Sri Lanka: what the UN council should have addressed; possible help from Rep. Shuler

Yesterday, I wrote on this blog about how the UN Human Rights Council failed to protect human rights with its recent resolution on Sri Lanka.  If you want to learn about the violations that the Council should have addressed, read the Sri Lanka entry from the Amnesty International 2009 Report, which has just been released.  It details the abuses committed during 2008 by the Sri Lankan security forces as well as the opposition Tamil Tigers.

On a separate note, if you’re a constituent of U.S. Representative Heath Shuler (11th District, North Carolina) or know someone who is, you should know that the Congressman has just concluded a visit to Sri Lanka (at least, according to the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry).  It’d be great if his constituents could write to him and get him to press the Sri Lankan government to give journalists and aid agencies full, unimpeded access to the hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians in internment camps in northern Sri Lanka.  I’d also appreciate it if his constituents could get him to come out publicly in favor of an international investigation into the human rights abuses and war crimes committed by both sides during the conflict in Sri Lanka.  If the Congressman adds his voice to those of Amnesty International, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and The New York Times (all of whom have called for such an international investigation), maybe we can get the U.S. and other governments to establish one during next week’s regular session of the UN Human Rights Council.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

30 thoughts on “Sri Lanka: what the UN council should have addressed; possible help from Rep. Shuler

  1. Years have passed by where there was no organisation to speak for the rights of the Innocent who are caught up between pointless wars, and i do appreciate what you do. when 9/11 and September 11 happened there was a global out pour of concern and The superpowers declared wars or stepped their footing to a higher level in order to protect its citizens.
    what i cannot understand is the fact that, what did the west do when there were bombings every week by the LTTE? when they killed hundreds in the Colombo Railway station bombing, the world trade center, the central bank, when they killed Buddhist pilgrims in anuradhapura?
    would you stay behind and look at it and simply condemn it when it happens in your door step? the super powers went to war against different countries, and are yet to find so called weapons of mass destruction.
    what sri lanka did was to eliminate a ruthless terror group who didn't have any value for human life.

    i am not pro sri lankan government, if given the place i would have conducted things differently and would have made amendments, but what i am happy about what the government has done is to defeat terrorism from the country. we have much bigger issues now, to give Tamils the autonomy and to to reiterate that all are sri lankans no matter what happens, that North and east has to see funding coming through for education, infrastructure and better living standards as their fellow citizens in the south and the west.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_attacks_attr

    i have lived through this war and all who live in Sri lanka will agree with me on the suffering and the pain which was cause by the war.it has brought unprecedented destruction and sorrow for people of all races and religions.

    all i hope is that the innocent people who suffered the most in this war should not suffer anymore, i hope the international community and all those who value human life to help rebuild a nation which was drenched in blood and tears for 30 years.

  2. Years have passed by where there was no organisation to speak for the rights of the Innocent who are caught up between pointless wars, and i do appreciate what you do. when 9/11 and September 11 happened there was a global out pour of concern and The superpowers declared wars or stepped their footing to a higher level in order to protect its citizens.
    what i cannot understand is the fact that, what did the west do when there were bombings every week by the LTTE? when they killed hundreds in the Colombo Railway station bombing, the world trade center, the central bank, when they killed Buddhist pilgrims in anuradhapura?
    would you stay behind and look at it and simply condemn it when it happens in your door step? the super powers went to war against different countries, and are yet to find so called weapons of mass destruction.
    what sri lanka did was to eliminate a ruthless terror group who didn't have any value for human life.

    i am not pro sri lankan government, if given the place i would have conducted things differently and would have made amendments, but what i am happy about what the government has done is to defeat terrorism from the country. we have much bigger issues now, to give Tamils the autonomy and to to reiterate that all are sri lankans no matter what happens, that North and east has to see funding coming through for education, infrastructure and better living standards as their fellow citizens in the south and the west.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_attacks_attr

    i have lived through this war and all who live in Sri lanka will agree with me on the suffering and the pain which was cause by the war.it has brought unprecedented destruction and sorrow for people of all races and religions.

    all i hope is that the innocent people who suffered the most in this war should not suffer anymore, i hope the international community and all those who value human life to help rebuild a nation which was drenched in blood and tears for 30 years.

  3. Years have passed by where there was no organisation to speak for the rights of the Innocent who are caught up between pointless wars, and i do appreciate what you do. when 9/11 and September 11 happened there was a global out pour of concern and The superpowers declared wars or stepped their footing to a higher level in order to protect its citizens.
    what i cannot understand is the fact that, what did the west do when there were bombings every week by the LTTE? when they killed hundreds in the Colombo Railway station bombing, the world trade center, the central bank, when they killed Buddhist pilgrims in anuradhapura?
    would you stay behind and look at it and simply condemn it when it happens in your door step? the super powers went to war against different countries, and are yet to find so called weapons of mass destruction.
    what sri lanka did was to eliminate a ruthless terror group who didn't have any value for human life.

    i am not pro sri lankan government, if given the place i would have conducted things differently and would have made amendments, but what i am happy about what the government has done is to defeat terrorism from the country. we have much bigger issues now, to give Tamils the autonomy and to to reiterate that all are sri lankans no matter what happens, that North and east has to see funding coming through for education, infrastructure and better living standards as their fellow citizens in the south and the west.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_attacks_attr

    i have lived through this war and all who live in Sri lanka will agree with me on the suffering and the pain which was cause by the war.it has brought unprecedented destruction and sorrow for people of all races and religions.

    all i hope is that the innocent people who suffered the most in this war should not suffer anymore, i hope the international community and all those who value human life to help rebuild a nation which was drenched in blood and tears for 30 years.

  4. Human rights abuses happen during all wars. Since you cannot prevent war, how do you think you can prevent human rights abuses during war times?

  5. Dear Jim,

    Thank you for your article. It is because of good men and women like you that the earth is still revolving on its axis…

    This war in slanka would never have happened and there would not have been Tamil Tigers, if the GOSL was a true democracy and if they were true buddist.

    It is only a matter of time before China takes complete control of srilanka…so rajapesksa be prepared to serve your new masters…

  6. Thank you Jim.
    Any one afraid of Press has some thing big to hide and has done some thing very wrong.This senseless killing of 20000 people in a short time and filling the evidence with sand and running concentration camps are not open to the Press.
    How can it be.When they come for begging for money the donor nations and others should remember this well.
    Every one with a conscience should press for free access to UN,ICRC and Press .

  7. Dear Jim,

    Thank you for this article which came at the time when the UN Human Rights Council betrayed the victims of large-scale human rights abuses of Sri Lankan government.

    If Sri Lankan governments (not just one government, all successive governments since its independence from the British) had any concern for human beings, whether Tamils or Sinhalese, this problem would not have come this far.

    LTTE came into picture only in the 80s when all the democratic voices of the Tamils and Sinhalese were silenced.

    Sri Lanka has not only killed several Tamils much before LTTE, it also wiped out the liberal Sinhalese in JVP through its cold-blooded murder. India helped Sri Lankan government even then. India and Sri Lanka should be both tried for the Human Rights abuses in the U.N. The current day JVP is nothing to do with the erstwhile JVP.

    India's former PM Rajiv Gandhi was responsible for killing thousands of innocent Sikhs in New Delhi when his mother was killed in 1984. Rajiv was also responsible for all the Human Rights abuses by Indian army in Sri Lanka in 1987. Now his wife Soniya Gandhi is behind all the support the Sri Lankan government received from India. It is a shame, they both carry the last name 'Gandhi', even though they are neither related to Gandhi and nor eligible to even pronounce Gandhi's name.

  8. Years have passed by where there was no organisation to speak for the rights of the Innocent who are caught up between pointless wars, and i do appreciate what you do. when 9/11 and September 11 happened there was a global out pour of concern and The superpowers declared wars or stepped their footing to a higher level in order to protect its citizens.
    what i cannot understand is the fact that, what did the west do when there were bombings every week by the LTTE? when they killed hundreds in the Colombo Railway station bombing, the world trade center, the central bank, when they killed Buddhist pilgrims in anuradhapura?
    would you stay behind and look at it and simply condemn it when it happens in your door step? the super powers went to war against different countries, and are yet to find so called weapons of mass destruction.
    what sri lanka did was to eliminate a ruthless terror group who didn’t have any value for human life.

    i am not pro sri lankan government, if given the place i would have conducted things differently and would have made amendments, but what i am happy about what the government has done is to defeat terrorism from the country. we have much bigger issues now, to give Tamils the autonomy and to to reiterate that all are sri lankans no matter what happens, that North and east has to see funding coming through for education, infrastructure and better living standards as their fellow citizens in the south and the west.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_attacks_attributed_to_the_LTTE

    i have lived through this war and all who live in Sri lanka will agree with me on the suffering and the pain which was cause by the war.it has brought unprecedented destruction and sorrow for people of all races and religions.

    all i hope is that the innocent people who suffered the most in this war should not suffer anymore, i hope the international community and all those who value human life to help rebuild a nation which was drenched in blood and tears for 30 years.

  9. Dear Jim,

    Thanks for the article. Sure hope congressman Shuler will bring up the plight of the IDPs and the lack of access for the aide agencies and press in the Vanni.

  10. Human rights abuses happen during all wars. Since you cannot prevent war, how do you think you can prevent human rights abuses during war times?

  11. Dear Jim and Amnesty International,

    It is now clear that Sri Lanka has used the "war on terror" guise to uproot Tamils and carryout ethnic cleansing.

    Thank you for voicing support for Tamil civilains. Independent access to humanitarian aid workers and media is essential. This is is the only way to prevent catastrophic consequences for Tamil civilians in the internment camps.

    I kindly appeal to President Obama and legislators to act in this regard as UN has failed to provide leadership.

    Sri Lankan Defence Secretary has gone on TV interviews with Sky News and BBC claiming Sri Lanka deliberately attacked civilian areas.

    Please urge UN to explore the status of surrendered LTTE cadres under international law, who are under Sri Lankan government custody at the present time. Many news reports also say several non fighting family members too were massacred.

    Thank you.

  12. Dear Jim,

    Thank you for your article. It is because of good men and women like you that the earth is still revolving on its axis…

    This war in slanka would never have happened and there would not have been Tamil Tigers, if the GOSL was a true democracy and if they were true buddist.

    It is only a matter of time before China takes complete control of srilanka…so rajapesksa be prepared to serve your new masters…

  13. Thank you Jim.
    Any one afraid of Press has some thing big to hide and has done some thing very wrong.This senseless killing of 20000 people in a short time and filling the evidence with sand and running concentration camps are not open to the Press.
    How can it be.When they come for begging for money the donor nations and others should remember this well.
    Every one with a conscience should press for free access to UN,ICRC and Press .

  14. Dear Jim,

    Thank you for this article which came at the time when the UN Human Rights Council betrayed the victims of large-scale human rights abuses of Sri Lankan government.

    If Sri Lankan governments (not just one government, all successive governments since its independence from the British) had any concern for human beings, whether Tamils or Sinhalese, this problem would not have come this far.

    LTTE came into picture only in the 80s when all the democratic voices of the Tamils and Sinhalese were silenced.

    Sri Lanka has not only killed several Tamils much before LTTE, it also wiped out the liberal Sinhalese in JVP through its cold-blooded murder. India helped Sri Lankan government even then. India and Sri Lanka should be both tried for the Human Rights abuses in the U.N. The current day JVP is nothing to do with the erstwhile JVP.

    India’s former PM Rajiv Gandhi was responsible for killing thousands of innocent Sikhs in New Delhi when his mother was killed in 1984. Rajiv was also responsible for all the Human Rights abuses by Indian army in Sri Lanka in 1987. Now his wife Soniya Gandhi is behind all the support the Sri Lankan government received from India. It is a shame, they both carry the last name ‘Gandhi’, even though they are neither related to Gandhi and nor eligible to even pronounce Gandhi’s name.

  15. Dear Jim,

    Thanks for the article. Sure hope congressman Shuler will bring up the plight of the IDPs and the lack of access for the aide agencies and press in the Vanni.

  16. Dear Jim and Amnesty International,

    It is now clear that Sri Lanka has used the “war on terror” guise to uproot Tamils and carryout ethnic cleansing.

    Thank you for voicing support for Tamil civilains. Independent access to humanitarian aid workers and media is essential. This is is the only way to prevent catastrophic consequences for Tamil civilians in the internment camps.

    I kindly appeal to President Obama and legislators to act in this regard as UN has failed to provide leadership.

    Sri Lankan Defence Secretary has gone on TV interviews with Sky News and BBC claiming Sri Lanka deliberately attacked civilian areas.

    Please urge UN to explore the status of surrendered LTTE cadres under international law, who are under Sri Lankan government custody at the present time. Many news reports also say several non fighting family members too were massacred.

    Thank you.

  17. Hi Jim,
    Thank you for writing this article highlighting Rep Shuler's visit. I had been composing a letter to him when you wrote this blog. There are many of us who are interested in a letter writing campaign to urge Shuler to act. Is there any way you would post our letter on your blog? Thanks!

  18. Hi Jim,
    Thank you for writing this article highlighting Rep Shuler’s visit. I had been composing a letter to him when you wrote this blog. There are many of us who are interested in a letter writing campaign to urge Shuler to act. Is there any way you would post our letter on your blog? Thanks!

  19. Shankar's letter is panoramic, a sweeping ( in the best sense ) overview with multiple key points worth considering. The long india – lanka collaboration in suppressing movements in lanka, lanka's massacre of the JVP Sinhalese, Rajiv's army rights abuses in 1987 & Sonia's alleged role in backing lanka now, among other things, bring perspective & meaning to the present scene. Peaceonearth makes a fascinating comment about china's imminent takeover of lanka. Something's falling into place here, crystallising below the skin of events.

  20. truenorth has made a crucial request for Amnesty to bring up with the UN the status of the surrendered Tiger prisoners under international law. An extremely vital point. The army, by its own version, is following a blanket take – no – prisoners policy.

  21. Shankar’s letter is panoramic, a sweeping ( in the best sense ) overview with multiple key points worth considering. The long india – lanka collaboration in suppressing movements in lanka, lanka’s massacre of the JVP Sinhalese, Rajiv’s army rights abuses in 1987 & Sonia’s alleged role in backing lanka now, among other things, bring perspective & meaning to the present scene. Peaceonearth makes a fascinating comment about china’s imminent takeover of lanka. Something’s falling into place here, crystallising below the skin of events.

  22. truenorth has made a crucial request for Amnesty to bring up with the UN the status of the surrendered Tiger prisoners under international law. An extremely vital point. The army, by its own version, is following a blanket take – no – prisoners policy.

  23. In response to TS149's question, I'd have to see what the letter to Rep. Shuler says before deciding whether I could post it on this blog. Anything I post on this blog needs to be consistent with AI policy and positions, as you'd expect. If you post it on another website and let me know where to find it, I could review it and let you know whether I'd be willing to post it here.

    In response to truenorth's comments, AI has been calling for international human rights monitors to be placed at detention camps, among other places. See our May 18 press release and our Mar. 27 briefing paper.

  24. In response to TS149′s question, I’d have to see what the letter to Rep. Shuler says before deciding whether I could post it on this blog. Anything I post on this blog needs to be consistent with AI policy and positions, as you’d expect. If you post it on another website and let me know where to find it, I could review it and let you know whether I’d be willing to post it here.

    In response to truenorth’s comments, AI has been calling for international human rights monitors to be placed at detention camps, among other places. See our May 18 press release and our Mar. 27 briefing paper.

  25. Dear Jim, thank you & AI for responding immediately to truenorth's urgent request.

    Let me also say you're doing work which is extremely difficult & oft maligned & underappreciated, despite which your performance has been strikingly evenhanded, restrained,consistent & grounded in the latest available findings. The voiceless need your continuing coverage & support. The better quality of response you're getting shows you're in fair company.

  26. Dear Jim, thank you & AI for responding immediately to truenorth’s urgent request.

    Let me also say you’re doing work which is extremely difficult & oft maligned & underappreciated, despite which your performance has been strikingly evenhanded, restrained,consistent & grounded in the latest available findings. The voiceless need your continuing coverage & support. The better quality of response you’re getting shows you’re in fair company.

  27. Now I actually have a problem !!!

    I have a problem of knowing what Amnesty International Stands for ?????????

    Can any representative from Amnesty tell me what they were doing for the past 26 years when the LTTE were killing innocent people from all races and religious groups ?? Where were the human rights then ?

    I also need to know how the Amnesty International recommend to end a war, without fighting and without bloodshed – negotiating a peace truce is the theoretical and more comfortable answer I believe, but, can you tell me a single issue that was sorted in that way ?? Can you tell me what you would have proposed to settle the situation in SL? (then I would ask why you didn't do it – cause if you had, war would not have been the answer – so answer that too)

    Also – my final question, WHY were you CHICKEN to shout to America when they attacked Iraq ? What did U do to stop stop them and what are the actions that you took after wards ?? I don't see any action filed in UN or anywhere against Gorge the Monkey Bush ????

    I agree with what R. Sovis has to say in this whole issue !!

  28. Now I actually have a problem !!!

    I have a problem of knowing what Amnesty International Stands for ?????????

    Can any representative from Amnesty tell me what they were doing for the past 26 years when the LTTE were killing innocent people from all races and religious groups ?? Where were the human rights then ?

    I also need to know how the Amnesty International recommend to end a war, without fighting and without bloodshed – negotiating a peace truce is the theoretical and more comfortable answer I believe, but, can you tell me a single issue that was sorted in that way ?? Can you tell me what you would have proposed to settle the situation in SL? (then I would ask why you didn’t do it – cause if you had, war would not have been the answer – so answer that too)

    Also – my final question, WHY were you CHICKEN to shout to America when they attacked Iraq ? What did U do to stop stop them and what are the actions that you took after wards ?? I don’t see any action filed in UN or anywhere against Gorge the Monkey Bush ????

    I agree with what R. Sovis has to say in this whole issue !!

  29. My fellow on Orkut shared this link with me and I'm not dissapointed at all that I came to your blog.
    p.s. Year One is already on the Internet and you can watch it for free.

  30. My fellow on Orkut shared this link with me and I’m not dissapointed at all that I came to your blog.
    p.s. Year One is already on the Internet and you can watch it for free.