• WSJ: In Sri Lanka, Abuse, Torture, Rape Continue Says Report
    By Shanoor Seervai, Published On Thu Apr 3 2014

    Days before the United Nations voted recently to begin an inquiry into alleged war crimes committed during the Sri Lankan civil war that ended in 2009, a report was published containing allegations that systematic abuse, torture and sexual violence were taking place in the island nation as recently as February. Testimonies in the report from 40 witnesses, who were recently detained in Sri Lanka and have since fled the country, detail alleged abuse by government security forces between 2009 and 2014, with more than half the cases between 2013 and 2014.

  • Associated Press: UN Approves Inquiry Into Sri Lanka War Abuses
    By John Heilprin, Published On Thu Mar 27 2014

    GENEVA (AP) — The U.N.'s top human rights body launched an investigation Thursday into Sri Lanka's civil war, approving a U.S.-led resolution over the strong protests of Sri Lanka's government. The resolution approved by the U.N. Human Rights Council sets in motion a yearlong investigation that will examine "alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka." Members of the 47-nation Geneva-based council voted 23 to 12 in favor of the resolution, with 12 abstentions, following a heated two-day debate. The council also rejected a move to remove language calling on Sri Lanka to cooperate with the investigation.

  • NYT: Facing a War Crimes Inquiry, Sri Lanka Continues to Vex the U.N.
    By Somini Sengupta, Published On Wed Mar 26 2014

    UNITED NATIONS — What to do with Sri Lanka? The island nation, triumphant after nearly three decades of war against ethnic separatists, has vexed the United Nations. Five years after the war’s brutal ending, the world body has been unable to address grave human rights violations committed by the warring parties, making Sri Lanka something of an object lesson in the difficulties of pursuing accountability. The United Nations’ own conduct during the war led to a change in doctrine: The secretary general late last year ordered United Nations officials not to stay silent in the face of rights violations, as they had in Sri Lanka in 2009.

  • NYT: Dispute on Sri Lanka War Crimes Escalates
    By Gardiner Harris and Dharisha Bastians, Published On Sun Mar 23 2014

    NEW DELHI — About 100 government supporters marched to the American Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka, last week and smashed coconuts on the embassy’s doorstep in a Hindu ritual meant to curse an enemy. “We will not let them take our president to the electric chair!” the protesters shouted. The next day, thousands of miles away, Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the State Department, performed a ritual of her own by releasing a statement that condemned Sri Lanka’s recent arrests of human rights activists.

  • UN council steps in where Sri Lanka has failed to act
    By Donald Camp, Published On Tue Mar 18 2014

    After five years of stalling by the government, it is time for an international investigation to do what Colombo has been unwilling to do.

  • NYT: 3 Activists Held in Sri Lanka, Raising Fears of Crackdown
    By Gardiner Harris and Dharisha Bastians, Published On Mon Mar 17 2014

    NEW DELHI — Fears of a broad crackdown against rights activists in Sri Lanka have been heightened after the Sri Lankan police recently arrested two prominent human rights advocates and a woman who has made a public campaign of finding her missing son. The arrests took place just as the United Nations Human Rights Council considers starting an inquiry into possible war crimes committed by government forces and separatists during Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war.

  • NYT: Let the U.N. Unmask the Criminals of Sri Lanka’s War
    By Louise Arbour, Published On Fri Feb 28 2014

    In early 2009, as many as 40,000 civilians were killed in the final days of Sri Lanka’s civil war, having been herded into an area about the size of Central Park and subjected to relentless shelling. No one has been held accountable for these crimes, and even now the government in Colombo remains intent on burying the past. Only an international commission of inquiry stands any chance of rectifying this omission.

  • New Inquiry on Sri Lanka Points to Possible War Crimes
    By The New York Times, Published On Tue Feb 4 2014

    Senior Sri Lankan government officials and military officers may bear criminal responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during an offensive near the end of the island’s civil war, according to a new investigation that backs calls for an international inquiry into those events.

  • NYT: U.S. Envoy to Visit Sri Lanka as Pressure Builds for War Crimes Inquiry
    By Gardiner Harris, Published On Thu Jan 30 2014

    NEW DELHI — A top State Department official is expected to arrive in Sri Lanka on Friday, just three days after the United States announced that it would again seek a resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council pressing for an investigation into allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka. Nisha Biswal, the assistant secretary of state for Central and South Asian affairs, is expected to meet with government officials, members of the opposition and others in Colombo, the capital. She is also expected to travel to Jaffna, a city in the heart of the Tamil-dominated Northern Province of Sri Lanka.

  • Channel 4: PM Cameron Threatens to Push For Independent War Crimes Inquiry
    Published On Sat Nov 16 2013

    Mr Cameron has been the most vocal critic of Sri Lanka's record on rights during a biannual summit of Commonwealth nations being held in the capital Colombo. The normally sedate event has been shaken by the intensifying row over atrocities during the final months of the war and ongoing abuses ever since. "Let me be very clear. If an investigation is not completed by March, then I will use our position on the UN Human Rights Council to work with the UN Human Rights Commission and call for a full credible and independent international inquiry," Mr Cameron told reporters.

  • NYT: Tamils Dominate Vote in Sri Lanka Province
    By Gardiner Harris, Published On Mon Oct 21 2013

    JAFFNA, Sri Lanka — Despite an apparent campaign of dirty tricks by its opponents and reported efforts at intimidation, the Tamil National Alliance won a sweeping victory on Sunday in the first provincial elections in 25 years in Sri Lanka’s war-torn north. With most of the votes counted by 5:30 a.m. Sunday, the Tamil alliance had won 78 percent of the vote in the Northern Province and was expected to win 30 of the 36 seats directly contested on the provincial council.

  • NYT: Amid Violence, Returning to Elections in Sri Lanka After a Void
    By Gardiner Harris, Published On Fri Sep 20 2013

    JAFFNA, Sri Lanka — The thugs first appeared around 11:20 on Thursday night, a dozen or so men lurking outside her house. Two wore army uniforms. Ananthi Sasitharan — a Tamil candidate in the first provincial elections to be held in 25 years in the former insurgent stronghold here — said she had woken up her three daughters and prepared for the worst. She called a few friends, who soon appeared and persuaded her and her daughters to sneak out the back. It was a good thing they left.

  • BBC: UN's Navi Pillay Attacks Sri Lanka Human Rights Record
    Published On Sat Aug 31 2013

    UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay has sharply criticised the government of Sri Lanka, at the end of a week-long visit. In a statement, Ms Pillay said she feared the country was becoming increasingly authoritarian. Since the civil war ended four years ago, democracy had been undermined and the rule of law eroded, she added. Ms Pillay is the most senior UN official to visit the north since Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in 2009. She arrived in Sri Lanka last Sunday for a fact-finding mission after the government promised her access to former war zones. She told reporters then that her job was to ensure that the government was conforming to human rights standards agreed by all nations.

  • The Huffington Post: Sri Lanka: Forgetting to Remember
    By Dinouk Colombage, Published On Tue Jun 18 2013

    In the light of triumph the mistakes of the past are often thrown in to the shadows to be forgotten. For Sri Lanka this bodes true, as the government continues to bathe in the "glory" of its defeat of the LTTE back in 2009. Four years have passed since Sri Lanka's brutal and bloody civil war came to an aggressive end. At the time many rejoiced with the news, and expectations that after 26 years the country could reconcile. It now appears as though reconciliation is playing second fiddle to the growing political intrigue on all sides.

  • CNN op-ed: Time for U.S. pressure on Sri Lanka
    By Karunyan Arulanatham, Executive Director, TAPI, Published On Wed Jun 5 2013

    Because the government won’t pursue truth and reconciliation, the international community must. And the United States should take the lead on such an effort. As President Obama said on May 13, 2009 as the war neared its end, “Going forward, Sri Lanka must seek a peace that is secure and lasting, and grounded in respect for all of its citizens.”

  • Solemnly Marking the 4th Anniversary of the End of War in Sri Lanka on May 18
    Published On Sat May 18 2013

    “We remain gravely concerned about the situation on the ground in Sri Lanka for all ethnic and religious groups, particularly Tamils. As stated in a resolution passed by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in March, ongoing problems include ‘enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture, and violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, as well as intimidation of and reprisals against human rights defenders, members of civil society and journalists, threats to judicial independence and the rule of law, and discrimination on the basis of religion or belief.’”

  • The Washington Post: Sri Lanka's Squandered Opportunities
    By Editorial Board, Published On Mon Feb 18 2013

    ALMOST FOUR years ago, the Sri Lankan government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa won a decisive victory in a 26-year-long civil war with rebels from the island’s minority Tamil community. The cost was horrific: A United Nations investigation subsequently found that up to 40,000 civilians may have died in the government's final offensive. But the triumph made Mr. Rajapaksa a hero among the majority Sinhalese community and gave him an opportunity to modernize his country while healing its ethnic rift.

  • TAPi Co-sponsors A discussion with Waging Peace director Rebecca Tinsley at Berkeley
    Published On Mon Jan 21 2013

    The Failure to Protect: Why the International Community Allows Genocide to Keep Happening

    A discussion with Waging Peace director
    Rebecca Tinsley

    Wednesday, January 23, 2013
    12:45 p.m. at Boalt Hall, Rm. 141, UC Berkeley

  • Video of the Berkeley Panel discussion is now available
    Published On Mon Nov 19 2012

    Tamil American Peace Initiative ( TAPI ) joined the screening of the documentary Silenced Voices at Berkeley, CA on November 14th.

    A trailer of the film can be seen here
    Silenced Voices

    A panel discussion followed the screening of the documentary.

    It was moderated by Ellis Cose, a renowned journalist and author of The End of Anger. And the panelists included Ms Beate Arnestad, Director of Silenced Voices, Dr. Karunyan Arulanantham, Executive Director of TAPI, and Mr. Bashana Abeyawardana, exiled journalist

  • Latimes on Sri Lanka: Tamils seek probe after U.N. faults itself in Sri Lanka war report
    Published On Thu Nov 15 2012

    November 15, 2012 NEW DELHI -- A major Tamil opposition party in Sri Lanka called Thursday for an international investigation after a U.N. report criticized the international body's own failure to protect civilians during the waning days of a brutal war in 2009.

    The moderate Tamil National Alliance said the report confirmed its longstanding belief that extensive killings and detentions of civilians took place, something the Sri Lankan government has denied.

  • The New York Times on Sri Lanka: Leaked Report on Sri Lanka Critical of U.N.
    Published On Wed Nov 14 2012

    November 13, 2012: An internal review of how the United Nations handled the bloody final months of Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2009, when as many as 40,000 civilians were killed, has concluded that the response was “a grave failure of the U.N.,” according to a leaked draft of the report.

  • BBC on Sri Lanka: UN admits it failed to protect civilians
    Published On Wed Nov 14 2012

    14 November 2012: A UN report on its failure to protect civilians in Sri Lanka's civil war will have "profound implications" for the global body, UN chief Ban Ki-moon says.

  • TAPI joins the screening of Silenced Voices at Berkeley
    Published On Sat Nov 10 2012

    Tamil American Peace Initiative joins the screening of the documentary, Silenced Voices, and the follow up panel discussion at Berkeley, CA.

    Silenced Voices, a documentary film by Beate Arnestad, is about freedom of speech and the price some are willing to pay for it. The film is told as a personal encounter with exiled Sri Lankan journalists who have been “silenced” and almost killed in their home country because they exposed war crimes, corruption and massacres of civilians.
    This documentary will be screened on Nov 14th at the North Gate Hall Library at the Graduate school of Journalism in Berkeley, California.

  • Screening of “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields” at the Capitol Visitors’ Center this Friday
    Published On Wed Jul 13 2011

    The Tamil American Peace Initiative commends Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, International Crisis Group, Open Society Foundations and the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for hosting an important screening of “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields,” – a documentary production by Britain’s Channel 4 – which sheds light on the atrocities committed against civilians during the final stages of Sri Lanka’s decades long civil war.

  • The New York Times on Sri Lanka: International Investigation Would Aid Post-War Reconciliation
    Published On Thu Jun 23 2011

    On Monday, June 20, David Miliband and Bernard Kouchner, former foreign ministers of Britain and France, wrote in The New York Times that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon should establish an independent, international mechanism to monitor Sri Lanka’s reconciliation efforts and conduct investigations into human rights violations that occurred during the end of the war.

  • State Department Reiterates Deep Concern For Accountability in Sri Lanka
    Published On Wed Jun 8 2011

    On June 3rd, Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner of the US Department of State issued a press statement calling for the Sri Lankan government (SLG) to “act quickly and credibly to address the violations” that allegedly occurred during the war’s final stages and “adopt the measures necessary to achieve national reconciliation and build a united, democratic, and peaceful Sri Lanka.”

  • LLRC Extension Request Spurs Need for Stronger US Stance on Sri Lankan Reconciliation
    Published On Fri May 13 2011

    Amid reports that the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) requested a second six month extension from President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI) calls upon the US government to strengthen its stance towards the inadequacies of the Sri Lankan government-appointed commission and work to create an international mechanism to inquire into events at the end of the civil war.

  • TAPI Pleased UN Panel Report was Published and that it Recommends Both Sides of the Sri Lankan Civil War be Investigated and Held Accountable
    Published On Wed Apr 27 2011

    On Monday, April 25th, a UN panel of experts issued a long-awaited report to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Sri Lankan government (SLG) detailing the panel’s findings and recommendations surrounding violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Based on credible reports, the panel puts the civilian death toll in the final months of fighting between 40,000 and 75,000. It is widely known that all the civilians in the conflict area were ethnic Tamils, and the staggering number of Tamil civilian casualties far exceeds the number killed in the Srebrenica massacre, according to the observation of Gordon Weiss, then UN spokesperson in Colombo during the conflict. The UN panel is comprised of three independent and highly respected international human rights attorneys, Marzuki Darusman of Indonesia, Yasmin Sooka of South Africa and Steven Ratner of the United States.

  • TAPI Welcomes Recommendations of the UN Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka
    Published On Fri Apr 15 2011

    The Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI) welcomes the recommendations laid out in the executive summary of the panel of experts report commissioned by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

  • Reinforcing Recent Comments by Sec. Blake, US Senate Passes Resolution Calling for Greater US Participation in Sri Lankan Peace Process
    Published On Fri Mar 4 2011

    On March 1st, Senate Resolution 84, sponsored by Senator Robert Casey (D-PA) and cosponsored by 11 other Senators, was passed unanimously by the Senate. The action came after nearly two years of repeated calls by human rights organizations for the US to step up its role in the unpromising Sri Lankan peace and accountability process. Tamil America Peace Initiative (TAPI) applauds the passage of this resolution and believes the momentum created this week towards higher US engagement in Sri Lanka is a critical step towards the establishment of a credible and lasting peace process.

  • AEI Forum Concludes United States Should Press Sri Lanka to Ensure Meaningful Reconciliation and Equal Rights
    Published On Fri Feb 18 2011

    On Friday, February 11, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) held a forum to discuss possible solutions for achieving meaningful reconciliation and lasting peace in Sri Lanka following decades of ethnic and internal conflict.

  • TAPI Sends Open Letter to UN Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka Seeking to Ensure the Panel’s Investigation is Given Adequate Time and Resources
    Published On Wed Jan 19 2011

    On January 14th, the Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI) sent an open letter to the UN Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka, a panel formed to advise Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on ensuring human rights and accountability in Sri Lanka. The letter asks the panel to urge Mr. Ban to ensure sufficient time is given for it to complete its review before advising Mr. Ban on how to proceed. The letter also implored the panel to ensure confidentiality for those individuals who made submissions about war crimes and crimes against humanity, while asking that the final report be made public so those responsible for committing atrocities are held accountable.

  • 31 US Representatives Continue to Pressure Secretary Clinton for Independent International Investigation into Sri Lankan War Atrocities
    Published On Thu Jan 6 2011

    On December 14th, 2010, 31 members of Congress sent a follow-up letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to call for an international investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed toward the end of Sri Lanka’s 25 year civil war. The Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI) continues to support such an important probe that would ensure an unbiased and transparent review of all atrocities committed during the conflict. TAPI commends the work of the letter’s sponsor, Representative Danny Davis (D-IL), and applauds his continued commitment to an international investigation.

  • 17 U.S. Senators Urge Secretary Clinton to Call for Independent International Investigation into Sri Lankan War Atrocities
    Published On Fri Dec 24 2010

    Seventeen U.S. Senators sent a letter on December 9th, 2010 urging Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to call for an international investigation into alleged war crimes committed during Sri Lanka’s 25 year civil war. The Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI) has long supported such a probe to ensure an unbiased and transparent review of all atrocities committed during the conflict. TAPI commends the work of the letter’s co-sponsors, Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Richard Burr (R-NC), and applauds the cosigners for supporting an international probe into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

  • Tamil American Peace Initiative Responds to Sec. Blake’s Trip to Sri Lanka.
    Published On Thu Jul 29 2010

    The Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI) commends US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake for urging the Sri Lankan government to make greater efforts towards reconciliation and democracy during his recent trip to Sri Lanka. TAPI is particularly gratified by the Secretary’s emphasis on the importance of accountability for war crimes and human rights violations committed during the civil war, and by his recommendation that the Sri Lankan government accept the UN war crimes advisory panel.

  • Huffington Post Op-Ed, Lessons of Srebrenica: How the 15th Anniversary of Srebrenica Can Guide Sri Lanka
    By Grace Williams, Published On Tue Jul 20 2010

    On the 15th anniversary of Srebrenica massacre, President Obama has led the way in reminding the world that the lessons of Srebrenica must continue to guide our moral compass. He has reminded us that "the name Srebrenica has since served as a stark reminder of the need for the world to respond resolutely in the face of evil." But more so, he has reminded us that after great atrocities, we still have a great duty to foster peace and reconciliation. No place can the duty to help pursue justice and build peace be greater than in a fractured Sri Lanka struggling to recover from war.

  • Tamil American Peace Initiative Condemns Minister-Lead Violence against UN Offices in Colombo.
    Published On Fri Jul 9 2010

    The Sri Lankan Government’s decision to lead violent protests against United Nations Development Program offices in Colombo should be of serious concern to the United States. In response to the UN’s creation of a panel to investigate human rights violations in Sri Lanka, hundreds of protesters were led by Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa to barricade the UN office with the employees inside. The protests represented such a danger for the humanitarian staff assigned to Sri Lanka that the UN has decided to close the office and recall its top representative.

  • Tamil American Peace Initiative Applauds the EU’s Push for Human Rights Protections in Sri Lanka.
    Published On Fri Jul 2 2010

    The Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI) commends the EU on its recent decision to rescind Sri Lanka’s preferential trade status unless the country pledges to improve its human rights record within six months. The EU is taking this measure to correct serious shortcomings in the protection of human rights in Sri Lanka uncovered by an in depth investigation.

  • Tamil American Peace Initiative Commends the UN for Sri Lanka Rights Abuse Panel.
    Published On Mon Jun 28 2010

    The Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI) applauds the UN for appointing a panel to advise on war crimes and human rights violations in Sri Lanka. After months of protest by the Sri Lankan government, the UN this week officially formed the panel, which will advise Sec. General Ban Ki Moon on accountability issues relating to alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka.

  • Tamil American Peace Initiative Responds to SL Foreign Minister’s US Visit and Calls for International Investigation into War Crimes.
    Published On Thu May 27 2010

    With the arrival of Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris in Washington this week, Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI) urged members of Congress and the Obama Administration to press the international community to pursue independent investigations into the alleged war crimes that occurred during Sri Lanka’s twenty-five year Civil War.

  • Tamil American Peace Initiative criticizes slow progress in Sri Lanka.
    Published On Thu May 13 2010

    As the first anniversary of the end of the War in Sri Lanka approaches on May 19, the Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI) said the occasion spotlights how little has been accomplished in the last year that contributes to a lasting peace. The group called on the international community to ramp up its efforts to bring development, aid and investment to the island, and to push the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to end its apathetic approach to reconciliation and pursue a robust agenda for change.

  • Tamil American Peace Initiative Responds to Sri Lanka’s Parliamentary Elections.
    Published On Thu Apr 15 2010

    Noting the disappointing results of the April 8th Parliamentary Elections in Sri Lanka, the Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI) called on the winning party, the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), to immediately start working towards reconciliation between all religious and ethnic groups on the Island.

  • Christian Science Monitor Op-Ed Sri Lanka elections: Will Tamil rights be upheld?
    By Karunyan Arulanantham, Published On Thu Apr 1 2010

    Last May, after more than a quarter century of civil war between government forces and Tamil separatists, a fragile peace came to Sri Lanka. Skip to next paragraph Related Stories Sri Lanka advances on rebel base Sri Lanka - All coverage Now, observers hope that parliamentary elections scheduled for April 8 can help unify the island nation. But if the government pursues the same discriminatory tactics it used for the presidential election in January, it will further alienate the island’s Tamil community and diminish hopes for peace.

  • Tamil American Peace Initiative Deplores the Detainment of Fonseka.
    Published On Wed Feb 10 2010

    The Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI), a group of Tamil Americans dedicated to peaceful change in Sri Lanka, condemned the arrest and detainment Monday of defeated presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka. The group called it an attack on democracy that diminishes the possibility of reconciliation on the island.

  • Tamil American Peace Initiative Urges the New Government to Represent All Citizens of Sri Lanka.
    Published On Mon Feb 1 2010

    The Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI), a group of Tamil Americans dedicated to peaceful change in Sri Lanka, called on Sri Lanka's newly reelected President Mahinda Rajapaksa to a forge a new path and create the conditions to repair the deep divide between the people of the island.

  • Tamil American Peace Initiative calls for all Sri Lankans to vote for peaceful change to address underlying issues of the war.
    Published On Fri Jan 22 2010

    The Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI), a group of Tamil Americans dedicated to peaceful change in Sri Lanka, said today that the Sri Lankan presidential election on January 26th will be instrumental in achieving a lasting peace on the island and addressing the underlying causes of the country’s 30-year war. The group called on all voters in Sri Lanka to vote for a new government that will focus on healing the country’s deep divisions.

  • Tamil American Peace Initiative calls for all Sri Lankans to vote for peaceful change.
    Published On Tue Jan 19 2010

    The Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI), a group of Tamil Americans dedicated to peaceful
    change in Sri Lanka, today called on all Sri Lankans to participate in the January 26th presidential

  • TAPI Calls for Action based on Department of State's Report on Sri Lanka.
    Published On Fri Jan 1 2010

    The Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI) welcomes the US Department of State's “Report to Congress on Incidents During the Recent Conflict in Sri Lanka,” released December 7, 2009. TAPI calls on the US Government to act on the report’s recommendations for increased US engagement as a necessary component of building peaceful, stable, and democratic Sri Lanka that represents the interests and defends the rights of all its citizens.

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