continue,furtherweakeninganalreadybattereddemocracy.The Tigers’ defeat will remain hollow unless thePresidentestablishesamoreinclusiveanddemocraticstate which shows genuine commitment to the rule of law andhumanrights.Sofar,histrackrecordisquestionable.
The presidential poll in January did not mark a departure from intimidation and violence. History repeated itself as Rajapakse won his second presidentialelection, in part because the minority Tamil community could not exercise its franchise without fear. InNovember 2005, the Tigers’ iron-fist forcibly preventedTamils from voting, an exercise that catapulted Rajapakseintopowerbyanarrowmargin.Months after the Tigers’ defeat, a large number of Tamils in northeast Sri Lanka could not vote in January because they were coerced to abstain, unable to register, orhadnotransporttoreachpollingstations.Elsewhere,statepower was brazenly abused and Rajapakse’s mainchallenger, Fonseka, was undermined and compared to the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. Defeated, he was putunder arrest, court martialed and his supporters have beenthreatenedandattacked.For many Tamils, a pressing concern is the resettlementof some seventy thousand refugees displaced in the finalstages of the war who have returned in recent months to the Tamil heartland of Jaffna. Many are still unable toreclaim their houses because they lie inside military bufferzones. There is little work and only a trickle of cash to lubricatethelocaleconomy.Humanitarian workers say that livelihood schemes, a staple of post-disaster planning, are missing in the north because authorities want to keep out prying eyes, amidinternational controversy over the camps for the displacedandthefateofreturnees.Tamilpoliticianshaveraisedfears that Tamil areas are being resettled with families from themajoritySinhalesecommunity.EquallytroublingforTamilsisthelackofanindependentinvestigation into alleged war crimes during the last phasesof the conflict. A handful of western countries, and Tamildiaspora groups, are pressing for some kind of accountability for thousands of civilian deaths. Sri Lanka isadamantitssoldiersdidnotviolateinternationallaw.The European Union has made clear that a credibleprocess to address alleged violations of internationalhumanitarian law by both sides during the conflict couldalso contribute to the reconciliation process. It hasdecided to suspend its $136 million annual tradepreferencesforSriLankangoodsinAugust.The United States State Department report on theconflict and the statement by Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial, Summary or ArbitraryExecutions,underlinetheneedforacredibleandindependentinvestigation.However, Sri Lanka’s willingness to turn to China,
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