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 »
Posts Categorized: Politics
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.
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.
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.
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.”
“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.”
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.
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 »
“We must contest every single inch of ground and delay the baby-murdering, tax-raising socialists at every opportunity. But in due time, the maggots will have eaten every morsel of flesh off of the rotting corpse of the Republic, and therein lies our opportunity… Why should Vermont and Texas live under the same government? Let each go her own way in peace, sign a free trade agreement among the states and we can avoid this gut-wrenching spectacle every four years.”
The Obama administration, if eager to maintain a good relationship with Sri Lanka, especially given its strategic location in the Indian Ocean, has also expressed concerns about the government’s human rights record.
In conclusion, I will say, by talking and writing in the same manner as Rajakarunanayake, all Sinhala Buddhist governments have managed for 65 years to achieve their goal with maximum success. If they can manage in the same manner for another 10 years, there won’t be any more ethnic issue in Sri Lanka.
This is the reason the people, leaders in Tamil Nadu and India who have strong linguistic, cultural, religious, social and economic connections in Sri Lanka are looking in a pragmatic way to sort out the ethnic problem meaningfully and at the earliest.
The people and the government of India co-operated well with Sri Lanka in bringing the war to an end. Now there is nothing wrong in them finding all available mechanisms to find a peaceful solution where all can live in peace and harmony in Sri Lanka.
If the Government is not willing to keep the several promises it made to the TNA in the last two years, what hope is there that it will act honourably in the PSC?
After the War President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in a recent bombast, declared that his government would not allow anyone to interfere with the country’s judiciary. But knowing the crazy things happening there, he probably meant no one would be allowed to interfere with his ‘right’ to interfere! With the AG Department under him, and the power… Read more »
Hattrem summarized the Norwegian view of the challenges to finding out about war crimes: that in all likelihood only 2-3 army officers knew about any given illegal action, that orders were given verbally, that government officials will not give evidence, and that the Tamils are afraid to give evidence. Strommen suggested that although Williamson cannot use information given by the ICRC directly, that information may be used as a cross-check against information gathered from other sources. Stangeland said that the Norwegian government was shocked by the extent to which, in the last stages of the conflict, the Sri Lankan army and government (a) said that its actions were proportionate, which turned out to be false, and (b) violated every guaranteed civilian “safe zone” that was supposedly put into place.
Over half of the world’s peace agreements are broken within a few years anyway, that’s the official record. Remember that historic peace pact between the Israelis and the Palestinians – see how long that one lasted! And you may not even have noticed that just a few years before the Sri Lankan military destroyed the last remains of the Tamil Tigers on the battlefield, the two parties had also signed a comprehensive peace agreement, brokered by the Norwegians. …
And the reason it is so critical to the peace agreement which has just been signed is that peace at the negotiating table is only ever possible when there is real peace on the ground. Most ceasefires are broken the day they are agreed, and they continue to be broken every day because both sides are continually testing the other, reigning in their forces only enough to get the best deal they can at the negotiating table and if they don’t get it, are ready to go back to fighting until they do.
“We want peace,” Márquez said. “But peace doesn’t mean the silencing of guns — it means transforming the structures of the state and changing our political, economic and military models.”
The war against the LTTE, waged by the Mahinda Rajapakse government, may have restored peace in Sri Lanka. But thousands of Tamils paid the price for the so-called victory with their lives, journalist Frances Harrison tells Vicky Nanjappa.
Former BBC Correspondent to Sri Lanka, and the author of ‘Still Counting The Dead’, Frances Harrison, interviewed by Palaka’ni, TamilNet.
Julian Vigo: I got involved because I was working on child trafficking projects in Haiti and was approached by two different members of the UN who asked me to make a report about what they witnessed in Sri Lanka that resembled much of what they were seeing in Haiti.
Racism in areas of language, education and employment is pervasive and deeply ingrained in Sri Lanka’s social, economic and political structures.
For these reasons and more we request the Special Rapporteur on Racism to make an official visit to Sri Lanka to make an assessment of the underlying structural inequalities and escalating intolerance there…