Human Rights &
International Human Rights Day
52nd Anniversary of the UDHR
Statement by Tamil Centre for Human Rights (TCHR/CTDH)
10 December 2000
The Tamil Centre for Human Rights - TCHR/CTDH, in association
with other Human Rights organisations, Institutions, Human rights defenders and
with many others around the world celebrates the 52nd anniversary of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights - UDHR.
The UDHR opened up the pathway to many other Conventions, Convenants and
Declarations in the context of Human Rights. The UDHR has thirty articles, which
include the rights of people to Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and to
Civil and Political Rights.
Violations of human
rights started in Sri Lanka a long time ago. We are witnesses to the fact
that the UDHR and subsequent Covenants and Conventions are seriously violated by
the government of Sri Lanka and its allies.
The new phenomenon of aggressive states is that they label any action other than
non-violent struggle, as "terrorism" and "terrorist". Undoubtedly the task of
Human Rights defenders is a purely non-violent one - organising meetings,
seminars, producing reports and lobbying locally and internationally. However,
another phenomenon of State terrorism and its propagandists, is to call Human
Rights organisations "Front Organisations" and "Outfits"!
State terrorism and its propagandists fail to counter the message - reports, etc
of the Human Rights defenders but aggressively target the messengers instead.
the way for more state terrorism, not only in the country of origin but even
in other countries too. In the recent past, Sri Lanka and its neighbours have
increased their State terrorism.
When violations committed by States are reported to International Human Rights
organisations and UN organs, some States always try to find a way to defend
themselves, by any means. When we look at the record of the UN, it is crystal
clear that the States which have the highest violations, always dominate the UN
Human Rights organs and institutions.
The notorious States look for membership in the UN Commission on Human Rights,
insert a loyal person as a member in the Sub-Commission on Human Rights,
influence their propagandists to find high profile jobs with International
organisations and they never fail to bribe the officials in the top positions in
various governments and institutions.
Nowadays, the voice of the voiceless is hardly ever heard internationally unless
human rights defenders are ready to face the consequences - even sacrifice their
life. A tragic and typical example of this, was the assassination of
Mr. Kumar Ponnambalam
- Lawyer and Human Rights Defender - on 5th January 2000 by the Government
of Sri Lanka.
TCHR produces reports annually, quarterly, monthly and releases Urgent Actions
and Press Releases. TCHR members undergo humiliation and work with great risk,
continuing their high profile lobbying in important areas. When we look back at
our records, we see clearly that TCHR initiatives have brought positive
responses in the long run.
Nowadays, the International Community is making a serious response to the
deteriorating human rights situation in Sri Lanka. The government of Sri Lanka,
however, continues to ignore the warnings given by the International Community
and as a consequence of this, is gradually being punished and isolated from
important World bodies.
1- The latest punishment came as Sri Lanka lost her seat in the
53 member United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Despite heavy lobbying by
Sri Lanka, they failed to retain their membership in this key UN Human rights
2- Sri Lanka was supposed to Chair the last UN Commission on
Human Rights (Fifty-sixth Session) - but it was given to Nepal because the
members in the Asian group and other countries felt that allowing Sri Lanka to
Chair the Commission on Human Rights would be equivalent to allowing a butcher
to conduct mass in the Church.
3- Last year Sri Lanka suffered a humiliating defeat at the
Paris based UNESCO General Council, when its candidate for the post of Director
General - UNESCO, was able to muster only two votes out of 36.
4- In the World Court the seat Sri Lanka held was lost to a
5- In November 99, Sri Lanka with three other nations were about
to be expelled from the Commonwealth under proposals for tough new membership
criteria based on democracy and human rights.
Everyone knows that
Sri Lanka spends vast amounts of money buying sophisticated weapons. Day and
night, the people in the North East of Sri Lanka are facing artillery fire,
shelling, aerial bombing, etc. As the government of Sri Lanka cleverly spends
money on their malicious international propaganda, human rights defenders also
face the firings! Human Rights Defenders in foreign countries need no bunkers!
What we all need is moral courage and hard work. This will certainly help us to
achieve our goals.
Once again, TCHR in solidarity with all other organisations celebrates the 52nd
Anniversary of the UDHR, which is a constant shining guideline for future
We take this opportunity to thank all the individuals, organisations and
institutions, which continue to be in solidarity with us, even amidst the
malicious propaganda of the Sri Lankan government propagandists.
December 10th 2000 Ref: AE/11/12
Tamil Centre for Human Rights / Centre Tamoul pour les Droits des l'Homme -
9, rue des Peupliers
95140 - Garges les Gonnesse
Fax : + 33 - 1- 40 38 28 74 Email :
Tamil Centre for Human Rights - TCHR
P. O. Box 182
Manchester M16 8ED
Fax : + 44 - 161 - 860 4609 Email :