Le Conseil des Droits de l’Homme des Nations Unies réuni en session à Genève en septembre 2015 a adopté une résolution concernant la situation passée et présente de Sri Lanka sur la base du rapport détaillé fourni par le Haut Commissaire des Droits de l’Homme. Nos lecteurs peuvent prendre connaissance de ces deux textes dans leur version anglaise; une analyse détaillée en sera faite ultérieurement
A leaked UN document raises concerns over the prospects for genuine justice for the Sri Lankan victims of alleged war crimes.
Channel 4 News has been supplied with the leaked document which critics claim could pre-empt and undermine September’s Human Rights Council discussion on a UN’s long-awaited investigation into crimes committed at the end of Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war.
According to the UN tens of thousands of Tamil civilians died in the closing stages of the Sri Lankan military’s war against the LTTE, also known as the Tamil Tigers.
The UN says most of those civilians died in government shelling as they were crammed into ever-diminishing « No Fire Zones » – though the Tamil Tigers are also alleged to have committed grave abuses including suicide bombings and the use of human shields.
Sri Lanka’s August elections have been timed to stop a comeback by war-time president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who remarkably may see his popularity rise in coming months if criticized for war crimes in a U.N report, said government sources.
Sri Lanka’s wartime army chief says his conscience is clear and he would welcome a war crimes investigation to prove his innocence.
“The allegations are there,” Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said in an interview with the Guardian. “We have to clear our name.”
In May 2009 the then General Fonseka was the head of the Sri Lankan army that defeated the Tamil Tigers, or Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, ending Sri Lanka’s brutal 26-year civil war.
Nearly two years later, a UN secretary general’s panel of experts reported that both government forces and the Tamil Tigers had potentially committed serious human rights violations in the final stages of the war.
Shocking footage of the war’s end emerged shortly after, suggesting widespread crimes had been committed by forces under Fonseka’s command.
« Thousands of Tamils protested in Jaffna this morning, calling on the UN Human Rights Council to release the report looking into mass atrocities committed against the Tamil people, the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) report, next month as planned. Rejecting the any domestic inquiry conducted by the Sri Lankan state, protesters questioned how those responsible for mass atrocities can conduct a credible, independent investigation. The protest, organised by the Jaffna University civil society, including students and teachers, was unanimously endorsed by Tamil political parties and civil organisations in the North-East. Some even travelled from the East to take part. »
Addressing reporters in the capital of Colombo during the conclusion of his four-day visit to the Asian country, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, applauded Sri Lanka for its democratic elections and peaceful transition and reiterated Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s claim that the island nation was entering a “moment of historic opportunity.”
A U.N. envoy urged Sri Lanka’s new government on Tuesday to address skepticism among ethnic Tamils about its efforts to promote post-war reconciliation, saying there should be more progress in accountability and in human rights issues
Sri Lanka is planning an investigation into accusations of human rights abuses in the final stages of a 26-year civil war amid international frustration at the failure to look into numerous civilian deaths, a government spokesman said late on Wednesday.
The international community could also play a positive role in Sri Lanka’s progress toward reconciliation. Sri Lanka’s relations with the United States and Europe were notoriously bad during the Rajapaksa regime, but the election creates the opportunity for a revision of U.S. and European policies vis-à-vis Sri Lanka.
To help control corruption and promote reconciliation, it may be time to consider relieving some of the pressures on Sri Lanka applied by the United States and Europe. Gradually unfreezing development aid and giving Sri Lanka enhanced trade benefits under the GSP+ trade agreements if Sri Lanka works toward achieving genuine reconciliation and fighting corruption could be steps in the right direction.
“Rajapaksa has made it clear in public rhetoric and propaganda that China is our best friend,” said Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, executive director of the Colombo-based Centre for Policy Alternatives. “There’s a perception that the Chinese are underpinning misgovernance and corruption in the regime.”
The question is of great relevance and grave significance at a time when the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner’s office is investigating alleged human rights violations, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Sri Lanka in terms of a resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
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?
« The most diabolical and fiendishly clever policy position that the common opposition has taken is that they will not allow our war heroes to be tried by any international war crimes tribunal, but that any allegations of war crimes will be looked into by a domestic tribunal. The common opposition candidate himself has come before the people and pledged publicly that no international war crimes tribunal will be allowed to try any war hero. However he has given a statement which was carried in The Hindu and the Indian Express to the effect that a domestic mechanism would be set up to look into allegations of war crimes. This was later confirmed by Champika Ranawaka. The people of this country have got used to the idea that what is bad is an international inquiry into war crimes. By the mere addition of the word ‘domestic’ most people would be lulled into a sense of false security on the assumption that since such an inquiry will be conducted by ‘our people’ the war heroes will not face any problems. »
« Ten years ago today, over 35,000 people perished during the catastrophic tsunami that hit the coasts of the North-East and South of the island of Sri Lanka. The United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said five days after the disaster that almost two thirds of those killed were in the Tamil homeland of the North-East. « The North-East is the region worst affected by the tsunami, » the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) said in a joint report. »
(Reuters) – The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday accused Sri Lanka of trying to « sabotage » a war crimes inquiry, creating a « wall of fear » to prevent witnesses from giving evidence.