ICG speech at Harvard

March 29, 2011 Comments Off on ICG speech at Harvard

ICG – The Politics of Domestic and International Accountability Options in Sri Lanka

Alan Keenan | 24 Mar 2011

Alan Keenan is Senior Analyst and Sri Lanka Project Director with the International Crisis Group. This text is a revised version of a presentation made as part of a live web seminar on “Accountability for Violations of IHL in Counterinsurgency: The Case of Sri Lanka”, organised by the Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research, on 24 February 2011.

1. The need for an international investigation
The International Crisis Group, like others concerned with a sustainable and just peace in Sri Lanka, has been calling for the establishment of an independent and international commission to look into the many credible and well-documented allegations of war crimes in the final months of Sri Lanka’s long civil war. A serious and independent accountability mechanism is needed, first of all, as a matter of principle. The violations of international humanitarian law that we have evidence of and wrote about in our May 2010 report on War Crimes in Sri Lanka, point to the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians in the final four months of fighting and an assault on the fundamental principles of the laws of war. These are simply too serious to be left without investigation or acknowledgment. Accountability is also important for achieving a set of broader conflict resolution goals: to open up greater political space in Sri Lanka’s shrinking democracy, to lay the groundwork for political reconciliation between the island’s different ethnic communities, to ensure that Sri Lankan Tamils have a clear account of atrocities by the LTTE that can’t be dismissed as pro-government propaganda, and, crucially, to discourage other governments from using indiscriminate and disproportionate force in their own particular “wars on terrorism”. More

ICP continues to drill UN

March 29, 2011 Comments Off on ICP continues to drill UN

Inner city Press – On Sri Lanka, UN Says No Date Set for Panel Report, Ban to Proclaim on Its Secrecy

The UN on March 28 said that for its Sri Lanka panel’s report, “no date has yet been scheduled” for it to be submitted to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and that what happens after that, including any release to the public, is for Ban “to decide and pronounce on.”

Inner City Press had asked, in light of Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s recent statements, including that Ban’s Panel could not investigate in Sri Lanka, if Ban had given him assurances that the report will be kept secret.

Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky said that’s for Ban “to decide and pronounce on.” But has Ban already decided?

In December 2010, Ban pronounced that due to Rajapaksa’s “flexibility,” his Panel could go to Sri Lanka. But time went on, and now Rajapaksa has said he prohibited any investigative trip. What flexibility was Ban praising? Inner City Press has asked, but it has still not been answered.

At Ban’s last press availability, Nesirky did not call on Inner City Press to ask any question. Ban is now ostensibly “coordinating” the military action in Libya. Many question the differing responses to the killing of civilians in Libya this year and in Sri Lanka in 2009 — but that’s a question for another day. Watch this site.

Footnote: Inner City Press also on March 28 asked Nesirky about a public statement by South Africa’s Vice President Kgalema Petrus Motlanthe that “As of March this year, we are aware that a Sri Lankan government delegation met with the UN panel in New York.” The UN has denied this meeting took place. Nesirky on March 28 did not even answer that part of Inner City Press’ question, terminated the noon briefing and left.

Eye witness reports from a visitor the North

March 29, 2011 Comments Off on Eye witness reports from a visitor the North

Lankaenews – My tour to North via A32 and back to Colombo along A 9 : what now stands there in place of ‘landmine pastry shop’ is ‘De Silva stores’

Some days prior to the last elections I travelled on the A 32 road to Jaffna via Mannar . From Mannar I went to Jaffna by the new highway . Then I returned to Colombo via Kilinochchi by the A9 route on which the famous road is built., I wish to report through the Lanka e news website what I witnessed and what I figured out from what I saw. As a member of the fairer sex and as not a conventional journalist , this report may present a distinct perspective…

…But has this happened today ? Shouldn’t the rulers have a duty by the people to act conscionably and justly in the interests of all communities? More

Amnesty International: Sri Lanka – Forgotten Prisoners

March 28, 2011 Comments Off on Amnesty International: Sri Lanka – Forgotten Prisoners

How India betrayed the Eelam Tamils

March 27, 2011 Comments Off on How India betrayed the Eelam Tamils

The Hindu – How India kept pressure off Sri Lanka

In the final stages of the war with the LTTE, New Delhi played all sides but discouraged international attempts to halt the operations.

India played a key role in warding off international pressure on Sri Lanka to halt military operations and hold talks with the LTTE in the dramatic final days and weeks of the war in 2009, confidential U.S. Embassy cables accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks showed.

The cables reveal that while India conveyed its concern to Sri Lanka several times about the “perilous” situation that civilians caught in the fighting faced, it was not opposed to the anti-LTTE operation.

They also show that India worried about the Sri Lankan President’s “post-conflict intentions,” though it believed that there was a better chance of persuading him to offer Sri Lankan Tamils an inclusive political settlement after the fighting ended. More

Act Now's Tim Martin confronts Sonia Gandhi on Sri Lanka!

March 27, 2011 § 1 Comment

On this Thursday 17th March the President of the Indian National Congress Party, Sonia Gandhi spoke to the Commonwealth Foundation on ‘Women as Agents of Change’.

India was an important supporter of Sri Lanka’s military offensive nearly two years ago. They were also instrumental in ‘persuading’ the West in turning a blind eye to the atrocities that took place against civilians in the latter part of the conflict. Mrs Gandhi and the Congress Party were thought to be driven by revenge against the rebels. Their actions however, not only resulted in the massacre of innocents, also condemned many Tamil civilians, particularly women, to destitution with little means of earning a livelihood.

Consequently the human rights group Act Now held a demonstration outside the Commonwealth Foundation building in Central London and handed out hundreds of fliers to the attendees in the queue.

Meanwhile Act Now Directors Graham Williamson & Tim Martin were in the lecture. After the speech Tim Martin was introduced to Sonia by Kieth Vaz and was able to have a good conversation regarding the issues in Sri Lanka.

Tim said to Sonia he had heard her talk about women as agents of change but what about the innocent Sri Lankan Tamil women who have been raped, murdered, mutilated and tortured. What about the tens of thousands of war widows which struggle to make ends meet. How will they become agents of change?

India supported the war in Sri Lanka with military assistance, a war which massacred up to 40,000 innocent civilians, according to Gordon Weiss a former UN spokesman. What will you do now to ensure that these vulnerable Tamil women have a chance to become agents of change. What will you do to ensure young Tamil schools girls in the North are stopped being found dead at the bottom of wells after being raped by the Sri Lankan army? What will you do to ensure that these women can live in freedom without fear.

Sonia replied that she was extremely concerned about the situation in Sri Lanka and that her government would do everything they can to bring change.

Overall the event was successful and continued to remind Sonia about the atrocities which continue to take place in Sri Lanka.

For further information, please contact:

Tim Martin, Director, Act Now
Tel: +44(0)7817 504 227
Email: info.actnow@gmail.com
Site: http://www.act-now.info

For photographs click here

With love, from one war criminal to another…

March 27, 2011 Comments Off on With love, from one war criminal to another…

BBC – Sri Lanka protests against Libya air strikes

Hundreds of people have protested against Western-led air strikes in Libya outside the United Nations headquarters in Sri Lanka.

Demonstrators shouted anti-Western slogans, waved placards and burned tyres near the UN compound.

The protests were organised by political parties closely allied to Sri Lanka’s president.

Correspondents say relations between Libya and Sri Lanka have been extremely close in recent years.

Libya was one of the countries which supported Sri Lanka when the UN Human Rights Council sought a resolution against Sri Lanka for alleged war crimes in the wake of the country’s 26-year civil war. More

The hypocrisy of the world

March 27, 2011 Comments Off on The hypocrisy of the world

The Age – Letter to Editor

Why was there no such will to help in Sri Lanka?

I AM a Sri Lankan. In 2009, we had the same issue as Libya: Sri Lankan armed forces killed civilians during the fight against the rebels.

The Australian Tamils wrote to then prime minister Kevin Rudd to help stop the bloodshed and prevent the innocents being killed. Neither the prime minister nor the foreign minister did anything.

The UN and Western leaders did nothing, watching thousands of innocents killed.
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Now Kevin Rudd is making noises about the UN resolution on the Libyan crisis. Barack Obama said the Libyan people should be protected. Where was he when the Tamils were massacred by the Sri Lankan government?

The war criminals in Sri Lanka are still free and continue to commit atrocities and the Western world turns a blind eye.

Why this double-standard? Libya has oil wealth. The Tamils do not have any. The UN is supposed to protect the poor and vulnerable. But here oil wealth speaks loud and clear.

N. S. Nathan, Wheelers Hill

Sri Lanka's war on the Tamils given a defence review

March 27, 2011 Comments Off on Sri Lanka's war on the Tamils given a defence review

Defence Review Asia – Sri Lanka: In the Eye of the Storm
Ana Pararajasingham, March 2011

Click here and go to page 16 to read full report

In other news…

March 27, 2011 Comments Off on In other news…

Sinhala media carries images of Tamil families living in appalling conditions and evidence of broken promises by the Sri Lankan government –

Daily Mirror – Resettled ask govt. to fulfill promises

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