Blake turns up pressure on Sri Lanka

US Assistant Secretary of State, Robert Blake, speaking at a news conference to mark the end of his three day visit to Sri Lanka, urged the Sri Lankan government to ensure accountability, stop paramilitary activity in the North-East and pursue devolution through talks with the TNA. “We are not in the business of making threats to our friends. There is a need for a credible process of accountability for those who have violated international humanitarian law and there will be pressure for some mechanism to ensure that this takes place. However we hope that (such pressure) is not necessary.” "The solution to achieving a just and lasting peace in Sri Lanka is not just about accountability," he added, however. Highlighting the recent mock protest orchestrated by Douglas Devananda's EPDP, Blake condemned the use of paramilitaries in the North to maintain law and order, insisting the government must make progress on disarming such groups. “ I am concerned about human rights . I discussed with relevant officials the importance of disarming paramilitary groups, on which progress is being made. It is important to deploy Tamil policeman in the north so the military no longer needs to perform these functions.” “Paramilitary groups are not allowed to carry weapons in public. While I was in Jaffna I myself, experienced the power of the EPDP who was able to prevent me from meeting with some university students. ”

Pressure grows for action on Sri Lanka

Officials from the European Union and the United States have welcomed the informal discussions at the Human Rights Council in Geneva and called for a speedy process to bring accountability for crimes committed during the warin Sri Lanka. United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillai used her speech at the opening of the UN Human Rights Council Session (HRC) to criticise Sri Lanka for its human rights record. Whilst talking about the ‘insufficient regard for human rights’ by the anti-terror measures adopted by several member countries, she pointed out Sri Lanka as a prime example of a state which undermines human rights to combat terrorism.

Ban sends expert panel’s report to UN Human Rights Council, launches probe into UN’s conduct

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has sent the UN panel of experts’ report on wartime mass killings in Sri Lanka to the UN Human Rights Council on Monday , the Associated Press reports . The report (see here ) concluded that tens of thousands of people were killed in the last five months of Sri Lanka's civil war, primarily by government troops. UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said the Sri Lankan government was informed that the report was sent to the rights council and to UN human rights chief Navi Pillay, but that it declined to respond. Instead Sri Lanka "has produced its own reports on the...

Sri Lanka: White lies and brute force

See NDTV ’s report from Vanni (broadcast Sep 10, 2011) which includes: - survivors' accounts of mass killings of Tamil civilians during the final months of the conflict, - victims accounts of torture, rape and persecution by Sri Lanka’s military after the war’s end, - and the Sri Lankan government's denials and excuses .

Full international investigation, nothing less - HRW

Human Rights Watch today joined the growing chorus urging the UN Human Rights Council to hold Sri Lanka accountable for war crimes. In a statement released on Tuesday, Brad Adams, Asia director at the group said, “When a UN Panel of Experts report concludes up to 40,000 civilians died amid war crimes, the Human Rights Council should feel compelled to act . The council should order a full international investigation – anything less would be a shameful abdication of responsibility. ” The report commissioned by the UN Secretary-General was sent to the Human Rights Council on the opening day of...

'US comments on LLRC help Sri Lanka thwart international action'

The United States and other governments must move without further delay toward an independent international investigation into mass atrocities during Sri Lanka’s armed conflict, and desist from lending credibility to Sri Lanka’s sham domestic investigation , Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) said in a statement Monday. Pointing out that leading international human rights organisations have comprehensively discredited Sri Lanka’s government-appointed Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee (LLRC), TAG said comments by US officials on expectations of the LLRC’s report merely contributed to...

Dias 'recalled'?

Sri Lankan Major General Jagath Dias has been recalled from his post as Deputy Ambassador to Germany and Switzerland, in response to allegations that he committed war crimes according to swissinfo . The Swiss news platform cited diplomatic sources on Tuesday, who confirmed that Dias had been recalled to Sri Lanka. It follows the Swiss foreign ministry confirming that the case was of “great significance” and that they had talked to Sri Lankan authorities regarding it. The move comes after criminal cases were filed against the Major General, accusing troops under his command of committing war...

TNA slams government on accountability, PTA and reconciliation

In a statement released Tuesday, the TNA, slammed the Sri Lankan government’s failure to make any meaningful progress on accountability or genuine efforts at reconciliation. The statement was issued shortly after reports confirmed the transmittal of the report by the UN Panel of Experts to the UN High Commissioner, by Ban Ki Moon. Slamming the LLRC as 'flawed', with a 'limited mandate' and having only resulted in 'very modest interim recommendations', the statement was severely critical of the government's recurrent failure to deliver. “ The failure of the government to implement even the modest interim recommendations of its own domestic mechanism highlights the importance of a genuine, credible and independent mechanism to advance accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka .” Cataloguing a series of false promises and the Sri Lankan delegation's recent remonstrations to the contrary at the UNHRC, the TNA urged the government to “be more forthright and honest in its representation of the situation in Sri Lanka to the international community”, accusing it of engaging in a “constant flow of misinformation".

‘Immediate action on Sri Lanka needed’ - Amnesty tells UN Human Rights Council

Amnesty International called for immediate action to address ‘the crisis of impunity that plagues Sri Lanka’ at the opening day of the 18th United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) session today in Geneva. “Any sustainable peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka will depend on a genuine, independent effort being made to learn the truth about serious violations during the civil war and deliver justice to the victims and their families,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director. “National efforts to date have fallen far short of the mark, and the ongoing culture of impunity in Sri Lanka is shielding those responsible for past and ongoing abuses from being brought to justice.” Amnesty’s statement came after the head of the Sri Lankan delegation Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told the council that the Sri Lankan Government's response to alleged human rights violations was “second to none”.

At the UN Human Rights Council ...

Sri Lanka came under mounting pressure from the United Nations and Western powers on Monday to ensure that perpetrators of atrocities committed in its long conflict that ended in 2009 are held to account. See reports by Reuters , AP and BBC . See related posts: (Monday Sep 12) Ban sends expert panel’s report to UN Human Rights Council, launches probe into UN’s conduct Amnesty urges UN rights council to act on Sri Lanka Sri Lanka squirms at UNHRC Pressure grows for action on Sri Lanka (Tuesday Sep 13) Full international investigation, nothing less - HRW See earlier posts: EU to stress...