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How the UN failed Tamil civilians in 2009

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Today, May 18, 2019, marks one decade since the armed conflict in Sri Lanka came to a brutal end. As we remember the victims of the war, it is important not to forget that those who were responsible for protecting them - the international community and institutions - failed miserably and their failure continues to cause more suffering today in Sri Lanka and elsewhere.

In particular, the United Nations - the institution tasked with maintaining "international peace and security" - not only did not make a real effort to save Tamil civilians from the carnage that unfolded in the months leading up to the end of the war, but to this day is unable to secure the implementation of a proper mechanism of accountability for the mass atrocities committed during the armed conflict.

The UN's failure to act along with the lack of political will in the international community to take action has given the government of Sri Lanka free rein and allowed it flaunt post-war obligations to ensure justice and reconciliation.

Prior to the final stage of the war, the Sri Lankan government compelled international humanitarian organisations, the UN included, to leave the war zone. Then it took the opportunity of the absence of international oversight to launch a merciless campaign against Tamil civilians.

The government started reporting civilian population estimates far below the actual number in order to limit the entry of humanitarian aid. It restricted humanitarian deliveries in various ways and would fail to ensure secure passage for humanitarian convoys. Thousands of civilians were reported to have died due to inadequate medical care and lack of food.

In addition to limiting humanitarian aid........

© Al Jazeera