Tamils urge UN Human Rights body to recall their report on Sri Lanka “United Nations Human Rights Commissioner should reconsider
his report on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka” a senior Tamil lawmaker has demanded.
Jaffna district MP Sivagnanam Siritharan has urged the UN Human Rights Commissioner to not push his report which he calls “pro-government and does not reflect the war-affected Tamils views and situation”.
Other Tamil organizations and civil society groups have joined him in this demand and have slammed his annual report for being one-sided and biased towards the government.
The demand and disappointment from them have come as the UNHRC debates the Human Rights situation in Sri Lanka on Monday (11).
Elderly women like Sundarampillai Sivamani a native of Kokkuthoduvai in the most war-ravaged district of Mullaitivu have tearfully appealed to the UN’s top rights body to discuss their plight and render justice to them as they say “Our only hope is the UNHRC and let them not let us down”.
She is joined by hundreds of Tamil mothers who continue to search for their husbands and sons who went missing either during the war or after it came to a bloody end when thousands were handed over, surrendered to the security agencies, and went missing thereafter.
“The President has committed to advance reconciliation, including plans for the establishment of a truth-seeking mechanism,” the UNHRC report says which has come in for sharp criticism from the Tamils.
“How can such a mechanism work when there has been no sincere effort to find the truth?
” question the Association of the Relatives of the Enforced Disappearances representatives.
They say the proposed Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
They had earlier rejected the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) set up by the government, which to date has not found even a single missing person while thousands have gone missing.
“The report is pushing us towards the proposals of the government” their members point out in chorus.
“We have said no to the OMP, and now they are bringing in the TRC, both are the same.
When we have rejected the OMP they are thrusting the TRC on us.
The UNHRC commissioner in his report suggests a solution based on the internal mechanism.
No good is going to happen to us through the TRC.
The UN reports attempts to save the government and Sri Lanka by imposing things like the TRC on us” says Mariasuresh Easwari, president of the Mullaitivu district ARED .
Families who carry the pain of enforced disappearances have been pressuring the UNHRC for justice, which they have not taken into account.
We don’t have any belief in any internal mechanism within Sri Lanka, nor are we going to participate in any such mechanism.
We have been continuously fighting for justice through an international mechanism.
We appeal to the UNHRC commissioner that for us in this instance Easwari further adds.
She further appealed to the diplomats whom they met in Colombo and highlighted their plight to take up their demand with the UNHRC when the discussion happens.
“The international community should voice your opinion for us who are the victims and get us justice”.
Civil society activists like Peter Elanchezhiyan who has been voicing for justice for the Tamil people say “ The report released by the UNHRC commissioner doesn’t contain any mention about a solution for the Tamils and their issues.
It is just a time delaying tactic.
It is just cheating the Tamil people.
The AERD has been holding demonstrations on the roads for over 2300 days.
There is nothing in the UN report even to soothe their feelings”.
The report of the UNHRC Commissioner is very much disappointing, the aspirations and expectations of the Tamils have been belied in the report..
While it touches on the oppression against human rights defenders post aragalaya in the south, it is conspicuously silent about such human rights abuses for decades in the North and East where Tamils continue to endure such abuse and live under fear says Sivagnanam Siritharan MP from the Tamil National Alliance the largest parliamentary group representing the Tamils from the North and East.
“The report appears to cajole the Sri Lankan government and support them.
I understand this is the first draft report and urge the UNHRC commissioner to consider the ground situation unbiasedly and render justice to the Tamils by rewriting the report to reflect the aspirations and the demands of the Tamil people who have been depending on the UNHRC for justice.
” Siritharan added.
Another senior Tamil lawmaker from Jaffna and leader of the Tamil National People’s Front Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam has said the present report is disappointing, while though earlier reports were flawed it was acceptable to the Tamil people he said speaking to journalists.
“We have pointed out those deficiencies in the respective reports.
However, this report has disappointed us.
Grave issues like ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and crimes against the Tamil society have been regularly published since the first report was published in 2012.
But these grave issues have been omitted in this year’s report and the intensity of the earlier reports has been reduced to one-tenth of them.
Although accountability has been emphasized the importance given to it has been significantly downplayed”.