Ilankai Tamil Sangam

24th Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Recent Quotes on Sri Lanka

Compiled by Nadodi, November 13, 2007

Senator Leahy of the US pointed out that the Millennium Challenge Corporation suspended over $11 million in aid intended for Sri Lanka, based on a statement by Freedom House that the serious rights abuses and excessive restrictions on freedom of speech and association by the GoSL merits the removal of the country from the list of eligible recipients of such aid.

Illegal Firearms Program Co-ordinator of South Asia Small Arms Network Ranjith Srilal Piyaratna [a Sinhalese] said that there are 2.3 million small arms in SL, of which 1.3 million are illegal (in a country of about 20 million), leading to an escalation of crime.

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Novak in a statement to the UN Assembly Third Committee said that torture is widely practiced in Sri Lanka.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Summary or Arbitrary Executions Philip Aston has called on the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council to act on Sri Lanka, as the situation in the country has worsened.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour who visited the island was taken on a conducted tour by the government, but was prevented from visiting areas controlled by the Freedom Fighters. In her final Press Conference she lamented the dire state of human rights in the island and called for independent monitoring. The Sinhalese Human Rights Minister blindly rejected the idea.

Asian Human Rights Commission issued a statement on lawlessness which said that within the policing systems higher officers ranging from IGP to ASPs have shown an irresponsibility that is alarming.

33 community and city based organisations have written to the International Committee Co-ordinating National Institutions for Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Geneva not to lend credibility and legitimacy to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka.

Human Rights Watch in the USA says that the breakaway LTTE group (the Karuna group, also known as the TMVP) has been given protection by the GoSL, even though it has forcibly recruited several hundred children and was involved in kidnappings of wealthy, predominantly Tamil, businessmen.

Reporters Without Borders has reported that the TMVP was acting as death squads.

G. Luciani, in an article in the Tamil Canadian website, quotes Articles 15, 16, and 17 of the first Geneva Convention and says that it is a war crime to remove the clothes of the 20 dead liberation fighters, both male and female, who were killed during the attack on the Anuradhapura airport and allowing the public to take photographs, The bodies were buried without being handed over to the Red Cross to be given to their headquarters as had been the practice. The bodies were buried by the army and it was reported that the magistrate had given an order to bury them. The magistrate later denied having done so! The Liberation Fighters under similar circumstances buried dead soldiers with full military honors.

Lucia Withers, Asia Program manager of the Coalition to Stop Child soldiers, said in London that forcible abductions from temples, playgrounds and refugee camps are taking place by the TMVP in army controlled areas.

Senator Leahy of the US pointed out that the Millennium Challenge Corporation suspended over $11 million in aid intended for Sri Lanka, based on a statement by Freedom House that the serious rights abuses and excessive restrictions on freedom of speech and association by the GoSL merits the removal of the country from the list of eligible recipients of such aid.

Paul Willms, ex-M.P.of the Netherlands, urged the International Community to put in place sanctions on the GoSL for failing to deliver a reasonable proposal to meet the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil Community for three decades, and to improve the deteriorating human rights records, aimed specially toward the E.U., India, and the US, to implement an even-handed approach and policy aimed at resumption of talks for a peace settlement.

Human Rights Watch, in a Nov. 7th 2007 letter to American House of Representatives Nita Lowey and Frank Wolf, states,”Since mid-2006 resumption of military operations, civilians has borne the brunt of the fighting. More than 1,000 have reportedly disappeared. Several hundreds of thousands have been displaced. In the past 18 months there has been a significant jump in abuses by government forces, such as indiscriminate shelling and extra-judicial executions and forced disappearances. In addition, there is evidence that Sri Lanka Govt. forces have stood by while pro-government armed groups have carried out abuses, including forcibly recruiting children into their forces. Members of the government security have long enjoyed impunity from prosecutions: there is little evidence that the govt. is bringing perpetrators of serious abuses to justice. It is important to note that the Department of State has publicly supported a strong UN Monitoring Mission and urged the Sri Lanka Government to meet the conditions in the Senate bill. (Note that, since this letter, news have appeared in the Daily Mirror of 10th November that the US has handed over a radar-based surveillance system and several rigid hull inflatable Boats to Sri Lanka.)

Allan Rock, Special Rapporteur for UN Representative Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, said in a report to her that not only Karuna (a deserter from Liberation Fighters and now leading a paramilitary group) not only recruited children, but alleged that some sections of the armed forces aided Karuna in such recruitment.

World Bank Managing Director Graeme Wheeler says that there is an alarming rate of killings, abductions, and disappearances taking place in Sri Lanka. He has also emphasized the need for a political solution soon.  

A Policy Report of the East /West Center- a Washington think tank says “Political Buddhism and Sinhalese Buddhist Nationalism have contributed to national ideology that has been used to expand and perpetuate Sinhala Buddhist supremacy within a unitary Sri Lankan State, create laws, rules, and structures that institutionalised such supremacy; and attacks those who disagree with this agenda as enemies of the State."

The International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) appointed by the President to oversee the Commission Of Inquiry (COI) and appointed to probe abductions, disappearances, and extrajudicial killings of only a selected 15 incidents that took place since 2005, has criticised the performance of the COI.

The mandate of one year of the COI will expire at the end of November without resolving any of the incidents probed. The IIGEP also stated that the Attorney General's involvement in the panel of counsels to the Commission was a severe conflict of interest. The Attorney General has totally disagreed with this view.

The final report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry of missing persons says "Most of the disappearances have been caused by the army and police."

The Members of Parliament of the East, both Muslim and Tamils, protested to the Sinhala majority Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) that the captured areas of the East are being colonised with Sinhalese convicts, eg. plantations of the Cashew Corporation. They have also criticized the GoSL's decision to have development projects in the East managed by the security forces and police.

Quotes...Continued