Ilankai Tamil Sangam

23rd Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Quotes on Sri Lanka II

by Nadodi, December 20, 2007

Previous quotes

1.  Daily Mirror, Nov. 27th.

(a)The UN says that armed groups continue to operate in the Amparai District (government-controlled area in the East) with harassments, intimidation of civilians and executions. Statement by the Inter Agency Standing Committee, (IASG) a UN umbrella group.

 (b) Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission also last week expressed concern over continuing disappearances, killings and abductions in the eastern part of the country.

2. Daily Mirror, Dec. 4th.

The Director General of UNESCO Koichiro Matsuura has condemned the government’s air strikes on Voice of Tigers Radio Station, saying there can be no excuse for military strikes on civilian media. UNESCO also condemned mass arrests of Tamils in their thousands.

3. Daily Mirror, Dec. 5th.

Amnesty International has urged government to repeal or revise Emergency Regulations so as to bring them in line with International Human Rights law and standards.

4. Daily News, Dec. 5th

Minister and government Chief Whip Jeryaraj Fernandopillai confirmed mass arrests of over 2,500 Tamils indiscriminately and without inquiry and that over 2,000 were released after inquiry.

5. Sunday Times, Dec. 9th.

UN Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour made an appeal along with the New York-based Human Rights Watch and the London-based Amnesty International to set up UN field operations with a strong mandate to monitor the human rights situation. The government rejected the call.

6. Daily Mirror, Dec. 10th.

The UN affliated Inter Agency Standing Committee said that humanitarian agencies have emphasized that the activities of armed groups in and around Internally Displaced Persons camps and return areas in Batticaloa have a negative impact on projects implementation.

7. Reuters, Dec.10th.

Asian Human Rights Commission said that “Human rights abuse have made Sri Lanka one of the most lawless places in the world and the government must do more to investigate them”. It complained of what it called “the constant killing of people in police detention and the falsification of information to justify crimes committed by state agencies” Describing Sri Lanka’s criminal Justice system as “dysfunctional”, the group said “as long as this situation remains, life will remain a nightmare to all civilians in the country.”

8. AFP, Dec. 10th.

The Asian Human Rights Commission urged immediate international scrutiny and action in Sri Lanka to prevent abductions and killings of civilians. It further said “Sri Lanka had the highest frequency of cases of disappearances in the world reported to the UN. The present situation requires immediate scrutiny and action on the part of the UN and the International community.”

9. AFP, Dec. 17th.

The international Red Cross said one of its workers had been abducted and murdered in Sri Lanka’s government controlled Jaffna peninsula—reportedly by the army intelligence unit.

10. Daily Mirror, Dec. 18th.

Human Rights Watch has said that the recent downgrading of Lanka’s National Human Rights Commission by an International Committee highlights the need for independent international monitoring.

10. Morning Leader, Dec. 19th.

(a)Human Rights Watch said that the country needs international monitors to monitor human rights violations following downgrading due to lack of credible domestic institutions to address human rights violations.

(b) The International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights had reduced the status of the National Human rights Commission to an observer due to government encroaching on its independence, and concerns that the appointment of its commissioners was not in compliance with the Sri Lankan law and the commission’s practice was not balanced, objective, and non-political.

(c) Deputy Assistant Director Human Rights Watch Elaine Peason said Sri Lanka lacks credible domestic institutions to address human rights violations, and the National Human Rights Commission failed to address the hundreds of violations in Sri Lanka over the past two years.

11. AP, Dec. 19th.

US lawmakers have decided to bar all but a small amount of military aid to Sri Lanka till the Bush Administration has certified that the Sri Lankan has made certain improvements in its human rights practices.

12. Daily Mirror, Dec 19th.

The government has reduced the security granted to several Tamil members of Parliament as follows;-

  • (a)    Mr.S. Srikantha. from the Ministries Security Division , from 9 to 5.
  • (b)   Mr.T. Maheswaran from 18 to 2.
  • (c)    Mr. Mano Ganeson from 10 to 2.

The members had asked for additional security. (Note: Mr. Mano Ganeson was recently awarded the runner-up prize for the first Freedom Rights Defender’s award from the US government. He is also the Founder of the Civil Monitoring Commission. His co-founder, MP Raviraj, was killed last year.)

13. Morning Leader Dec 19th

(a) The International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights had reduced the status of the nation’s (Sri Lanka) Human Rights Commission to an observer due to government encroaching on its independence, and concerns that the appointment of its commissioners was not in compliance with the Sri Lankan law and the commissioners’ practice was not balanced, objective and non-political.

(b) Human Rights Watch said the Country (Sri Lanka) needs International Monitors to monitor human rights violations following downgrading (of the National Commission)due to lack of credible domestic institutions to address human rights violations

(c ) Deputy Assistance director , Human Rights watch Elaine Pearson said that Sri Lanka lacks credible domestic institutions to address human rights violation and that the National Human Rights Commission failed to address the hundreds of violations in Sri Lanka over the past two years.

14. Reuters, Dec 19th.

The International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) said that the President’s office wrote to the commission that it was not necessary to probe the conduct of the Attorney General or his department regarding investigations relevant to the probe. It had also interfered with a commission probing civil war rights abuses and murders that included some blamed on state security forces.

15. Daily Mirror, Dec. 19th.

Sri Lanka has been ranked third worldwide in the number of journalists killed in 2007, behind Iraq and Somalia [by the Committee to Protect Journalists. 5 killed in Sri Lanka in 2007.]. 110 journalists were killed worldwide as against 96 in 2006 and 68 in 2005.

16. Daily Mirror, Dec. 20th.

The IIGEP said that there is failure of the commission to effectively probe the failings of the original police investigations into the cases under consideration, as well as difficulties encountered by the commission in securing cooperation and disclosure of information from the state officials and other persons.

The commission has so far not succeeded in identifying why the original police investigations failed to identify and prosecute the perpetrators of these serious crimes.

It reinforced the IIGEP’s view that the inquiry’s process falls short of international norms and standards. The commission’s work lacks transparency and there continues to be a lack of full and timely disclosure of information to the IIGEP. Lack of independence, ineffective witness protection measures and shortcomings with investigations, persistent disregard for its recommendations by the government of Sri Lanka, and the COI, tend to render the IIGEP’s continued role irrelevant, and urged the government to take immediate steps for implementing corrective action.