Talks held on Lanka on sidelines of UNHRC meet

While the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) had agreed on giving time to the new Sri Lankan Government to address the human rights issue, a discussion has been held at the UN Geneva building where questions had been raised on the Government and its commitment to ensure justice for the war victims.

A panel discussion on “Impending High Commissioner’s Report on Sri Lanka: Comparing North Korea and Sudan recommendations for mass atrocities” was held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on the sidelines of the ongoing UN Human Rights Council session.

The event was organized by Ibn Sina, with partnership of Collectif la Paix au Sri Lanka, International Crime Prevention and Protection against Genocide (ICPPG) and the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) at the UN Human Rights Council, Geneva.

The key speakers included Geoffrey Robertson QC an International Human Rights Barrister and Professor Ramu Manivannan from the University of Madras, with the session being moderated by Manicka Vasagar from the TGTE.

533-UNITED_NATIONS_Geneva_ImgLiliVaniliThe speakers raised some critical concerns about the impending report on Sri Lanka by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The panelists were unanimous in raising questions about how the Sri Lankan state can deliver justice, when the government and its leadership itself has been accused of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against the Tamils.

They also agreed that there is no fundamental change in the political and legal environment in Sri Lanka vis-a-vis the Tamils.

Geoffrey Robertson provided searching options of trial against Sri Lanka, such as referral to the ICC, Security Council based initiatives, hybrid mechanism and even sought an active role of the Secretary General.

It was emphasized by Prof Manivannan that an electoral change need not be construed as political transformation in Sri Lanka. Manivannan said that if world governments see light in the regime change in Sri Lanka, then darkness of injustice in Sri Lanka cannot be eliminated by abandoning the well- meaning international processes for domestic investigations.

The panel discussion was followed by a Q&A session, attended by representatives from diplomatic missions and international organizations.(Colombo Gazette)