Saturday, May 29, 2010

A war crime still left untouched by UN
Clinton presses Sri Lanka on rights panel
Fri May 28, 2010
(Reuters) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Sri Lanka Friday to ensure a new panel investigating possible rights abuses be given powers to probe any allegations of war crimes during its long civil conflict.

Civil rights groups have said the Sri Lankan government should be investigated for potential war crimes at the end of the war a year ago against separatist Tamil guerrillas. Colombo has denied the allegations and rejected charges that tens of thousands of civilians died.

Sri Lanka has a long history of inquiries into rights abuses that have largely failed to hold anyone accountable, and analysts say the new committee appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa does not have the statutory powers of a commission of inquiry and is acting only as an advisory body.
Sri Lanka is under heavy Western pressure over its human rights record, pressure the government blames on members of the Tamil diaspora who have settled in European countries or the United States and are angry the LTTE were beaten.

Peiris said the commission had been given adequate finances to begin its work and repeated that it was too early for the United Nations to set up its own panel as U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has vowed to do.

"If we feel there is a need for support, then we will certainly be happy engage in a dialogue with the United Nations," Peiris said.

Sri Lankan government has formed nine ad hoc commissions of inquiry to investigate enforced disappearances and a number of other human rights-related inquiries. These commissions of inquiry have lacked credibility and have delayed criminal investigations.

Anybody who watched the SL President’s interview on Al Jazeera, could see the cavalier attitude about humane issues by the President and his intention to continue with the authoritarian, dynastic rule.

He has quickly become one of the worst human abusers in the history of mankind.
Tamil citizens are not protected by their government and continue to suffer under worst enforced atrocities, under constant authoritarian rule, lawlessness, and under constant oppression. U.N must step in as it has the obligation to protect these people by invoking the R2P (Responsibility to Protect the Global Citizens, this is a Canadian doctrine adopted by UN in 2005) U.N adopted Humanitarian Intervention to save these global citizens (in this case Tamils) who are facing extermination by their governments. Even after the War ended a year ago, still enforced abductions, disappearances, and random killing against Tamils are widely taking place in north and east and other parts of Sri Lanka.

U.S. supports Sri Lankan truth panel
B. Muralidhar Reddy

The United States has expressed the hope that the Reconciliation Commission established by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to study events from 2002 till the military defeat of the LTTE would be given broad enough mandate to follow the trail of any evidence.

At a meeting with the island nation's Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris on Friday in Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said her country supported the creation of the Commission and added that experience in other countries had shown that such commissions had credibility and legitimacy within the country and had a valuable role in advancing accountability.

She was responding to a question at a news conference along with Mr. Peiris on concerns expressed by groups like the Human Rights Watch (HRW) that the mandate of the Commission was narrow and might not cover the alleged violation of human rights in the last phase of Eelam War IV.

Ms. Clinton acknowledged that there has been tremendous progress in re-settlement of the nearly three lakh Tamil civilians and that many thousands of such internally displaced persons have returned home.

A statement by the Sri Lankan mission in Washington released here said that during the meeting, Mr. Peiris told Ms. Clinton that Sri Lanka hoped to resettle the remaining 45,000 displaced people within the next three months.

“It is not a question of just resettling people physically,” he said. “We want to ensure a restoration of livelihoods so that they're able to live their lives with dignity without bitterness or rancour. That's very essential.”

Mr. Peiris is on a five-day tour of the U.S. and in the course of his visit to New York three days ago had met U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and argued against a proposal by the U.N. chief to constitute a committee of experts to advice him on matters
related to Sri Lanka.

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