Campaigners urge UN rights council to probe Sri Lanka

13th September 2011, Comments 12 comments

Rights campaigners on Tuesday urged the UN Human Rights Council to order a probe into the final months of Sri Lanka's armed conflict, after a report detailing serious violations was transferred to the council.

On Monday, United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon sent a UN report accusing Sri Lankan troops of killing tens of thousands of civilians in its final offensive against Tamil Tiger separatists to the UN's rights body.

Ban had said that he alone cannot order an inquiry into the killings -- which the Sri Lankan government has strongly denied -- but that a forum such as the Human Rights Council could do so.

"When a UN Panel of Experts report concludes up to 40,000 civilians died amid war crimes, the Human Rights Council should feel compelled to act," Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

"The council should order a full international investigation -- anything less would be a shameful abdication of responsibility," he said.

Amnesty Internationals Asia Pacific Director Sam Zarifi also said that it was "time for the Human Rights Council to act on the panel of experts findings and hold those responsible for massive atrocities in Sri Lanka to account."

"The thousands of victims have waited long enough," he added in a separate statement.

A spokesman for the Human Rights Council told AFP that thee report was being circulated among the body's 47 member states, which would then have to decide how to move forward.

"There is no precedent for this," he pointed out.

The report published April said that the Sri Lankan army killed most of the tens of thousands of civilian victims in 2009 but both sides may be guilty of war crimes.

The panel's report -- angrily opposed by the Sri Lankan government -- painted a barbarous picture of the offensive on the Tamil enclave in the north of the island that ended a three-decade war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Sri Lanka has slammed the UN report as "biased" and launched a major international campaign against it.

While the United States and other Western nations have backed calls for an inquiry, diplomats said Sri Lanka would call on Asian allies such as China to help block any action at the rights council.

Sri Lanka had complained about the move to send it to the rights council before Ban's spokesman even made the official announcement.

© 2011 AFP

12 Comments To This Article

  • good doc posted:

    on 14th September 2011, 18:41:13 - Reply

    thank you, Noel, finally I have to agree with you ! YES, THERE ARE SUFFERINGS , CAUSED BY BOTH SIDES. LET US FORGET ALL THAT, AND WE HAVE TO JOIN HAND IN HAND AND GO FORWARD TOWARDS THE PROSPERITY ! After all, that is all about Our Buddha preached, Isn' t it ? " wairayen wairaya nosan sidhe" ! ( Hate cannot stop feelings of Hate, you should forgive the past and have faith and love towards your enemies )
  • Thamilarasan posted:

    on 14th September 2011, 14:58:55 - Reply

    Fact : They killed 40,000-50,000 people yet 292,000 people came out of that
    SL govt: Army carried gun in one hand and in other hand human right charter (what a funny thing to say) and always followed zero civilian death.
    Fact : UN report says 40,000 minimum killed
    SL govt: ONLY 1500 fighters left in the small area
    Fact : They arrested 12,000 as tigers (this is remaining count they would have killed at least 5-6 thousand minimum)
    SL govt: we have our own mechanism to look into this
    Fact: no commission ever produced any result in the history of their country’s existence.
    Still the sinhales believe they can cheat the whole world and move on. If the international community is not strong enough they may do that also.
  • Thamilarasan posted:

    on 14th September 2011, 14:58:02 - Reply

    You can see the comments posted by the SINhala people here. Unfortunately they follow buddha - who taught not to kill an ant however these buddhist monks are saying killing a Tamil is not a sin. that is there doctrine. The whole world united against tamils and the sinhalese sold their upraising as terrorism. Wherever there is oppression there will be resistance. The world at large knew what happened there is nothing but state sponsored terrorism against tamils. If they didn't do anything why they are afraid for any investigation? Look at what they said and what is found true:
    SL govt: 50,000 people left in the 'no fire zone' (actual herding and firing zone) based on that they allowed food
  • yapa posted:

    on 14th September 2011, 03:58:43 - Reply

    We must question the role played by Navanethem Pillay in pushing Sri Lanka government for international investigations as well. As a commission that is supposed to be unbiased, is it morally and ethically correct Navi Pillay to head the UN- HRC in a discussion related to GOSL and Tamil Tigers? I think Being a TAMIL woman, who naturally biased towards her race/ethnic relations, I think she is violating the “PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL JUSTICE”, which is a pre-requisite of any decision making poocess. How can such a person head HRC, when he naturally has vested interest towards one of the party? She should have kept away her influence and and heading the HRC at this special juncture, not to influence justice.

    UN process about Sri Lanka is full of such flaws. What will happen when the judge is corrupted?

    UN process about SL is fundamentally flawed.
  • abey posted:

    on 14th September 2011, 00:08:32 - Reply

    Dear friends. We all Sri alnkans. We know how we suffered and died innocent peolpe including Tamil broters without any control of Brutal killings of LTTTE. This is move,ment of rest of the LTTErs in the world not all tamils. Some innocent people died but it was not fault of Gov. fortces. They were not allowed to move from the LTTE areas. They used them as Human shield. Let Sri lankan to live peacefully at least after the Bloddy war of 30 yeras. Did anybody make any noices when they killed people like Twin Towers of New York. Let us Live as Developing country. Finally Mahinda is trying to cure the wounds.
  • ASOKA posted:

    on 13th September 2011, 23:04:58 - Reply

    I cannot believe the west is going after Sri Lanka for war crimes.. For 30 years we were terrorised by a Lunatic Madman call Prabakaran. My next door neighbour was killed when he was waiting for the train to come home. He was killed together with 70 others. Another 150 were seriously injured. My best friend who worked at the central bank died in 1996 when the tigers ran a truck loaded with explosives in to the building. More than 200 totally innocent people were killed and more than 250 were injured.These were just 2 instances of innocent people been killed. There were moer than 100 such barbaric acts. When we leave home in the morning we did not anticipate coming back alive at the end of the day. I would like to ask the west what they did to help us?
    Finally we ELECTED A PRESIDENT who said enough is enough and put an end to the carnage. Now we Sri Lankans enjoy what we could not for 30 years FREEDOM TO MOVE AROUND THE COUNTRY WITHOUT BEEN BLOWN TO BITS. Yes I believe there had to have been civilian casualties but can you tell me a war that was faught without civilian deaths? That is a reality of war.
    Its over lets move on.
  • Noel posted:

    on 13th September 2011, 21:28:15 - Reply

    Move on... Game over.. May we all live long and prosper! More than a generation was wasted during the last 30 years.. People insist on making it linger. There is no amount of reparations that can be made to aleviate the suffering on both sides. Forgiveness is the only path to liberation. So, UNHCR, close the case and look elsewhere for human rights violations. We Sri Lankans are tired.. Sick and Tired of YOU...!
  • Tamil from North posted:

    on 13th September 2011, 20:44:47 - Reply

    Here in Sri Lanka people immediately point to US or West on Afghanistan, Iraq and so forth.
    Do that mean, You killed, I killed so that's OK?

    Further more, UNHRC speaks for the people who has no Government to protect them. If Sri Lanka did not do any of the following then why all the fuss on International Inquiry?

    I live in Sri Lanka North (Jaffna) and I say that we don't have freedom. The way Security forces behave is not acceptable. The whole country is used to protect just 3 people on top.

    The UN failed to protect the people at the time of war. Will they at least bring justice now?

    I may be killed for writing this, but there is a point where we can't loose our freedom of speech!

    • Deliberate targeted bombing of hospitals after being notified of the hospital coordinates by the ICRC.
    • Declaring no fire zone and then bombing and shelling the area targeting civilians who sought refuge in those zones.
    • Killing unarmed civilians at close range
    • Killing surrendered enemy combatants
    • Rape of women and children
    • Concentration camps to hold civilians
    • Denying food and medicine to civilians
  • fernan do posted:

    on 13th September 2011, 20:27:23 - Reply

    same whait dogs not happy for sri lanka ,because there no war no bissnas ,and they jelusse !!!! why thoss dogs not toking for IRAQ,AFGANISTAN,PAKISTAN,LEBYA ???!!!!! keled mor then one milions inecents civiliyans by US
  • GOOD DOC posted:

    on 13th September 2011, 19:49:48 - Reply

    But, our own Defense secretary has told recently that civilian casualties were unavoidable !!!!! but, with our little BRAINS can' t we think that those civilians who died in the 4TH Ealam war, don't they have the RIGHT to live in Sri Lanka? I repeat , my concern is CIVILIANS NOT THE TERRORISTS !
  • Nagen posted:

    on 13th September 2011, 19:47:34 - Reply

    What is Sri Lanka accused of;
    • Deliberate targeted bombing of hospitals after being notified of the hospital coordinates by the ICRC.
    • Declaring no fire zone and then bombing and shelling the area targeting civilians who sought refuge in those zones.
    • Killing unarmed civilians at close range
    • Killing surrendered enemy combatants
    • Rape of women and children
    • Concentration camps to hold civilians
    • Denying food and medicine to civilians
    The UN experts found credible evidence of war crimes, and the interesting part is that the top Sri Lankan government ministers, including the president and the defence secretary have admitted all the above crimes on tape. For example, the defence secretary’s interview to British Sky News, where he claimed that hospitals operating in enemy territory were legitimate targets. Likewise the Sri Lankan government has tried to justify all the crimes but when the international community refuse to accept the justification of the ‘genocide’ they started to deny their action.
    It is time that an independent investigation is carried out swiftly.
  • Sinhacub posted:

    on 13th September 2011, 18:56:34 - Reply

    What has Sri Lanka done that the US and it's allies have not done in Lybia, Iraq, Afganistan and many other countries. This was NOT a war against the Tamil people, but a war against a terrorist movement. Every terrorist may have been a Tamil but not every Tamil was a terrorist. Unlike the West, at least we were fighting a terrorist war in our own country and not in a foreign country.
    When NATO forces bomb civilian targets killing hundreds of civilians it is reported that this was a known Command Centre. When the Tamil Tigers fire their artilery from the hospital grounds or amoung civilians that they held as human shields, and the Sri Lankan army fires back in retaliation, they are accused of human rights violations. Where is the justice here?
    Let's be honest. The US and the western nations couldn't care less about human rights abuses. They are worried about the growing influence of China in Sri Lanka which is geographically located in the main east-west shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean. So destroying a country is worth maintaining Western dominance in the indian Ocean. This has been US foreign policy for too long and is presently causing it's fall from grace.