Expressing concern over the consensus resolution on Sri Lanka due to be tabled at the UN Human Rights Council, North-East civil society groups, trade unions and Tamil political parties, including three out of the four constituent parties of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) stressed that “a mechanism, which is by and large managed and controlled by the Sri Lankan state, will not in our opinion be deemed credible by the victims in Sri Lanka”.
Stating that operative paragraphs 4 and 6 of the current draft resolution “do not adequately provide for the setting up of such a credible hybrid mechanism”, the signatories said that they noted with “deep regret that in the interest of arriving at a consensus resolution with Sri Lanka that many key components of the initial draft have been omitted.”
The joint statement was signed by a number of civil society groups and trade unions across the North-East, including The Social Architects (TSA), the Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF), and the Tamil Action Committee for an International Accountability Mechanism (TACIAM), which led a signature campaign in the run up to the UNHRC’s 30th session in Geneva this month, as well as Tamil political parties, including the TNA constituent parties – the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF), the Democratic People’s Liberation Front (PLOTE) and Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO), and the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF).
See full statement below:
We release this statement in response to the draft resolution titled 'Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka' tabled under Item 2 and scheduled for debate and adoption on the 30th of September 2015.
1. We reiterate the firm conviction of the victims of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, a majority of whom are Tamils, that accountability and justice can only be truly delivered through an international criminal justice process.
2. We however in deference to the Report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' Inquiry on Sri Lanka (the OISL report) were willing to consider the possibility of achieving justice and accountability through a credible hybrid mechanism in the event of the mechanism being led and managed by its international component under the aegis of the UN.
3. We regret that Operative Paragraphs 4 and 6 of the draft resolution do not adequately provide for the setting up of such a credible hybrid mechanism. The paragraphs when read together only seek to provide the appearance of credibility to a domestic process through the appointment of 'commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers, and authorized prosecutors and investigators'. The Sri Lankan Government appointing foreign judges to its own judicial mechanism will not address the structural factors that inhibit the domestic structures in Sri Lanka, reasons for which are detailed in the OISL report. A mechanism, which is by and large managed and controlled by the Sri Lankan state, will not in our opinion be deemed credible by the victims in Sri Lanka.
4. We also deeply regret that references to demilitarization of the North-East and an increased role for the OHCHR which were included in the initial draft of the resolution have been removed from the current draft tabled before the UNHRC. The current draft resolution in Operative Paragraph 3 provides for a 'national' victims consultation process thereby in effect excluding numerous Tamil victims who live outside of Sri Lanka in fear of persecution. The testimonies of these victims from the diaspora were key to the OISL inquiry. We note with deep regret that in the interest of arriving at a consensus resolution with Sri Lanka that many key components of the initial draft have been omitted.
5. We urge you to reconsider the current draft of the resolution and to redraft it so that it truly serves the purpose of providing the basis for delivering accountability and justice in Sri Lanka.
1. Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF)
2. Democratic People’s Liberation Front (PLOTE)
3. Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO)
4. Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF)
Civil Society Organisations & Trade Unions
1. Tamil Action Committee for an International Accountability Mechanism (TACIAM)
2. Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF)
3. Centre for Human Rights and Development (CHRD)
4. Home for Human Rights (HHR)
5. The Social Architects (TSA)
6. Ceylon Teachers Union
7. Vavuniya Citizens Committee
8. Mannar Citizens Committee
9. Council of Non Governmental Organisations, Jaffna
10. Tamil Lawyers Forum
11. North East Coordinating Committee of the Relatives of the Forcibly Disappeared
12. Jaffna University Teachers Association
13. Jaffna University Employees Union
14. Foundation of Changers - Batticaloa
15. East Civil society Activist Alliance – Batticaloa
16. Commission for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Diocese of Jaffna
17. Batticaloa Social Workers Network
18. Paduvaankarai People’s Alliance
19. Mannar Economic and Social Development Organization
20. Hindu Development Society Karaithivu – Amparai
21. Tamilar Valvurimai Maiyam
22. Valikamam North Development Board, Jaffna.
23. Batticaloa District Civil Society
24. Tamil Civil Society – Trincomalee (TCST)
25. Chamber of Commerce and Insustries – Jaffna
26. Ceylon Tamil Teachers Association
27. Jaffna District Fishermen’s Cooperative Society Unions Federation
28. Jaffna Economists Association
29. Rural Labourers Society – Jaffna District
30. Northern Province Fisher People’s Unity
31. Jaffna District Fisheries Solidarity Movement
32. Valikamam South West Fisheries Co-operative Societies Federation
33. Trincomalee Tamils Development Federation
34. Trincomalee Women Headed Families Association
35. Batticaloa Sri Mamangeswarar Thrift Co-operative Society
36. Batticaloa District Pensioners Association
37. Batticaloa Municipal Tax Payers Association
38. Batticaloa Maamangam Development Society
39. Batticaloa SriMamangeswarar Hindu association
40. Batticaloa SriMamangeswarar Women’s Association