Sri Lanka’s government has been reaching out to the country’s influential Tamil diaspora with the aim of building minority support and boosting its international standing. But the contentious strategy holds risks for the government’s survival ahead of parliamentary elections next week.
After execution of mass atrocities and their failure to stop it, international actors have accepted their failure. Time has arrived for course correction, and Sri Lanka’s forthcoming presidential election will be the litmus test for it, and a challenge to international conscience. Will international actors bring perpetrators of mass atrocity crimes in Sri Lanka to international justice and prove “Never Again” to be more than just a slogan?
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…”
An international investigation into Sri Lanka’s war crimes is long overdue. It is time for the rest of the Commonwealth and the international community to stop treating Sri Lanka with kid gloves and follow the lead of Mauritius whose prime minister said world leaders must act because Sri Lanka’s total lack of accountability was unacceptable. Waiting till March to find out whether a TRC or national inquiry succeeds will be a waste of time. The time for action on an international investigation is now.
“Kyung-wha Kang, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights strongly supported the Congressional request for reporting on Sri Lanka, seeing it as a sign of high-level attention to these issues. She noted that High Commissioner Pillay has publicly called for an international investigation of what seem like credible accusations of violations of humanitarian and human rights law. Within the UN system, Kang said that Pillay has faced serious opposition to this approach. Other UN agencies see the need to get things done on the ground (e.g. humanitarian and recovery assistance) as the priority and fear that Pillay’s approach will make the GSL reticent to cooperate. Kang lamented that the GSL has ‘an absolute deaf ear,’ on questions of human rights, particularly when it comes to any international dimension.” the US Mission to UN informed Washington.