The Globe & Mail: Tamils await their peace dividend
For Tamils, the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war has brought no peace dividend; for Tamil women, peace has brought with it a continuation – and in some cases an intensification – of violence and insecurity. In the country’s predominantly Tamil-speaking north and east – a region half the size of Nova Scotia – tens of thousands of “war widows” have been living under the control of the central government and Sinhalese security forces since 2009 and the end of the civil war, whose last few months saw as many as 40,000 civilians killed. There has been an alarming increase in gender-based violence, including domestic violence, within the Tamil community, as well as forced prostitution and trafficking. All of this is against a backdrop of credible evidence of wartime sexual violence by government forces, including video footage showing soldiers making sexual comments while handling dead, naked bodies of female suspected Tamil Tiger fighters, some with their hands bound. At the UN Human Rights Council session opening late next month, there is a chance to finally ensure accountability and to address the current state of insecurity; Sri Lanka and the international community, including Canada, should take it.