Washington, DC (PRWEB) March 22, 2012
“The Resolution passed yesterday by the UN Human Rights Council on Sri Lanka is an important first step towards accountability for the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by both sides at the end of the civil war,” Dr. Elias Jeyarajah, the President of the United States Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC) said today. “Tamil Americans are grateful to the US Government for spearheading the passage of this resolution,” the USTPAC president added.
In the Resolution, the Council recognized that the Report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission of the Government of Sri Lanka contains constructive recommendations for initiating a process of reconciliation. However, the Council also notes with concern that the Report does not adequately address the serious allegations of violations of international law, and it calls on the Government to take “all necessary additional steps” to meet its legal obligations to ensure justice and accountability. The Council has provided for necessary oversight by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which is to report back to the Council in a year’s time on progress on a comprehensive action plan to address these concerns. The Resolution passed with an absolute majority within the Council and with cross-regional support, including that of India, Nigeria and Mexico.
“The obvious starting point for this action plan is the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts Report issued in April 2011”, continued Dr. Jeyarajah. This Report detailed serious and credible allegations of breaches of international law some of which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity by both the Government and by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). This Report called for an ‘independent international mechanism’ to assess the allegations, and noted that ‘accountability for serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights law is not a matter of choice or policy; it is a duty under domestic and international law.’
“For almost three years since the end of the war, the Government has failed in good faith to deal with these allegations and the broader issue of accountability where an estimated 40,000 Tamil civilians perished in the final months of the conflict. The Resolution will only have its intended effect if the international community insists on its full implementation,” Dr. Jeyarajah said. "A process of accountability is an essential precursor to the reconciliation that Sri Lanka so badly needs," Dr. Jeyarajah concluded.
To read the UN resolution, go to: http://www.unog.ch/unog/website/news_media.nsf/(httpNewsByYear_en)/1725D013F3D0AAB7C12579C90043DD57?OpenDocument
To read the Report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, go to : http://slembassyusa.org/downloads/LLRC-REPORT.pdf
To read the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts Report, go to: http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus/Sri_Lanka/POE_Report_Full.pdf
Media Contact: 202-595-3123
or visit: http://www.ustpac.org