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‘Consultation with victims is paramount’ says BTF

The British Tamils Forum said that it is “paramount” for “victims, their representatives and civil society organisations” to be involved “in the design, implementation and monitoring stages” of an accountability mechanism to deal with mass atrocities committed during the armed conflict.

In a statement released on Monday, the British organisation said “We urge the International Community to ensure that the ensuing processes are not compromised or hijacked by a Sri Lankan domestic process in which the victims will have no faith”. “Consultation with victims, their representatives and civil society organisations is paramount in the design, implementation and monitoring stages of the process formulation,” it said. “A robust witness protection system for the victims and witnesses within and outside Sri Lanka is extremely important for them to come forward and their protection from persecution by Sri Lanka.”
The statement went on to “express concern at the sentiment of Sri Lanka’s domestic statements on the passing of the consensus resolution at the UNHRC”. “It must be noted that the ground realities for the victims in the North-East are yet to change,” said BTF.

“In the spirit of building confidence with the war affected community in the North-East we urge Sri Lanka to commit to de-militarising the North-East, allow international NGOs and the OHCHR to establish a presence in the region, release a comprehensive list of all those detained at the end of the war to the international community and de-proscribe the Tamil diaspora organisations and named individuals.”

“We urge the international community to stay engaged and maintain pressure on the government of Sri Lanka to ensure that the Tamil people see an end to ongoing violations and an era of justice and genuine political settlement to the National conflict in the island,” it concluded.