Posts Categorized: International

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 »

TNA Statement on Visit to South Africa

In this context we are acutely aware that the GOSL will seek to show the world that some progress has been made, by pointing to the current visit by the TNA to South Africa. Therefore, we wish to make it clear that our engagement with the South African initiative is NOT a process that we have commenced with the GOSL and that appropriate action at the UNHRC is absolutely necessary to persuade the GOSL to comply with the said resolution and to discontinue with its harmful agenda against the Tamil People of Sri Lanka.

Tamil Villages Names Changed

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 »

Justice in Guatemala

To deny the guerrillas local support, he sent soldiers to wipe out hundreds of Mayan villages. In 1999, after the war’s end, the United Nations-sponsored Historical Clarification Commission tallied thousands of rapes, tortures, disappearances, violations of cultural rights and extrajudicial executions his forces committed while he held power, and concluded that he presided over acts of genocide…

How, then, to account for Guatemala’s move to prosecute its most notorious public figure? Most of the credit goes to survivors and victims’ families for 30 years of tenacious research and advocacy. International human rights groups, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the United Nations and foreign governments helped. And Guatemala’s attorney general since 2010, Claudia Paz y Paz, has revolutionized the prosecutor’s office, pushing cases involving war crimes, corruption and narcotrafficking.

Go After the Terrorists!

Eventually, the guerrillas sued for a ceasefire that was turned down, after which they were completely wiped out. This is how living nations deal with armed insurgencies on their soil.

In sharp contrast, the insurgents in Pakistan have been treated with kid gloves during the last decades. Since they professed to be religious, they’ve acquired many admirers and supporters. Perhaps, that is one of the reasons why a national consensus on defeating the militants could not emerge.

The UN Failed Sri Lanka’s Tamils, and Innocents Paid the Price

“Instead, the Security Council and UN Secretariat were cowed by the Sri Lankan authorities, who enjoyed “the effective acquiescence of a post-9/11 world order” to defeat an enemy regarded by many as terrorists, says an executive summary that was deleted before the report was made public last week. UN officials pulled their punches, downplayed death tolls and allegations of government crimes, left the world in the dark, and generally fell short in helping the victims.”

Internal Probe Finds UN Culpable of Inaction in Preventing Mass Atrocities in Sri Lanka

The last phase of the war claimed up to 70,000 lives according to the UN report, and 146,000 are estimated to be missing. In the aftermath of the war, 300,000 Tamils were interned in Manik Farm, described by many as the largest concentration camp the world has ever seen. In sheer magnitude and intent to extinguish a people, this event is the worst mass atrocity of the 21st century and appears to constitute genocide…
The UN must respond by establishing an independent international investigation into allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed against the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

UN Internal Review Reinforces the Need for an International Commission

Given the constraint mandate of the LLRC coupled with the “lack of an enabling environment for a judicial follow up” as stated in the UN Internal Review Report, the Secretary-General need not wait till the exhaustion of the domestic remedies. Justice delayed is justice denied.

NCCT on UN Internal Report

Canadians demand UN and the world act swiftly to address the human rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka; urge Commonwealth countries to follow Canada’s lead. by National Council of Canadian Tamils, November 16, 2012 NCCT Press Release – Canadians demand UN and world act swiftly Nov 16 2012 PDF The world and United Nations failed… Read more »

UN Has a Second Chance to Right Wrongs on Sri Lanka

THERE is little doubt that in 2009 the government of Sri Lanka pulled off one of the nastiest episodes of mass killing since the Rwandan genocide – and got away with it…
[T]hese efforts morphed into the International Crimes Evidence Project, which is now led by the Sydney-based Public Interest Advocacy Centre. ICEP is probably now the single largest repository of evidence related to war crimes in Sri Lanka in the world. ICEP’s personnel includes veterans from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

Next month, ICEP will hand a brief of evidence to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, with evidence gathered and attested using the highest standards of international criminal law. While Sri Lanka is certain to argue next March that it has given a true account of the end of the war, ICEP’s brief will demonstrate otherwise.

What if the UN Had Spoken Out on Sri Lanka?

The only way for the UN to set the record straight on Sri Lanka now is for Ban ki Moon to set up an international investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka. It was the recommendation of a panel of experts he commissioned to write a report last year but the Secretary General hesitated to take such a step without strong international backing. We now know from this internal review that his own legal department advised him he had the power to do it, but backed off. After the revelations of this inquiry it’s an essential step to restore the UN’s tattered credibility on Sri Lanka.

What the U.N. is (badly) Hiding on Sri Lanka

Nearly 2 and a half years later, and despite Sri Lanka’s commitment to a credible investigation into war-time abuses, the U.N. has yet to issue a firm public call for an independent inquiry into the war.

Is Ban’s Legacy Tarnished by Sri Lanka?

But it is his response to the final, bloody months of Sri Lanka’s decades-long civil war — a human rights calamity that has largely fallen below the radar of most global policymakers — that may ultimately do more to shape his legacy, and that of the United Nations, as a defender of human rights…
“Events in Sri Lanka mark a grave failure of the UN,” the report concluded…
The U.N. chief has never authorized an independent investigation, arguing that only an intergovernmental organization like the U.N. Security Council or the Human Rights Council has the power to do it. (That hasn’t happened)…
“You had a crisis that unfolded before the eyes of the United Nations and the major powers and no action was taken,” [Steven Ratner] said. “Everything was done in a very quiet way. I think it’s a terrible defeat and setback for the whole commitment to R2P.”

Leaked Report on Sri Lanka Critical of U.N.

“The U.N. struggled to exert influence on the Government which, with the effective acquiescence of a post-9/11 world order, was determined to defeat militarily an organization designated as terrorist. Some have argued that many deaths could have been averted had the Security Council and the Secretariat, backed by the U.N. country team, spoken out loudly early on, notably by publicizing the casualty numbers. Others say that the question is less whether the U.N. should assume responsibility for the tragedy, but more whether it did everything it could to assist the victims.”

The World Failed Sri Lanka. And Continues to Do So.

Failure to respond to this crisis happened in Washington, DC, too. Anti-genocide groups that formed in the wake of the Darfur genocide did not rouse their constituencies around the mass atrocity in Sri Lanka. You barely heard from these groups, let alone see the kind of public awareness raising campaign that has made organizations like the Enough Project so effective in moving public opinion and shaping policy…The institutional standard bearers of the anti-genocide movement failed to respond to the singly worst atrocity since Darfur.

World Tamil Conference Endorses a Momentous Resolution

by British Tamil Forum, November 10, 2012 The World Tamil Conference held in London in the British Houses of parliament last week endorsed a historic resolution, stressing “the United Nation member states to urgently set up an ‘international independent investigation’ into the complete conduct of the Sri Lankan State against the Tamil Nation and specifically… Read more »