BY Kavindya Chris Thomas
The Centre for Human Rights and Development (CHRD) said a war crime probe conducted by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is necessary as there has not been any credible mechanism from the Sri Lankan Government that had meted out justice for the families of the disappeared.
Issuing a report on enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka, the director of CHRD K.S. Ratnavale said the interference of the international community in the investigations is of utmost importance. The CHRD report was launched to make an impact when the matter will be discussed at the 30th UNHRC session.
“The international community should intervene in matters of enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka, specifically the cases of white van abductions, abductions carried out by military or paramilitary groups and the abduction of individuals who surrendered to the authorities during the civil war. A credible mechanism to investigate enforced disappearance must learn from current obstacles and ensure that past mistakes are not repeated,” Ratnavale said.
UNHRC will discuss the much anticipated report on the war in Sri Lanka on September 30, during its 30th session. The draft agenda notes that the report on Sri Lanka by the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights will be submitted on September 30, followed by a discussion.
CHRD report also said there have been nearly a dozen flawed commissions on disappearances since 1991 to present and call for an assured new mechanism that will be credible.
The report also expressed concern over the Paranagama Commission, including witness harassment, ad hoc expansions of the mandate in time period (1983- 2009) and substantive scope which covered alleged war crimes, gross translation errors, lack of gender sensitivity or contextual knowledge and other technical problems. According to the report, the Paranagama Commission has failed to address these concerns and families of the disappeared have not yet seen justice done.