By Rev. S.J. Emmanuel –
We are pleased to welcome wholeheartedly the statement of the High Commissioner calling for a – more fundamental and far-reaching accountability process in Sri Lanka, addressing both past and ongoing violations, which are absolutely necessary for Sri Lankans to come to terms with their past, end impunity, achieve reconciliation between communities and strengthen the rule of law.
Though the war ended in May 2009, the conflict has in fact been deepened during these last five years by the policies of the present Government. The President of Sri Lanka made promises at the conclusion of the war – to the General Secretary of the UN as well as to all the countries that helped him with finances and weapons, to win the war, that he will soon find a political solution to the ethnic conflict and seek national reconciliation. Unfortunately, what is happening within the country, the actions of the Government in increasingly violating Human Rights, especially in the North and East of the island, are very disappointing if not disastrous.
With the euphoria of a majority military conquest over the minorities, the Government is operating a fast program of ethnic cleansing and making no sincere efforts towards justice, peace and reconciliation. Its priorities are towards making Sri Lanka a Sinhala Buddhist country by subjugating all ethnic and religious minorities by the use of extremist forces.
In this context, the efforts of the Office of the High Commissioner towards establishing truth and accountability with regard to the war give us hope for the survival of Tamils and other ethnic and religious minorities to survive as human beings with equality, dignity and justice.
It is very unfortunate, that the present Government not only opposed this Resolution, but rejected it as violation of their sovereignty and arrogantly refuses to cooperate with the efforts of this Council. Having enjoyed the benefits of membership in this council as well as benefits of international contracts through this Council, it is now trying to evade its responsibilities and not live up to its commitments. Such moves set dangerous trends for the effective functioning of this Council in the future and reduce the usefulness and effectiveness of this body in protecting human rights of all the people within a member-country.
*Father Emmanuel”s Statement at the UNHRC Sessions in Geneva, 25.09.14