Posts Categorized: International

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.

Yemen’s Imposed Federal Boundaries

Rather than a rejection of federalism per se, the Houthis’ refusal of the six-region division is as much grounded in the lack of a genuinely inclusive decision-making process as in the specific parameters that undermine their interests. While none of this background serves to justify the Houthis’ recourse to arms, it does highlight the need for a new transition process based on equitable power sharing and sincere ownership across Yemen’s diverse political and geographic landscape as the only way out of the crisis.

For Sri Lanka to Break Cycle of Impunity Promises Need to Be Kept

Sri Lanka may be undertaking a change of course towards accountability for atrocities committed during its 26-year civil war. The new government promised to establish a truth commission and co-sponsored a UN resolution calling for international involvement in a domestic tribunal. At the same time, a commission of inquiry initiated by the previous government issued… Read more »

Rep. Engel Statement on Latest UNHRC Sri Lanka Resolution

Oct 2, 2015 Press Release WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement welcoming the adoption of the UN Human Rights Council resolution on reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in Sri Lanka: “The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation… Read more »

The Geneva Resolution & Politics

by Niran Anketell, ‘Groundviews,’ Colombo, October 10, 2015 The recent Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka is a remarkable document. Crafted in the immediate aftermath of the devastating OISL Report on Sri Lanka whose central recommendation was that a ‘special hybrid court’ be established in Sri Lanka, and despite some hiccups during negotiations, a… Read more »

A More Robust Democracy will Safeguard Peace in Sri Lanka

by Richard Armitage & Karen Bue, ‘South China Morning Post,’ Hong Kong, October 9, 2015 The horrors of the conflict in Sri Lanka were laid bare in a report issued last month by the UN Human Rights Council. Unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, sexual violence and the use of child soldiers were among the parade of… Read more »

Fact Sheets on OISL Report

OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka Fact Sheet 1: Overview of the Report Fact Sheet 2: Torture Fact Sheet 3: Deprivation of Liberty Fact Sheet 4: Unlawful Killings Fact Sheet 5: Abduction Fact Sheet 6: Control of Movement Fact Sheet 7: Last Phase of War    

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 »

Sen. Cardin Speech on the Importance of Accountability in Sri Lanka

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 6, 2015  CONTACTS: Adam Sharon 202-224-4651 Sue Walitsky 202-224-4524   Cardin Speech on the Importance of Accountability in Sri Lanka   WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, submitted the following remarksfor the congressional record regarding the importance of accountability in… Read more »