Diaspora Lanka Report : 28 September to 31 December 2013 – Part 3

2. Community advocacy

Diaspora Lanka is frequently asked to advocate on behalf of individuals, groups and organisations on a range of issues. We meet with the hierarchy, officers and staff of government, military, community and religious agencies and commissions to represent or support those who have a concern or grievance. Diaspora Lanka’s “there are no enemies” approach sees all parties as part of the solution.
3. Business development

lentil

Shanaka, Lentil as Anything, prepares for videoing

rice mill

Foundations of the rice mill being constructed

3.1 Rice to Riches: daily income for vulnerable women

This is a livelihood program through micro business development in Manthai West Division in Mannar District. It targets vulnerable women – both war widows and returned internally displaced persons (IDPs) – across three villages where relations between Catholics, Muslims and Hindus are strained. A milling operation (rice, rice flour, curry, chilli powders) will provide a daily income for women, helping them back on their feet.

project

Project committee members survey the progress

roof

Walls and roof completed

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The numbers game: counting civilian deaths in Sri Lanka’s war

Estimating the number of civilian deaths in the final stages of the war in Sri Lanka is proving problematic.

By Kath Noble

The generation-long war in Sri Lanka came to an end in May 2009, with the military defeat of the the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by government forces. Tamil diaspora groups claimed there had been genocide, but the dominant narrative was of a bloody but essentially fair fight, as captured in the congratulatory resolution passed in the UN Human Rights Council barely a week later.

Even the United States, which backed an alternative and more critical statement, privately felt the same way—a cable published by Wikileaks quotes its Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues as having said at around the same time, ‘The Army could have won the military battle faster with higher civilian casualties, yet chose a slower approach which led to a greater number of Sri Lankan military deaths.’

However, this near-consensus has gradually been eroded, and pressure is now mounting for an international investigation.

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