The FT reports that Sri Lanka has invited officials, from countries including the US and China, to a seminar in Colombo – to ‘showcase how the country’s strategy to defeat the Tamil Tigers offers a new model for defeating insurgencies.’

This disturbing event is due to be held at the end of May, particularly insensitive timing given the second anniversary of the bloody conclusion of the war in May 2009. The event crystalises fears of a ‘Sri Lanka’ model being adopted by other authoritative regimes, as described by Sri Lanka Campaign Chairman Edward Mortimer last month. This public teaching exercise shows that other countries are taking lessons from the Sri Lankan government.

Some of the countries reported to have confirmed attendance at the seminar are India, Pakistan and China. Britain, USA and some European countries are apparently considering attending. Quite why so many countries that have expressed concern at the situation in Sri Lanka are even considering attending this event is beyond belief.

The timing of the seminar is also unbelievable given the UN report just published. This report indicated the need for a war crimes investigation into, essentially, the same ‘strategies’ that will be showcased at this event. The brazenness of this timing is indicative of the arrogance the Sri Lanka government has displayed since the report was published, sweeping the report’s damning conclusions aside. A spokesperson for the Sri Lankan defence ministry even explicitly stated that the regime, in holding this event, ‘want to set the record clear that we have not committed any war crimes.’ The images and ‘advice’ in these seminars should be seen and heard by a war crimes tribunal, not in a seminar room in Colombo.

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