Former UN Spokesman Gordon Weiss has written a highly critical opinion piece in The Australian newspaper, accusing the Sri Lankan government of extreme nationalism. He said, “Sri Lanka has been transformed into one of the most militarised societies in Asia. Its government is dominated by racist ideologues who promote the notion of the Sinhalese as a “chosen people” (the words of their first prime minister).” Gordon Weiss has retired from the UN and is now writing a book about the end of the war.
He has written the opinion piece in response to the ongoing debate about boat refugees from Sri Lanka claiming asylum in Australia. The Sri Lankan government has alleged that many of these refugees may be LTTE. In Canada, however, their government has admitted that many suspected boat people actually had no evidence of LTTE connections at all. Weiss has said this is true of those fleeing to Australia as well, saying that “The Tamil Tiger is extinct.”
He has alleged that Sinhalese extremism is alive and well and implicated the government in war crimes and disappearances, saying “Government death squads have snatched thousands of people from the streets over the years. The country’s highest court has explicitly rejected the role of international human rights instruments in Sri Lanka’s affairs. And the government continues to deny that it killed civilians during the recent war, that there were battlefield executions, that it bombed hospitals, or that there is anything wrong with the sham democratic machinery of the state. The repressive creature of extreme nationalism is alive and well in Sri Lanka.”