[See also Chapter 15 by France Libertes: Fondation Danielle Mitterrand ]
25th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
March 7, 2014
Item 3 – Interactive Dialogue with SASG on Prevention of Genocide
Organization: Pasumai Thaayagam
Thank you Madam Vice President.
On the 65th anniversary of the “Convention on the prevention
of Genocide” we are reminded, that every year, tens of thousands of civilians in Syria, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and many others continue to become victims of crimes against humanity and/or genocide.
When crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity are left unpunished, and international community lacks the will to ensure accountability, it creates an environment of impunity that makes the world more vulnerable. Accountability requires first of all fact finding, then the identification of those responsible, punishment, reparations for victims, and restructuring of national institutions. When accountability is not a priority, prevention against future violations will also suffer. The High Commissioner has recognized in two successive written reports that an international process of accountability must commence in Sri Lanka where tens of thousands of Tamils were killed in 2009 in ethnically-based violence. She and other global leaders, such as Bishop Desmond Tutu have correctly assessed the government of Sri Lanka has failed in its obligations to create a genuine and impartial domestic accountability mechanism and it lacks the political will to do so.
The UN’s own “Rights Up-Front” initiative to pre-empt and respond to early warning signs of mass atrocities in a timely manner, used Sri Lanka as a teaching moment after a UN internal inquiry found “systemic failure” in responding to the Sri Lanka crisis in 2009. It is a timely initiative in response to the recommendations of the written statement submitted by the Society for Threatened Peoples.
The Human Rights Council is lagging behind the leadership of its own High Commissioner. In this 25th session, the Council has an opportunity to establish an international mechanism with the mandate to conclusively establish the facts surrounding the now well-documented allegations of widespread systematic and gross violations including intentionally shelling of densely populated civilian areas and hospitals, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.
We call on UN member states to establish an international commission of inquiry on Sri Lanka to investigate international crimes, including that of genocide.
Thank you Madam Vice President