US urges Sri Lanka to boost Tamil police

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.

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