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

3 Comments To This Article

  • 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.