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‘Sri Lanka’s regime change has made no difference in delivering justice’ - USTPAC, BTF, ATC

Regime change in Sri Lanka has made “no difference in delivering justice and reparation to the victims of war crimes and genocide” said a group of Tamil diaspora organisations this week, in a call for an establishment of an international criminal tribunal.

“Yet another New Year dawns almost 10 years since the worst of the genocidal onslaught against the Tamil people by the Sri Lankan state with no sign of the victims receiving justice in the near future,” said the United States Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC), British Tamils Forum (BTF) and Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) in a statement.

“More than three years after UN Human Rights Council (HRC) Resolution 30/1 on Sri Lanka, to-date Sri Lanka has taken very few steps to fulfil its obligations and none of those implemented have produced any substantive outcomes for those most affected by the war,” the statement continued.

“The current President and the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka have made repeated statements rejecting some of the most important commitments Sri Lanka made in the Resolution, notably those for accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity through legal reform and a hybrid court with Commonwealth and foreign judges, prosecutors, etc.”

It went on to state that “the extension of time given to the Sri Lankan state through HRC Resolution 34/1 in 2017 has seen no substantive progress in fulfilling Sri Lanka’s commitments to the international community”.

“The international community will be failing the Tamil people yet again by not preparing for their next steps when the March 2019 report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Right is given with no substantive progress whatsoever,” it added.

“However, as feared by the Tamil people due to long historical experience within a unitary state dominated by the Sinhalese Buddhist community, regime change has made no difference in delivering justice and reparation to the victims of war crimes and genocide.”

The statement concluded by saying,

“We, the undersigned organisations, call for the establishment of a viable UNHRC mechanism to monitor Sri Lanka’s progress on implementation of HRC Resolution 30/1, with parallel planning for alternate UN processes, including either a referral to the ICC or the establishment of a Special International Criminal Tribunal when Sri Lanka fails to deliver on its commitments by March 2019.”

See the full text of the statement here.