Oakland, CA — On August 27, 2021, the Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement on the progress made by the government of Sri Lanka on peace and reconciliation in advance of the forthcoming UN Human Rights Council session.
We found it necessary to respond to the statement and shared the findings of the Oakland Institute’s research to the office of Michele Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Since 2014 we have monitored land occupation, militarization, and resettlement in the North and East of Sri Lanka.
Findings from our March 2021 report, Endless War: The Destroyed Land, Life, and Identity of the Tamil People in Sri Lanka, challenge figures released by the Sri Lankan government regarding the amount of land released by the military under its continuing occupation, as well as the resettlement of IDPs. The government does not mention in its statement new land acquisition activities that are currently underway, conducted through different departments.
Detailed in our March 2021 report, these and numerous other facts demonstrate that the government’s activities align with the characteristics of an ethnocratic state aiming to eradicate the history and culture of the Tamil people and maintain the supremacy of the Sinhalese nation across Sri Lanka. Activities to create this ethnocratic state have gained momentum since the Rajapaksa regime took office in 2019, thereby creating a situation that is detrimental to the country’s stability, reconciliation, human rights, and peace.
The Oakland Institute’s response to the August 27, 2021 statement of the Sri Lankan government on the progress made on peace and reconciliation.