Canadian Lawyers' rights NGO urges action at UNHRC

Addressing the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council, Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), an NGO that advocates the rights of human rights activists internationally, highlighted Sri Lanka's failure to make meaningful progress on peace and reconciliation, whilst increasing its intimidation and harrassment of those campaigning for human rights. See here for full statement, including LRWC's concerns regarding the situation in Syria. Extracts reproduced below: "Since winning the war in 2009, Sri Lanka has failed in attaining peace ." " Sri Lanka has enjoyed the support of this Council. Sri...

US says 'time slipping away' for Sri Lanka

The US Under Secretary of State, Maria Otero, warned Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of the LLRC without delay. Speaking at the 19th UN Human Rights Session on Friday, Otero said that there can be no lasting peace without reconciliaton and accountability. The Under Secretary reiterated the need for action at this session to 'sow the seeds of lasting peace'. Full comment on Sri Lanka by Maria Otero: "We know from experience that there can be no lasting peace without reconciliation and accountability, but the United States is concerned that, in Sri Lanka, time is slipping away. "The...

Jaffna uni students call on TNA to represent the people

Condemning the TNA's boycott of the 19th UN Human Rights Council session currently underway in Geneva, the Jaffna University Students Union (JUSU), called on the TNA to represent the views of the people they were elected to represent. In a statement published Thursday, the JUSU urged the TNA to bring the aspirations of the Tamils to a global forum. See here for letter in full. The TNA's Suresh Premachandran said the decision to boycott did not reflect the overall stance of the TNA, but that of certain individuals, reported Tamilnet.

Reporters Sans Frontières urge UNHRC to condemn violation of press freedom

Reporters San Frontieres called on member states at the 19th UN Human Rights Council to pass a resolution condemning the Sri Lankan government's "violations of freedom of information and to demand an end to threats and violence against news media and human rights defenders in Sri Lanka". In a statement released Tuesday, RSF condemned the Distributed Denial of Service Attacks (DDoS) on , as well as a number of Sri Lankan news organisations. RSF said: “For more than a year we have been seeing new forms of censorship and a deterioration in journalists’ ability to work although the war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) officially ended in 2009,” “Rather than wait until the Universal Periodic Review to make recommendations, the Human Rights Council’s members should adopt a resolution now urging the government to take measures to improve freedom of information.

‘Shocking allegations’ says US judge

A US judge, ruled she ‘must dismiss’ a suit against the Sri Lankan President over allegations of killings by his country’s armed forces as the American administration has decided that he is immune from litigation as a foreign head of state. " The court does not take this step lightly ," U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote in her ruling dismissing the case against President Mahinda Rajapaksa. "The plaintiffs' complaint contains shocking allegations of human rights abuses and violations of United States and international law," she said. " The court's dismissal of this case is in no...

ICG warns of 'future violence' if Sri Lanka does not improve

The International Crisis Group (ICG) warned that the current ground situation in Sri Lanka could result in " future violence ", and the UN Human Rights Council had a chance to do something about that. "The government claims to need additional time to pursue accountability. Yet its narrow promises, past three years of denial , dissimulation and intimidation of critics , and decades of failure to implement the recommendations of past domestic commissions of inquiry show that what is actually needed is a dramatic change of course ." " The responsibility now falls on the international community...

Tamilnet website cyber-attacked ahead of 19th UNHRC

The online site, Tamilnet, was out of service at the weekend after experiencing effective cyber-attacks, ahead of the 19th UN Human Rights Council session. In a statement, published Monday, Tamilnet's editorial board, said, "Distributed Denial of Service Attack (DDoS), identified by the service provider of TamilNet as originating from specific parts of the world, has been disrupting web traffic of since Saturday." "The attack on the independent media reporting to the world on Tamil affairs coincides with the opening of the 19th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (...

Sri Lankans protest against UNHRC resolution

Rallying behind the Sri Lankan government's call to arms against accountability for mass atrocities against Tamils, protests took place Monday as the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council began. In the weeks leading upto the session, government ministers have publicly denounced the "western plot". Speaking today, member of parliament for Badulla district and former deputy minister of justice, Dilan Perera told reporters, "This is clearly international revenge on the president for his action to end a 30 year curse of terrorism," "Forgetting all differences people must rally to protect...

UK urges Sri Lanka to implement LLRC recommendations - UNHRC

Speaking at the opening session of the 19th session of the UN human rights council, UK minister of state, foreign and commonwealth office, Jeremy Browne pledged the UK's commitment to working against the violation of human rights, and urged Sri lanka to implement the recommendation made in the LLRC. "Where states fail, institutions of the UN should act to make change," said Browne. It is "in this spirit," added Browne, that "Countries call on them [Sri Lanka] to make the implementations recommended in their Lessons Learnt Reconciliation Commission."

'Our duty to Sri Lanka, and human rights'

Writing in the Guardian, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Irish President Mary Robinson, members of The Elders, global leaders working for peace and human rights, called on the UN Human Rights Council to " support a resolution that seeks accountability for the terrible violations of international law ". See their full piece here. Extracts reproduced below: “ This week the UN Human Rights Council has an opportunity and a duty to help Sri Lanka advance its own efforts on accountability and reconciliation. Both are essential if a lasting peace is to be achieved. In doing so, the council will not only be serving Sri Lanka, but those worldwide who believe there are universal rights and international legal obligations we all share. ” “In the absence of a credible and independent investigation into what happened in Sri Lanka, the Human Rights Council has an obligation to uphold human rights law and international humanitarian law during its upcoming 2012 sessions.,” “Against this background, and continuing reports of human rights violations by the authorities, we urge the council to support a resolution that seeks accountability for the terrible violations of international law that have taken place, and establishes mechanisms to monitor progress on the steps the government is taking on accountability. If there is insufficient progress by the government in establishing a credible accountability process in the near future, we urge council members to support the establishment of an independent investigation. ”