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   P R E F A C E

The theme of this report, as the title suggests is the relationship between the large scale violation of human rights by government  forces on one hand, and on the other how this is used by the LTTE, not just to legitimise its increasing repression in the North, but also to interfere with basic freedoms in such a manner as to build the ideological and social machinery for total war. The conduct of the government forces in the East, characterised by arrogance, massacres and disappearances, and the LTTE's massacres of Sinhalese and Muslim civilians, as we have pointed out in earlier reports, reinforce the two pernicious and  opposing ideologies. Our inquiries also suggest that the appointment of a commission of inquiry into the massacre at Kokkadichcholai has failed to arrest the spate of violations by the armed forces, whose mood is increasingly characterised by self imposed frustration and defeatism.

If one's aim is to divide this country and its people, one could adopt destruction as one's main weapon and it is very easy when the other side is also like-minded. How much of Jaffna society has been destroyed is evident from a remark made by a traveller from those now distant parts, "The people in general are not at all serious about Eelam. They are afraid of the government and are simply thinking of survival. In coming to justify this war of survival, as many see it, they have also come to accept torture, disappearances, deceit and killing as necessary. The level of public morality has plummeted to a level, where to talk about ideals like socialism, as in bygone days, has no meaning. We need to start from slogans about the value of life." Those in other parts of the country have been through similar experiences at various times and the comment of this observer has thus a wider application.

On the other hand those whose stated aim is to unite the country and its people, must not just be creative, so as to overcome the inertia of recent history, but must also show a much greater moral commitment. Sadly, we do not see a concerted endeavour in this direction.

The following remarks are for the reader who will find this volume tiresome reading at one sitting. The main theme is covered in chapters 2,3 and 5. The priorities can be gleaned from the contents page. Chapter 1 reflects on issues brought to the surface by a year of war. Chapter 4  deals with the dilemmas faced by an important minority among the Tamil speaking people - the Muslims. This can be read as an independent feature.

We wish to thank a number of individuals, organisations and institutions, without whose help the research for, and the production of this report would not have been possible.

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