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SRI LANKA – Does the government want to turn a new page?

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sri_lanka_campaign.jpgThe Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today declared
the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE): "We have totally
liberated the country from Tamil Tiger terrorism. Now we have established our
rule in the entire country".

Speaking partly in Tamil, the President said at that the war was not
against the Tamil people. "The Sri Lankan government may have declared a
military victory. It has completely lost the trust and confidence of the Tamils
in Sri Lanka. Our struggle will continue until the aspirations of our people
are realised". On 18 May the President Rajapaksa spoke with the British Prime
Minister Gordon Brown over the phone, assuring that Sri Lanka will allow the
access of the United Nations and other international agencies to the internally
displaced people of Sri Lanka.

In the meantime the international community has continued to
address the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. It has been reported that the UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will visit Sri Lanka on 22 May. The UN
humanitarian affairs chief has expressed concerns over the doctors in Sri
Lanka, labeled as propagandists of the LTTE by the government. The Physician
for Human Rights (PHR) issued a statement calling for the release of three Sri
Lankan doctors detained by the Sri Lankan army on 16 May.

"This is an opportunity for Sri Lanka to turn the page on
its past and build a Sri Lanka rooted in democracy, tolerance and respect for
human rights", said US State Department spokesperson, Ian Kelly, on 18 May. While the
European Union seeks independent inquiry into human rights violations in the
country, the Sri Lankan government accused other countries for attacking
Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Many people protested in front of the British High
Commission in the capital Colombo on 18 May, throwing rocks and flinging a
burning effigy of British Foreign Secretary David Miliband over the gates. They
expressed anger on Miliband for saying this conflict was like a "hell".

On another side of the world, outside the British parliament
in UK, the Tamil and their supporters protested over the defeat of LTTE. According
to the British police, over 2,000 people demonstrated in central London calling
for a ceasefire and help for the civilians. The protest was peaceful and no
arrests were made, although they had blocked a road.