CPA’s Executive Director Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu on the draft resolution on Sri Lanka tabled at the UN HRC’s 25th session, and its implications for the country.
“This resolution as attested to by the draft also does point to continuing violations for example with regards to religious freedom, the impeachment of the chief justice, the continuing culture of impunity, land grabs, the lack of witness and victim protection, continuing disappearances, self-censorship in themedia, lack of right to information, legislation and host of other continuing violations. Perhaps the most controversial and the key part of the resolution with regard to the issue as to whether there should be a call for independent international commission of inquiry into allegations of war crimes…”
Listen to the short audio interview here –https://soundcloud.com/cpasrilanka/dr-paikiasothy-saravanamuttu-2
“The Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Colombo was the occasion for renewed demands that the state account for the brutal ending of its war with the Tamil Tigers in 2009. But Sri Lanka’s appalling human-rights record does not only apply to its violent past: today too civil-society organisations are under heavy authoritarian pressure.”
Leaders attending the meeting must insist, at the very least, that the Sri Lankan government show meaningful progress in addressing human rights abuses, abiding by international standards and restoring constitutional protection for freedom of expression.
The Sinhalese felt the war is over and terrorism defeated, so what was there to talk about? The Tamils felt that by even taking part in my film they were implicitly agreeing with the government. That somehow all projects aiming at understanding the other were aligned with the Sri Lankan regime. Clearly, they saw little progress was being made to tackle the problems for Tamils in Sri Lanka and the question of accountability should trump any other efforts. I understand that. I didn’t agree with them, but I respect their right to hold these views and their decision not to take part. Clearly, they saw little progress was being made to tackle the problems for Tamils in Sri Lanka and the question of accountability should trump any other efforts. I understand that.
Perhaps at some point in the future both groups would be ready to talk to me and others whose approach to the conflict was different to theirs.
But I had also been moved by Ethir’s firm stance. Even if you agreed that reconciliation was the right approach, just talking about it wasn’t enough.
As Western notions of international norms on issues such as human rights continue to be challenged, the Sri Lanka example is a case in point. The real test for the country will be when a groundswell of domestic opinion grows to demand justice and accountability, not only for what happened to Tamils in 2009 but for the treatment of ordinary citizens in the slow and painful tarnishing of Sri Lanka’s democracy.
An archive of material around the Resolution titled ‘Promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka’ passed at the UN Human Rights Council today.