Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Survivors of War in Sri Lanka Deserve Justice and a UN mandated independent investigation

Survivors of War in Sri Lanka Deserve Justice and a UN mandated independent
It has been a year since the Sri Lankan government declared victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), in a conflict where massive violations were committed by both sides.
The scale and nature of atrocities escalated in the last stages of the military assault between January and May 2009. Witnesses say, many thousands of civilians died, caught between the warring parties.

The Sri Lankan government’s armed forces and the LTTE completely disregarded protecting civilians through their appalling military actions. This is a blatant violation of international humanitarian law that prohibits indiscriminate or targeted attacks on civilians and hostage taking.

UN Silence

But where is the outrage? Why is the UN Security Council (UNSC) silent?

Countries like Russia and China have argued that there was no threat to international peace and security since the conflict was contained within Sri Lanka’s borders. But such gross violations of international humanitarian law impact us all if countries are allowed to get away with it. Today it is Sri Lanka. Tomorrow it could be another country and then another and then another.

UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-Moon, tried to discuss the situation with the Sri Lankan President directly. But his actions to ensure accountability in Sri Lanka as elsewhere remain very weak and fall short of pushing for an international inquiry that is so clearly needed.

The survivors of the conflict have no closure. In Sri Lanka, they have been offered no recourse to justice, truth and reparations.

It is only international pressure in the form of a UN mandated independent investigation that will ensure that states like Sri Lanka are not allowed to hide from the crimes they commit inside their borders.

Join Amnesty International’s campaign to ‘Make International Justice Real’ which will be launched on May 18th, 2010. For further information on the crisis in Sri Lanka click here.

17 May 2010
Call on UN to investigate Sri Lanka rights violations
One year after the end of the conflict in Sri Lanka, thousands of victims of human rights violations committed by both government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are being denied justice, truth and reparations.

The complete failure of the Sri Lankan government to genuinely address this impunity means that the United Nations must step in and conduct an independent international investigation as a first step towards international justice.

In particular, the truth must be established about the extent of violations that occurred in the final stages of the war, when the government prohibited independent monitoring and reporting by the United Nations and other observers.

Disturbingly, the United Nations has so far failed to take any effective action to establish the truth and demand accountability for violations committed in Sri Lanka.

For lasting peace in Sri Lanka, there must be accountability. Allegations of war crimes and other crimes under international law must be fully investigated and those found to be responsible must be prosecuted before competent, impartial and independent criminal courts.

Survivors and the families of those killed must be provided with full and effective reparations to address their suffering and to help them rebuild their lives.

Impunity will continue in Sri Lanka unless the United Nations establishes an independent international investigation.

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