UN’s failure to protect Tamil civilians
by Kumarathasan Rasingam – Secretary, Tamil Canadian Elders for Human Rights Org., December 29, 2020
The UNHRC Resolutions 30/1 of 2015, 34/1 of 2017 and 40/1 of 2019 after so much hard work, negotiations and after extension for six years have now produced zero achievement and the endless suffering of the Tamils and Muslims continues.
The Presence of the Military at a ratio of one soldier to four civilians [01 : 04 (1 soldier to 4 civilians)] — Tamils are really under an army of occupation – [Civilians are Tamils, Hindu/Christians/Muslims, while – Military are Sinhalese, ~97% Buddhists] The occupying military is involving in day to day life of civilians, harassing civil society and human rights defenders and even the very old mothers who are on the streets on sit-in-protests demanding to know the whereabouts of their loved ones handed over to the military during and after the end of war that killed more than 70,000 people as per the UN’s Petrie report.
Tamil MP Ponnambalam on December 2020 exposed in Parliament the genocide of Tamils & the Army of occupation ratio of 1 solder for 4 civilians and that out of 20 Army division, 16 are stationed in the Tamils’ homeland amidst hooting and shouting.
Government-sponsored Sinhalisization and Buddhizisation in the traditional and historical homelands of Tamils [North and Eastern Provinces.] Tamils’ lands are forcefully grabbed by the Sinhala Archaeological Department in the North and East under the guise of excavation to find any Buddhist presence and declaring any found as an archaeological site and then earmarks vast acres of land and take away the lands of Tamils, their temples, churches, etc. In addition, the Forest Department which consists of Sinhala Buddhist officials takes away the cultivated lands and even homes of poor Tamils, falsely claiming that the land belongs to the Forest Department where these poor peasants have been living for decades.
Britain’s Shadow Minister for Asia Stephen Kinnock has further called on the UK government to “show international leadership” on Sri Lanka. In a letter, he notes “deep concern about alarming threats to democratic governance, the rule of law and human rights” on the island.
Lord Ahmad’s full remarks are reproduced below:
“Sri Lanka is a human rights priority country for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and we regularly raise our concerns about the human rights situation with the Government of Sri Lanka. These concerns include the increased harassment of civil society, the militarisation of civilian functions, and the government’s withdrawal of support for the UN Human Rights Council resolution on post-conflict truth, accountability and reconciliation. I have raised concerns on several occasions with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, most recently during calls on 4 and 5 November. The UK’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka also regularly raises human rights issues in her discussions with the government of Sri Lanka.”
Longstanding, delayed emblematic crimes not prosecuted to protect the perpetrators, who are mostly alleged from security forces or from the ruling clans:
- Killing of five High School students on January 02, 2006
Is still pending full investigation by successive Sri Lankan Governments. In this respect it is relevant to quote from Madam Meenatchy Ganguly, South Asia Director at Human Rights Watch, said “The failure to convict anyone in this emblematic case after 13 years demonstrates the need for a court with international
Participation that can properly protect victims and witnesses.”
- Killing of 16 Action Farm Workers [ACF] on August 04, 2006. These 16 Tamil Aid workers in the ACF team were providing assistance to the survivors of the December 2004 tsunami in Muttur, Sri Lanka. Hon. James Ross, Legal and Policy Director of Human Rights Watch said “The ACF case shows the need for the Government to seek international judicial assistance to prosecute these and other killings.”
- Killing of Tamil Parliamentarian [TNA] Joseph Pararajasingam who was killed in a Cathedral on 25th December 2005 during midnight mass for Christmas. It is a fact that no one has yet been convicted for committing murder in the Cathedral on the day of Christmas. WITHER JUSTICE????
- Killing of Tamil MP [TNA] and human rights lawyer Nadarajah Raviraj on November 10, 2006. He was shot dead on a main road in Colombo by an assailant riding a motorbike. The attack took place near a Security Base on a sketch of road between police check points.
The UN Petrie Report on Sri Lanka on its Internal Review Report concludes: “The report concludes that the United Nations system failed to meet its responsibilities – highlighting, in particular, the roles played by the Secretariat, the programs of the UN Country Team, and the members of the Security Council,”
Ban ki-Moon, former UN Secretary General said in a statement, “This finding has profound implication for our work across the world, and I am determined that the United Nations draws the appropriate lessons and does its utmost to earn the confidence of the world’s people, especially those caught in conflict who look to the organization for help.” he said.
“The UN internal review identified the tragic mistakes that led the UN to fail in its most basic obligations to civilians in Sri Lanka.” said Philippe Bolopion of Human Rights Watch. “It is a call to action for the entire UN system.”
THE UN HAS A SECOND CHANCE AT RIGHTING THE WRONGS COMMITTED IN SRI LANKA
The affected Tamils in Sri Lanka who have undergone several Government sponsored pogroms in 1956, 1958, 1971, 1977, 1981, 1983 and Genocidal war from 2006-2009 and continuing structural genocide are yearning for justice and pinning their hopes on UN, UNHRC, UN Security Council, International Criminal Court, UNHRC member countries and the International Community including the leading human rights organizations.
It is to be noted carefully the causes for the conflict, some of which are as follows:-
[a] The dream and goal of the Maha Sanga – Buddhist Clergy is to make Sri Lanka a BUDDHIST SINHALESE STATE – to assimilate the minorities [Tamils, Muslims and Christians] by state sponsored colonization in the North and Eastern Provinces where predominately Tamils, Muslims and Christians live.
[b] The ethnic conflict was sidelined by the United Nations, UNHRC, International Community and Commonwealth of Nations so long to understand the fundamentals underlying behind the dream and goal of successive Sri Lankan Governments, Maha Sanga and the Buddhist clergy.
[c] Sri Lanka which is a multi-linguistic, multi-religious, multicultural and multi-racial country, the concept of rule by the majority is undemocratic.
[d] The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam merely resisted ongoing state terrorism against the Tamils since independence [Several pogroms and killings] when other peaceful non-violence struggle by the Tamil leaders was crushed by mighty military force. There was no other means to the protection of Tamils in the North and East.
LTTE HAS BEEN DEFEATED BUT THE CAUSES WHICH PROMPTED ITS CREATION ARE STILL PRESENT.
[e] How much longer is the UN, UNHCR and International Community going to wait for Sri Lanka to deliver on its pledges, promises and undertakings to gain extension to the UNHRC Resolutions 30/1, 34/1 and 40/1. There is a limit to how much inhumanity human beings can withstand.
[e] It is a proven fact that more than 70,000 Tamils were killed [UN – Petrie Report] on account of their Tamil Nationality and more than 90,000 were made as war widows.
AS MILTON APTLY SAID ‘NEVER CAN TRUE RECONCILIATION GROW WHERE WOUNDS OF DEADLY HATE HAVE PIERCED SO DEEP.’
THE FURTHER SOCIETY DRIFTS FROM TRUTH, THE MORE IT WILL HATE THAT THOSE SPEAK IT’
Tamils around the world [97 million] demand the UN, UNHRC, UN Security Council, International Criminal Court, Commonwealth of Nations, UNHRC Member countries and the International Community to take corrective measures to right the wrongs and find justice for the oppressed Tamils in Sri Lanka.
IT IS NOW VITAL AND IMPORTANT THAT UN AND UNHRC MUST RESPOND BY ESTABLISHING AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION INTO THE ALLEGATION OF WAR CRIMES, CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AND GENOCIDE COMMITTED AGAINST THE TAMILS IN SRI LANKA.