Zeid Hussein calls on UNHRC to explore other avenues for accountability in Sri Lanka

The February 2018 UNHRC Report finds that Sri Lanka is still not prepared to deliver justice to the Tamils and urges UN member states to exercise universal jurisdiction to foster accountability

The High Commissioner for UNHRC has released the February 2018 Report A/HRC/37/23 providing further evidence exposing the intransigent nature of Sri Lanka in terms of its willingness to deliver justice to the Tamils who are continuing to face genocide in the island.  This is what the Tamils have been trying to expose to the world for the past seven decades.  It is appalling that the Tamils are continually being asked to expect justice to be delivered by the very oppressor that is trying to eliminate them from the island.  The silver lining we see in this report is that it correctly identifies the periodic pogroms, stating “this type of violence in a country that has experienced cycles of extreme violence roughly every 10 years is deeply troubling, particularly when accompanied by hate speech, misinformation and agitation through social media and political manipulation,” which is one of the problems the Tamils are facing.

The report also stated, “The continuing allegations of torture and surveillance and the lack of sufficient progress in implementing critical confidence-building measures, such as the release of land, the repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the solution to the pending cases under the Act, have antagonized key constituencies that could be instrumental to the Government’s reform efforts,” which brings out the intransigent nature of the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL).  In 2015, the GoSL co-sponsored a resolution in which it undertook to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act, under which thousands of Tamils have been arrested, tortured, and incarcerated for decades.  The GoSL has still not repealed the PTA.

Despite lack of progress in its undertaking given 2015, the UNHRC granted two more years to the GoSL to implement what it promised to do. On the contrary, the GoSL disregarded its obligation and assurance given to the UNHRC and carrying on with its genocidal onslaught on Tamils.  The kith and kin of those who were taken into custody by the GoSL army in 2009 are demanding to know what happened to their loved ones through day and night awareness campaigns which is continuing for over an year now.  Vast areas of Tamil owned lands forcibly taken over by the GoSL military have not been released yet.  Whatever small areas released to hoodwink the UNHRC and the international community, the peoples’ homes were bull-dozed to the ground and the drinking water wells filled with debris before release, signifying the entrenched racism and hatred for the Tamils.

Keeping the past record of Sri Lanka in mind, we demand the member states that,

  • The UNHRC must establish permanent missions in the Tamil areas of Sri Lanka to stop the on-going genocide,
  • Sri Lanka must be referred to the General Assembly with recommendation to establish a special Tribunal for misusing the three years time given to it by the UNHRC and for misleading the human rights community,
  • Sri Lanka must be compelled to sign the Rome statute,
  • Sri Lanka must be referred to the Security Council with recommendation to refer it to the International Criminal Court for War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity, and Crimes of Genocide
  • The Right of Self Determination by the Tamil Nation must be recognized as the only way to provide remedial justice.
  • A referendum must be conducted in the NorthEast of Sri Lanka and among the Eelam Tamil Diaspora to decide their own future based on their inalienable right to determine their future based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed in 1948.
International Council of Eelam Tamils (ICET) was established in 2011 by a number of grass-roots Tamil organizations, which were democratically elected by the Eelam Tamils. It is the largest Tamil diaspora organization with members drawn from fourteen countries. The ICET is absolutely committed to a non-violent agenda and it seeks a lasting peace in Sri Lanka, based on Vaddukoddai Resolution. For more information, please contact spokesperson Steven Pushparajah K, +47 90641699.