UN approves Sri Lanka war crimes inquiry

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UN approves Sri Lanka war crimes inquiry [ Al Jazeera ][ Mar 27 13:22 GMT ]

The top United Nations rights body has approved an international war crimes inquiry into alleged crimes committed by both sides during Sri Lanka’s civil war, The government strongly rejects the allegations against it and the probe itself. On Thursday, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution co-sponsored by 41 countries, which allows the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) to monitor progress and undertake a comprehensive investigation into atrocities committed in the months before the end of the war in May 2009. [ full story |

UN takes step towards Sri Lanka war crimes inquiry[ The Guardian ][ Mar 27 15:54 GMT ]

The United Nations has taken its first concrete step towards launching an inquiry into war crimes allegedly committed by both Sri Lankan state forces and Tamil separatist rebels during the island nation’s 25-year brutal civil war. By a vote of 23 states in favour, 12 against and 12 abstentions, the 47-member UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution presented by the United States on behalf of countries including Britain, which said that an inquiry was necessary because the government had failed to investigate properly. [ full story |

UN Human Rights Council Vote on Sri Lanka Reconciliation[ U.S State Dept ][ Mar 27 15:52 GMT ]

Today’s vote in the UN Human Rights Council sends a clear message: The time to pursue lasting peace and prosperity is now; justice and accountability cannot wait. This resolution reaffirms the commitment of the international community to support the Government of Sri Lanka as it pursues reconciliation and respect for human rights and democratic governance. That’s why the resolution requests that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights continues monitoring the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. That’s why it calls on the Office to conduct an investigation into allegations of serious human rights abuses and related crimes during Sri Lanka’s civil war. And that’s why the United States will continue speak out in defense of the fundamental freedoms that all Sri Lankans should enjoy. [ full story |

U.N. Rights Council Approves Investigation of Sri Lanka Civil War[ New York Times ][ Mar 27 15:02 GMT ]

Overriding fierce objections from Sri Lanka, the United Nations Human Rights Council voted on Thursday to open an international investigation into possible war crimes by both the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tiger rebels in the final stages of a 26-year civil war that ended in 2009. The council’s 47 members voted 23 to 12 with 12 abstentions in favor of a resolution sponsored by a core group of nations, including the United States, that calls on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct a comprehensive investigation into allegations of serious violations and abuses of human rights by both sides. [ full story |

UN investigation brings new hope for justice in Sri Lanka[ Amnesty International ][ Mar 27 15:02 GMT ]

The Sri Lankan government must end a nationwide crackdown on dissent and cooperate with UN investigators, Amnesty International said today after the UN Human Rights Council established an inquiry into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country. “The UN inquiry brings new hope for the thousands of victims of abuses in Sri Lanka,” said David Griffiths, Asia-Pacific Deputy Director at Amnesty International. [ full story |

Sri Lanka war: UN council backs rights abuses inquiry[ BBC ][ Mar 27 14:11 GMT ]

The UN Human Rights Council has voted for a resolution which paves the way for an inquiry into rights abuses at the close of Sri Lanka’s civil war. Resolutions expressing alarm at the human rights situation in Sri Lanka have been passed before by the council, but the distinctiveness of this draft is that it asks the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to carry out an inquiry. [ full story |

India abstains from vote on Sri Lanka war crimes in Geneva[ NDTV ][ Mar 27 13:18 GMT ]

India has abstained from the vote at the United Nations session in Geneva which calls for an international criminal investigation into alleged war crimes in the final stage of the island’s civil war which ended in 2009. Sources in the Indian government described the resolution that was adopted by the 47 member countries as an “intrusive approach which undermines national sovereignty.” Sri Lankan is being accused of failing to implement adequate reconciliation measures and investigate allegations of war crimes after the end of a three-decade civil war. [ full story |

U.N. launches investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka[ Reuters ][ Mar 27 13:19 GMT ]

The United Nations on Thursday launched an inquiry into war crimes allegedly committed by both Sri Lankan state forces and Tamil rebels during their conflict that ended in 2009, saying the government had failed to investigate properly. By a vote of 23 states in favor, 12 against (including China and Pakistan) and 12 abstentions (including India), the 47-member U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a resolution presented by the United States on behalf of countries including Britain. [ full story |

UN Human Rights Council: OHCHR report on Sri Lanka[ HRW ][ Mar 27 13:17 GMT ]

This is the third year running that a resolution on Sri Lanka has been discussed at the Human Rights Council. In spite of two previous resolutions giving the Sri Lankan government ample opportunity to credibly address accountability for the many violations of international humanitarian law outlined in its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report as well as the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts report, there has been no evidence of meaningful progress. This has been forcefully reported by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, both in her statement after her August 2013 visit to Sri Lanka, and in her comprehensive written report delivered to the Human Rights Council today. [ full story |

UN human rights chief presses for investigation into alleged abuses in Sri Lanka war[ UN News Centre ][ Mar 27 02:00 GMT ]

Stressing the need to ensure justice and accountability, the United Nations human rights chief today called for the establishment of an independent and credible investigation into alleged violations committed in 2009 during the final phase of the conflict in Sri Lanka. “This is essential to advance the right to truth for all in Sri Lanka and create further opportunities for justice, accountability and redress,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in her address to the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council, which wraps up this Friday in Geneva. [ full story |

‘I cried every day’: inside Sri Lanka’s ‘No Fire Zones’[ Channel 4 News ][ Mar 27 01:59 GMT ]

Five years ago Dr Varatharajah Thariajah was given his freedom in exchange for refuting war crimes allegations against the Sri Lankan government. Today he tells Channel 4 News a different story. At the end of the Sri Lankan civil war the government of Sri Lanka held a press conference, writes Callum Macrae. Five doctors who had been trapped in the war zones – and had told the world of the awful suffering of the trapped civilians – were paraded in front of the world’s media. [ full story |

Sri Lanka Seeks to Fight Off War Crimes Inquiry[ New York Times ][ Mar 27 01:58 GMT ]

Sri Lanka accused Navi Pillay, the United Nations human rights chief, of bias and inaccuracy on Wednesday as it sought to fight off moves in the Human Rights Council to back her recommendation for an international investigation into possible war crimes at the end of the country’s 26-year civil war. After weeks of intensive lobbying by both sides in Geneva and in capitals around the world, the council is scheduled to vote Thursday on a United States-sponsored resolution that takes up Ms. Pillay’s recommendation and calls on her agency to conduct “a comprehensive investigation” into possible war crimes in 2009 “with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring accountability.” [ full story |

“Sri Lanka – What now must be done ?”[ Pressclub.ch ][ Mar 27 01:57 GMT ]

On 28th March, the Human Rights Council will decide whether to make the Government of Sri Lanka accountable for the killing of an estimated 40 000 – 70 000 civilians, the rapes and the death squad victims resulted its assault on the northern province in 2009, and the continuing human rights violations thereafter. Will the proposed Commission of Inquiry be followed by the establishment of an international court, with a prosecutor capable of proceeding against very powerful officials? What kind of international court is needed, where should it be based and who should be prosecuted? What other reforms are necessary in Sri Lanka before the Tamil people are safe? [ full story |

UN to vote on ‘monumental’ Sri Lanka war crimes inquiry[ Channel 4 News ][ Mar 27 01:55 GMT ]

For the council, this represents a dramatic change of tack. Ten days after the conflict ended, it passed a resolution which actually congratulated the Sri Lankan government on bringing the war to an end. But as time has passed, evidence has mounted that the war ended in a bloodbath. Although both the government and the rebel Tamil Tigers were accused of committing war crimes, earlier UN investigations have reported that at least 40,000 Tamil civilians were killed in the final few months of the conflict, mostly by government shelling. [ full story |

Rajapaksa has failed – David Cameron [ Tamil Guardian ][ Mar 27 01:54 GMT ]

Britain’s Premier David Cameron said today that Sri Lanka’s President has failed to address “issues of the past”. Speaking to his parliament in the House of Commons, the prime minister said that he urged leaders from several countries to support the “crucial” resolution for an international investigation. “President Rajapaksa has failed to address the issue of the past properly, so in the coming hours the United Nations will vote on a UK-sponsored resolution for an international and independent investigation into alleged war crimes. At the Council, I secured the full backing of all EU member states for this approach and it is reflected in the conclusions of the Council. At The Hague I urged leaders from countries as diverse as South Korea, Kazakhstan, Gabon and Japan to support this crucial resolution.” [ full story |


China-Russia bloc disappoint sensible humanity[Thu, 27 Mar 2014, 18:39 GMT]

Whether armed or democratic, leaving Eezham Tamils to face struggle against genocide after tilting balance against them is the policy of the world Establishments, and that is evident in the latest resolution passed on Thursday at the UNHRC too. The resolution, without calling for removal of the occupying genocidal military, without recognizing the genocide and without recognizing the nation of Eezham Tamils, has called for a weak war crimes investigation, after binding the UNHRC with ‘united land’ of the genocidal State and the 13th amendment of its unitary constitution. But the stand repeatedly taken by China-Russia bloc and the ‘dog in the manger’ response of New Delhi, even at such a weak resolution, disappoint sensible humanity, commented Tamil activists for alternative politics. Full story >>

UNHRC passes resolution on Sri Lanka seeking another UN report[Thu, 27 Mar 2014, 16:48 GMT]

The resolution on Sri Lanka framed by the United States and the UK with the backing of 36 other Member States of the United Nations, passed with 23 of 47 Member States of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voting for the resolution, 12 voting against and 12 abstaining. The resolution has failed to call for a full fledged independent international investigations and to propose an international mechanism to put an end to the ongoing genocide against the nation of Eelam Tamils. India and Japan have abstained from voting. Pakistan and Maldives voted against and South Korea voted for the US proposed resolution. Full story >>

Risking even their lives, Tamils demand international investigations: Mannaar Bishop[Sun, 23 Mar 2014, 06:47 GMT]

The rulers of the Sri Lankan State are not prepared to come to light; they continue with their activities in darkness. They are capable of telling bigger lies than Satan’s biggest lies, said Rt. Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph, the Catholic Bishop of Mannaar, taking part at a peaceful rally in Mannaar on Friday. Even the investigations that are about to commence with international monitoring, as it is being proposed now, are not adequate, he said. “We don’t need it. The Sri Lankan State is capable of guiding even that process under the darkness. The Sri Lankan government is capable in twisting everything through its propaganda orchestration. We also know what happened to the doctors who came from the war zone. As far we as we are concerned, there should only be an international investigation that could bring justice,” the Bishop said. Full story >>

Noting that the Resolution tabled at the UNHRC Geneva meeting falls short in establishing a required accountability mechanism through a UN-controlled transitional administration that has the capacity to create an environment to gather evidence of what happened during the war, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, the president of the Tamil National People’s Front, said in a press meet held in Geneva on Friday that the weak mandate of the resolution will not only fail to bring about positive changes to Tamil people on the ground, but will also encourage the Sri Lankan government to continue to carry out the sort of actions that they have been carrying out. Full story >>

“The UK’s permanent representative at the United Nations, a man called Sir John Sawers, who was at that time the permanent representative to the UN, stopped any Security Council discussion about the crisis in Sri Lanka in February 2009. This was the exact point, as we know very well from the Petrie Report that the UN officers were raising massive alerts inside the organisation about the impending massacre. It was the UK that stopped the Security Council from discussing those reports openly, so it wasn’t just an internal institutional failure of the UN, it was a deliberate policy of the UK government,” said British criminology academic Dr Andy Higginbottom, addressing a media meet in Geneva on Friday. He elucidated on how the UK was long blighting the cause of Eezham Tamils. Full story >>

The Deputy Chairman of Valikaamam North Piratheasa Chapai (PS) and the president of Vali North Displaced Peoples Rehabilitation Organisation, S. Shageevan spoke at UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday demanding global focus on the ideology-driven genocide against Tamil people in the North and East of the island. In the meantime, Tamil diaspora activist Krisna Saravanamuttu from the National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT) addressing the Council on the same session said that Tamil people are enduring a slow, but relentless, genocide. “The Tamil struggle today is about the survival of our people against genocide by the Sri Lankan state to destroy our sovereign national existence in the island’s NorthEast,” Krisna Saravanamuttu said. Full story >>

Guruparan addresses de-Tamilization, dichotomization in Geneva narrative[Tue, 25 Mar 2014, 04:44 GMT]“Unless we take a critical stance in terms of what is happening in Geneva and unless we move away from the approach that all roads lead to Geneva in terms of how Tamil problems are going to be looked at, we are not going to identify the alternatives,” Tamil civil society activist and Jaffna University law academic Kumaravadivel Guruparan said while discussing whether the resolution to be tabled in Geneva is part of solution or problem. On the question, if not for this resolution what is the alternative, he said: “If we approach the resolution critically and people are made to understand what the resolution is about, at least the space of identifying the alternative will come about. It is that creation of that space for looking for alternatives that I am arguing for. That will come about only by taking stock a realistic, pragmatic and honest take over this resolution.” Full story >>

TNPF: Only a UN Special Tribunal can deliver justice to Sri Lanka’s genocidal criminality[Wed, 26 Mar 2014, 19:39 GMT]During the General Debate on the United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner’s report on Sri Lanka, 26th Wednesday, the President of Tamil National People’s Front [TNPF], Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, while concurring with the People’s Tribunal that there is on-going genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka, said that “the remedy for violations at the level of gravity that occurred ultimately, cannot be anything short of a judicial process through the ICC [International Criminal Court] or an Ad Hoc special tribunal,” adding, “[a]nything less would undermine the concept of international justice and the application of humanitarian law.” Selvarajah Kajendran, General Secretary, TNPF, and Visvalingam Manivannan, National Organiser, TNPF, also spoke on the other weaknesses in the UN resolution. Full story >>