With the long-awaited report on Sri Lanka’s violent history finally out, what’s next for Colombo at the UN Human Rights Council?
The long-awaited UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) report that deals largely with wartime abuses in Sri Lanka has finally been made public.
It’s a big moment for the island nation and OHCHR has come out with a strong report. This is a detailed, lengthy document that covers a range of disturbing topics, including extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, disappearances, torture, and attacks on civilians. Importantly, the report also includes violations which have occurred since the end of the war (in 2010 and 2011).
So, where does Sri Lanka go from here?
Read: UN recommends ‘special hybrid court’ to probe Sri Lankan war crimes
Accountability for past excesses is not easily achieved in post-conflict societies, but its need and relevance cannot be brushed aside. Fostering peace and reconciliation among formerly feuding sections of society, and finding constitutional solutions to core political issues are often the final objectives. However, transformative and substantive justice requires establishing the truth about past crimes perpetrated as part of a deliberate policy. The human rights investigation report on Sri Lanka, submitted to the UN Human Rights Council by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, seeks to address the crucial question of accountability in the island nation for the “horrific crimes” committed by all parties to the conflict that ended in 2009…………….. read more
The UNHRC report on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka is being interpreted in different ways. Its authors have apparently avoided the mistakes UNSG Ban Ki-moon’s expert panel made in the Darusman report. They have refrained from plucking civilian casualty figures out of the air and sought to give the report a semblance of balance. Perhaps, the demolition by Sir Desmond de Silva, QC et al of the arguments and claims in the Darusman report riddled with flaws may have prompted them to act with some restraint.
The Geneva report stresses, in its introduction, that it ‘represents a human rights investigation, not a criminal investigation’. True, but what it has left unsaid is that the ‘human rights investigation’ is aimed at paving the way for a criminal investigation’……….. read more
Those who advocated change, for the sake of good governance, overlooked one vital fact; most politicians nowadays, unlike in the past when service was the motto of politicians, look after their interests first, not that of the country or the people. They will make use of one and all, make promises they do not intend to keep, get power and will use it to their advantage and the come up with the most fanciful excuses to justify their misdeeds. The present government has followed the traditions of the preceding ones, the difference only in degree but then it is only the beginning.