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TAG horrified at Sri Lanka u-turn on accountability

Together Against Genocide (TAG) said it was "horrified at Sri Lanka's u-turn on the pledges it made" after the country's president last week said that no international experts would be included in the accountability mechanism, despite this being a specific aspect of the UN Human Rights Council resolution adopted last year.

“We are horrified by Sri Lanka’s duplicity towards survivors of mass atrocities: they have been promised a credible justice mechanism involving international judges and legal assistance.” TAG Director Jan Jananayagam said.
 
“It is critical that the UN and members of the Human Rights Council take immediate steps to ensure full implementation of the pledges made at the 30th session of the Human Rights Council”

See full statement here.

Extract reproduced below:


"The present Sri Lankan government came into power due to  pressure at the Human Rights Council on former President Rajapaksa who was accused of overseeing mass atrocities. The new government co-signed resolution 30/1 to ward off a referral to the International Criminal Court or other justice mechanism outside of Sri Lanka.
 
Prior to agreeing to cooperate with the UN Human Rights Council Sri Lanka faced boycotts at the Commonwealth Heads of Government and other international arena. After agreeing to cooperate, Sri Lanka has seen unprecedented international engagement including visits from British and American diplomats seeking to encourage Sri Lanka’s implementation of its pledges to the Human Rights Council.
 
Notably in November 2015, Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the UN visited Sri Lanka, followed within a month by the State Department’s Counsellor Shannon and Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal. In January 2016, Hugo Swire, British Foreign Office Minister for Asia, visited Sri Lanka for discussions that spanned the implementation of UN HRC resolution  30/1.
 
The Sri Lankan government has marketed these visits as signs of its ‘reinstatement’ in the international community. Simultaneously Sri Lanka has sought a fresh influx of aid, including the restoration of its privileged EU tax status under the GSP+ regime.
 
It is in this context that the country’s President told the BBC that he has no intention of allowing international involvement in the proposed justice mechanism. He said ‘we do not need to import any one to solve our country’s problems’. He rejected the possibility of international judges.
 
Other recommendations of the OISL remain unfulfilled. Contrary to recommended demilitarisation, Sri Lanka continued to increase its military budget and the vast majority of its ethnically Sinhala troops remain stationed in the Tamil North East."

Speaking to BBC Sinhala Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena responded to questions on ongoing torture in the country by saying,

“I totally deny that. If someone can prove with evidence I am ready to give them the opportunity. Justice is served equally in this country.”

His comments come despite a report released by the International Truth and Justice Project: Sri Lanka (ITJP) last month which detailed evidence of on-going torture and sexual violence by Sri Lanka’s security forces.

See our earlier post:

Systemic torture and rape oppressing Tamils under new Sri Lanka government (05 Jan 2015) 

Also see:

Sri Lanka rejects international component to accountability, denies reports of ongoing torture (22 Jan 2016)

Triumphant return for president who 'achieved a great victory' at UNHRC, as he pledges 'domestic inquiry' (03 Oct 2015)

Consensus resolution on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka adopted at UNHRC (01 Oct 2015)

Sri Lanka cannot domestically deal with 'grave crimes' found in OISL report says UN Rights Chief (16 Sep 2015)