Sri Lanka: Ethnic Fratricide and the Dismantling of Democracy, p 116. Stanley Jeyaraja Tambiah
  13. ^ a b Hattotuwa, From violence to peace: Terrorism and Human Rights in Sri Lanka, pp 11–13
  14. ^ Danieli, Yael, Brom, D and Sills, Joe. The trauma of terrorism: sharing knowledge and shared care, p 216
  15. ^
  16. ^ ACHR, Sri Lanka: Disappearances and the Collapse of the Police System,ACHR, pp 34–42
  17. ^ Rupesinghe, Ethnic Conflict in South Asia: The Case of Sri Lanka and the Indian Peace-Keeping Force (IPKF), pp.337
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ W. A. Wiswa Warnapala, L. Dias Hewagama, Recent Politics in Sri Lanka: The Presidential Election and the Referendum, Navrang (Original from the University of Michigan), 1983, p. 29. ASIN: B000II886W.
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ a b
  24. ^ University Teachers for Human Rights , UTHR, October 28, 2001.
  25. ^
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  27. ^ a b
  28. ^ Quotation by Brad Adams, Asia Director.
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  30. ^
  31. ^ [1]
  32. ^
  33. ^ [ Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch said, "The government is fully aware of the abductions but allows them to happen because it's eager for an ally against the Tamil Tigers". The Human Rights Watch further added that it would be impossible to transport abducted children without the complicity of the Sri Lankan Army].
  34. ^
  35. ^ David Jeyaraj, a prominent Sri Lankan journalist from Canada
  36. ^
  37. ^ Danieli, Yael. The Trauma of Terrorism, p 216.
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^ Gota is behind this draconian gazette
  41. ^
  42. ^


See also

[42], as a symptom of anti-democratic controls over the media.Indian news Some activists have drawn attention to the lack of coverage of the displacement of Tamils in late 2008, particularly people being relocated to welfare villages in India, covered by [41] The

Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has charged the government of Sri Lanka with turning the country into a junta: "This junta has control over the economy, business activities and defense. They have unleashed corruption and terror on the country." He has claimed that an attack on the Sunday Leader newspaper, an independent English weekly, could not have occurred without the knowledge of the Sri Lankan Defense Ministry since the offices were located in a High Security Zone, neighboring a military air force base, a defense academy and a military camp .[39][40]

Interference with news media

The International Federation of Tamils, a pro-LTTE consortium of Tamil groups,[34] has alleged that the systematic use of torture and rape by Sri Lankan forces has amounted to state terrorism.[23] The torture, rape and murder of a family during the Vankalai massacre has been described as an act of state terrorism.[35] Human Rights groups have condemned this massacre and demanded an independent investigation.[36] In the book Trauma of Terrorism by Yael Danieli, the Sri Lankan state is viewed as having been the most guilty in the use of terror; the author claims that state terrorism became institutionalized into the very structure of society and mechanism of governance.[37] Hillary Clinton has been quoted linking Sri Lanka with the use of rape as a tactic of war, to which some have responded unjust to "rope in" Sri Lanka's name to countries like the Congo and Burma.[38]

Torture and rape

Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch has said, "The government is fully aware of the abductions but allows them to happen because it's eager for an ally against the Tamil Tigers". The Human Rights Watch further added that it would be impossible to transport abducted children without the complicity of the Sri Lankan Army.[33] TMVP has allegedly been used as a paramilitary force by the Sri Lankan army, from the time the group split from the LTTE in 2004.

According to the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court identifies "conscripting or enlisting children under the age of fifteen years into armed forces or groups or using them to participate actively in hostilities" as a war crime. The agency has accused the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP), a LTTE breakaway group and government-backed paramilitary group, of recruiting children, describing it as "state terror" and has appealed to the international community to refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court for investigation into the violations of the Rome Statute.[27]

Inaction/aid to Tamil Peoples Liberation Tigers' Recruitment of children

When referring to the 2006 Trincomalee massacre, of 20-year-old [31] students, and subsequent intimidation of witnesses and the perceived lack of investigative vigor, the local human rights group UTHR termed it an act of state terror.[32]

Murder of children

Specific allegations

The ACHR has also stated that following the collapse of the Geneva talks of February 2006, the government of Sri Lanka perpetrated a campaign of state terrorism by targeting alleged LTTE sympathizers and Tamil civilians.[27] A spokesman for Human Rights Watch was of the opinion that: "The Sri Lankan government has apparently given its security forces a green light to use dirty war tactics."[28] International intervention in Sri Lanka was requested by Tamil sources to protect civilians from state terror.[29][30]

Following the collapse of peace talks in 2006, human rights agencies such as the Asian Center of Human Rights (ACHR), the University Teachers for Human Rights (UTHR), and pro-LTTE political parties such as the Tamil National Alliance, claimed that the government of Sri Lanka had unleashed state terrorism as part of its counter insurgency measures against the rebel LTTE movement.[23][24][25] The Sri Lankan government responded by claiming that these allegations by the LTTE were an attempt by the LTTE to justify their own acts of terrorism.[26]

21st century

Hong Kong and associated with the United Nations, which has also claimed that there was widespread terrorism by the state during this period.[22]

Assaults on Tamils for ethnic reasons have been alleged,[9] and the experience of state terrorism by the people of Jaffna has been alleged to have been instrumental in persuading the United National Party to increase their hostilities there.[20]

[19] in 1976.S.J.V. Chelvanayagam an idea first articulated by [18][17][13] in the north of the country,Tamil Eelam This had originally prompted the demand for a separate state for minority Tamils called [16]

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