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US urges Sri Lanka to boost Tamil police
14 Sep, 2011 15:52:57
September 14, 2011 (AFP) - The United States on Wednesday urged Sri Lanka to deploy more minority Tamils to police the island's former northern conflict zone to help "heal the wounds of war".
Tamils in the formerly embattled region feel intimidated by the presence of predominantly Sinhalese-speaking government forces and police, US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake said at the end of a three-day official visit.

"It is important to deploy Tamil police in the north so that the military no longer needs to perform these functions," Blake told reporters in Colombo.

"Having Tamil police is good to improve community policing. It raises the level of trust," added Blake, who earlier served as an ambassador to Sri Lanka.

Blake also called on the government to disarm Tamil-speaking paramilitary groups which supported the Sinhalese majority during the conflict and since its end have allegedly been terrorising the local Tamil population.

During meetings with President Mahinda Rajapakse and other senior government officials, Blake said it was important to address Tamil grievances which led to the 37-year conflict with the Tamil Tiger rebels.

Sri Lanka's military forces defeated the Tamil Tiger separatist rebels in May 2009 after decades of warfare but relations between the country's Sinhalese majority and Tamil-speaking minority remain deeply strained.

Though a lot of post-conflict rebuilding work is in progress, Blake said a great deal needs to be done "to heal the wounds of war and ensure a democratic and prosperous Sri Lanka".

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READER COMMENT(S)
5. Mahisha Sep 16
@JB: Agree with you.
Else, those employed in the North ought to be fluent in Tamil.

And at those who want to compare "our" situation against those other countries (such as Podda and US Citizen) - please remember that all situations are unique, and deserves unique redress. And yes, I am a Sinhalese; but first, a Sri Lankan.

4. TC Sep 16
JB I totally agree with you. Public services should be run by the people in that community, otherwise those people will always feel like outsiders.

Sinhalese people have to stop listening to the extremist Sinhalese views, who have ideas like those of Hitler.

We should welcome out tamil brothers and sisters and try to build the identity as "Sri Lankan", not tamil, sinhalese and muslims etc.. So I totally agree with Blake in this instance, police, municipality hospitals should recruite people locally from the local tamil communities.

3. JB Sep 15
America has a lot of black police. Miami police chief is hispanic even now I think - where hispanics are about 20%.

In the north a lot of police were earlier Tamil. That is the natural order of things. After all why not? Even now lot of medical officers in the north and east are Tamil.

All this reversed during the war.

We need to get out this racist Sinhalese mentality and accept that Tamils are Sri Lankans and take extra effort to make the country a normal place.

2. US Citizen Sep 14
Why do these idiotic US diplomats need to say stupid things all the time and demonstrate their lack of intelligence? Who the hell does Blake think he is? There is a Sinhala saying not to mooo just because you are a cow.
1. Podda Sep 14
Mr. Blake, I think you should have recruited Chinese Police in your China Towns in USA. Also you need to have Tamil Police in States where there are a lot of Tamils in USA. Moreover, you got to have a Singhalese Police in NY where a lot of Singhalese are living... A real good suggestion. Please start walking your talk and we would follow your footsteps.