25 July, 2021

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Refer Sri Lanka To The Security Council: North And East Priests Tell UN Human Rights Boss

170 priests and religious from North and East have today urged the UN Human Rights Council to refer Sri Lanka to the Security Council taking into account of the gravity of the crimes committed including during the last phase of war and begin the process that is available within the UN structure.

Writing to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights they said; “that the accountability mechanism to investigate the crimes committed, including the last phase of war, should be an international mechanism”

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein - The HR Chief

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein – The HR Chief

We publish below the letter in full;

Vavuniya,
16th September, 2015

His Excellency Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10,
Switzerland
Your Excellency,

We the priests and religious from North and East would like to express our concern that the accountability mechanism to investigate the crimes committed, including the last phase of war, should be an international mechanism. And we believe only an international mechanism can address the crimes committed. Backing a domestic mechanism instead of an international one is a reversal of the stand taken in 2014 by the USA and it is based on the misguided myth that after the two elections held in the island the UN feels confident that the national government can deliver justice to the victims. The victims however feel that there is little capacity or political will to investigate, try and punish the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Since the end of the armed conflict many of the structural causes of the conflict remain intact and indeed, have been exacerbated under this period of ‘victor’s peace’. A diverse range of actors have begun to advance the language and practices of ‘transitional justice’ as a process or toolkit to address the legacy of violent past. If the root causes are not addressed, transitional justice will not bring about genuine and lasting improvements but a performative function.

Sri Lanka has a dismal history of seeking justice for the victims via appointing commissions of inquiry and there has been no accountability of any kind domestically for any past violations. Neither has there been any successful domestic initiative that involved an international component – the Independent International Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP)- was a failure because of its lack of independence and witness protection and the climate of impunity that prevails in the island. This climate of impunity was reinforced when former Army Chief General Sarath Fonseka was awarded Field Marshal – the highest award possible – given to him for his gallantry and service during the last phase of war. Also with the recent appointment of Major General Jegath Dias to chief of staff, Sri Lanka Army despite the allegations against Major General Dias which have been in the public domain for several years. In 2011, human rights groups informed the German and Swiss prosecutors of Dias’s alleged responsibility for war crimes. At the time, Dias was serving as Deputy Ambassador to Germany, Switzerland, and Vatican State. Later that year, in September 2011, the Office of the Attorney General in Switzerland announced that it would launch a criminal investigation against Dias if he returned to Switzerland*, by which time Dias had been recalled to Sri Lanka. Further, in 2013, the United States rejected Dias’s application to participate in a joint military training held in Australia, due to “accountability issues.”

The ideology behind the nation-state of Sri Lanka regards the armed forces as the group that protects and safeguards the tri-mission i.e., the nation (Sinhala), religion (Buddhism) and people who will not permit soldiers to be turned traitors overnight by being prosecuted. Sri Lanka’s justice system has been ineffective in investigating and prosecuting human rights violations and crimes under international law.  Its legislation falls short of the highest standards that should be applied in prosecuting such crimes, including with regard to principles of command responsibility. The effectiveness of national victim and witness protection mechanisms remains a huge concern. We do not want more victims to be created in the search for justice.

We also write to state that any process concerning designing of accountability mechanism has to be done in consultation with the victims; a huge majority of these victims as you are aware are from the Tamil community and thousands are now abroad and make up the bulk of those who testified to OISL.

Therefore we urge the UN Human Rights Council to refer Sri Lanka to the Security Council taking into account of the gravity of the crimes committed including during the last phase of war and begin the process that is available within the UN structure.

Yours sincerely,
(Signed)
Rt. Rev. Dr. Ponniah Joseph
Bishop of Baticaloa


 

*The European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), TRIAL, and the Society for Threatened Peoples worked together with Sri Lankan partners to compile allegations against Jagath Dias. ECCHR’s dossier on Jagath Dias is available here: http://www.ecchr.de/sri-lanka.404.html?file=tl_files/Dokumente/Universelle%20Justiz/Sri%20Lanka%2C%20Dias%2C%20Dossier%2C%202011-01%2C%20en.pdf.

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Latest comments

  • 8
    2

    The only problem in this appeal is the emphasis on “last phase”. Brother of a close Tamil friend of mine was killed by IPKF while being a patient in the Jafna hospital. Can someone help me to convince my friend and the children of his brother that they are not entitled for justice?

    Can I tell them that
    -they fall behind an artificial dateline
    -antoganising India is very risky for their “main objective”.

    Soma

    • 0
      2

      soma,

      “Can I tell them that -they fall behind an artificial dateline -antoganising India is very risky for their “main objective”.”

      Please don’t complicate a simple matter. Black is black and white is white.

      The Sinhalese killed Tamils. They must be punished for this. After they are punished Tamils will live in eternal happiness.

      • 0
        0

        The Rogue Ayer, For 30 years did Tamils spend time making love to Sinhaleese with that your Barbarian acts against humanity?

  • 2
    8

    Let the attack on Rt. Rev. Dr. Ponniah Joseph Bishop of Baticaloa begin now, lead by

    Mother theresa
    KASmaalam KA Sumanasekera
    Jim Softy
    Nuisance the stupid I
    sach the stupid II
    OTC liar and copy paste con artist
    Ramuuuuuuuu
    bla, bla blAbhaya
    Max the Moron
    Ravi Perera the Sinhala speaking Demela
    somass kantha
    Taraki
    Janz
    Sarojini
    H. L. D. Mahindapala
    Dayan the smart ass patriot
    Wimal the smart ass patriot
    Vasu the smart ass patriot
    Dinesh the smart ass patriot
    Ganapathipillai the smart ass patriot

  • 11
    2

    Bishop Ponniah accuses only sri lankan government and its military forces. I would like to ask him if the LTTEers were bunch of saints during the war.

    • 3
      3

      lucky

      Just forget the Bishop for second.

      Go read UNHRC report:

      ”Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka”

      If you really want to know whether LTTEers were bunch of saints during the war, you got to read the entire report in which you will find the answer.

      Let us have the salient points.

  • 4
    4

    Stupidos

    sach, Nuisance, Jimmy, ……… here is an excerpt of Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein – The HR Chief’s comment on the report.

    Zeid urges creation of hybrid special court in Sri Lanka as UN report confirms patterns of grave violations
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/un-human-rights-boss-urges-creation-of-hybrid-special-court-in-sri-lanka/

  • 2
    0

    Impressive number of priests have urged the matter of human rights violations in Sri Lanka to be referred to the UN Security Council – 177 in fact. What they wish to achieve, I really don’t know.

    The UN is a labyrinth of corrupt, slow acting, heavily biased, profit seeking, and an utterly innefective organisation going by the results they achieved since the second world war. This organisation never stopped a war, never stopped genocide, never stopped famine, is incapable of stopping arms trafficking, and basically a moribund useless organisation. They are good at compiling reports after the fact. But that is about all that they are good at besides travelling first class all over the world and wining and dining at the most swish restaurants.

    As a human being I feel the same anguish and helplessness that most of those who lost their loved ones to rape, torture and extrajudicial killings feel. At the end nothing will come of any of this investigations. Rest assured those who died did die in vain. The perpetrators of these heinous crimess live life to the full just like most other torturers, rapists and mass murderers the world over.

    By the way, these are the links to the associated UNHRC reports.

    http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session30/Documents/A_HRC_30_61_ENG.docx

    http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session30/Documents/A_HRC_30_CRP_2.docx

  • 3
    0

    Where were these worthies when the LTTE was recruiting and abducting children to join their ranks? None of these priests and nuns ever said a word about it. The ordinary Tamils who suffered under the LTTE know very well that these priests and nuns are a pathetic bunch of bootlicking lackeys of Prabakaran and they have lost all respect for them. These jokers have lost all credibility.

    • 0
      1

      Yes, the LTTE did bad things. But looking at the UN report it looks like the Sri Lankan army has done far, far worse. Anyway there is no LTTE now – the Sri Lankan army executed them all. But there are Sri Lankan army officers and men. So they have to be prosecuted. Can Sri Lanka prosecute them? They can’t even prosecute Karuna who killed 600 policemen in cold blood. So no I doubt if Sri Lanka can prosecute anyone.

      • 1
        0

        ‘Anyway there is no LTTE now – the Sri Lankan army executed them all’

        What about Adelle Balasingham? Will she be extradited to face war crimes charges?

        • 2
          1

          Pitipana

          “What about Adelle Balasingham? Will she be extradited to face war crimes charges?”

          What do you think?

          • 1
            1

            For sure, she will be. After all, the report is created by totally fair-minded folk, no ? And they will make sure that everyone is brought to book.
            We can expect no less from the West. They are so fair and democratic

            • 0
              0

              maalumiris

              “We can expect no less from the West. They are so fair and democratic”

              Please approach, Dayan, Wimal, OTC, Gunadasaa Amarasekera, Nalin de Silva, Champika, Ganapathipillai, ……….Svendra Silva, Jagath Dias, Sarath Fonseka, Gota, Namal, Basil, MR …. to write an alternative report.

              It should do the trick.

      • 2
        0

        Indian RAW is rebuilding the LTTE and from all its accounts that the LTTE is alive and kicking.
        That has to be countered before the Indians sabotage any form of investigation.
        The actors have to be belled.

      • 1
        0

        alex,

        “Anyway there is no LTTE now – the Sri Lankan army executed them all.”

        What about the thousands of rehabilitated tigers? Did any of them participate in war crimes like recruiting or commanding children in the war?

        What about the political backers of the LTTE? Some are now in Geneva.

        What about the teachers and principals in the areas where LTTE recruited children? Did they never participate in the process of finding children for the war?

        What about the LTTE “tax collectors” who partly financed the war?

        Except for the politicians I meet the rest of the above daily.

  • 1
    1

    “We the priests and religious from North and East would like to express our concern that the accountability mechanism to investigate the crimes committed”

    “Religious”? In addition to the priests some believers also have signed?

  • 1
    1

    Yes please do – skip right to the end and the inevitable veto will be the death knell for the We Tahmizh’s resurrected mythical Eelam project. That way we don’t have to sit through these boring middle bits listening to We Thamizh howling and wailing hysterically :D

    • 1
      0

      Veto who cares!
      Putin will Puke very soon.
      His gas has no value!

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