Posts Categorized: Human Rights

The Real MIA in Sri Lanka

by Jack Healey, ‘The Huffington Post,’ Los Angelos, February 19, 2013 (founder, Human Rights Action Center)  Bad Girls video It always starts with James Franco, doesn’t it? “Pineapple Express,” a Franco and Seth Rogen vehicle that came out in 2008, used “Paper Planes” in a red-band trailer for their film. Thus the artist M.I.A. became known outside… Read more »

The Upcoming HRC Resolution on Sri Lanka

India has already come out and announced that it too will support the resolution –taking a bit of drama out of the whole affair. But it’s also quite revealing because it shows how much the administration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has overplayed its hand. Let us not forget that less than a year ago, Delhi… Read more »

Bloody Secrets

[A]ctivists and journalists have been providing disturbing new proof that forces under Mr Rajapaksa (and so also under the control of his brother, Mahinda, the president), committed violent crimes with impunity. Worse, convincing evidence is also appearing that state-security forces have continued to torture, rape and otherwise violently abuse Tamils, even after the war.

Revisiting the Horror in Sri Lanka

Letter from India NEW DELHI — In the series of photographs shot in 2009, the bare-chested boy is first shown seated on a bench watching something outside the frame. Then he is seen having a snack. In the third image he is lying on the ground with bullet holes in his chest. The photographs, which… Read more »

HRW: Rape of Tamil Detainees

“The Sri Lankan security forces have committed untold numbers of rapes of Tamil men and women in custody,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “These are not just wartime atrocities but continue to the present, putting every Tamil man and woman arrested for suspected LTTE involvement at serious risk.”

Interaction Transition Case Study

Sri Lanka: Transitioning from a Humanitarian Crisis to a Human Rights Crisis InterAction Transition Case Study – Sri Lanka – January 2013 Sri Lanka is recovering from a devastating 26-year civil war, which ended in May 2009 with the military defeat of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by the government of Sri… Read more »

Christian Clergy Letter to UNHRC

Letter to UN Human Rights Council Call for a strong and action oriented resolution on Sri Lanka at the 22nd session of the UN Human Rights Council Letter to UNHRC by NorthEast clergy with annexes 18Feb2013 We had also witnessed continuing ignorance and violations of the key LLRC recommendations, related to political solution to the ethnic conflict, release… Read more »

LLRC Summary

What Lessons Learned?  An accessible, thematised summary of the LLRC report LLRC summary IEC 2012 The key objective of this summary is to present the key recommendations of the LLRC report in a way that is both accessible and comprehensible to those individuals and communities who have, to date, been excluded from the mainstream dialogue on the report’s… Read more »

The Truth Must Be Told

Quickly and confidently, before the situation deteriorates, India needs to chart a course that can convince its own people and the international community that it is on the side of what is right and just in this matter, while impressing on Colombo that the issue will not fade away just by stout denial, as it seems to hope.

ICG: Sri Lanka’s Authoritarian Turn

Sri Lanka is faced with two worsening and inter-connected governance crises. The dismantling of the independent judiciary and other democratic checks on the executive and military will inevitably feed the growing ethnic tension resulting from the absence of power sharing and the denial of minority rights.

Last Hours of Prabhakaran’s Son

Sri Lanka has always insisted it did what it could to ensure no civilians were killed during its operation against the LTTE. Yet a team appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon found that up to 40,000 civilians may have been killed. The team said there were credible allegations both sides committed war crimes.

Don’t Let the Rajapaksas Ruin Sri Lanka

Yet there was hope of peace with the victorious government’s offer to cede autonomy to the country’s ethnic Tamil minority, most of whom live in the north and east. Unfortunately, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa now intimates that he has no intention of following through on that offer.

‘Civilian Areas Not Shelled’

Holding on to the war-time catchphrases “Humanitarian Operation” and “Zero Civilian Casualty” — which have been disputed by independent observers, the United Nations and other credible institutions — the Court insisted that “commanders at all times obeyed… the directives from the higher headquarters with regard to No Fire Zones (NFZs) and even when the LTTE terrorists had fired from NFZs, commanders refrained from firing at such NFZs.”

Broken Dreams: The Truth about SL

The government’s talk about a military drawdown lacks merit, especially in the Northern Province. “We are living under military occupation,” notes one community member living near Jaffna. Even though several checkpoints have been removed, a large number of them have been converted into shops – such as grocery stores and cafés – that are run by the military. The ubiquity of military personnel does not leave people feeling safer; ordinary citizens feel more vulnerable and the country’s continued militarization has contributed to a host of widespread social problems including alcohol abuse, sexual violence and rape.

UN Human Rights Commissioner Report on SL

“In this regard, she reaffirms her long-standing call for an independent and credible international investigation into alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, which could also monitor any domestic accountability process.”

Amnesty on High Commissioner Report

The situation has prompted the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay to: reiterate her call for an “independent and credible international investigation” into alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Sri Lanka, which Amnesty International fully supports; and to suggest that that investigation could also serve to monitor any domestic accountability process, should one emerge.

Another US Resolution on Sri Lanka

If Washington really is concerned, Obama should prove it by making diplomatic isolation a reality for the regime in Colombo. To put it more bluntly, when it comes to human rights in Sri Lanka, Washington should “go big or go home.”

The Middle Managers of Ethnic Cleansing

But after observing the role played by the native bureaucrats within the colonial administrations of the 19th and 20th centuries, it was realized that it was also possible for a bureaucracy to go against the very interests of its own class or nationality… They were actually described at that time as the ‘steel frame of the British Empire’…
The rise of the Nation-State, which at all times “seeks to homogenize its population in order to consolidate its power”, posed new problems for minority Nations, and governance in general. Here also, the discriminatory policies in sharing of resources and opportunities, changing demography through State sponsored colonization schemes and land alienation policies, all were implemented by the bureaucracy. In most cases, by a bureaucracy belonging to the group that was being systematically marginalized and annihilated. This universal characteristic is all the more apparent in the Tamil speaking areas of the North and East in Sri Lanka. There, no writ can be carried out without the collaboration of the Tamil and Muslim bureaucrats.

HRW: Move CHOGM

Human Rights Watch believes that these benchmarks are reasonable and well within what any rights-respecting government—particularly a Commonwealth government committed to implementing the 1991 Harare Declaration—should voluntarily undertake. To allow Sri Lanka to host the 2013 summitwithout meeting these benchmarks would be to reward an abusive government with an undeserved badge of international acceptance.