When was the last time Sri Lanka was serious about peace with its Tamil minority?
Activists have accused the Sri Lankan military of manufacturing components for landmines while the government was involved in an internationally-sponsored ceasefire with Tamil rebels and receiving millions of pounds in aid for de-mining projects.
The Tamil activists claim to have obtained classified documents they say show the Sri Lankan military sought tenders from several suppliers in Colombo and bought parts to produce remote-control detonators for Claymore anti-personnel mines. The documents, which have been seen by The Independent but which cannot be independently verified, have been dismissed by the military as fake. According to experts, the use of Claymore mines detonated by remote control would not be in breach of the comprehensive Ottawa Treaty of 1997. However, the activists claim that given Sri Lanka has always denied it manufactured parts for anti-personnel mines, the purported revelations about the detonators demand investigation.
The Reverend SJ Emmanuel, president of the Global Tamil Forum (GTF), which said it obtained the documents from a senior Sri Lankan military source, asked that a panel established by the UN examines whether both the army and Tamil rebels manufactured mines. “How much more evidence do we have to produce for the international community to act upon?” he asked.
The documents date from summer 2006, when the Sri Lankan authorities were involved in a Norwegian-brokered ceasefire with the Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).