by National Council of Canadian Tamils, November 16, 2012
The world and United Nations failed to respond to the cry of Sri Lankan Tamils subjected to
egregious atrocities by the Sri Lankan government in 2009. The main responsibility to avert
this crisis rested on the United Nations, but the UN failed Tamils. Now, an internal UN report
reveals the scope of the UN’s failure to protect Tamil civilians.
“The U.N. internal review identifies the tragic mistakes that led the U.N. to fail in its most
basic obligations to civilians in Sri Lanka,” said Philippe Bolopion of Human Rights Watch. “It
is a call to action and reform for the entire U.N. system.”
The UN review described how Sri Lankan government staff threatened NGO activists in
Geneva against appearing before the UN Human Rights Council. Now there are reports that
the Sri Lankan government could be linked to the murder of a Tamil activist in France.
Despite the end of armed conflict, atrocities against Tamils continue. The most recent
reports by credible international human rights groups and journalists expose governmentsponsored
land grabbing, militarization, ethnic cleansing, rape, torture, and extrajudicial
killings against the Tamil population in the North-East.
The world’s response to this unfolding horror was muted — and continues to be. The world,
including United Nations, need to act immediately to protect Tamils’ rights. The UN should
1) establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate war crimes, crimes against humanity
and genocide against the Tamils; 2) administer an independent referendum throughout the
North-East to determine Tamils’ political aspirations. Only through these two actions can the
UN redeem itself from its past failures in Sri Lanka.
Canada, since the war ended, has taken a strong stand for Tamil rights. Canadian Prime
Minister Harper has pledged to boycott next year’s CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of
Government Meeting), set to occur in Sri Lanka, until accountability and justice are
achieved. All Commonwealth countries should follow Canada’s principled lead and similarly
boycott the next CHOGM until Sri Lanka allows an independent international investigation.
For further information, the full internal report is available at: