Discriminatory Laws

submitted by International Human Rights Association Bremen

A genocidal onslaught that targets a distinct national community can always take different forms. Although, the physical extermination of a given population can be the most rapid and blunt method of implementing such a policy, there are more ‘sophisticated’ strategies of doing so. As Lemkin himself stressed, ‘genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation.’ While sporadic violence targeting the economic life, selective assassinations and periodically orchestrated pogroms can certainly be components of any genocidal policy, the ‘law of the land’ can also be reinforced to disguise, enhance and legitimise a protracted policy of genocide.

Any efforts to scrutinise and analyse the Sri Lankan state policy towards the Tamil community, at least since the ‘40s, can definitely provide an important window to understand the genocidal potential of seemingly ‘legitimate state policy’. This document envisage to shed light on some of the most prominent policy measures implemented in the history under the pretext of upholding the ‘law of the land’ in order to expose the extremely destructive essence of the Sri Lankan state’s genocidal policies.

The background paper can be downloaded here: Discriminatory Laws and Regulations [pdf: 51 kb]