Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Sri Lanka Accused at United Nations > UN Human Rights Council - Seventh Session, March  2008 >

Seventh Session - March 2008

...  Australia is concerned at continued reports of widespread forced disappearances in Sri Lanka, with more than 5,500 outstanding cases reported. We strongly encourage the Sri Lankan Government to act to ensure the alleged perpetrators of such serious crimes, from all parties to the conflict, are brought to justice swiftly. We would also encourage the Sri Lankan Government to schedule a visit by the Working Group, which was unable to go ahead during 2007 due to visits by other special rapporteurs...

  • Declaration de La Belgique sous le point 4 de ('agenda – situations droits de l'homme qui requierent ('attention du Conseil), 14 March 2008 (in PDF)

Permettez-moi de conclure, Monsieur le President sur une note plus optimiste. La multiplication des presences pays et des presences regionales du Haut Commissariat partout dans le monde tout comme l'engagement des Mats dans la nouvelle procedure d'examen universel periodique prouve que nous disposons de plus en plus d'instruments pour ameliorer concrétement Ia situation des situations des droits de l'homme partout dans le monde. A cet egard nous nous rejouissons particuliérement de l'engagement du gouvernement du Sri Lanka dans ('examen universel periodique. L'exercice sera tres important a un moment oil nous recevons des rapports sur ('augmentation inquietante de Ia violence au Nord du Sri Lanka ainsi que des informations dignes de confiance sur des disparitions forcees de journalistes, de defenseurs de droits de l'homme et d'autres personnes dans ce pays. Dans ce contexte particulier nous sommes convaincus de Ia valeur ajoutee d'une presence du Haut Commissaire au Sri Lanka. Bien au-dela d'une assistance technique, cette presence independante d'observateurs sur place pourrait contribuer a prevenir une deterioration continue de violations graves par les diffórentes parties dans le conflit au Sri Lanka.

  • Canada's statement in response to the HCHR's annual report, 7 March 2008 (in PDF)

"At the fourth regular session of this Council, Canada commended the government of Sri Lanka for the establishment of both the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into human rights violations and the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons. Unfortunately, the Group is about to end its work after having identified a number of serious problems with the Inquiry, which remain unaddressed. This outcome along with the increase in hostilities in Sri Lanka has made independent human rights reporting all the more critical. We urge the Government of Sri Lanka to accept the assistance of your Office, and to allow it a full mandate to report on the human rights situation throughout the country. Following your visit to Sri Lanka, what other steps should the government of Sri Lanka take to promote and protect the human rights of all its citizens?"

Statement by Visuvalingam Kirupaharan, Interfaith International, Ecosoc accredited NGO, Geneva, Switzerland  under item – 4 Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention, 14 March 2008

Mr President,

The General Assembly resolution 60/251 emphasizes the responsibilities of all States, in conformity with the Charter, to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language or religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

As one of the important pillars of the Human Rights Council, agenda item-4 permits members of civil society to raise their concerns regarding situations around the world.

Having carefully considered this available mechanism, Interfaith International would like to bring to the attention of this august forum, the UN documented facts regarding the grave and worsening situation in Sri Lanka.

Mr President, careful perusal of the records of incidents in Sri Lanka, registered within the last two decades in the UN Human rights forums and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human rights – OHCHR, may well elicit the question “Why is the world silent about these realities?”. The world is less silent when it comes to unjustifiable arguments on Sri Lanka.

Several special rapporteurs have visited Sri Lanka and in the meantime the treaty bodies (HRC, CEDAW, CERD and CAT) have compiled their factual reports on Sri Lanka. The references to some of those reports are given below.

 Also in the recent past, many special representatives of the UN Secretary General (on IDPs, on the Humanitarian situation, on Children in armed conflict and the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs of the United Nations) have undertaken field visits. Some have returned as “Terrorist supporters”, because they stated factual observations of the prevailing situation in Sri Lanka. Also it is to be noted that many UN dignitaries including the High Commissioner for Human Rights were not allowed to visit the conflict areas to find out the stark on-going realities.

The humanitarian situation in the conflict areas is really worsening and the plight of the innocent people including women and children is a matter of gravest concern. Impunity continues to prevail in Sri Lanka.

The Emergency Regulations (ER) have become the norm - for more than 35 years. Furthermore, the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary provision) Act - PTA, made permanent since 1982, gives a free hand to the Sri Lanka security forces to arrest, detain, torture, rape, kill and dispose of the bodies with impunity.

Mr President, The government controlled areas in the North East are virtually under military rule. The soldiers and paramilitary forces are the decision-makers of day to day activities in the lives of local citizens. The civil administration is paralysed in the North East, under the pretext of enforcement of the Emergency Regulations and the PTA.

Human rights defenders – Lawyers, parliamentarians, academics, social workers and others are killed by so called unknown gunmen in Sri Lanka. Even last week, a Tamil parliamentarian was killed in a Claymore attack carried out by the Sri Lanka Army Deep Penetration Unit.

However, until today no proper investigations have been carried out on any of the killings of human rights defenders, despite many clues about the culprits of these cold blooded murders. Although there have been many statements by government officials and Police investigators that the killers have been identified, these statements are considered to be routine and disseminated to deflect the concerns and the scrutiny of the outside world.

Since January 2006 - 62 humanitarian workers have been killed in Sri Lanka. Many NGOs who bring the facts to the outside world are under severe pressure from the Sri Lankan government.

Mr President, Last week, on 6th March, the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons – IIGEP quit Sri Lanka after issuing several exhaustive press releases. President Rajapaksa had invited the IIGEP to observe and ensure the transparency of investigations held by the Commission of Inquiries on the complaints of abductions, disappearances and other serious violations of human rights arising since 1st August 2005. Also the IIGEP was to ensure that those inquires are conducted in accordance with basic international norms and standards.

Even though Sri Lanka is signatory to the ICCPR, on 15 September 2006, the Supreme Court effectively ruled that Sri Lankan citizens cannot seek remedy from the UN Human Rights Committee regarding human rights violations. It declared that the accession to the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in 1997 does not bind Sri Lanka and has no legal effect within the island - Nallaratnam Singarasa vs The Attorney-General – Decision of the Supreme Court 15 September 2006 – SC Spl (LA) No 182/99.

Last January, Sri Lanka arbitrarily withdrew from the Ceasefire Agreement-CFA that was signed between the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE in February 2002. As a consequence of its withdrawal, the Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission, which consists of members from Nordic countries to supervise the violations of the CFA, has also quit Sri Lanka. Now war continues without any international witnesses. The situation in Sri Lanka is going from bad to worse.

Therefore, Mr President, we urgently appeal to you and other distinguished delegates to seriously consider all available mechanisms to ensure rigorous and timely international scrutiny on Sri Lanka. It may be too little, too late, but better late than never. Another Rwanda is emerging in Asia!

Thank you Mr President.



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