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Canadian Tamil Congress Urges Meaningful Action on UN Report

by Canadian Tamil Congress, April 26, 2011

In light of the UN panel’s finding that the government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam violated international law, an independent investigation of these crimes must take place.  If the government of Sri Lanka continues its denial for accountability, it is the responsibility of those in the international community who champion human rights to band together to find a just solution to this dilemma placed on the future viability of international law.   

For Immediate Release

 

April 26, 2011

 

Canadian Tamil Congress urges meaningful action on UN Report

 

After gathering evidence for 10 months, the UN Secretary General’s three-member panel on Sri Lanka has called for a thorough investigation into what it believes to be credible allegations that war crimes, and crimes against humanity, were committed by both sides of the civil war in Sri Lanka as the war drew to an end nearly two years ago.

The panel found that the government of Sri Lanka, among various violations, systematically shelled vulnerable areas during the war, including: all hospitals in the Vanni region, even though the government knew their locations; the UN hub; food distribution lines; near the ICRC ships coming to pick up the wounded; and three consecutive no-fire zones, where it encouraged the civilian population to concentrate.

In stark contrast to the government of Sri Lanka’s repeated assertion that there was a policy of “zero civilian casualties,” the panel found that tens of thousands died in the last five months of the war.  The panel highlighted that government shelling was the main cause of the civilian casualties.  

Among the allegations against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the panel said the insurgents refused civilians permission to leave areas under their control, “using them as hostages, at times even using their presence as a strategic human buffer between themselves and the advancing Sri Lanka army.” 

 “The Canadian Tamil Congress unequivocally calls for the implementation of all of the UN panel’s recommendations,” said David Poopalapillai, National Spokesperson for the Canadian Tamil Congress.  “We agree with the UN Panel that any accountability process must meet international standards which will, at the very minimal, focus on the achievement of truth, justice and reparations for victims.” 

In light of the UN panel’s finding that the government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam violated international law, an independent investigation of these crimes must take place.  If the government of Sri Lanka continues its denial for accountability, it is the responsibility of those in the international community who champion human rights to band together to find a just solution to this dilemma placed on the future viability of international law.   

 “Given Sri Lanka's culture of impunity, and its contempt for the rule of law, the international community must hold Sri Lankan actors accountable for their blatant refusal to take responsibility and failures to uphold international human rights law", concluded Poopalapillai.

To this effect, the Canadian Tamil Congress urges the members of the United Nations Human Rights Council to reconsider the resolution defeated at the Special Session on Sri Lanka and impose measures against Sri Lanka, including establishing an investigative body that can lead to prosecutions against individuals and groups engaged in the breach of international law.  

Full Text of UN Panel Report

http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus/Sri_Lanka/POE_Report_Full.pdf    

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