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Tamil civil society forum slams ‘half-hearted’ UNHRC resolution

The Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF), an umbrella group of Tamil civil society actors based in the North-East has slammed the latest resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council on Sri Lanka. In a heavily critical statement, the TCSF said that UNHRC  resolution 46/1 had done little in advancing accountability, and that it would go down in history as “yet another half-hearted attempt at dealing with accountability” and even potentially “another attempt at giving false hope and expectations of justice to the Tamil people.”

During the early stages of the human rights council session, TCSF had already articulated concerns that the resolution was another attempt at delaying and obfuscating the Tamil people’s struggle for justice.

“It also does very little to prevent or deter ongoing violations against the Tamil people,” TCSF said. “The present Government is accelerating the process of denying the collective existence of the Tamils and Muslims. The Tamils have understood the policy of successive Sri Lankan Governments as nothing less than structural genocide. The resolution does not even understand the gravity of the situation leave alone prescribe ways to prevent the genocide.”

The group also questioned claims that the resolution was strengthened by giving the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights the mandate to collect' evidence, stating “the purpose of evidence collection, gathering and preservation will be meaningless if there is no clarity around what judicial mechanism it will feed into.”

“It is not even clear whether member-states including the core group are willing to utilise the universal jurisdiction route to pursuing accountability,” the group further added. “Time and again the core group is silent on the call for taking up the matter in the UN Security Council. These do not inspire confidence that all measures outlined in the OHCHR report are being explored by the core group with genuine commitment and political will, towards achieving justice.”

“We vehemently condemn this de-articulation of the Tamil demand for self-determination as ‘local governance’,” TCSF further said, criticising the resolution’s mention of the 13th Amendment, which the group claimed the “Tamil people and their representatives have rejected for the last 35 years” and “is not even a starting point to a political solution.”

The group further expressed disappointment in “Tamil actors who are suggesting that this resolution is a step in the right direction and that it implicitly supports a call for referring Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court.”

“The Tamil people at least must now learn that the wait for Geneva is without consequence,” TCSF concluded. “We must reject agendas that seek to instrumentalise our collective pain. The only way forward is for fresh ideas and new forms of struggle.”

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