21 October, 2020

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Security Forces Involved In High Profile Human Rights Violations – Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission’s Unpublished Report

Colombo Telegraph has obtained an unpublished report commissioned by the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission in 2006 which had explicitly concluded that security forces personnel were involved in several high profile human rights violations including the killing of five students in Trincomalee in January 2006 and the abduction on 31 January 2006.

Dr Radhika Coomaraswamy

Dr Radhika Coomaraswamy

The report was commissioned by Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy when she was the Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Hunan Rights Commission in 2006. Mr. T Suntheralingam, retired High Court and member of the Constitutional Council was appointed as Special Rapporteur by the HRC to look into several high profile violations. The report which was produced within a matter of months after a fact finding mission and an intensive interview process was never released by the HRC.

Soon afterwards, Dr.  Coomaraswamy took up a UN posting as the Under secretary General and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.

The Special Rapporteur investigated the following incidents; Abduction of TRO Staff, Killing of five students at Trincomalee, Rape and murder of Elayathamby Tharshini, Killing of the Kattankudy Divisional Secretary  and Killing at the Mosque in Akkaraipattu.

With regard to the killing of five students in Trincomalee on January 2, 2006, the Special Rapporteur concluded that as per the testimonies gathered, including from Police personnel involved in the incident, that evidence strongly suggests that the STF carried out the atrocity. An unknown person had thrown a grenade where seven boys were gathered in the evening at the beach injuring several of the students. Immediately afterwards several STF personnel had arrived at the scene and taken the injured boys.  Moments later witnesses say they heard gunfire to discover that the five students had been killed, execution style, while two others had suffered gunshot injuries.  The Special Rapporteur concludes that the STF team, which had arrived in Trincomalee just a few days before the incident, had carried out this crime. The report cites how the government media claimed that five terrorists were killed while handling a grenade.  This claim was immediately dispelled by the Judicial Medical Officer who concluded that the boys had been killed due to gunshot injuries. A journalist who had taken photographs of the incident and published them immediately afterwards had also been killed within a matter of weeks, the HRC Special Rapporteur concludes.

The Colombo Telegraph inquired from Dr.  Coomaraswamy as to why this report was never published and whether she was under any pressure not to release the findings..

“I had only one term as the Chair of the HRC 2003-2006 and joined the UN in early 2006. I commissioned the report because it was clearly a situation that required an inquiry and we tried to be proactive. But I do not think I was there when the report was finalized or it was finalized as I was leaving. There was no pressure brought on me to either commission the report or not to release the report. As you know my Commission was appointed under the seventeenth amendment and was quite independent- including people like Dr. Deepika Udagama. But after us the President bypassed the procedure and appointed commissioners directly and the Commission lost its international status as a result,” Dr. Coomaraswamy told Colombo Telegraph.

However one investigator familiar with the commissioned report told Colombo Telegraph that it had been finalised prior to Dr. Coomaraswamy’s departure for the UN.

However both Dr. Coomaraswamy and her HRC colleague Dr. Deepika Udagama deny the allegation.

Dr. Coomaraswamy clarified later to Colombo Telegraph that Dr. Deepika (Udagama) had also confirmed that the report was not finalized when they left the HRC.

“Neither she nor I can remember the contents and if it had been finalized we would surely have remembered,” Dr. Coomaraswamy said.

Read the report here; Report by the HRC appointed Special Rapporteur

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Latest comments

  • 1
    0

    It is clear that RC taking Colombo Telegraph into confidence has led to all this- she should have learnt from her years of experience not to be so trusting. As Suriya Wickremesinghe’s piece makes clear she did the right thing. Received the report on her last day, could not read it but given its importance asked that it be published. No-one has asked the question would the present day Human Rights Comnmission, or any government institution today appoint such independent and respected people to do an inquiry into extra judicial killing? If Radhika wanted to fudge it, like the present Commission she need not have appointed anyone and if she appointed anyone she could have appointed stooges. Let us give credit where credit is due and now use the report to further justice.

  • 2
    0

    A well known Attorney in Colombo who was also a Human Rights Champion and whose name is known to the Legal, political and professionals in Colombo, who is no longer living, said to me at the end of November 2006 when I met him on a legal matter related to Human Rights, that he was disappointed that Radhika (Ms. Coomaraswamy) did not release the report.

  • 0
    0

    Good Match!

    Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy and Dr. Deepika Udagama.

    Once up a time, they were spin Doctors of the SL government.

    They both achieved their post in the United Nations through then SL governments.

    Those who do not know about the background of these two people will expect this report to published and Radhika and Deepika.

    Now, Radhika Coomaraswamy is aiming to be next United Nation High Commissioner for Human Rights and Deepika Udagama to be next UN Special rapporteur on Judges and Lawyers.

    This they cannot achieve without the support of the M.R.’s government.

    If Radhika becomes the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, that will be the end of Accountability in Sri Lanka. Tamils get ZERO justice.

    She is a very good friend of Mahind Rajapaksa and Deepika Udagama’s family has strong connection with Rajapaksa.

    Don’t expect miracles from these two spin Doctors of SL government Radhika and Deepika

    • 0
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      It is obvious, why the SL governemnt wants Deepika Udagama to be the UN Special rapporteur on Judges and Lawyers.

      They want to turn the UN against Shirani Bandaranayake, former Chief Justice of Sri Lanka.

      According to a reliable source, very soon there will a detail article about both, Deepika and Radhika of their activites in the United Nations, in favour of the SL government.

      Will that article will have proves?

    • 0
      0

      Even though you hate her, you agree, she is qualified and capable to hold a UN post.

      The problems of yours are her position on LTTE criminals. No decent people cry for smuggler criminal Prabhakaran lead LTTE.

      First Tamils who bark for LTTE must provide the number of people killed by LTTE.

  • 0
    0

    Editor CT,

    Why not publish the Report for all to see.

    what a feeble excuse last day at work. Did not have time to read but gave an Order to Publish etc. etc. Any respectable person, would have obtained a copy to read afterwards and taken action to have got it published if she was genuine in her concern.

    @Gamini – report is published, check the bottom of the story – CT

    • 2
      1

      Editor CT Thanks. In a furious state I missed it. Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission and the Bribery Commission are more or less the same. How pathetic the so called educated and the intelligent have behaved. Absolutely unpardonable. No wonder they have no shame and sell their self respect for filthy lucre. How can the Tamils rely on these individuals when they do not have the sympathy we Sinhalese have for the Tamils. It is a disgrace to call these women Dr.

  • 0
    0

    Carpet bombing these savages is the correct answer

  • 0
    2

    The LTTE goons who are now Human Rights activists are the only people jumping at Radhika Cumarasamy because she exposed the child abuse of LTTE. Otherwise who cares about this report or the Sri lankan human Rights office?

    • 1
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      Siva annai!
      Please stay with the main theme of the discussion that is the non publication of human rights commission’s report by RC
      ken

      • 0
        1

        Dont you know publishing the report is not her duty but she asked to publish. After 6 years, you guys jumping at her while you dont want to ask the same thing to be published by her successors.

  • 0
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    Gamini.
    I admire your stand on this,particularly when you ask the question How can the Tamils rely on these individuals when they do not have the sympathy we Sinhalese have for the Tamils?Actually,there are a good many Sinhalese who have that intellectual honesty,quite unlike these folks who will sell their souls to advance their careers.

  • 0
    0

    As a Public official both as Chair of the Human Rights Commission and a UN official she cannot speak publicly like an activist or a NGO. Why should the Tamils rely on her just because she is Tamil? Very strange request from a human rights official.. She did what was right. She set up a Commission when called for where few Sri Lankans would have and asked for its publication- again that is unusual for a SriLankan public official.. Also she behaved appropriately refusing to use it as propaganda for either side. That is truly an exception for Sri Lanka

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