The ICG Report on Tamil Politics and the Quest for a Political Solution: The Blind Spot The recently released report “Sri Lanka: Tamil Politics and the Quest for a Political Solution” by the International Crisis Group [ICG] is a timely contribution to the international community’s understanding of current Tamil politics, and reiterates a number of… Read more »
Posts Categorized: Politics
I congratulate all those who are working to ensure that there will be a war crimes investigation. As 27 November dawns around the world, I acknowledge the grief and courage of Tamils who gather together to remember and reflect on the enormity of the lives lost.
I repeat the call that crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Sri Lanka must be independently investigated.
The Remembrance Day events are therefore not just about commemorating the past. In remembering the sacrifices of the past we also reaffirm our commitment to the Tamil struggle. The sacrifices of the past impose obligations on us and command us to struggle to secure Tamil national rights.
“It is true Tamil Eelam is a small nation on the globe. However it is a nation with great potential. It is a nation with a characteristic individuality. It has a distinctive language, cultural heritage and history. Sinhalam seeks with its military might to destroy all these. It seeks to destroy Tamil sovereignty and replace it with Sinhala sovereignty. As the freedom movement of the people of Tamil Eelam we will never, ever allow Sinhala occupation or Sinhala domination of our homeland.
“Whatever challenges confront us, whatever contingencies we encounter, whatever forces stand on our path, we will still continue with our struggle for the freedom of the Tamil people. On the path shown by history, on the command of the circumstances of today, we will continue with our struggle till alien Sinhala occupation of our land is removed.”
But on a lighter vein, I recall what I wrote to President Premadasa:-Sir, please turn the lion on the National flag the other way, so as not to threaten the two minorities with the sword!
To His Excellency President Rajapakse, I may quote a Chinese proverb from Wang Suo of Hans dynasty: –Nothing brings greater misfortune than killing those who have already surrendered…
Mr. D.S. Senanayake, the first Prime Minister, who knew the birth pangs and fears of the non-Sinhalese on the eve of Independence, loudly proclaimed to the world: United we stand, divided we fall!
The GoSL’s own action plan was crafted without the participation of community members and is an inadequate document. It is a plan that will encourage neither fundamental changes nor sustainable peace; it was designed principally for international consumption. Hence, it is imperative that other, more reasonable alternatives be considered…
At the outset, it is important for all stakeholders to realize that a fundamental change is needed. The commission’s mandate highlights this.
“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.”
International actors should press the government more effectively for speedy establishment of an elected provincial council and full restoration of civilian government in the north, while insisting that it commence serious negotiations with elected Tamil representatives from the north and east.
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.
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.
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 »
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.