The Sri Lankan Civil War (Sinhala: ශ්රී ලංකාවේ සිවිල් යුද්ධය; Tamil: இலங்கை உள்நாட்டுப் போர், romanized: Ilaṅkai uḷnāṭṭup pōr) was a civil war fought in Sri Lanka from 1983 to 2009. Beginning on 23 July 1983, there was an intermittent insurgency against the government by the Velupillai Prabhakaran-led Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, also known as the Tamil Tigers). The LTTE fought to create an independent Tamil state called Tamil Eelam in the north-east of the island, due to the continuous discrimination and violent persecution against Sri Lankan Tamils by the Sinhalese dominated Sri Lankan Government.Violent persecution erupted in the form of the 1956, 1958, 1977, 1981 and 1983 anti-Tamil pogroms, as well as the 1981 burning of the Jaffna Public Library. These were carried out by the majority Sinhalese mobs often with state support, in the years following Sri Lanka's independence from the British Empire in 1948. Shortly after gaining independence, Sinhalese was recognized as the sole official language of the nation. After a 26-year military campaign, the Sri Lankan military defeated the Tamil Tigers in May 2009, bringing the civil war to an end.Up to 70,000 had been killed by 2007. Immediately following the end of war, on 20 May 2009, the UN estimated a total of 80,000–100,000 deaths. However, in 2011, referring to the final phase of the war in 2009, the Report of the Secretary-General's Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka stated, “A number of credible sources have estimated that there could have been as many as 40,000 civilian deaths.” The Sri Lankan government has repeatedly refused an independent, international investigation to ascertain the full impact of the war, with some reports claiming that government forces were raping and torturing Tamils involved in collating deaths and disappearances.Since the end of the civil war, the Sri Lankan state has been subject to much global criticism for violating human rights as a result of committing war crimes through bombing civilian targets, usage of heavy weaponry, the abduction and massacres of Sri Lankan Tamils and sexual violence. The LTTE gained notoriety for carrying out numerous attacks against civilians of all ethnicities, particularly those of Sinhalese and Sri Lankan Muslim ethnicity, using child soldiers, assassinations of politicians and dissenters, and the use of suicide bombings against military, political and civilian targets.
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