Posts Categorized: Human Rights

For Sri Lanka, More Empty Words

The government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa greeted last year’s vote with complaints that it was being persecuted by the international community — and used that as a pretext to obstruct even more thoroughly the work of journalists, lawyers and activists. As Mohan Peiris, a former attorney general who is now Sri Lanka’s chief justice,said last March: “It won’t change anything. We will just forge ahead as planned.”

In May 2009, the Tamil Tigers, a merciless guerrilla group, lost the fight to carve out a separate state for the island’s Tamil minority. The war ended in a blaze of blood, with roughly 40,000 Tamil civilians killed, according to a United Nations estimate.

Four years later, the government has not investigated numerous charges that the army committed atrocities during the waning years of the conflict. Straining the fragile peace yet more, Tamils in the country’s north and east continue to live under the close watch of the Sri Lankan military.

UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka

Introduction to Voting on Resolution by the US US Introduction to Voting on Resolution on Sri Lanka March 2013 [PDF] Vote Count on Resolution Revised – Gabon voted YES late Voting on Sri Lanka Resolution at UNHRC March 2013 [PDF] For = 26 Abstain = 8 Against = 13 Tamil version of resolution 22/1 [PDF] Co-sponsors of the… Read more »

Sri Lanka ‘War’ a Genocide

Why Tamil Nadu is Right to Call Sri Lanka ‘War’ a Genocide A part of the national debate on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue in the wake of the second US resolution at the UNHRC in another two days is increasingly disturbing because it’s not only dismissive of the tenets of human rights, but is… Read more »

Oral Interventions at UNHRC

Your report outlines the litany past and present violations of human Rights in Sri Lanka, however, we wish to stress the urgent need to address the imminent loss of democratic space, and franchise for the Tamil people in the North and East of the island.

The North and East of Sri Lanka are traditional Tamil territory with a unique language and culture. Sri Lanka has undertaken a campaign against the Tamil people to systematically mute their voice, and agency over a 65 year period. This campaign has progressively curtailed the democratic franchise of Tamils in the East.

The same ruthless program is now undertaken in the North. Increased militarization, land grab, and the establishment of new Sinhalese settlements in traditional Tamil areas are exasperating the Sinhalization and Budhization of the North, This is no longer an armed conflict – but a demographic one – one that is based on artificially changing the population that would assimilate Tamils as one monolithic group within the island.

Pasumai Thaayagam UNHRC Statement

Written Statement submitted by Pasumai Thaayagam, Chennai to the UN Human Rights Council, February 11, 2013 Written Statement Pasumai Thaayagam UNHRC Feb 2013

Sri Lanka Resolution Hardly ‘Watered Down’

“Expressing concern at the continuing reports of violations of human rights in Sri Lanka, including enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture, and violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, as well as intimidation of and reprisals against human rights defenders, members of civil society and journalists, and threats to judicial independence and the rule of law, and discrimination on the basis of religion or belief.”

India’s Government Loses Key Ally

India’s government loses key ally over UN resolution against Sri Lanka  Arun Sankar K./AP – Indian Tamil activists burn a Sri Lankan flag during a protest against Sri Lanka’s alleged wartime abuses, in Chennai, India on March 19, 2013. A key ethnic Tamil political party withdrew from the Indian government over its unmet demands that India… Read more »

DMK Pullout FAQ

The draft resolution can be technically amended right up to the moment of adoption which could be as late as Friday afternoon this week. However, amendments need to be politically acceptable to all co-sponsors and the challenge would be to get the necessary political acceptance, including instruction from the capital city for many or most delegations…

We have long insisted that what Sri Lanka needs is an independent international investigation into the war crimes, and crimes against humanity, that both sides participated in in the final stages of Sri Lanka’s civil war. This resolution falls short of delivering that.

Nevertheless, this resolution is a positive step: it builds on the resolution that was passed at last year’s Human Rights Council but uses stronger language and gives an enhanced mandate to UN experts (known as Special Rapporteurs and Special Procedure Mandate Holders) to hold the Government of Sri Lanka to account over human rights violations – and it’s an important step on the road towards the international investigation we need. It is very important that the resolution not be abandoned as a result of this controversy.

Mullikulam: Restrictions Continue

The people also told us about how approximately 25 Navy families now live in their lands and that 33 houses have been repaired and occupied by the SLN, with more than 20 female Navy personnel having taken up residence within the former hospital building. Furthermore, of the two school buildings, only one has still been released for the 35 students from Mullikulam to study in. The remaining building is still being utilized to conduct Civil Engineering classes for the SLN.

Sri Lankan Muslims in the Racist Paradigm

The notion will be formed – or will be strengthened having been already formed – that the Sinhalese include in their ranks some of the worst racists in the world, and that the Government allows them much latitude. There does not seem to be much of a hiatus in Sri Lanka between the centre occupied by the Government and what is sometimes called the lunatic fringe. Two conclusions can follow. One is that the notion that our troops deliberately killed Tamil civilians on a massive scale becomes more credible, strengthening the case for a strong anti-SL Resolution. The other possible conclusion is this: if the friendly and innocuous Muslim minority can be treated in this way, it becomes almost impossible to believe that the potentially militant Tamil minority will ever get fair and equal treatment, and the case becomes much stronger for a solution based on a very wide measure of devolution.

[…When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.]

The Numbers Never Lie

TSA’s third report, The Numbers Never Lie: A Comprehensive Assessment of Sri Lanka’s LLRC Progress, provides a detailed look at the Government of Sri Lanka’s LLRC progress that includes both quantitative and qualitative analysis. TSA surveyed 1,786 households across 208 GN divisions in nine districts throughout the North, East and Hill Country. In virtually all crucial areas, the GoSL has failed to implement the recommendations outlined in its own presidentially appointed commission. From questions related to disappearance, arbitrary detention and the rule of law to political rights, language policy, land, compensation and militarization, the GoSL continues to fall short of expectations. And, disappointingly, a proper recounting of the war’s final phases – a sine qua non of reconciliation – has not taken place. Sri Lanka’s grip on reconciliation is more tenuous than ever and significant changes are urgently needed in order to ensure that the island does not fall into a more pronounced period of ethnic strife.

Rep. Eliot Engel Calls for an Independent International Investigation

But the government has not built upon the peace dividend. Instead, it has used the space to consolidate its power, and to remove some of the checks and balances that are the hallmarks of true democracy. Four years later, rule of law is endangered, media freedom and freedom of speech are under attack, and reconciliation seems even more distant than it did during the long years of conflict.

CPA: Post-War Attacks on Religious Institutions

Attacks on Places of Religious Worship in Post-War Sri Lanka Attacks on Religious Places CPA March 2013 8th March 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka: While the post-war context offered an opportunity for consolidating peace and reconciliation, and there have been a number of positive developments, there are increasing concerns relating to violence targeting places of worship and… Read more »

WTO: Tamil Nadu Role

For immediate release – Role of Tamil Nadu to Pressure India for Strengthening UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka World Thamil Organization, Inc.  (WTO) is a Registered, Non-Profit organization, incorporated in the United States of America.  Since its inception in 1991, WTO has been espousing the legitimate cause of Tamils wherever they live.  The Tamil people,… Read more »

TGTE: Act on Abuses Against Muslims

U.N. Urges to Act on Abuses Against Muslims: TGTE • Anti – Muslim demonstrators, led by Buddhist Monks, carry placards depicting Allah as a pig. • Attacks and destruction of Mosques. • Protests against Halal food, Muslim dress, higher education, & attacks on Muslim businesses. • A Buddhist Monk shot and killed a Prime Minister… Read more »

UNHRC Resolution: Threat or Opportunity?

UNHRC Resolution: A Threat or an Opportunity? In his book ‘Sri Lanka – What Went Wrong: J.R. Jayewardene’s Free and Righteous Society’, writer and political commentator V.P. Vittachi refers to a mode of speech he describes as ‘plonking’. Quoting from Stephen Potter’s ‘Lifemanship’ he says, “For maximum irritation remember, the tone of voice must be… Read more »

Britain Must Stand Up for Human Rights in Sri Lanka

Our government should back UN calls for justice by urging the Commonwealth to move its summit elsewhere    The Queen shakes hands with Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Commonwealth heads of government meeting last year. Photograph: Wpa Pool/Getty Images   In early 2009, as foreign secretary, I travelled to Sri Lanka with Bernard… Read more »