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.
Posts Categorized: Human Rights
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.
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.
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.”
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.
“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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
TAMIL CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS – TCHR 9, rue des Peupliers, 95140 Garges les Gonnese – FRANCE – Tel/Fax : 33 – 1 – 42 67 54 36 Documented cases of ARBITRARY ARRESTS/DETENTION – January 2008 – June 2008 (actual arrests higher than documented by TCHR) http://www.tchr.net/cp_sum_jan2008-june2008.htm No. Date Full Name Sex Age… Read more »
INDICTMENT AGAINST SRI LANKA இனம் ஒன்று அழிவதா, இதை நாம் பொறுப்பதா… “…. suffering in common unifies more than joy does. Where national memories are concerned, griefs are of more value than triumphs, for they impose duties, and require a common effort. A nation is therefore a large-scale solidarity, constituted by the feeling of the sacrifices that one has… Read more »
http://tamilnation.co/unitednations/uncom87.htm UN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS 43RD SESSIONS: FEBRUARY 1987 Resolution by UN Commission on Human Rights – 12 March 1987 Original Revised Draft Resolution Statement by Mr.Virendra, leader of the Indian delegation – 2 March 1987 “…In the beginning of February, the Government’s security forces carried out several operations, especially in the eastern province, ostensibly… Read more »
Frances Harrison recently wrote for the Times of India about how the Government of Sri Lanka is turning the site of the final battles of the civil war, where tens of thousands of civillians were killed, into a tourist attraction. The article unfortunately did not include the many pictures provided which evidenced the piece, and so we are… Read more »
Letter from DMK Chief Karunanidhi to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh detailing 89 Tamil villages renamed with Sinhala names in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. The letter gives the location of the villages on a map and by district, and lists the Tamil heritage names of the villages and the new Sinhala names. In addition,… Read more »
by Human Rights Watch, New York, February 1, 2013 RELATED MATERIALS: World Report 2013: Sri Lanka JANUARY, 2013 The Sri Lankan government needs to address the many problems that undermine basic rights for people in the war-torn North and East. Justice and accountability for abuses, an end to torture in detention, and ending constraints on… Read more »
Accountability is a necessary precursor to reconciliation and a stable democracy in Sri Lanka. It is clear to us that the LLRC process is mired in bias and delays, and only an independent, international investigation will achieve real accountability.
Thousands of civilians died in the final months of the war when the Sri Lankan military launched a decisive offensive against ethnic Tamil rebels. Sri Lanka set up a commission to investigate alleged abuses, but rights groups say the military is not being held to account.
The Obama administration has called for steps toward accountability but has not called for an international investigation.
Speaking at a ceremony of Sri Lanka’s National Chamber of Commerce held at Hotel Hilton in Colombo, the SL Defence Secretary and presidential sibling, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was cited saying, “The biggest threat the US can pose to Sri Lanka’s military is to take away their defence scholarships”
“We can send our soldiers to China for training,” Gotabhaya added.
“The casualty figure issue is just one factor – which we have highlighted to emphasise our point. Various other factors – such as an examination of the historical background which had laid the basis to the events that led to the military operations in 2009, as well as, whether or not the continuing issues that the Tamil people in the area concerned are facing at the moment are related to this history, needs to be carried out properly to deal with the overall reality.
“Due to the fact that substantial, quantitative and qualitative new evidence has become available, we believe that there are compelling reasons to organize a follow up to the ‘People’s Tribunal on Sri Lanka’ to examine the case of Genocide against the Tamil people.”
This follow up session will be held in Germany.