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17 U.S. Senators Urge Secretary Clinton to Call for Independent International Investigation into Sri Lankan War Atrocities

Published On Friday, December 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.

As President Obama remarked in his statement on the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka: "Going forward, Sri Lanka must seek a peace that is secure and lasting, and grounded in respect for all of its citizens." TAPI and the seventeen senators who signed the letter all firmly believe a necessary first step towards sustainable peace is gaining a true understanding of the serious crimes that were committed during the conflict.

The Sri Lankan Government's Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, consisting of some the same people suspected of committing war crimes, falls well short of standards of transparency set out by US Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice. Because of concerns regarding weaknesses in the Commission, international organizations such as Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group, and Amnesty International have all called for international investigations into alleged abuses committed during the conflict in Sri Lanka. Purported crimes include the intentional bombings of civilians, humanitarian organizations, and hospitals; extrajudicial killings; the internment and abuse of unarmed civilians and former combatants; the killing of captives or combatants seeking to surrender; and individual disappearances.

“We are extremely grateful that 17 senators support a strong push for an independent investigation that will be free from manipulation and distortion,” said TAPI spokesperson Dr. Karunyan Arulanantham. “These senators understand that such an open and honest investigation is necessary for building lasting peace and meaningful reconciliation in Sri Lanka.”

About TAPI
The Tamil American Peace Initiative was formed by a group of Tamil Americans to help bring lasting peace, justice, democracy, good governance and economic development to Sri Lanka; to focus attention on the destruction of Tamil communities and culture caused by almost three decades of war; and to demand an end to the continuing oppression of Tamils on the island.

Contact T. Kopper at info@tamilamerican.org, or +1.202.879.9384 for additional information or to arrange an interview with Dr.Karunyan Arulanantham.
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