Colombo, March 3 (NIA) – Several Tamil politicians from Sri Lanka’s main Tamil National Alliance, has urged the UN Human Rights Council not to give Sri Lanka any further time to fulfill its commitment made to the UN to probe war crimes and human rights abuses allegedly committed during and after the island nation’s 30 year civil conflict.
In a petition sent to the Council, the politicians said Sri Lanka had voluntarily co-sponsored Resolution 30/1 on accountability and committed to fully implement the requirements of the resolution by March 2017.
Despite extensions and grace periods given already, no progress has been made on any front, the petition stated.
“The only way to protect us and give us justice and safety is for the UN Human Rights Council to refer Sri Lanka to the UN General Assembly, along with a recommendation to the UN Security Council that Sri Lanka be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) or that an ad-hoc International Criminal Tribunal be created on Sri Lanka, similar to the procedure followed to assure accountability for North Korea’s Crimes Against Humanity,” the petition stated.
The petition further said that the minority Tamils feared that any extension of time would embolden and encourage the Sri Lankan government to commit human rights abuses against Tamils without any fear and Tamils safety would be in danger.
It further alleged that tens of thousands Sri Lankan Security forces who committed mass killings and sexual violence are still stationed in Tamil areas and live among the victims. There are numerous reports of current abuses against Tamils, including a recent report by UN Special Rapporteur on torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment Mr. Juan Mendez.
“Creating an international mechanism to prosecute war crimes has been the fervent wish and aspiration of the Tamils ever since the war ended in 2009. The Resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2015 gave a glimmer of hope that their wishes and aspirations would be fulfilled,” the petition said.
After co-sponsoring the Geneva Resolution and agreeing to the creation of court comprising foreign and local jurists to investigate war crimes, Sri Lankan leaders have been acting contrary to the letter and spirit of the Resolution and their maneuvers are designed to frustrate and defeat the UNHRC process, the petition said.
As Sri Lanka has accomplished almost none of the commitments it voluntarily made in 2015 to the UN Human Rights Council, any extension of time given to Sri Lanka beyond March 2017 will result in no accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity it committed against Tamils, the petition added.
“Any number of years of extension will not yield any results, because there is no political will by successive Sri Lankan Governments to hold those committed gross abuses against Tamils accountable.”
Sri Lanka, earlier this week said it would seek two more years from the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to fully implement Resolution 30/1.
Mano Tittawella, the Secretary-General of the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms told the BBC, Sri Lanka is confident it will get the two years it is seeking from the UNHRC.
Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told foreign journalists in Colombo last month that despite Sri Lanka needing more time to fulfill promises given to the U.N. human rights body to investigate war crime allegations from the nation’s long civil war, the island will commit itself to going ahead as planned even though it has not been able to achieve all that it wanted.
In the joint resolution in 2015 at the U.N. Human Rights Council, Sri Lanka promised to work toward ethnic reconciliation, including investigating alleged wartime abuses.
According to U.N. estimates, up to 100,000 people were killed in the 26-year civil war between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels, but many more are feared dead, including up to 40,000 civilians who are believed to have died in the final months of the fighting.
(Pic featured above shows Tamil women crying as they hold up images of their disappeared family members during the war against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at a protest in Jaffna, about 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of Colombo August 27, 2013. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte/Files)