Mr. DAVIS of Illinois. It is my pleasure to rise today to note the third anniversary of the ending of the civil war in Sri Lanka. On May 19, 2009, a new era--an era of peace--began in this country; an era of hope, an era of possibility, and an era of justice with movement towards reconnection and reconciliation. Unfortunately, implementation of this new era of hope seems to be slow in coming, it seems to many Tamils in the country and throughout the diaspora who have lingering fears that governance of the country will remain closed and not as democratically operated as they would like to see and that justice demands.
The President of Sri Lanka started talks with the Tamil National Alliance, the party that has won all elections in the northeast since the end of the war more than a year ago. Unfortunately, these talks seem to have bogged down and are not progressing as was anticipated. Sri Lanka is a highly centralized state. The lack of control over areas that we take for granted, such as the police, the use of land, and the education system, are often cited as being one of the causes of the civil war. It is reported that even areas not affected by the war suffer from neglect by Colombo and distant government officials who make arbitrary decisions, as is frequently noted by the World Bank and others. Tensions continue to exist between the Sinhalese, who control the government, and the Tamils, who consider the north and east as their traditional homeland. It is unfortunate that after hostilities ended on the battlefield, they still seem to exist in many of the same ways that occurred before the war actually broke out.
It is my hope that Sri Lanka will be able to work through its difficulties so that this beautiful country can experience the peace and stability its citizens rightly deserve.