September 26, 2011 Comments Off on Find a political solution – UNSG
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the need for a “credible national accountability process” over actions in the final stages of the civil war in Sri Lanka during a meeting with Mahinda Rajapaksa, the country’s President…“He also underlined the need to find a political solution to the underlying factors of the past conflict,” according to information provided by a spokesperson for Mr. Ban after the meeting between the two officials…
September 13, 2011 Comments Off on Report released in April finally "sent" by UN Gen Sec to UNHRC
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent a report by U.N. experts who concluded that tens of thousands of people were killed in the last five months of Sri Lanka’s civil war, primarily by government troops, to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday.
Ban said in April when the report was released that he would welcome a mandate from the Human Rights Council, Security Council or General Assembly to launch an international probe into allegations of possible war crimes at the end of the 26-year war between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels.
U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said the Sri Lankan government was informed that the report was sent to the rights council and to U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay, both based in Geneva, but that it declined to respond.
Instead Sri Lanka “has produced its own reports on the situation in the north of Sri Lanka, which are being forwarded along with the (U.N.) panel of experts report,” Nesirky said… More
September 13, 2011 Comments Off on Statements made by HR orgs at UN HR Council highlight flawed LLRC
At the UN Human Rights Council’s 18th Session, Gary Anandasangaree has made the following statement on behalf of Lawyers Rights Watch Canada. Gary Anandasangaree is also Legal Counsel for Canadian Tamil Congress.
You can view the video online in this official UN Webcast around the 7 minute mark.
Full text of the statement made by Gary Ananadasangaree on behalf of Lawyers Rights Watch Canada at the 18th Session of UN Human Rights Council below.
Good Afternoon Mme. President.
Lawyers Rights Watch Canada welcomes the report of Her Excellency Ms. Navi Pillay wherein she recalled the tragic events of September 11, 2001 and remembered those who perished in the United States. The world changed that day Mme. President, and so did the fates of so many peoples.
The international effort that ensued in the name of fighting terrorism has allowed many governments to trample on individual liberties, and liberally suspend civil rights. Over the past ten years, tens of thousands of innocent lives became collateral damage. Truth and justice have become victims in what we refer to as the post-9/11 era.
One such tragedy, and one that her Excellency refers to in her report, is the deteriorating situation in Sri Lanka. The government of Sri Lanka embarked on a no-holds barred attack against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, and in doing so, ignored the plight of innocent Tamil civilians. The laws of war were broken by all sides of the conflict.
His Excellency, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon named a panel of international experts to advise him on accountability issues in Sri Lanka. The report found credible evidence, if proven, will establish that the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE, committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.
I note that the Minister of Plantation and Industries of Sri Lanka, Mr. Samarasinghe, has once again visited the Human Rights Council and has made statements, that vilify any attempts to hold the parties to the war in Sri Lanka to account. The Sri Lankan government is relying on an internal mechanism established immediately following the end of the war, called the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. The Commission is flawed for various reasons, the most troubling of which, as illustrated in Amnesty International’s most recent report, is the lack of independence, jurisdiction, due process, and protection for witnesses to the commission. The people affected by the war do not have the confidence that this commission will bring about reconciliation of any form, let alone accountability.
Unfortunately, many governments have placed a great deal of trust in this internal process, and as flawed as it maybe, there is a tendency to defer to the internal process undertaken by member states, including Sri Lanka. This may be an appropriate time in the mandate of the Human Rights Council to embark on a fundamental debate on the role of the UN bodies, including this Council. It is imperative that the UN Human Rights system act as a deterrent to breaches of international human rights laws, and war crimes, and deterrence can only take place where there is consistency in the application of the law, and proper investigation and prosecution of it. Mme. President, the Human Rights Council must act swiftly to bring about justice in Sri Lanka. The first step to that long process is to adopt the recommendations of the Secretary Generals Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka.
Thank you, Mme. President.
June 23, 2011 Comments Off on Ex FMs of Britain and France on Lanka
New York Times Opinion (20/06) – The Silence of Sri Lanka
by David Miliband and Bernard Kouchner
In April 2009, we travelled together as foreign ministers to Sri Lanka, as 25 years of fighting between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers neared its end.
The remaining fighters were trapped in the northern most part of the country — along with large numbers of civilians. U.N. estimates put the numbers of civilians there in the last few months of the war at over 300,000.
Our purpose was simple: to draw attention to the human suffering, to call for humanitarian aid and workers to be allowed in, and to call for the fighting to stop. More
May 7, 2011 Comments Off on Australian Barrister on UN Panel report
Online Opinion (03/05) – Sri Lanka needs to have a transparent investigation
By Stephen Keim
It is a tenet of the human rights movement that societies recover from conflict, wrongdoing and criminal acts best by a process of transparency and accountability. The Nuremberg Principles play a vital part in this worldview. In particular, the view is taken that neither high office nor superior orders justify or excuse acts that would otherwise amount to serious crimes against humanity or war crimes.
May 7, 2011 Comments Off on Fonseka agrees with UN Report
BBC Sinhala (03/05) – ‘ready to face UN charges’ – Fonseka
Former commander of the Sri Lanka army, Sarath Fonseka say that he is prepared to face allegations levelled against the military on the report compiled by United Nations (UN) Secretary General’s panel of experts.
April 26, 2011 Comments Off on Will Ban Ki-Moon fail humanity again?
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he lacks the authority to personally order a probe into the mass killings of civilians in the final months of Sri Lanka’s civil war, as a report recommended on Monday.
A human rights group disagreed with Ban’s description of his limited powers, saying he has the authority to push ahead.
A panel appointed by Ban said in the report on the 2008-2009 fighting in northeastern Sri Lanka that it found evidence that the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were guilty of war crimes and recommended that those crimes be investigated and suspects prosecuted.
It urged him to proceed to establish “an independent international mechanism” to investigate the quarter-century war’s final stages.
But Ban said that he could not on his own follow the recommendation of his advisory panel in the more than 200-page report, which has been rejected as biased and fraudulent by the Sri Lankan government. (More)
April 26, 2011 Comments Off on UN issues war crimes report on Sri Lanka
April 25, 2011 Comments Off on Gordon Weiss says UN failed in Lanka
The Australian (20/04) – UN called to account on war in Sri Lanka
A DAMNING UN report on Sri Lankan war crimes has accused the UN itself of failing to take action that could have saved civilian lives.
The independent report estimates “tens of thousands” of civilians died in the final bloody months of the three-decade conflict., contradicting the UN’s own strongly contested estimate of 7000 civilian deaths from January to May 2009, and the Sri Lankan government’s initial claim that no civilian blood was spilled in its military campaign.
The three-member panel, commissioned by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, found “credible allegations” that the government committed war crimes, including shelling its own no-fire zones and hospitals, as about 330,000 people became trapped on a strip of land between the two forces.
It accused the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam of gross human rights violations, including forced conscription of child soldiers and the use of human shields. (More)