US-based advocacy organisation, People for Equality and Relief Lanka have slammed Sri Lanka’s attacks on Tamil American’s as “terrorist sympathisers” following the introduction of a resolution into the US Congress calling for an “international mechanism for accountability”.
We "wholly rejects the false assertion from the Sri Lankan state that Tamil Americans, exercising their constitutional rights in advocating for human rights, are 'terrorist sympathisers’”, stated PEARL.
They further added:
"This again demonstrates Sri Lanka’s refusal to take meaningful action towards acknowledgement, let alone accountability, for the grave human rights violations committed. It is this refusal that strengthened the calls for international accountability over the years,"
Read PEARL's statement here.
Sri Lanka’s response
Following the introduction of the bipartisan resolution by Congresswoman Deborah Ross during the 12th anniversary of the Mullivaikkal genocide, Sri Lanka issued a response detailing that they “vehemently oppose” the resolution.
Sri Lanka claimed that it contained "allegations relating to Sri Lanka that are inaccurate, biased and unsubstantiated, raising grave suspicion regarding the intention of the resolution."
They further alleged that it was “influenced by a coterie of sympathisers of the LTTE in the US Congress, to carry forward the separatist agenda of the LTTE."
Sri Lanka has also criticised the resolution chiding the inclusion of the 2015 OISL report by claiming they were based on "mere subjective narrative of events including 'desk reviewed information" and sources which were "not verifiable." The OISL report outlined the gravity of the crimes perpetrated and highlighted a pattern behind the violence perpetrated by Sri Lanka which needed to be investigated further.
Sri Lanka’s response comes as the European Parliament has passed a new resolution that decried the deterioration of human rights in Sri Lanka and warned against the shrinking space for civil society.
In its recommendations, the resolution called upon Sri Lanka to “refrain from using allegations of “terrorist financing” to deny civil society organizations access to legitimate sources of funding”. The resolution follows a wide-reaching prohibition of several Tamil diaspora and Muslim organisations, as well as hundreds of individuals, which were dedicated to campaigning for human rights.
Sri Lanka has called the need for an international accountability mechanism "sinister" and instead claims that a domestic process is sufficient to address the violations. However, all previous domestic inquiries have failed to lead to any prosecutions.