Posts Categorized: International

MCC: New Threshold Programs with Sri Lanka

MCC Board Selects Five Countries for MCC Partnerships New Compacts with Cote d’Ivoire, Kosovo and Senegal, and New Threshold Programs with Sri Lanka and Togo December 17, 2015 kellyrm /A_T/ mcc /D_O_T/ gov 202-521-3880 WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 17 — The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Board of Directors held its quarterly meeting on Dec. 16, 2015…. Read more »

Time to Rethink Protection as Syrian Mistakes Echo Sri Lanka

Residents of the Syrian town of Madaya are again reported to be near starvation. The United Nations is said to have underestimated the number suffering under blockades enforced by Bashar al-Assad’s government, adding to earlier accusations that the UN deliberately failed to highlight the problem. The revelations show much more needs to be done to implement Secretary-General Ban… Read more »

Sri Lanka Monitoring and Accountability Panel Open Letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights: ‘Sri Lankan Victims Deserve Real Justice’ Posted on February 4, 2016 by mapuser The MAP notes with concern the recent statement made by President Maithripala Sirisena (BBC interview, 21 January 2016) that he will “never agree to international involvement” in the special war crimes court. This statement… Read more »

FfT: What Does Success Look Like?

FfT survivor_briefing-final Sri Lanka is at a crossroads in the quest for accountability for torture and other serious human rights abuses committed during the country’s civil war (2002-9) and its aftermath. This briefing addresses the question of “what success looks like” for the internationalised justice process promised by the Sri Lankan government, from the perspective… Read more »

Observations by the UN Special Rapporteur on Transitional Justice

While the commitment on the part of certain individuals and sectors of Government is plain to see, and plans for sign-off and deliberation mechanisms within the cabinet have been made, the articulation of even the outlines of a comprehensive transitional justice policy requires more capacities than have been available up to now.

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 »

Remarks by US State Dept. U/S Patrick Kennedy

Sri Lanka National Day  Remarks Patrick F. KennedyUnder Secretary for Management Organization of American States Washington, DC February 4, 2016 Thank you, Ambassador Kariyawasam, for that kind introduction, and the honor of your invitation. And I must say that I’m incredibly excited to visit your beautiful country later this month and see the progress already made… Read more »

Sri Lankan White Van Awareness Week  

US Ambassador to UN’s Remarks on Sri Lanka’s Disappeared

Remarks at the UN Security Council Arria-Formula Meeting on the Global Challenge of Accounting for Missing Persons Ambassador Samantha Power U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations U.S. Mission to the United Nations New York City January 27, 2016 AS DELIVERED Thank you, so much. Ambassador Rycroft, thank you for focusing the Council on this… Read more »

HRW: Fulfill Rights Council Call for Justice

by Human Rights Watch, January 25, 2015 (New York) – The Sri Lankan government should fulfill its commitments to the United Nations Human Rights Council by ensuring that foreign judges and prosecutors play a significant role in the mandated accountability mechanism for wartime abuses, Human Rights Watch said today. On January 21, 2016, President Maithripala Sirisena… Read more »

Myths, Realities and Options for Transitional Justice in Sri Lanka

by Bhavani Fonseka & Luwie Ganeshathasan, Centre for Policy Alternatives, Colombo, January 18, 2016 The 2015 political transition in Sri Lanka witnessed several promises for reform. One area in the reform agenda includes the processes and mechanisms for transitional justice. The resolution titled ‘Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka’ adopted at the… Read more »

Peace Process Would Have Benefitted from Greater Intl Effort

From left: Bharath Gopalaswamy, Director of the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center, moderates a discussion with Mark Salter, author of To End a Civil War; Erik Solheim, a former chief negotiator in the Sri Lankan peace process; and Richard L. Armitage, who has served as Deputy Secretary of State in the George W. Bush administration,… Read more »

Starvation in Syria Galvanizes U.N.

by Somini Sengupta, ‘The New York Times,’ January 15, 2016 UNITED NATIONS — The images of gaunt, hollow-eyed children in three besieged Syrian towns this week prompted even the usually cautious Ban Ki-moon to bluntly and publicly declare that the people starving civilians on the battlefield were committing war crimes. “Tomorrow,” Mr. Ban, the secretary… Read more »

A New Era for a Renewed Sri Lanka

As I walked through Trincomalee’s Koneswaran and Colombo’s Gangaramaya temples last month, learning of their ancient and important histories, I was struck by the strength and resilience of the Sri Lankan people. Over many centuries and across many generations, Sri Lankans have turned to their faiths and cultures to endure and overcome many challenges. They… 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 »

U.S. Under Secretary Thomas Shannon Speech Speech at Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations & Strategic Studies, Colombo Good morning, and to all of you Ayubowan, Vanakkam. Thank you for being here. It’s a tremendous honor and a great pleasure to be here today. Thank you, Mr. Minister, for your very kind introduction.  To be at this respected institute, named… Read more »

Sri Lanka Talks Big on Human Rights Day

Ruki Fernando, a human rights activist, says that the government’s decision to sign the convention “indicates interest…nothing more.” Fernando also mentions that, on other occasions, the Sri Lankan government “has ratified treaties and then brought in enabling legislation.” Sri Lanka still hasn’t criminalized enforced disappearances.

Sri Lanka vs Human Rights: Encouraging Signs, More To Be Done

As International Human Rights Day was commemorated last Thursday, a top UN official said that there were encouraging signs that Sri Lanka will deal with human rights concerns related to the war but the new government was not willing to go all the way. Christof Heyns, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or… Read more »

Colombia: Agreement on Disappearances Moving Forward

The Commission has stepped up to the plate. It created an inter-agency working group to assist in fulfilling its charge. It will review and compare existing data bases on the disappeared; seek ways to improve procedures for finding, identifying and exhuming remains; and coordinate its work with victims’ groups and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). It will also hold four regional forums and one national forum to collect proposals from academics, victims, and human rights organizations that will help inform their recommendations to the negotiators. Such forums have proven invaluable in earlier efforts to engage civil society in developing and sharing their proposals in relation to the particular items of the peace agenda.