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‘Immediate obligation’ to ‘monitor, protect and promote human rights’ of Tamils and Muslims - Oakland Institute and French Tamil NGO at UNHRC

Speaking at the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the Oakland Institute states that it is the international community’s “immediate obligation” to “monitor, protect, and promote human rights of ethnic Tamil and Muslim communities” in Sri Lanka.

The statement, delivered in collaboration with a French-Tamil NGO (Association Bharathi Centre Culturel Franco-Tamoul) highlights the importance of “the appointment of a Special Rapporteur on land rights for Sri Lanka and field presence of the Office of the High Commissioner in the country” as well as the failure of the Core-Group’s Draft Resolution to “outline a clear approach for ensuring justice and accountability”.

The Organisations further add that the draft resolution

“deviates from the recommendations made by Commissioner Bachelet and those made by four former High Commissioners, nine former Special Rapporteurs – to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court.”

Militarisation and Sinhalisation of the Tamil Homeland is also emphasised during the speech, with an estimation of “one soldier for every six civilians in the Northern Province”; further stating that the

“Government-led effort to geographically fragment the North and East is accompanied by a strategy to systematically erase Tamil culture and history through the establishment of Sinhalese settlements, Buddhist temples, archaeological reservations, and more.”

The statement concludes by stressing the importance of “the need for particular attention to Human Rights Treaty Bodies on Sri Lanka”, further adding

“The HRC resolution on Sri Lanka must include these recommendations and emphasize the immediate end of land grabbing and planned settlements, while ensuring immediate demilitarization of the North and East. Failure to do so will once again be a mockery of the international human rights regime.”

The Oakland Institute released a report last week underlining the continued militarisation and Sinhalisation of Sri Lanka, as the government continues its campaign to “eradicate the history and culture of the Tamil people”.

Earlier this week Gotabhaya Rajapaksa announced the opening of 50 military and STF camps in the Eastern Province, home to a significant number of Tamils and Muslims. Sri Lanka's Minister of Public Security Sarath Weerasekara also announced this week that Sri Lanka is to ban the burqa and close 1,000 Islamic schools on the grounds of 'national security'.

See the full statement here

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