7 February, 2023


Pillay Calls For An International Inquiry; 74 Point Report

Navi Pillay

A damning 20-page report from United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner Navi Pillay became the subject of close scrutiny by the UPFA Government this week, the Sunday Times repots. According to the newspaper, Pillay’s office urged the Government, as is the practice, to respond to the contents of this 74-point report — the precursor to the United States backed latest resolution on Sri Lanka next month — within a week. The External Affairs Ministry (EAM), which co-ordinated the point by point answers converting it to a formal document kept to the deadline which was last Wednesday (February 12).

Navi PillayThe Sunday Time said; this report, a copy of which was seen by the Sunday Times, has made recommendations both to the 25th sessions of the UN Human Rights Council as well as the Government of Sri Lanka. To the UNHRC, it recommends, that it should “establish an international inquiry mechanism to further investigate the alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law and monitor any domestic accountability process. OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) stands ready to assist such a process.”

Here is what the Pillay report calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to carry out:

(a) Finalise laws dealing with incitement to hatred, witness and victim protection, the right to information, the criminalization of enforced disappearances, in line with international standards, and revise existing laws to bring them into line with International Human Rights Law;
(b) Repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act and lift the regulations promulgated under it which allows for arbitrary detention;
(c) Arrest, prosecute and punish alleged perpetrators of attacks on minority communities, media and human rights defenders, and ensure protection of victims;
(d) Undertake independent and credible criminal and forensic investigations with international assistance into all alleged violations of human rights and humanitarian law, including recently discovered mass graves;
(e) Establish a truth seeking mechanism and national reparations policy in line with international standards as an integral part of a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to transitional justice;
(f) Broaden the scope and tenure of the Commission on Disappearances to encompass cases from all parts of the island and all periods of the history of disappearances. Ensure an effective public information campaign and provide sufficient time to hear and record all petitioners who wish to submit complaints;
(g) Publish the final report of the military courts of inquiry, presidential commission of inquiry 2006 and more recent commissions of inquiry to allow the evidence gathered to be evaluated;
(h) Take further steps in demilitarization, and initiate a meaningful and transparent reduction of the military presence to peacetime levels, which would require a clear timeline for demobilisation, disarmament and disengagement from activities that are meant to be civilian;
(i) Engage civil society and minority community representatives more fully in an inclusive and consultative process to support implementation of the LLRC recommendations;
(j) Implement the LLRC recommendation for a national day of commemoration, allow all citizens their right to hold individual or group commemorations, and hold national consultations on the design of appropriate memorialisation for the victims of the war;
(k) Give positive consideration to the offers of technical assistance made by the High Commissioner for Human Rights;
(l) Invite special procedure mandate holders with outstanding requests to visit the country in 2014, particularly the Working group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances and the Independent Expert on Minority Issues.

Among other matters, Pillay says that “new evidence — including witness testimony, video and photographic material — continues to emerge on what took place in the final stages of the armed conflict. Human remains also continue to be discovered, for instance in Matale in November 2012 and Mannar in December 2013.” She adds: “As the emblematic cases highlighted above show, national mechanisms have consistently failed to establish the truth and achieve justice. The High Commissioner believes this can no longer be explained as a function of time or technical capacity, but that it is fundamentally a question of political will.

The Secretary-General’s PoE (Panel of Experts) and initiatives by international non-governmental organisations have shown that witnesses are willing to come forward to testify to international inquiry mechanisms which they trust and which can guarantee their protection. For this reason, the High Commissioner remains convinced that an independent, international inquiry would play a positive role in eliciting new information and establishing the truth where domestic inquiry mechanisms have failed. In the absence of a credible national process, she believes the international community has a duty to take further steps which will advance the right to truth for all in Sri Lanka and create further opportunities for justice, accountability and redress.

“The High Commissioner reiterates concern about the continuing trend of attacks on freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, particularly against human rights defenders, journalists and families of victims; the rising levels of religious intolerances; and continued militarisation which continues to undermine the environment where accountability and reconciliation can be achieved. She therefore reiterates and updates the recommendations made in her previous report to the Human Rights Council, most of which remain unimplemented.”

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Latest comments

  • 13

    When does this [Edited out] Pillai ask the same inquiry on Isreal or UK or USA?

    LTTE dollars work very well but LTTE rumps cannot buy a VETO anywhere!

    So, Kothurotti sales make some money to LTTE and nothing will happen in Sri Lanka!

    • 8

      Sri Lanka armed forces is now making and selling food in Jaffna. They have a permanent stall in a popular Jaffna Peninsula beach.

      • 6

        Although an army engaging in businesses does not make any sense what so ever what human rights violation do you see there? The army does the same in South.

        • 2

          The army engaing in commerical activities deprives the civilian local populace of adequate means to earn a living. The Army has a huge advantage in that they are supported by the tax payer and enjoy special priviledges and access that is not avaliable to the local populace.

          The fact the Army does it in the South does not negate this acitivity as detrimental to the livelyhood of civilians. Army engaging in commerical activity be it in the North or the South gives the Army more control over civilians life. A healthy democrasy needs to have a country’s armed forces relegated to defense and assistance during natural disasters. When they start encroaching into civilian life, democrasy suffers. Look at Pakistan and Egypt for examples.

          • 3

            I don’t want the army to engage in businesses, agreed. But it is no violation of democracy, each and every country does not have to be governed to the same exact model of UK or US.

            • 0

              Engaging in business blurs the line between civilian life and military life. To maintain a healthy democrasy, there needs to be clear line of separation for the Military.

      • 3

        Now that the Army eliminated the terrorists they seem to help the local population by example. Once People of the area start their own business activity they will withdraw to the barracks.

      • 2

        At Madiwela Ranawiru Food Outlet, a vry good uality packet of rice is sold for Rs. 50.00. It is a great service to the poor.

  • 10

    Well done Navi, glad to see you doing some great work to bring these criminals to justice. Please continue with establishing a credible investigation to the horrors and brutality perpetrated by this great lion nation state.

    • 4

      People can have investigation after investigation. But the bottom line is Sri Lanka will never be divided.

  • 1

    My Prediction of guarantee on the final outcome of this Human rights drama..

    Nothing so fearfully portrayed by Politicians will ever materialize .
    The Tamils will be disappointed.
    The Sri Lankan Government will produce the soldiers guilty and on agreeing to certain obligations to the countries in power , a full amnesty will be offered to the Accused ,
    (You should know UNCLE SAM’S double standards by now,if Saddam & Gaddafi had agreed to their terms -they would be still alive, )

    And , the ruling government & the family will continue to be in power forever . never will ever another political party ever ,ever regain power in this land.

    People must understand-when you have over 80% support from the majority of the country who appreciates this government ,supports it ,trust it ,believes in it ,while the government is only providing a manifesto what the majority is demanding and that is racism to suppress the minority at any cost for this the majority of the majority people are willing to starve themselves and their families & go to any extend as long as the minorities are suppressed, so you really can not blame the government ,they are supplying the demand .

    Can you imagine in today’s lanka where people are struggling to eat one decent meal and the same people are willing to give Rs.100 away without thinking twice to a racist like Udaya Gammanpila for his campaign and campaign of what my friends? campaign of hate and racism , wait and see the the results of the elections and the worst is still to come.

    • 2

      Ceylon Muslim organisations supported Sinhala racism against Tamils so why are they now complaining, is it because these same Sinhalese are now turning their attention towards Muslims.

      It is hypocritical for Muslims to whine about Sinhala Buddhist racism when Muslims believe in a racist ideology, one that seeks to dominate other cultures. Sinhala apprehension about Islam stems from Islam’s domineering and exclusivist ideology coupled with the deliberate attempt by Muslims to gradually dominate and increase their power in Sri Lanka through increased births and conversion. Ghaddafi told Europeans that Muslims will rule Europe through the womb.

      Arab racism against Sinhalese , which manifests itself in the form of Islam , preceeds the recent Monk led protests and minor attacks against Muslims. Before the 1st attack , which was against a Muslim shrine in fall/winter of 2011 , Muslims have been slaughtering animals in the Halal manner which is cruel and is contrarty to Sinhala and Tamil culture. Muslims have also been loudly proclaiming their exclusionary and ethnocentric faith from their Mosque loud speakers for many years. Many Muslims Tuk Tuk drivers have also resorted to posting stickers proclaiming that Allah is the only god and Muhammed is his prophet accompanied with a sword.

  • 11

    Nothing will come out of Nari Pillay’s report and the Annual March Farce except to open the floodgates for the NGO vultures, HR charlatans and civil society crooks to return to the country and resume making money from their humanitarian business.

    • 8

      For big shots in the west there is no foothold in Asia now. SL is the best place to erect a watch tower for obsrving Indian and Chinese movements. News giants are running short of stories. Navi Pillai is looking forward to run for a second term. UPFA is planning for the third term. Diaspora is fighting for survival. The struggle will continue until funds for conflict rsolution are allocated for humanitarian agencies and academic courses. It is a vicious cycle.

      • 5

        Don’t ever underestimate the west. They can even create US puppets out of Al-Qaeda.

  • 0

    These Western and pro Western bisexuals and homosexuals are setting the tone of the world. They think it will be taken seriously.

    Asians operate under different ethics. I have one word for you. Vietnam !

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