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Monday, August 23, 2010 - 09.10 GMT

Negligence of Tamil language a root cause of the conflict Manel Abeysekera


The main underlying cause was our neglect of the Tamil language and our failure to use it as an official language without any documents, court procedure, communications and even road signs in Tamil was tantamount to undermining of Tamil human rights which caused the aggravation of the conflict and the widening of the chasm between officialdom and the main minority, Tamil, Ms. Manel Abeysekera said.

Making representation before the Commission of Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Centre for Strategies Studies today, Sri Lanka's first woman career diplomat said the 30-year conflict is a one launched against terrorism not against any ethnic group.

"I do strongly feel no ethnic group has the right to delimit any area of our country for themselves and that whole of it belongs to all of us citizens of Sri Lanka - the ethnic mix in the country in the South is a telling example of this", she said.

She said: "I also feel that it is our neglect of Tamil sensitivity that finally led the Tamil youth to take up arms to try to achieve a separate state. Since the LTTE was Tamil and its protagonist the military was by and large Sinhala, it is not surprising that the conflict appeared as an ethnic one".

She said that at this point of time it is imperative that we waste no time in moving towards creating strong and lasting elements for inter-ethnic amity as a firm reconciliation.

"I strongly feel that it is imperative to do as much as possible as soon as possible, but also as tactfully and carefully as possible as reconciliation is a fragile sensitive thing which must be attempted in good faith by the parties involved."

Asked about the post-conflict challenges faced by the Sri Lankan diplomats abroad in countering negative aspects of propaganda against the country, the former diplomat said there should be a very clear policy line from top to bottom and they all should speak in one voice.

"Everyone involved should be in a position to say X is X and Y is Y."





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Last modified: August 24, 2010.

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