Clashing demands from Sri Lanka pose a serious challenge to UNHRC

By P.K.Balachandran/Daily Mirror  

Colombo, January 19: In the run-up to the March session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Sri Lankan Tamil parties and civil society groups have jointly presented a radical set of demands. On its part, the Sri Lankan government has resolved to stick to its stand that there is no room for any kind of foreign interference in what it considers to be an internal matter to be resolved through indigenously developed mechanisms.

Eleven Tamil political parties and civil society organizations had written to the 47 countries in the UNHRC urging them to accept their demands. They have demanded that other organs of the UN, including the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, take up the Lankan Tamil question and refer it to the International Criminal Court (ICC) or any other appropriate and effective international accountability mechanisms to inquire into the crime of “genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity,” allegedly committed by the Sri Lankan armed forces in the last phase of the 2006-2009 Eelam War IV. They have demanded that the members of the UNHRC mandate the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to continue to monitor Sri Lanka for ongoing violations and have an OHCHR field office in the island.

Further, the Tamils have demanded that the UN take steps to establish an evidence gathering mechanism similar to the International Independent Investigatory Mechanism (IIIM) in relation to Syria established as a subsidiary body of the UN General Assembly with a strict time frame of twelve months duration.

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