Good news! The U.N. Human Rights Council will hold a special session in Geneva on Monday, May 25, on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government has recently reconquered all the territory controlled by the opposition Tamil Tigers. The Tigers had been fighting for over 26 years in pursuit of an independent state for the Tamil minority in the north and east of Sri Lanka. The conflict has been accompanied by scores of human rights abuses and war crimes committed by both sides.
The Human Rights Council should at least do the following for the people of Sri Lanka:
- Establish an international commission of inquiry to investigate war crimes and human rights abuses by both sides and hold accountable those found responsible
- Persuade the Sri Lankan government to open up the conflict zone and the internment camps holding displaced civilians to aid agencies and journalists, so that the civilians can get the aid they need and the truth about the war can emerge
- Get international monitors deployed at all places where the Sri Lankan government is screening people to separate captured Tigers from civilians, so that the rights of everyone being screened are protected
- Have the Sri Lankan government allow displaced civilians to leave the internment camps if they choose
- Have the Sri Lankan government immediately release the detained journalist, J.S. Tissainayagam, and drop all charges against him
- Get the Sri Lankan government to release the three doctors who had been reporting from the war zone and were recently detained, unless they are promptly charged with a recognizable crime