No civil war is without innocent victims, but the 30-year civil war in Sri Lanka was especially brutal toward Tamil civilians as the war came to a close in May 2009. As Alex Singer reports at Minority Rights Group International, during the last five months of that struggle between the Sri Lankan state and the pro-independence Tamil nation, 40,000 lost their lives. Yet, three years on, little international attention has been paid to this slaughter, and no one has been held accountable.
In a country where the majority of journalists and human rights activists have been silenced by force or by threats, getting at the truth is not easy. As the families of victims seek to come to terms with their trauma, the government’s insistence that there were zero civilian casualties has allowed political and military officials to avoid any responsibility.
As Singer observes, given the Sri Lankan Government’s ban on foreign media and control of the reconciliation commission, the war may have ended, but peace remains tenuous.