Posts Categorized: Human Rights

Leahy Amendment Stronger on Paper Than in Practice in Pakistan

The law is sound in theory, but in practice the real impact on curbing human rights abuses is often tempered by the desire of the United States to advance its own security interests, even if at times it requires overlooking questionable human rights records.

Remembering Fr. Kili

by K. Sivapalan, ‘Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka,’ France, April 20, 2013 Rev.Fr. Mariampillai Xavier Karunaratnam (1951-2008), or ‘Kili’ Father as he was known affectionately was assassinated on 20th April, 2008 by a deep penetration unit of the  Sri Lanka Army. We lost two other members of NESOHR previously.Chandra Nehru  Ariyanayagam was killed in cold blood by… Read more »

The War May Be Over But The Idea Lives On

Former Tamil MP Ponnambalam puts it simply: “I think it’s dangerous for us to think about what is possible. If we start thinking about that, it only means assimilation. We must stop talking Tamil, we must give up our religion. We must be Sinhalese and Buddhist.”

OVER AND above the geopolitics and domestic Tamil politics that directly affects India, the Sri Lankan Tamils’ story raises a disturbing question. Can the desperate and continuing plight of a people be explained away by terrorism alone? For now, more than 22 lakh Tamils within Sri Lanka and an estimated 10 lakh in the diaspora, are asking this universally perplexing question. As their story also serves as a warning to other displaced people without a nation — while the world and the UN plays a double game, your idea of nationhood could be the next to disappear.

But even in the aftermath of the terror and genocide, the Tamil idea of nationhood has not disappeared. If India does not want another cycle of violence at its doorstep, it cannot afford to be indifferent to the voices of the Lankan Tamils.

Attacks Choke Sri Lanka’s Press

“If you attack a journalist, you are likely going to get away with it – that’s the message,” said Fred Carver, director of Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice, a London-based rights group.

“While there is little outright censorship, there’s a real climate of fear that makes it very difficult to be critical of the government,” added Mr. Carver, who says the Tamil press has been especially targeted.

Country Report: Human Rights 2012

Discrimination against the ethnic Tamil minority continued, and a disproportionate number of victims of human rights violations were Tamils.

Tamils Continue to Flee Sri Lanka

To escape this climate of fear, it appears that an increasing number of Tamils are fleeing Sri Lanka, boarding barely seaworthy vessels, bound for an uncertain future as asylum seekers. This is despite the government’s official effort to reconstruct the war-torn north of the country. “You have a significant number of people leaving postwar, at a point at which the government is assuring that economic development is prioritized and reconciliation is being effected in earnest,” says the CPA’s Saravanamuttu. The fact that so many people are choosing to go “seems to suggest people in the north don’t feel that way. They are voting with their feet, so to speak, and they are paying fairly large sums of money and risking life and limb to do it.” Saravanamuttu says that official numbers of the number of people leaving are unavailable, but to give just one example, over 6,000 Tamils arrived in Australia in 2012, some 30 times higher than the 2011 figure.

Urgent Need for Visible Rights Reform

Despite disturbing video footage released by Channel 4 supported by compelling eyewitness accounts that civilians compressed into a tiny area were repeatedly shelled and bombed, Rajapaksa asserted, “No, but we never fired like how they do in bombing Afghanistan. We never did that.” He also denied that hospitals were shelled – which Human Rights Watch reported on in detail — insisting “it was a complete propaganda,” and that he had seen pictures to the contrary. And despite the 2011 report of a United Nations Panel of Experts that found credible allegations of war crimes and said that up to 40,000 civilians were killed in the final months of the war primarily by indiscriminate shelling from government forces, the president declared: “LTTE shot some of them when they tried to escape. Other than that I don’t think any civilians were killed.” So how many? asked interviewer Shekhar Gupta. The president responded: “I would say less than 100.”

Throwback

Vittachi concludes the book with a question. “Have the Sinhalese and the Tamils reached the parting of the ways?” The question was asked in 1958. It was definitively answered, 25 years later, in 1983. Another 26 years later, in 2009, we were reminded of the answer.

55 years after Vittachi first asked the question, who in the Sinhala community is willing to openly ask the question,

Gunmen Attack Tamil Newspaper in Northern Sri Lanka

The newspaper owner, who is also an opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA) legislator, said it was the second strike on the publication this month and added the assailants had to be from “either the government or para-militaries.

“Who else can carry firearms freely in Jaffna?” he asked.

Sri Lanka lifted emergency rule in 2011 after the military crushed Tamil separatists two years earlier following a decades-long ethnic civil war in the island nation of 20 million people.

But troops are still deployed in Jaffna, 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of Colombo, and other parts of the country to support the police…

Uthayan’s owner said five of his employees had died in attacks on the paper in the last eight years.

R2P and Sri Lanka

by Henrietta Briscoe, Tamils Against Genocide, April 2013 for Responsibility to Protect Conference, Faculty of Law, Ljubljana, Slovenia, April 11 – 12, 2013 http://www.r2pconference.com/ R2P Poster Slovenia Conference TAG April 2013 ————————- Henrietta Briscoe interview in Delhi, March 2013 ————————- Tamil Genocide Framework Highlighted in Slovenia Conference [TamilNet, Thursday, 11 April 2013, 11:14 GMT] The framework… Read more »

The Empty Findings of Sri Lanka’s Military Court of Inquiry

by Yasmin Sooka, ‘GroundViews.org,’ Colombo, April 11, 2013 Image courtesy RNW   Colombo’s contempt for the international community seems to be increasing. The recent media release on the findings of the Military Court of Inquiry stretch credibility. While I have not had access to the full report and to the evidence presented to the Military Court… Read more »

US Policy Towards and Continuing Engagement with Sri Lanka

The 2012 resolution, passed by a majority of countries on the Human Rights Council, sent a clear message that the international community shared the United States’ concerns regarding the lack of progress on reconciliation and accountability. The 2012 resolution simply asked the government of Sri Lanka to fulfill its own commitments to its people from its Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission report, and to meet its own international obligations.

Find and Prosecute Those Responsible for the Massacre of 17 ACF Aid Workers

“It’s great that the international community got together to pass this resolution, but it’s really not enough because the terms of the resolution are not strong enough and it doesn’t force Sri Lanka to do something concrete,” said Chetcuti.

“What we are calling for is an international, credible investigation into war crimes. Asking Sri Lanka to do its own inquiry is ironic as its own army is accused of being behind some of these human rights violations.”

TNA Statement on Attack on ‘Uthayan’

These attacks on the democratic expression of Tamils in the North and East are clearly carried out with the active support, sanction and collusion of the Sri Lankan government. They are a vain and counterproductive attempt to suppress and persecute Tamils for their political aspirations..

We reiterate that to prevent a non-recurrence of the past, Sri Lanka must embark on a meaningful process of reconciliation based on ensuring truth, justice and reparations for victims of violent crimes committed by all parties..

‘Haunted by Her Yesterdays’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nSSv9Kk3tkI Haunted by her yesterdays This documentary tells a story of silent agony, trapped screams and repressed mourning. A story of women forced to deny their identity – who are trapped in between a government which sees them as “Tigers,” and a society whose norms they are no longer deemed worthy of. These women fought… Read more »

Booklet on Sri Lanka

Booklet on Sri Lanka prepared for UNHRC March 2013 Booklet for UNHRC March 2013 C o n t e n t s Preface ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 2 Executive Summary ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3 UN Human Rights Council: 2012 Resolution on Sri Lanka …………………………………………… 5 Excerpts of speeches pertaining to the 2012 Resolution from select countries …….. 7 Excerpts of… Read more »

Tamil Nadu Assembly Passes Resolution on Sri Lanka

The Tamil Nadu Assembly has adopted a resolution asking the Centre to stop treating Sri Lanka as a friendly country. It also calls for a referendum on a separate Eelam among Tamils in Sri Lanka and Lankan Tamils abroad. The Tamil Nadu Assembly unanimously adopted the resolution urging the Centre to slap economic embargo on Colombo till the “suppression” of Tamils was stopped and those responsible for “genocide and war crimes” faced an international probe.

Resolution Another UN ‘Grave Failure’

While PEARL appreciates continued attention by the Council on Sri Lanka, we regret the resolution’s failure to establish an international Commission of Inquiry to investigate war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Sri Lanka.

Geneva Resolution: Not A Victory For Tamils, But A Defeat For Sri Lanka

Geneva Resolution: Not a Victory for Tamils, but a Defeat for Sri Lanka PM – TGTE – Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran The resolution proposed by America at the Human Rights Council related to Sri Lanka was passed by a majority of 13 votes. Out of the Human Rights Council comprising of 47 member states, 26 voted for the resolution, 13 against… Read more »