Genocide the Tamil people in Srilanka

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Our duty to Sri Lanka, and human rights

Writing in The Guardian as the UN Human Rights Council session opens in Geneva, Archbishop Tutu and Mary Robinson say it is not just Sri Lanka's people that the Council must serve this week, but the cause of international law.

This week the UN Human Rights Council has an opportunity and a duty to help Sri Lanka advance its own efforts on accountability and reconciliation. Both are essential if a lasting peace is to be achieved. In doing so, the council will not only be serving Sri Lanka, but those worldwide who believe there are universal rights and international legal obligations we all share.

Nearly three years since the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by the Sri Lankan government there has still been no serious domestic investigation of the many allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by both sides during the civil war's final stages. These tragic events cannot simply be ignored.

A report in April 2011 by a panel of experts appointed by the UN Secretary-General documented government forces' large-scale shelling in "no-fire zones" where civilians had been encouraged to gather. Government forces also shelled a UN hub and food distribution lines. The same report says the LTTE used civilians as human shields, refused to allow people to leave conflict areas and forcibly recruited adults and children as young as 14 to fight. Credible sources cited in the UN report have estimated that around 40,000 civilians may have perished in the final months of the conflict. This tremendous civilian toll covers thousands of stories of suffering and strength, the vast majority of which are untold. One verified story chronicles the experiences of a family who were forcibly displaced more than seven times in eight months between September 2008 and May 2009. They repeatedly sought shelter in government-declared "safe zones" (which were then shelled), buried five relatives, including a six-year-old girl, in unmarked graves, and saw many of their fellow civilians killed and injured.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

With media gagged or threatened, no progress for freedom of information

Reporters Without Borders calls on all members of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council, which began its 19th session yesterday, to pass a resolution condemning the Sri Lankan government’s violations of freedom of information and to demand an end to threats and violence against news media and human rights defenders in Sri Lanka.

“For more than a year we have been seeing new forms of censorship and a deterioration in journalists’ ability to work although the war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) officially ended in 2009,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Rather than wait until the Universal Periodic Review to make recommendations, the Human Rights Council’s members should adopt a resolution now urging the government to take measures to improve freedom of information.,41946.html

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sri Lanka’s dead and missing: the need for an accounting Sri Lanka’s dead and missing: the need for an accounting

Nearly three years since the end of the war, there’s a growing need for an accounting of – and for – those killed and missing in the final months of fighting in northern Sri Lanka in 2009. Members of the UN Human Rights Council, opening its 19th session in Geneva today, should be ready to press the Sri Lankan government for real answers.

Instead of grappling with the many credible sources of information suggesting tens of thousands of civilians were killed between January and May 2009 – including the UN’s real-time data collection, international satellite imagery, and the government’s own population figures – the government is rewriting history on its own terms. In the lead up to the Human Rights Council session, the government released an “Enumeration of Vital Events” for the Northern Province. It finds the total death toll during the five bloody months of fighting in 2009 to be under 7,000 with another 2,500 missing, but it doesn’t differentiate between civilians and combatants or assign responsibility for any death to either the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) or to government forces.

These findings fall far short of the UN Secretary-General’s panel of experts’ estimate that as many as 40,000 civilians died in those last months and even higher estimates based on the government’s own prior census figures.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Marie Colvin and Sri Lanka war crimes

Marie Colvin lost one eye in Sri Lanka
Ms Colvin lost her eye in Sri Lanka when shot at by the military while entering Govt territory after filing a report from restricted LTTE-held territory in 2001

Her iconic figure with a black patch over the left eye reporting from global conflict zones has been seen by hundreds of thousands around the world.

Marie Colvin killed in Syria, alongside award winning photojournalist Remi Ochlik, lost her eye in Sri Lanka when shot at by the military while entering government territory after filing a report to the Sunday Times from restricted Tamil Tiger held territory in April 2001.

Paying tribute to Mylvaganam Nimalarajan, of the BBC Sinhala service, in a public event in London in 2002 Marie spoke of the dangers faced by war correspondents who lived in war torn countries but could not leave like their international colleagues.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Two of Sri Lanka's Foulest War Crimes

If members of the UNHRC in Geneva haven't heard this one, they certainly should... this government was willing to wound, kidnap, rape and slaughter journalists.

(SALEM) - As we mourn the death of Sunday Timescorrespondent Marie Colvin, in Syria, we recall her dedicated work in Sri Lanka;

Marine Colvin - Sunday Times

where a government soldier threw a hand grenade that cost her an eye in 2001, while she reported on the front lines, covering the fighting between the Sri Lanka Army and LTTE rebels from the north.

Marie was targeted by soldiersafter identifying herself as a reporter. Resistance fighters with the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) Tamil Tigers, said it was an act of deliberate targeting and cowardice.

"After she held up her press credentials, they lobbed a grenade at her," Marie's mother Rosemary Colvin told the Oyster Bay Pilot.

"She was arrested and tied up for 10 hours without medical care before the US State Department could get her out." This deliberate attempt to kill a civilian reporter followed by ten hours without medical care, constitutes a foul crime of war.

Monday, February 20, 2012

US keeps sharp focus on Tiger killings

{Sydney Morning Herald Asia-Pacific editor, Hamish McDonaldIn}

May 2009, hell was a strip of sand on the north-east coast of Sri Lanka where a surrounding government army was raining shells, bullets and bombs on a cut-off rebel army, the Tamil Tigers, and thousands of trapped civilians.

As the end came near, three Tiger leaders tried to save themselves and their families, arranging a surrender in mobile phone calls and text messages involving the government's foreign secretary in the capital Colombo, Norwegian diplomats, a British journalist and others.

They were told to advance across to government lines in a non-threatening manner, raising their hands, and bearing a white cloth.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

NGOs Call on U.S. to Establish International Accountability Mechanism on Sri Lanka at UN Human Rights Council

[ Amnesty International ,Feb 17,2011]

We are pleased to hear that the United States has decided to press for action at the March session of the Human Rights Council on accountability for wartime abuses in Sri Lanka. This issue has long been a high priority for us due to the massive scale of abuses committed in the final months of the war and the Sri Lankan government’s resistance to any serious domestic inquiry. In September, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon referred to the President of the HRC and the High Commissioner the report of his Panel of Experts, which finds considerable evidence of war crimes and other abuses committed by both sides during the Sri Lankan civil war.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sri Lanka: Army Inquiry a Delaying Tactic

The Sri Lankan army’s announced inquiry appears to be a transparent ploy to deflect a global push for a genuine international investigation, not a sudden inspiration nearly three years after the war. This inquiry, coming on the eve of a possible Sri Lanka resolution at the Human Rights Council, looks like yet another cynical and meaningless move.

Brad Adams, Asia director

(New York-HRW) – The Sri Lankan army’s announcement that it had appointed a five-member court of inquiry to investigate allegations that its forces committed serious violations of the laws of war appears to be another government delaying tactic in the face of mounting international pressure, Human Rights Watch said today. The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva is expected to discuss at its next session a resolution on the lack of accountability for violations of international human rights and humanitarian law by government forces and the secessionist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam during the final months of their armed conflict, which ended in May 2009. The session begins February 27, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012

In Sri Lanka, a 'negative peace' prevails The civil war is over in Sri Lanka, but many men suspected of being Tamil Tiger fighters continue to be deta

[TamilNet, Monday, 06 February 2012]
The wards of the Chaavakachcheari hospital, renovated with help from Red Cross societies from Finland and Ireland at different stages and that were already declared open, were declared once again opened by SL president Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday. The ‘hijack’ move projected as a part of ‘grand opening’ under Rajapaksa's Vadakkin Vasantham (the spring of the North), was exposed by the local journalists, who discovered that the initial inaugural plaques with the names of foreign donors were hastily removed Sunday night and new plaques were installed. As the local journalists in Jaffna began questioning the episode, the SL establishment blocked the journalists from covering the visit of Mr. Rajapaksa to Jaffna Secretariat where he was scheduled to discuss his ‘development’ of North.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

‘Development means 14-storey tourist hotel in Jaffna’

[TamilNet, Saturday, 04 February 2012]
Keeping genocide-afflicted Eezham Tamils in sheds and shelters, occupying Sri Lanka plans to build massive ‘tourist’ hotels in Jaffna with Sinhala investment and management, eventually to create Sinhala business enclaves and colonies, news sources in Jaffna said. SL presidential sibling Basil Rajapaksa laid foundation for a 14-storey tourist hotel in the heart of Jaffna city on Friday. Mr. Milinda Moragoda, opposition leader, Colombo municipal council, is said to be closely associated with the investment carried out by a tourism corporate named Jetwing-Yarl. Mr. Moragoda was bracketed with Norwegian development minister Mr. Erik Solheim in luring the LTTE to the peace process in 2001. Meanwhile, Norway conducts a seminar to select participants this weekend, on Norway Tamils contributing to peace, reconciliation and development of Sri Lanka that will be addressed by Mr. Erik Solheim.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Tyranny of the majority since 1948

By: Roy Ratnavel

Thugs — they came during the day and in the night, by the hundreds. In the first hours of July 24, 1983 — one day after a deadly ambush by Tamil Tigers which killed 13 Sri Lankan Army soldiers. Day of infamy — a 9/11 if you will — for Sri Lanka’s Tamils.

As the days ensued, Tamils were targeted on the capital streets of Colombo as they went about their day, inside busses on the way to work, at their businesses. Even while they were sleeping in their own homes — it didn’t matter. Homes were identified in spectacular Nazi-efficiency with the help of voters-list distributed by the government. The smashing of doors and windows, hinges flying in the midst of screams from inside and outside, even the pitter-patter of terrorized infants feet didn’t matter against the screeching thud of vicious thugs drunk on anti-Tamil rage.

Letter on Sri Lanka to Permanent Representatives of Human Rights Council Member and Observer States

[ HRW Feb 03 2011 ]

We write to urge your delegation to work with other member and observer states of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) to bring the issue of accountability for wartime abuses in Sri Lanka onto the agenda of the Council during its March 2012 session. Almost three years after the end of the military conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the government has not kept its commitments to the people of Sri Lanka, the UN Secretary-General, and the Human Rights Council to undertake credible measures to provide justice and accountability for the widespread and serious wartime abuses.

Sri Lanka: UN Must Act at Next Human Rights Council Session - HRW
- Kevin Rudd must up the ante on Sri Lanka - HRW