Weak UN resolution will endanger justice

Acclaimed journalist J. S. Tissainayagam, wrote in Asian Correspondent on Wednesday, calling for a strengthening of a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution on accountability in Sri Lanka, stating one that does is not “will only enhance turmoil and violence”. Tissainayagam was detained by Sri Lanka's Terrorism Investigation Division in 2008 and sentenced to 20 years of "rigorous punishment" for inciting "communal feelings". Following international pressure, including a mention from US President Barack Obama, Tissainayagam was eventually pardoned and is currently living in exile. See his full piece in the Asian Correspondent here . Extracts have been reproduced below. Language in the draft resolution now before the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for an investigation into past and ongoing human rights abuses in Sri Lanka lacks teeth say critics. A resolution that establishes a weak investigating body will only render ineffectual what the international community says it is working for – strengthening human rights to promote reconciliation in a country recovering from war. Adding to this, post-war militarisation in the former warzone of northern and eastern Sri Lanka, continues to spawn grave human rights abuses – disappearance, torture and sexual violence. In the face of Colombo’s stonewalling, the only option for justice and accountability for past and ongoing violations was an international investigation.

The time for an international investigation is now

Acclaimed journalist J. S. Tissainayagam in an opinion on Thursday, argued that an international investigation into Sri Lanka's war crimes is long overdue. See here for full article. Extracts reproduced below: "British Prime Minister David Cameron’s presence at last week’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) facilitated coverage that might not have been possible otherwise for media organisations. But if the human rights and war crimes issues highlighted by the international media are to be redressed and Commonwealth values and international law upheld, the band-aid solution proposed by the Sri Lanka government and aided by the Commonwealth Secretariat has to be dismissed. Instead, what is required is implementing an international investigation into war crimes. "

Military meddling in Sri Lanka elections: What will the UN do?

Writing in the Global Post on August 28th, J. S. Tissainayagam, questions what the UN and the international community will do in reponse to on-going militarisation. "The question is whether the UNHRC and the international community will recognize that vacating private land is a façade by the military to persuade the UN that it is demilitarizing. What will the UN do? Will it impose strictures on the government for wriggling out of its commitments, or will they say sweet nothings and turn a blind eye?" See here for full article. Extract reproduced below: "An important instrument of conflict resolution, or so the international community seemed to believe, was holding elections to the NPC. As de-militarization was a prerequisite for elections, two resolutions — in 2012 and 2013 — moved by the United States at the UN Human Rights Council included such measures. However, the military has continued to govern areas where the Tamil are the majority, inserting itself into aspects of life usually serviced by civilians, and forcibly taking over and controlling land. Residents of northern Sri Lanka complain that the presence of the military is not confined to uniformed personnel patrolling the streets, guns in hand. “[The military] are in our schools supervising public examinations, in our homes [forcibly inviting themselves even to puberty ceremonies] ... It was better when they were only on the streets; now the penetration is directed internally — into the core of community life,” says Kumaravadivel Guruparan, lecturer in law at the University of Jaffna. The military involvement in the life of the community also has repercussions for the electoral process. As campaigning gets underway, the military is accused of supporting the government party against the popular Tamil National Alliance (TNA). “When TNA candidates address public meetings you can be sure four or five military personnel will be hovering around in civvies,” said Suresh Premachandran, a leader of the Alliance party.

‘One more step by Sri Lanka’s chauvinist Sinhala-Buddhists’

Commenting on the recent self-immolation by a Buddhist monk, who was protesting against the Halal slaughter of cattle and alleged conversion of Buddhists, Tamil journalist J.S. Tissainayagam, labelled the act "one more step by Sri Lanka’s chauvinist Sinhala-Buddhists to undermine the Muslim political base". Read his full piece here . Extracts have been reproduced below. "The suicide by a Buddhist monk who set himself on fire in Sri Lanka to protest the slaughter of cattle has been hailed as an act of great self-sacrifice and compared to acts of self-immolation by Tibetan Buddhist monks protesting China’s repression in Tibet. Nothing could be more ill-informed. In fact, it is one more step by Sri Lanka’s chauvinist Sinhala-Buddhists to undermine the Muslim political base." "The campaign to stop the slaughter of cattle and instances of violence against Muslims are not isolated events in Sri Lanka. These are steps to politically disempower Muslims are uncannily reminiscent of the way the Sinhala establishment tries to destroy the Tamil power base."

A game that will speak not its name

The Sri Lankan government is not declaring formally that a military operation into Vanni has already begun.

Are the Tamils are a people?

Tamils have gathered in large numbers across the eglobe to demand their collective rights, including all those due to a people The visit of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour was preceded by two important events in Sri Lanka. On 24 September, the LTTE issued a statement that coincided with the sessions of the United Nations General Assembly. The statement urged the international community to recognise the concept of the sovereignty of the Tamil people and to give them the opportunity to express their aspirations as in the case of the peoples of Kosovo and East Timor. The...

Three-pronged strategy to undermine Tamils

The Tamils are being forced to look at precisely the solution that the international community does not want them to: the LTTE.