Sri Lanka: effective action needed from UN Human Rights Council

The U.N. Human Rights Council will hold a special session on Sri Lanka in Geneva on Tuesday, May 26 (and not May 25 as I reported earlier).  Today, the Sri Lankan government tried to head off any serious review by the Council of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka by tabling a self-congratulatory resolution to be adopted by the Council.  For the sake of all the victims of the recent violence in Sri Lanka, the Council should reject Sri Lanka’s proposed resolution.

Even now, after the fighting between the Sri Lankan security forces and the opposition Tamil Tigers appears to have mostly ended, Amnesty International continues to receive credible reports of widespread human rights violations by the security forces and their paramilitary allies, including enforced disappearances, torture and political killings.  More than 250,000 civilians displaced by the recent fighting, including some 80,000 children, are being held in internment camps without adequate security, food, water and medical care.  The Sri Lankan government has recently restricted access to the camps by international aid agencies, including the U.N. and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Human Rights Council should note that the human rights issues in Sri Lanka go beyond the current humanitarian crisis.  They stem from a breakdown in the rule of law and a pervasive climate of impunity which has seen human rights violations by the security forces go unpunished for decades.  I should also mention that the Tamil Tigers have over the years been responsible for gross human rights abuses, including deliberate and indiscriminate killings of civilians, torture of prisoners, and the forced recruitment and use of child soldiers. 

Switzerland also tabled a draft resolution today for the Council’s special session.  While it’s much stronger than Sri Lanka’s own resolution, it doesn’t go far enough.  It calls for Sri Lanka to undertake investigations into human rights violations and bring the perpetrators to justice.  Given the Sri Lankan government’s weak institutional mechanisms for human rights and repeated failures to hold violators accountable, we need international involvement.  The Council should set up an international fact-finding mission to investigate abuses of human rights and humanitarian law by both the security forces and the Tigers.  It should also establish a UN human rights monitoring mission in Sri Lanka, to help the Sri Lankan government to implement reforms to provide effective safeguards for human rights.

Finally, I don’t want to omit the immediate crisis.  The Council must persuade the Sri Lankan government to open up the internment camps so that aid agencies can provide the necessary assistance and reporters can find out the truth of what’s been happening.  International monitors should be placed at all registration and screening points, internment camps and detention places, so that human rights violations are prevented.  The displaced civilians should be allowed to leave the camps if they wish - they’re not prisoners of war, they’re people who were trapped in the crossfire against their will and have already suffered too much.  They desperately need the Council’s assistance now.  We’ll be watching Geneva next week.  I hope we’re not disappointed.

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18 thoughts on “Sri Lanka: effective action needed from UN Human Rights Council

  1. Please save tamil minorities. Please save them. I request UN and western countries not to deter by developing countries betrayal. Please help the victims of the war in srilanka.

  2. Who were there to save from LTTE Zone? Only Sri Lanka Army took them from the deadly situation of the LTTE. Now they are revealing "how Tamil LTTE and many N.G.O.s worked there and how all helped to LTTE to do Brutal works.
    Why dont U hear to the voice of these tamils in Camps?
    what all of U have to do now is to help them to regain their life.food, water,
    Homes and ways of living.
    Only the poor Sri Lankan Gvmt trying to provide all these to them.
    All U are trying to push down that work too?

  3. Who were there to saveTAMIL minorities from LTTE Zone? Only Sri Lanka Army took them from the deadly situation of the LTTE. Now they are revealing “how Tamil LTTE and many N.G.O.s worked there and how all helped to LTTE to do Brutal works.

  4. Please save tamil minorities. Please save them. I request UN and western countries not to deter by developing countries betrayal. Please help the victims of the war in srilanka.

  5. Who were there to save from LTTE Zone? Only Sri Lanka Army took them from the deadly situation of the LTTE. Now they are revealing “how Tamil LTTE and many N.G.O.s worked there and how all helped to LTTE to do Brutal works.
    Why dont U hear to the voice of these tamils in Camps?
    what all of U have to do now is to help them to regain their life.food, water,
    Homes and ways of living.
    Only the poor Sri Lankan Gvmt trying to provide all these to them.
    All U are trying to push down that work too?

  6. Who were there to saveTAMIL minorities from LTTE Zone? Only Sri Lanka Army took them from the deadly situation of the LTTE. Now they are revealing “how Tamil LTTE and many N.G.O.s worked there and how all helped to LTTE to do Brutal works.

  7. When inocent civiliens were brually killed by LTTE over past 30 years , what was the human rights organisations were doing. When the helpless humans were used to shield LTTE leader , these human right organisations were sleeping.

    If you are really worried about human rights- help the displaced civilians

  8. if u really love to Tamil minorities this is the time to wake up. Don't listen to Tamils who live out of the island. they don't know the real situation here & they r trying to mess all again. i would like to say them if u have enough money burn the surplus. don't use it to burn our life.

  9. When inocent civiliens were brually killed by LTTE over past 30 years , what was the human rights organisations were doing. When the helpless humans were used to shield LTTE leader , these human right organisations were sleeping.

    If you are really worried about human rights- help the displaced civilians

  10. Time has passed to believe the Sri Lankan government in helping Tamils. War was a reason for the government to put money into their pockets and the properties owned in California after 2004/2005 will simply reflect their concerned in earning money allocated for innocent people. UN has to take full control of retension camps to save innocent tamils who are separated from family members. and help them to go back to their civil life soon.
    Sri Lankan government's human rights concerns and issues can't be reported by tamils who ever lives in Sri Lanka. Because, they are pointed with gun and knife and forced to spell out what is to told by others.
    UN should conduct the investigation regarding human rights issues in Sri Lanka.

  11. if u really love to Tamil minorities this is the time to wake up. Don’t listen to Tamils who live out of the island. they don’t know the real situation here & they r trying to mess all again. i would like to say them if u have enough money burn the surplus. don’t use it to burn our life.

  12. Time has passed to believe the Sri Lankan government in helping Tamils. War was a reason for the government to put money into their pockets and the properties owned in California after 2004/2005 will simply reflect their concerned in earning money allocated for innocent people. UN has to take full control of retension camps to save innocent tamils who are separated from family members. and help them to go back to their civil life soon.
    Sri Lankan government’s human rights concerns and issues can’t be reported by tamils who ever lives in Sri Lanka. Because, they are pointed with gun and knife and forced to spell out what is to told by others.
    UN should conduct the investigation regarding human rights issues in Sri Lanka.

  13. If you ever want to see a reader's feedback :) , I rate this post for 4/5. Decent info, but I have to go to that damn yahoo to find the missed bits. Thank you, anyway!
    p.s. Year One is already on the Internet and you can watch it for free.

  14. If you ever want to see a reader’s feedback :) , I rate this post for 4/5. Decent info, but I have to go to that damn yahoo to find the missed bits. Thank you, anyway!
    p.s. Year One is already on the Internet and you can watch it for free.