Posts Categorized: Military

HRW: Investigate, Not Promote, Ex-Army Chief

The Sri Lankan government’s appointment to parliament of the former army chief whose forces were implicated in widespread abuses contradicts pledges to investigate alleged war crimes, Human Rights Watch said today. On February 9, 2016, the United National Party of Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe appointed Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka to parliament as a national list… Read more »

ICG: Transitional Justice Agreement between the Colombian Government and FARC

The announcement is silent on the nomination and appointment process for these courts – which would be largely staffed by national judges, with a minority international presence – and the facilities where sentences would be served, as well as the question of reparation for victims. However, it indicates a balanced and wise approach is being taken to the difficult dilemmas posed by a conflict that has inflicted suffering on more than six million victims, according to official reports, and a peace process that requires legal and political certainties for the parties and for Colombian society. FARC have gone farther than ever before by accepting the requirement that those most responsible for serious crimes must face restrictions on their liberties for up to eight years. The government has accepted that the new mechanism will have jurisdiction over all who participated in the internal armed conflict – including state agents.

ICTJ: Challenges to Implementing Reparations in Colombia

Background: Demobilization of paramilitary groups, Justice and Peace Law, Victims’ Law, and peace talks with the FARC Colombia continues to endure the longest internal armed conflict in the Western hemisphere. The conflict involves many actors and interests, and is a product of political ambitions, social and economic tensions, and competition for resources. In their efforts… Read more »

Militarization in Sri Lanka Continues

During a recent visit to Sri Lanka, I (unsurprisingly) saw a lot of military personnel. Many times they were riding around in vehicles. On other occasions the interaction was a bit more personal. In Jaffna, as I was purchasing a new SIM card, a pair of Sri Lanka Army members entered the shop. In Trincomalee,… Read more »

Vetting Our Way to Trust

The conversation on Transitional Justice in Sri Lanka has hitherto focused almost exclusively on the government’s stated commitments to establish an Office of Missing Persons, a judicial mechanism with a special prosecutor, a Truth Commission and a Office for Reparations. Unfortunately, this conversation does not address the question of security sector reform, which is a… Read more »

De-mining Sri Lanka

by Smriti Daniel, Al Jazeera, January 12, 2016 Meet those clearing the large number of landmines left behind by the army and the Tamil Tigers after Sri Lanka’s war. Muhamalai, Sri Lanka – Not so long ago Shanmukam Thankamuththu had 25 goats; now she has only five. The other 20 have been sold, each animal… Read more »

Sri Lanka Accused of Allowing Continuing Human Rights Abuses

As Sri Lanka marks a year since the election on 8 January 2015 which brought President Sirisena to power, Freedom from Torture releases new details of recent torture cases and warns that the Government must place a higher priority on tackling torture by the country’s military, police and security services. The UK human rights charity’s… Read more »

What If the Tamil Tigers Weren’t Labelled as ‘Terrorists’?

How labeling a group influences the standards of civilian protection in wartime is a pertinent question. by Ambika Kaushik, ‘The Diplomat,’ Tokyo, July 24, 2015 The elections in Sri Lanka next month come just ahead of a much-anticipated report on the alleged war crimes by prime ministerial candidate and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government during… Read more »

Colombo’s Military Build-Up

What might explain the recent increase in defense spending? By Ana Pararajasingham, ‘The Diplomat,’ Tokyo, December 30, 2015 Contrary to expectations that with the end of the civil war, Sri Lanka would reduce its spending on defense, Colombo has in fact increased its defense expenditure. Defense spending in 2009, the year the civil war ended with… Read more »

Sinhalisation of the North-East

http://www.sinhalisation.com/ About Since time immemorial the island of Sri Lanka has been largely divided into two linguistic regions, the Tamil North-East and the Sinhala south. The North-East region encompasses the districts of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya, Mannar, Batticaloa and the littoral areas of Trincomalee and Amparai. It is a contiguous region that has traditionally been inhabited by Tamil speakers. This… Read more »

UN Working Group Finds Secret Torture Center in Trincomalee Naval Base

COLOMBO: The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UNWGEID), which has just concluded its visit to Sri Lanka, had  discovered a “secret underground detention cum torture center” located in the Lankan naval base at Trincomalee in the Eastern Province. Giving details of the “successful discovery” at a press conference here on Wednesday, Ariel… Read more »

Tamil Political Prisoners Resume fast

Tamil political prisoners resumed their fast today in protest over the failure by the Government to keep its promise and release all of them. At least 29 Tamil detainees at the Anuradhapura prison were among those who resumed the fast today. The Government was to release 30 Tamil detainees today and another 32 by next week… Read more »

Sri Lanka’s Icon of Colonial Rule rises from the Rubble

As an army of labourers churns out limestone bricks, archeologist Prashantha Mandawala reflects on the ambitious task of restoring Sri Lanka’s centuries-old Jaffna fort, destroyed by ethnic war. The project has so far included the dangerous task of clearing unexploded mines and shells from the seafront site and scouring the northern Jaffna peninsula for scarce… Read more »

HRW: Sri Lanka’s Army Plays by the Old Rules

  “Our ancestors lived here,” said the elderly woman. She and a dozen other Muslim inhabitants of the village of Kasankurni spoke to a Sri Lankan activist and me last week from outside makeshift homes where they have struggled to survive for four years. “The army started by taking our maize and other crops.  Then… Read more »

Pressuring Sri Lanka for Peace

Last Thursday, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution that seemed, once again, to promote postwar reconciliation and express a broad international consensus for ensuring those who committed serious human-rights violations during the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war are held accountable. The problem is the resolution’s overly diplomatic and, at times, vague… Read more »

Overcoming the Peace Versus Justice Divide in Colombia

New developments are advancing hopes that the Colombian government and the largest anti-government armed group in the country—the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC—will soon reach an agreement in their protracted peace talks to bring an end to the country’s even more protracted armed conflict. Last week, the Colombian government and FARC leaders agreed… Read more »

2015 UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka

 —– Archived webcast of discussion of OHCHR Report on Sri Lanka OHCHR Report on Sri Lanka – 37th Meeting, 30th Regular Session Human Rights Council OHCHR Report on Sri Lanka (Cont’d) – 38th Meeting, 30th Regular Session Human Rights Council  —— Resolution on Sri Lanka A/HRC/30/1 UNHRC Resolution 30/1 October 1 2015 Received from (main… Read more »

Report & Recommendations of UNHCHR to UNHRC on Sri Lanka

HCHR Report and Recommendations  A_HRC_30_61_ENG http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Pages/OISL.aspx   A/HRC/30/61 Advance Unedited Version Distr.: General 16 September 2015   Original: English Human Rights Council Thirtieth session Agenda item 2 Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General Report of the Office of… Read more »

Countries to Pledge Troops to Bolster UN Peacekeepers

Other offers will be treated with caution by the UN. Sri Lanka has said it will commit troops but officials are wary because of the Sri Lankan military’s war crimes during the conflict with the Tamil Tigers.