A Marred Victory and a Defeat Pregnant with Foreboding

“I do not know which is apt, whether to laugh or to cry. The [expatriate] society weeping that ‘he is gone’ spares no thought for those whom ‘he’ devastated. Wounds will heal, scars will remain. How many of us oppressed in heart and mutilated by a myriad scars must yet get on with life? Those not directly affected would go on as before. Bearers of weapons of war cannot discern the feelings of those injured by them. Our future could look bright only if we possess that divine quality of forgiveness.” – A mother’s lament


This report covers key issues arising from the recently concluded war. It begins by examining current political prospects, and then moves on to a sketch of the last two months of the war primarily from the standpoint of civilians. While being frank about the LTTE’s cynical use of civilians, the report raises questions about the Government’s relentless move to crush the LTTE leadership while placing the civilians it held hostage at unacceptable risk. It examines humanitarian and human rights issues, the detention of the doctors who served with courage in the No-Fire-Zone, questions about the fate of the injured left behind and moral questions arising from the action against the LTTE leadership and the fate of Prabhakaran’s family. The report closes with a warning, noting the danger posed by the present government behaving increasingly like a replica of the LTTE, and makes some recommendations that UTHR(J) believes would be profitable at this juncture. The report and its recommendations emphasize two aspects in particular: the need for urgent measures to address the concerns of the recently displaced living in camps and to secure accountability of the state to ensure the due rights of its citizens.

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