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     Home > Justice and Peace >  2013-12-06 15:51:40
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Catholics, Tamil activists view S. Lanka civil war census with suspicion



December 06, 2013 - For a group of Catholic priests and Tamil activists in Sri Lanka, President Mahinda Rajapaksa's decision to conduct a survey of the number of people injured, disabled, and missing since 1983 up to May 2009 is a "reaction to pressure from the international community" that "will not [however] give true answers to the victims of Sri Lanka's civil war". Launched on 28 November, the investigation is set to last six months. Some 16,000 officials are expected to fan out across the island to collect data about the conflict's final toll. The government only decided to carry out the census following allegations of war crimes made during the recent meeting of Commonwealth leaders. However, President Rajapaksa continues to back the idea that "no civilians" died during the fighting. According to Oblate of Mary Immaculate priest, Fr Oswald Firth those involved in the nation-wide survey are not credible because they belong to government bodies. “No government would want to kick into its own goal," said the priest, a former director of Caritas Sri Lanka, the charity arm of the nation’s Catholic Church. Another priest, Fr Terrence Fernando lamented the country is a land of murders, as executions and kidnappings are taking place even today. “I do not think this investigation will bring any comfort to the families of the victims," he said. According to Suren Surendiran, spokesman for the Global Tamil Forum, Rajapaksa is the same man, who claimed at the end of the war that there were zero civilian casualty when in fact more than 100,000 have probably died at the hands of the military of which he is the chief. (Source: AsiaNews)




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