Marking eleven years since the massacres at Mullivaikkal, former UN Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay, has issued a statement remembering the thousands of Tamils killed during their struggle for self-determination; the regression of the Sri Lankan government; and, the urgent need for the international community to support the struggle of the Tamil people.
Navi Pillay notes that despite the UN investigation detailing war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated against the Tamil people there have been “no judicial mechanism” and “no perpetrators have been brought to justice”.
Pillay also condemned Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s pardon of Sunil Rathnayake, who was found guilty of the Mirusuvil massacre, in which 8 Tamils civilians were killed including a five year-old-child.
She described the decision as “a far cry from justice”.
Read more here: Sri Lanka pardons soldier imprisoned over massacre of Tamils
Pillay maintains that Tamils in Sri Lanka continue to suffer repression as much of the land seized by the military has not been restored. Discrimination against Tamil is also evidenced by the continued detention of political prisoners and even in the exclusion of Tamil from the national anthem.
She concludes stressing the need for:
“All of us should join the international community in collective action to realise the rights of Tamils people, to ensure that they have justice and reparations redress in Sri Lanka”.
A full transcript of her speech is reproduced below:
Vannakam I join in remembrance of the Tamil victims of the war that ended on the 18 May 2009. Close to 146,000 Tamils died across the six decades struggle for self-determination so on this remembrance day it is important that we honour the Tamil victims and we inspire ourselves to continue their struggle for justice, freedoms and reparation for their loses. The United Nations investigations determinate that during the war in SL international crimes such as war crimes and crimes against humanity had been committed and yet there has been no judicial mechanism, no perpetrators have been brought to justice, and recently in a cynical move, the President pardoned and released from the prison the only one soldier and army sergeant who had been convicted by the courts and sentenced to prison for killing 8 civilians including a child. And he was just released by the President last month. This is a far cry from justice. Tamils in Sri Lanka continue to suffer all kinds of prejudice, discrimination and violation of their human rights. The lands that was stolen from them by the military has not been restored. The Tamil language has now been excluded from the national anthem, in the past it was always two languages. And, almost 200 people are still in detention. This is why, because of the continuing violation of the continuing violations of the rights of Tamils, all of us should join the international community in collective action to realise the rights of Tamils people, to ensure that they have justice and reparations redress in Sri Lanka.