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Tackling Ethnic Inequality in Sri Lanka

In April, after reading about a leaked UN report on alleged war crimes by Sri Lanka's army against Tamil civilians, a 23-year-old engineer from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu set himself on fire. His suicide note said he hoped the state's next government's leaders would help their fellow Tamils in Sri Lanka.

There is no question that sensitivities persist over ethnic conflict between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil minority two years after the Sri Lankan military defeated Tamil Tiger separatists and effectively ended a 26-year-long civil war. The good news is that the Sri Lankan government has taken some positive initial steps toward post-conflict reconciliation. For instance, it has begun discussions on a political voice for the Tamil minority in government. It is developing infrastructure in formerly conflicted areas and has set up rehabilitation programs for former Tamil Tiger rebels.