Six years have passed since Sri Lankan forces ended their 26-year war with separatist Tamil Tigers. But is the nation any closer to achieving reconciliation and justice for victims of conflict? Rights groups say the country’s lack of accountability in addressing wartime abuses has led to a post-conflict environment where violations are still happening.
Between 1972 and 2009, at least 100,000 people were killed in conflicts between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and Sri Lankan military. In 1983, clashes between the two groups escalated into war following a period known as Black July. The Tamil fight for a state independent of Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese majority fueled a war that lasted nearly three decades.
Both sides have been criticised for committing abuses. The Tamil Tigers used suicide bombings, human shields and child soldiers while Sri Lankan military forces were accused of deliberately targeting no-fire zones.
Many Sri Lankans who were reported missing during the war have still not been accounted for. Human rights activists also say torture and enforced disappearances are still being used by government forces against Tamils to intimidate and discourage dissent.