Posts Categorized: International

India’s ‘Rotten Diplomacy’

Both the Sinhalese and the Tamils now consider the various political parties of Tamil Nadu to be goading Sri Lanka’s ethnic strife from a safe distance so that they may milk it for electoral capital; this, too, is ineluctable…

It might be possible to argue – although this isn’t the place for it – that India’s foreign policy toward Sri Lanka has been the most disastrous such sustained policy it has ever run. Admittedly, these were, and are, deep and complicated waters. But India repeatedly made the cynical mistake of presuming that it could have it all. It resembled the gambler who backs every single horse in the race, and while that may minimize harm at the Kentucky Derby, it doesn’t quite work the same way in geopolitics.

A Lanka Lost?

Delhi now sees the sweet talk for what it is — classic Rajapakse doublespeak. It’s the method he employed to use India’s help to destroy the Tigers, knowing that once he had the LTTE out of the way, India would have no card left to play, no leverage to push for the 13th Amendment and the rehabilitation of the moderate Tamils, whom India want back in the political mainstream.

Sri Lanka Accused of Ongoing Torture

He said he had his toenails extracted and was then electrocuted, rendering him unconscious for three days. Now convicted, he has been sent to prison in the central city of Kandy, far from his home in the north. He has barely been permitted contact with his wife or son, who was born just months after his arrest.

The report also criticises a government rehabilitation programme for former Tamil Tiger soldiers that, it says, is also blighted by violence and, despite officially being classed as voluntary, is frequently used as a tool to prolong detention without trial.

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.

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.

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 »

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 »

Appeal from Tamil Civil Society

Appeal from Tamil Civil Society to the International Community regarding the upcoming resolution in the UNHRC on Sri Lanka This appeal, signed by civil society activists who live and work in the North and East of Sri Lanka, seeks to state our position with regard to the resolution on Sri Lanka to be tabled at… Read more »

Hope and Reconciliation

by Desmond Tutu & Mary Robinson, ‘Times of India,’ New Delhi, March 11, 2013 Absence of war is not peace: the saying is true of Sri Lanka today. While the country’s civil war ended four years ago, and roads have been rebuilt, human rights protections are getting weaker. The personal tragedies of the conflict’s victims… Read more »