It is internationally known and acknowledged by the present government that there were atrocities committed in Sri Lanka on and off the battlefield by both sides fighting the civil war, including one sided atrocities that continued into the negative peace years after the war ended in 2009. In spite of misleading negative revelations about how the past regime violated international norms to crush the Tamil rebellion and win the war; it failed to shake the conscience of the international community. Though it was in the mind of the affected public during the war, particularly during the final days of the war and later during the negative peace years, they were helpless and were able to do nothing under the oppressive previous regime.
It was only the Tamil diaspora spread round the world, which was able to and boldly bring this to the notice of the international community, much to the dismay of the then rulers at home, because of their attempt to absolve itself before the world. There was a change of wind and a new regime took over to form the new government in 2015. Thereafter this matter was taken up at the UN Human Rights Council and now the new government has agreed to hold investigations. Furthermore investigations are expected to take place with foreign observers and international technical assistance as necessary. Reconciliation processes are underway and a new constitution is being drafted after consulting the people by the Constitution Assembly formed by the new government.
As a prerequisite to any investigations it will be in order for the President of Sri Lanka, as the head of state on behalf of the tri-forces and the Leader of the Opposition, as leader of TNA, who inherited the title as ‘sole representatives of the Tamils’ on behalf of the Tamil rebellion forces apologize and openly acknowledge to the people in all parts of the country and displaced overseas who all suffered as the result of this bitter confrontation that lasted over three decades. This will set the scene for a proper investigation and speed up the reconciliation processes, get rid of any suspicion and develop trust between the majority and the minority communities in all parts of the country and outside.
We had in 2004 then President Madam Chandrika Kumaratunge making a public apology on behave of the state to the affected Tamil people for the 1983 pogrom against the Tamils. Making apology is nothing new in world arena, in 1992 Japanese government did do to the people of Burma, China and South Korea for the atrocities melted out to the people of those countries during World War II, in 1995 the apology extended by Queen Elizabeth to the Maori people in New Zealand for the injustices suffered by those people whose lands were confiscated following a treaty signed by her predecessors and in 2009 apology by US President Barak Obama to native Americans are few examples.
Now it is up to the said two leaders to show the world of the teachings of Buddha. Buddhism maintains that it is not up to others to make us meditate or study. We are responsible for creating our own suffering, and it is solely up to us to create the circumstances for our release. It requires personal wisdom and commitment, the country and the whole world now awaits the leaders to deliver the apologies.