September 2015

Win-win deal for war wounds

25th September 2015 // 0 Comments

Govt. will co-sponsor UNHRC resolution: Prime Minister Negotiations on draft resolution go down to the wire ‘International judges’ reference replaced with ‘foreign and C’wealth judges and lawyers’ Govt. manages to include clause about accountability for LTTE crimes in resolution Resolution tabled at UNHRC five hours after official deadline Dharisha Bastians Reporting from Geneva Sri Lanka has decided to co-sponsor the US draft resolution to promote reconciliation and accountability in the island, marking a major departure from the rancour that has dominated debate on the country’s human rights record at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva since 2012. The official draft resolution A_HRC_30_L.29 on Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka was tabled at the UNHRC in Geneva last evening. “We can face the future without […]

Clever-Sounding Capitulation Of TNA & Moderates

25th September 2015 // 0 Comments

By TU Senan – The West’s conscious promotion of ‘moderates’ The brutal end of the war in 2009 had demoralised en masse not just the Tamils living in Sri Lanka but also those in the diaspora. But that onslaught was not a complete defeat for the idea of struggle. The mood was such that the leaflet with the headline, “struggle must go on,” was grabbed by the crowd. The Tamil Solidarity campaign was the first to produce such material to lift the mood of the people, and constantly ran out of their leaflets. The idea of struggle was not defeated. The oppressed Tamils in Sri Lanka and in the diaspora maintained their hope for struggle. The idea that a decisive struggle is needed to win […]

Sri Lanka’s Co-Sponsorship Facilitates Cooperation: Kerry

25th September 2015 // 0 Comments

The Sri Lankan government’s decision to join as a co-sponsor paves the way for all of us to work together to deliver the commitments reflected in the resolution, US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement today. We publish below the statement in full; Resolution on Sri Lanka at the 30th Session of the UN Human Rights Council Today the United States, Sri Lanka, and our partners tabled a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that represents a landmark shared recognition of the critical importance of truth, justice, reparations, and guarantees of non-recurrence in promoting reconciliation and ensuring an enduring peace and prosperity for all Sri Lankans. The Sri Lankan government’s decision to join as a co-sponsor paves the way for […]

Reviving Jaffna University

25th September 2015 // 0 Comments

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole – Building upon 17 Aug. 2015 Jan. 8 this year was exciting but fascist forces loyal to Mahinda Rajapaksa were still in control of parliament. No major matter could be passed except for the laudable constitutional changes. Today, after the elections of 17 Aug., parliament has only some 30 MPs owing their loyalty to Rajapakse. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and President Maithripala Sirisena have at long last the chance to deliver on their promises and build an inclusive Sri Lanka where all can live as equals. Obstacles at the Helm in Jaffna The same Rajapaksa-Devananda protégés, however, are still in control of our lives, backed by the judicial system, the Attorney General (AG), the police, etc. The army’s mobile liquor […]

It’s Only An International Court By A ‘Hybrid’ Name

24th September 2015 // 0 Comments

By N. Sathiya Moorthy At the end of the day, the UNHRC probe report has left the Sri Lankan government with little choice but to reject it in so many ways – or, at best invite the ‘international community’ to re-negotiate the same. By declaring that the Government cannot have ‘international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators’, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera might have doused high-voltage domestic criticism, or at least deflected some of it on the UN, UNHRC and the rest of the international community – as was only to be expected under the circumstances that the probe report would have otherwise kicked off. It’s too early to say that the new Government’s honeymoon with the international community is all but over, or its promised though […]

Is the Government afraid of “Sinhala” racists or is it racist too?

24th September 2015 // 0 Comments

President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe together, flanked by Foreign, Media and Justice Ministers told media bosses and editors on18 Sept., the OISL (OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka) Report is a hard earned achievement by their government since January 08 and would not have been possible, if the previous regime continued. “If there was no change on 8 January followed by good governance, political reforms and reconciliation measures enabling the international community to have a positive outlook, Sri Lanka would have been marginalised internationally by now.” President Sirisena has said. PM Wickremesinghe followed by saying, “We haven’t sold our sovereignty or integrity. We have saved not only Sri Lanka’s future but also political VVIPs of the previous regime.” This time round, there is no heat against […]

PMK seeks all-party meet on Lankan war crimes issue

24th September 2015 // 0 Comments

Chennai, Sep 24 (PTI) PMK today appealed to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to convene an all-party meeting and lead a delegation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi pressing for a resolution seeking international probe into alleged war crimes during 2009 hostilities in Sri Lanka. Party’s Youth Wing leader and Dharmapuri MP, Anbumani Ramadoss, wrote to Jayalalithaa urging that she should immediately convene an all-party meeting where a resolution should be adopted in this regard. Jayalalithaa should “lead a delegation of all-party MLAs and MPs to meet Modi upon his return from US and insist,” that India take the lead in this matter, he said. He made the demand in the wake of US’ draft resolution in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) against […]

Government assures Northern public equal rights

24th September 2015 // 0 Comments

The Government today said that the people in the North will be given equal rights similar to what people in the South enjoy. Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said that the policy of the Government is to protect the rights of all communities. He said that Prime Minister and United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has always maintained that policy but that worked against him in 2005. The Education Minister said that in 2005 certain extremist groups had prevented the people in the North from backing Wickremesinghe at the election since he stood for unity between all communities. Akila Viraj Kariyawasam was speaking at the 125th anniversary of the Jaffna Hindu College where he was the chief guest. He said that he was the first […]

Dispatches: Awaiting Sri Lanka’s ‘Courage and Leadership’

24th September 2015 // 0 Comments

Dispatches: Awaiting Sri Lanka’s ‘Courage and Leadership’ “Trust us,” Sri Lanka’s foreign minister, Mangala Samaraweera, told the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva just before the release of a landmark report into atrocities committed during the country’s long civil war, which ended in 2009. The greatly anticipated report, by the UN high commissioner for human rights, details alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity implicating both government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels. The abuses include unlawful attacks on civilians, killings, enforced disappearances, torture, sexual violence, and recruitment of child soldiers. EXPAND Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera speaks during a news conference on a United Nations (U.N.) report about war crimes committed during Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil conflict, in Colombo September 17, 2015. The […]

UNHRC resolutions: How far is too far?

24th September 2015 // 0 Comments

UNHRC resolutions: How far is too far? When addressing allegations of war crimes, govt. has to balance domestic audience if it were to remain in office he 261-page-report on Sri Lanka presented to the UN Human Rights Council is not a pleasant reading. Understandably so, because, it refers to the rot that set in this country for too long. It offers a catalogue of allegations of grotesque abuses and potential war crimes that took place between 2001-2009. It says Sri Lankan institutions are not yet ready for holding a credible internal investigation and recommends a ‘hybrid court’ which involves foreign judges and investigators to probe allegations of the ‘horrific level’ of war crimes………………  READ MORE A point to ponder The TNA’s political manifestos at one time […]

We neither reject nor accept Geneva report

24th September 2015 // 0 Comments

We neither reject nor accept Geneva report, say SB, Dilan ‘Formation of National Government stood SL in good stead in Geneva’ Ministers S. B. Dissanayake and Dilan Perera yesterday said the SLFP neither rejected nor accepted the UNHRC report on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. Addressing the media at the party headquarters at Darley Road, SLFP Treasurer the two ministers said it was stupid to reject the report but that should not mean that it was acceptable. The UNHRC report against Sri Lanka was based on evidence given by people who supported the LTTE though they were not named, but present President Maithripala Sirisena had adopted a very positive approach to the issue, Minister Dissanayake said. Appreciating former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s leadership to the country’s […]

New US-sponsored resolution on SL tabled

24th September 2015 // 0 Comments

The US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka that calls for the participation of ‘Commonwealth and other foreign judges’ in a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism that would be set up to address issues of accountability, was finally tabled at the UNHRC a short while ago following a series of negotiations between the Sri Lankan delegation and the ‘Core Group’ of sponsors of the resolution. The resolution co-sponsored by UK, Macedonia and Montenegro, was due to be tabled today by 1pm in Geneva time, but experienced a setback due to prolonged negotiations over the language since objections were raised against certain paragraphs and wording included in the draft text by the Sri Lankan delegation. The resolution while welcoming the government’s recognition an accountability process to uphold the rule […]

Lee Scott, Ambassador of Justice for Tamils welcomes the statement from the British Tamils Forum

24th September 2015 // 0 Comments

Lee Scott, Ambassador of Justice for Tamils said “ I believe the High Commissioner’s Report was very explicit in its recommendations and that it should be implemented fully” at the welcome statement from the British Tamils Forum.   He further said ‘recognition of Tamils and given the same rights as everyone else is essential. I will continue with the fight for recognition of Genocide, for justice and for international involvement to ensure that this is achieved”

TNA MP Sumanthiran Calls for ‘Internationalised Prosecutions’

24th September 2015 // 0 Comments

TNA parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran called for “Internationalised prosecutions” for mass atrocities committed in Sri Lanka, as part of an accountability process for the crimes. Speaking at a panel discussion on Saturday hosted by the Global Tamils Forum (GTF) in London Mr Sumanthiran said the TNA had “no trust in a local judicial mechanism” which is why they are pushing for “internationalised prosecutions”. “One of the most important things is that victims of these crimes must have confidence in these courts and they will not have any confidence in a pure domestic system,” he added. He stated that this strategy must run parallel with a long-term push for referral to the International Criminal Court, which he believes will eventually come with a “reformed Sri Lankan […]

HYBRID AND INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL SRI LANKA

24th September 2015 // 0 Comments

By CRIMINAL LAWYER  A. ILANCHELIAN MBA   For the first time since the end of the Second World War, international criminal tribunals were established to investigate, prosecute and try individuals accused of committing international war crimes of the most grave and serious nature, including genocide.   In recent years a number of criminal tribunals have been established to investigate, prosecute and try individuals accused of serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights. These tribunals have been described as ‘hybrid’ or ‘internationalised’ tribunals as their structure and applicable law consist of both international and national elements.   Six such tribunals were prime examples in operation: the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Regulation 64 panels in […]

Draft Resolution for promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka

23rd September 2015 // 0 Comments

The draft text of the consensual resolution on Sri Lanka which is to be taken up for discussion on 30 September 2015 at the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council will be tabled next week in Geneva. The Draft of the resolution states: Draft Resolution for promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka to Human Rights Council HRC 30th Session – Draft Resolution Item 2:  Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka The Human Rights Council, Preambular paragraphs Pp1 Reaffirming the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, (HRC 25/1) Pp2 Guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and other relevant instruments, (HRC 25/1) Pp3 Recalling also Human Rights Council […]

BTF wants an International mechanism

23rd September 2015 // 0 Comments

The British Tamils Forum (BTF) has requested the UNHRC to ensure that its forthcoming resolution on Sri Lanka address accountability issues through  an International Independent mechanism  and deals with  humanitarian issues and human right violations. The full text of the statement of the BTF is as follows: The report, which calls for investigations on more than 10 counts of criminal acts, represents a clear acknowledgement of crimes committed by the Sri Lankan state against the Tamil people.Amongst the criminal acts identified, “directing attacks against civilian object and / or against civilians not taking direct part in hostilities”, “use of starvation of the civilian population as a method of warfare” and “inhumane and degrading treatment of IDP’s “because of their Tamil ethnicity” are significant pointers to the […]

Wigneswaran calls on council to adopt victim-centred transitional approach

23rd September 2015 // 0 Comments

Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister C.V Wigneswaran called on the council to work for a resolution that fully adopts the recommendations of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and allows a victim-centred transitional approach to the accountability and reconciliation process. Writing a guidance note to the drafters of the upcoming consensus resolution on Sri Lanka and to member states of the UN Human Rights Council, the Chief Minister underscored five themes that would need to be sufficiently addressed in the resolution. Following are excerpts of his statement; “It is vital to note that a significant proportion of its victims are scattered around the world including many thousands still languishing in refugee camps in India. Furthermore it must be noted that these diaspora victims played a […]

China will support Sri Lanka

23rd September 2015 // 0 Comments

China is putting its weight behind Sri Lanka and pushing for amendments to the first text of the draft resolution to be tabled at the UN Human Rights Council this week, demanding that it reflect the positive changes in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is pushing for amendments to the current text and it has found support in the form of China and Russia. The second informal briefing on Sri Lanka took place in Geneva yesterday on the sidelines of the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council. The core group involved in drafting the resolution on Sri Lanka held the briefing to reach a consensus on the text of draft resolution. During the first informal briefing on Monday the Government raised objections and concerns […]

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