Renewed fighting between Sri Lankan government forces and the insurgent Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or Tamil Tigers, has reportedly taken more than one-hundred lives since the beginning of this year. Sri Lankan authorities say most of those killed were Tamil insurgents.
The Sri Lankan government announced earlier this month that it was terminating the 2002 cease-fire agreement brokered by the Norwegian government. “Ending the cease-fire agreement will make it more difficult to achieve a lasting, peaceful solution to Sri Lanka’s conflict,” U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a written statement.
Twenty-five years of conflict between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger separatists have cost the lives of some seventy-thousand people in Sri Lanka. Thousands have died in the past year alone most of which were civlians. Hundreds of thousands have been made homeless, or lack essential infrastructure such as clean water, electric power, and roads. And the human rights situation remains grim.
According to the U.S. State Department, human rights violations in Sri Lanka include “unlawful killings by government agents, high profile killings by unknown perpetrators, politically motivated killings by paramilitary forces associated with the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.” The Tamil Tigers carry out political murders and suicide attacks and subject Sri Lankan citizens to such abuses as torture and the forcible recruitment of child soldiers.
In a written statement, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said “all parties to the conflict share the responsibility to protect the rights of all of Sri Lanka’s people.” The U.S., he said, urges all parties to the conflict to “work toward the goal of a just, political solution that ensures the rights of minority communities and benefits all Sri Lankans.”