Tamil American Peace Initiative Responds to Sec. Blake’s Trip to Sri Lanka.

Published On Thursday, July 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.

TAPI is concerned, however, that in his effort to persuade the Sri Lankan government to accept the UN panel, Secretary Blake emphasized its lack of investigatory jurisdiction. Additionally, he claimed that the panel was formed only to support the Sri Lankan Government’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission – an assertion that could undercut the United Nation’s authority and weaken the growing momentum for international investigations.

"Blake's comments could signal a lack of resolve, when in fact the international community has demonstrated full support for an international investigation into war crimes and human rights abuses," said TAPI spokesperson Dr. Karunyan Arulanantham. "In addition to the UN advisory panel, dozens of international human rights group have called for investigations; the EU has rescinded Sri Lanka's trade preferences because of human rights abuses; Japan has pledged full support for the UN panel; and the US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, has expressed approval for investigations."

TAPI maintains that the US should support the UN Panel as a precursor to a robust international investigation into war crimes and human rights abuses and should not simply aid the Sri Lankan Government's Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. The Sri Lankan government has previously formed nine ad-hoc commissions to investigate similar abuses, and not one has resulted in a prosecution or accountability. Additionally, the Sri Lankan Government has made clear that this new commission will not investigate war crimes, and its proceedings will not be public.

TAPI is appreciative of Secretary Blake’s continued engagement with Sri Lanka. Yet the group believes that the Secretary and the US Government must take a stronger stance and explicitly push for thorough international investigations that will air abuses and prosecute those responsible. "If the US is serious about its commitment to lasting peace in Sri Lanka, it must support an international investigation into war crimes," said. Dr. Arulanantham. "Reconciliation is difficult without a full airing of the truth. Stability, peace and reconciliation depend on it."
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 30 years of war; and to demand an end to the continuing oppression of Tamils on the island.

Contact L. Kaufman at, or +1.202.448.5238 for additional information or to arrange an interview with Dr.Karunyan Arulanantham.
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