Your report outlines the litany past and present violations of human Rights in Sri Lanka, however, we wish to stress the urgent need to address the imminent loss of democratic space, and franchise for the Tamil people in the North and East of the island.
The North and East of Sri Lanka are traditional Tamil territory with a unique language and culture. Sri Lanka has undertaken a campaign against the Tamil people to systematically mute their voice, and agency over a 65 year period. This campaign has progressively curtailed the democratic franchise of Tamils in the East.
The same ruthless program is now undertaken in the North. Increased militarization, land grab, and the establishment of new Sinhalese settlements in traditional Tamil areas are exasperating the Sinhalization and Budhization of the North, This is no longer an armed conflict – but a demographic one – one that is based on artificially changing the population that would assimilate Tamils as one monolithic group within the island.
Written Statement submitted by Pasumai Thaayagam, Chennai to the UN Human Rights Council, February 11, 2013 Written Statement Pasumai Thaayagam UNHRC Feb 2013
“Expressing concern at the continuing reports of violations of human rights in Sri Lanka, including enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture, and violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, as well as intimidation of and reprisals against human rights defenders, members of civil society and journalists, and threats to judicial independence and the rule of law, and discrimination on the basis of religion or belief.”
India’s government loses key ally over UN resolution against Sri Lanka Arun Sankar K./AP – Indian Tamil activists burn a Sri Lankan flag during a protest against Sri Lanka’s alleged wartime abuses, in Chennai, India on March 19, 2013. A key ethnic Tamil political party withdrew from the Indian government over its unmet demands that India… Read more »
The DMK accused the government of diluting a draft Sri Lanka resolution sponsored by the United States and ignoring the Tamil party’s concerns.
The draft resolution can be technically amended right up to the moment of adoption which could be as late as Friday afternoon this week. However, amendments need to be politically acceptable to all co-sponsors and the challenge would be to get the necessary political acceptance, including instruction from the capital city for many or most delegations…
We have long insisted that what Sri Lanka needs is an independent international investigation into the war crimes, and crimes against humanity, that both sides participated in in the final stages of Sri Lanka’s civil war. This resolution falls short of delivering that.
Nevertheless, this resolution is a positive step: it builds on the resolution that was passed at last year’s Human Rights Council but uses stronger language and gives an enhanced mandate to UN experts (known as Special Rapporteurs and Special Procedure Mandate Holders) to hold the Government of Sri Lanka to account over human rights violations – and it’s an important step on the road towards the international investigation we need. It is very important that the resolution not be abandoned as a result of this controversy.
But the government has not built upon the peace dividend. Instead, it has used the space to consolidate its power, and to remove some of the checks and balances that are the hallmarks of true democracy. Four years later, rule of law is endangered, media freedom and freedom of speech are under attack, and reconciliation seems even more distant than it did during the long years of conflict.
For immediate release – Role of Tamil Nadu to Pressure India for Strengthening UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka World Thamil Organization, Inc. (WTO) is a Registered, Non-Profit organization, incorporated in the United States of America. Since its inception in 1991, WTO has been espousing the legitimate cause of Tamils wherever they live. The Tamil people,… Read more »
David L. Phillips, Director of ISHR’s Program on Peace-building and Rights, released a statement at a briefing organized by the Mission of Japan to the UN for Member States noting the Government of Sri Lanka’s failure to conduct a credible domestic investigation into violations of international humanitarian law and calling for independent investigation of alleged… Read more »
Our government should back UN calls for justice by urging the Commonwealth to move its summit elsewhere The Queen shakes hands with Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Commonwealth heads of government meeting last year. Photograph: Wpa Pool/Getty Images In early 2009, as foreign secretary, I travelled to Sri Lanka with Bernard… Read more »
Appeal from Tamil Civil Society to the International Community regarding the upcoming resolution in the UNHRC on Sri Lanka This appeal, signed by civil society activists who live and work in the North and East of Sri Lanka, seeks to state our position with regard to the resolution on Sri Lanka to be tabled at… Read more »
by Desmond Tutu & Mary Robinson, ‘Times of India,’ New Delhi, March 11, 2013 Absence of war is not peace: the saying is true of Sri Lanka today. While the country’s civil war ended four years ago, and roads have been rebuilt, human rights protections are getting weaker. The personal tragedies of the conflict’s victims… Read more »
Tamils for Obama to Karunanidhi: Demand Congress Party Support for International Investigation for Sri Lankan War Crimes Tamils for Obama said to DMK chief Karunanidhi in a letter that he had a unique opportunity to push Congress Party in the right direction in support of an International Investigation of war crimes committed by Sri Lanka… Read more »
Demanding an impartial inquiry into the “genocide” in Sri Lanka, the former External Affairs Minister said there should also be a clear commitment from Colombo that the guilty would be punished.
In this context we are acutely aware that the GOSL will seek to show the world that some progress has been made, by pointing to the current visit by the TNA to South Africa. Therefore, we wish to make it clear that our engagement with the South African initiative is NOT a process that we have commenced with the GOSL and that appropriate action at the UNHRC is absolutely necessary to persuade the GOSL to comply with the said resolution and to discontinue with its harmful agenda against the Tamil People of Sri Lanka.
Letter from DMK Chief Karunanidhi to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh detailing 89 Tamil villages renamed with Sinhala names in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. The letter gives the location of the villages on a map and by district, and lists the Tamil heritage names of the villages and the new Sinhala names. In addition,… Read more »
To deny the guerrillas local support, he sent soldiers to wipe out hundreds of Mayan villages. In 1999, after the war’s end, the United Nations-sponsored Historical Clarification Commission tallied thousands of rapes, tortures, disappearances, violations of cultural rights and extrajudicial executions his forces committed while he held power, and concluded that he presided over acts of genocide…
How, then, to account for Guatemala’s move to prosecute its most notorious public figure? Most of the credit goes to survivors and victims’ families for 30 years of tenacious research and advocacy. International human rights groups, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the United Nations and foreign governments helped. And Guatemala’s attorney general since 2010, Claudia Paz y Paz, has revolutionized the prosecutor’s office, pushing cases involving war crimes, corruption and narcotrafficking.
Eventually, the guerrillas sued for a ceasefire that was turned down, after which they were completely wiped out. This is how living nations deal with armed insurgencies on their soil.
In sharp contrast, the insurgents in Pakistan have been treated with kid gloves during the last decades. Since they professed to be religious, they’ve acquired many admirers and supporters. Perhaps, that is one of the reasons why a national consensus on defeating the militants could not emerge.
“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.”
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.