29 July, 2021

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Sri Lankan Civil Society Concerned Over Continuing Human Rights Violations Since Jan 2015

39 Civil Society activists and 14 organisations have today urged the Member States of the UN Human Rights Commission to ensure that the consensus resolution on Sri Lanka to be adopted at the present Council session endorses the positive commitments of the government, findings and recommendations of the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reports, and our above calls and ensure that the resolution mandates the OHCHR to keep the Council informed of progress made by all parties in implementing the recommendations of the OHCHR reports, by reporting back at regular cycles within a two year period.

Police Jaffna“We wish to flag with deep concern the continuing violations of human rights that have occurred since January 2015. We are particularly concerned about the high prevalence of surveillance, harassment and intimidation of Tamil civilians, human rights defenders, journalists and civil society organisations, by members of the security forces and law enforcement authorities. In addition, a disturbing number of incidence of abduction, arrests, detention, sexual violence of women and children, attacks on religious groups, and torture, have been reported during this period. Noting the absence of any acknowledgement of such continuing violations in the Minister’s statement on 14 September, we ask that the GoSL take immediate steps to end such ongoing violations and bring perpetrators—including members of the security forces and law enforcement officials—to justice. The absence of credible domestic investigations into allegations against the security forces and the recent promotions of military officials implicated in serious violations of international law are troubling indicators of the present government’s lack of political will to hold security forces accountable.” they said in a statement.

We publish below the statement in full;

Statement by Sri Lankan Civil Society members on OHCHR reports on Sri Lanka 

We the undersigned Sri Lankan civil society activists and organisations welcome the report of the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka, and the report of the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL). We fully endorse and call for the immediate implementation of the OISL’s recommendations to the GoSL, the UN system and the Member States of the UNHRC.

We also note the statement of Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, at the General Debate of the 30th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on 14 September 2015. The Minister informed the Council that the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) ‘recognizes that the process of reconciliation involves addressing the broad areas of truth seeking, justice, reparations and non-recurrence, and for non-recurrence to become truly meaningful, the necessity of reaching a political settlement.’ We welcome the numerous positive commitments by the Minister, such as to ‘review and repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA)’, criminalize hate speech and enforced disappearances, sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances (CED), and invite UN Special Rapporteurs to undertake visits to Sri Lanka in 2015. We welcome in particular the promise to publish previous commission reports such as the Udalagama and Paranagama Commission reports by the end of September 2015.

We acknowledge the Minister’s reference to those in ‘positions of responsibility’ and understand such reference to be an implicit commitment to ensure that decision-makers are held accountable for grave breaches of international law.

We wish to flag with deep concern the continuing violations of human rights that have occurred since January 2015. We are particularly concerned about the high prevalence of surveillance, harassment and intimidation of Tamil civilians, human rights defenders, journalists and civil society organisations, by members of the security forces and law enforcement authorities. In addition, a disturbing number of incidence of abduction, arrests, detention, sexual violence of women and children, attacks on religious groups, and torture, have been reported during this period. Noting the absence of any acknowledgement of such continuing violations in the Minister’s statement on 14 September, we ask that the GoSL take immediate steps to end such ongoing violations and bring perpetrators—including members of the security forces and law enforcement officials—to justice. The absence of credible domestic investigations into allegations against the security forces and the recent promotions of military officials implicated in serious violations of international law are troubling indicators of the present government’s lack of political will to hold security forces accountable.

We appreciate the Foreign Minister’s acceptance of broken promises of the past, mistakes of the past and weaknesses of our institutions. We note his acknowledgement that the short-sighted and triumphalist policies since 2009 had been among reasons for post-war reconciliation being elusive. It is in this light that we endorse the OHCHR’s observations that ‘the past years have seen a total failure of domestic mechanisms to credibly investigate, establish the truth, ensure accountability and provide redress to victims of the serious human rights violations and abuses’ in Sri Lanka.

The present government bears the burden of delivering on its promises and regaining the confidence of victims and survivors. In light of the Foreign Minister’s commitments not to cower behind distorted concepts and principles such as sovereignty, and to address weaknesses and deficiencies with the help of the international community, we call upon the GoSL to:

1. Commit to a political and constitutional settlement of the ethnic conflict based on meaningful power sharing.

2. Introduce domestic statutory reforms to incorporate international crimes such as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, without statute of limitations.

3. Incorporate modes of liability with respect to international crimes such as command responsibility and joint and co-perpetration into domestic law.

4. Provide for the appointment of international judges, lawyers, prosecutors and investigators to a special hybrid court as recommended by the OISL Report. Moreover, facilitate the appointment of international experts to other transitional justice mechanisms, in full compliance with international standards and best practices.

5. Invite the OHCHR to establish a full-fledged country presence to monitor the human rights situation, advise on implementation of the High Commissioner’s recommendations, past HRC resolutions and recommendations of various UN bodies and provide technical assistance.

6. With support from the OHCHR, hold broad consultations with all relevant stakeholders, particularly survivors and their families, and civil society groups, including those from the North and East, with a strong commitment by the government to take on board sentiments expressed therein, prior to finalising any mechanisms.

7. Publish in full, by the end of September 2015, all reports of Commissions of Inquiry that have inquired into human rights violations in the past.

8. Initiate a high-level review of the PTA and its regulations and the Public Security Ordinance Act with a view to their repeal and the formulation of a new national security framework fully complying with international law.

9. Criminalize enforced disappearance through special legislation, and establish a permanent Office of Missing Persons with strong involvement of families of disappeared persons, civil society, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the international community.

10. Sign and ratify the CED including recognition of article 31, Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT), the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and also extend standing invitations to all Special Procedures of the HRC.

11. Guarantee protection to witnesses and victims of crimes, including international crimes, in keeping with international standards and best practices.

12. Formulate a plan to ensure adequate reparations to victims in keeping with international standards and best practices.

13. Enact, with immediate effect a law on the Right to Information.

14. Establish a special mechanism to fast-track and bring to justice all perpetrators of sexual violence against women and children.

We call upon the Member States of the HRC to ensure that the consensus resolution on Sri Lanka to be adopted at the present Council session endorses the positive commitments of the government, findings and recommendations of the OHCHR reports, and our above calls. We also call upon the Member States to ensure that the resolution mandates the OHCHR to keep the Council informed of progress made by all parties in implementing the recommendations of the OHCHR reports, by reporting back at regular cycles within a two year period.

Signatories:

Individuals

Ameer Faaiz – Attorney-at-law
B. Gowthaman – Attorney-at-law
Balasingham Skanthakumar
Bhavani Fonseka – Attorney-at-law
Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe
Brito Fernando
Chandraguptha Thenuwara
Chandramathie
Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
Faizun Zackariya
Gehan Gunatilleke
Hans Billimoria
Hasanah Cegu Isadeen
Herman Kumara
Hilmy Ahamed
K. Aingkaran – Attorney-at-law
Kusal Perera – Journalist
Marisa de Silva
Mohammed Mahuruf
Mujeebur Rahman – Media person, Mannar
Nalini Ratnarajah – Woman Human Rights Defender
Navaranjini Nadarajah – Sureka
Nilshan Fonseka
Nimalka Fernando
Niran Anketell – Attorney-at-law
Priya Thangarajah
Rev. Fr. J. Raj Claier
Rev. Fr. Nandana Manatunga
Rev. Fr. V. Yogeswaran
Rev. Sr. Beatrice Fernando, SDS
Rev. Sr. Nichola Emmanuel
Rosanna Flamer-Caldera
Ruki Fernando
Sampath Samarakoon
Sheila Richards
Shreen Abdul Saroor
Sudarshana Gunawardana
Udaya Kalupathirana
Vasuki Jeyasankar


Organizations

Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA)
Centre for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (CPPHR), Trincomalee
Citizens Voice for Justice and Peace
Equal Ground
Families of the Disappeared (FoD)
Grassrooted
Human Rights Office, Kandy
INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre
National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO)
Right to Life (R2L) – Human Rights Centre
Rights Now Collective for Democracy
Rural Development Foundation
South Asian Center for Legal Studies (SACLS)
Women’s Action Network (WAN)

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Latest comments

  • 4
    2

    RE: Sri Lankan Civil Society Concerned Over Continuing Human Rights Violations Since Jan 2015

    “39 Civil Society activists and 14 organisations have today urged the Member States of the UN Human Rights Commission to ensure that the consensus resolution on Sri Lanka to be adopted at the present Council “

    Very good move.

    Expose, Expose and Expose.

    • 4
      0

      Expose-Expose… Why cannot the Signatories tabulate the HR violations since Jany. 2015
      for the information of concerned citizens, instead of making general accusations as
      always done in the past..
      [Edited out]

      • 5
        2

        Do Bhavani Fonseka, Nimalka Fernando, ……. still champion for the war crime victims?

        Are they satisfied with regime change?

      • 1
        0

        Is there (m)any? If yes, why don’t you list a couple??

  • 1
    2

    Excellent note. Something for Samaweera and Co to act on fast. Time to narrow the gap between rhetoric and action. The world is watching.

  • 3
    5

    Big Fabrication ! There are NO HR Violations since January 2015. Yahapalanaya says so and is supported by the US and UK who are encouraged by the great strides forward

    • 5
      4

      maalumiris,

      You are talking rubbish,

      The serious HR violations since January 2105 are documented with forensic evidence from victims, doctors and other professionals.

      The biggest joke is that recently Srisena, Ranil and the military chief conducted a meeting as to what kind of domestic investigation on war crimes, crimes against humanity to conduct according to Callum Macrae in an interview in Geneva.

      You don’t consult with an accused as to what kind of criminal investigation should be done!

  • 1
    0

    [Edited out] Please avoid typing all capitalized comments – CT

  • 2
    1

    Nimalka took many affected women’s cases to UNHRC. She could have Vidhya’s case to show the fraud of the UNP administration this time. Saraniya’s case did not come out at all. Her Grand mother was in police custody to tell the truth about the police who raped her truths.

    Where did the National (fake)Peace Council and PhD Johan went? Will he reply to this thread?

    He is as fraud as “Dayan the Fraud.”

  • 6
    0

    My feelings are that nothing is going to happen on this OHCHR report. There are various interpretations by various people, media and even the TNA Sumatniran says one thing and Mangala Samaraweera says another. And Ranil says that his government has won at the UN. It is the Tamil people who are suffering and suffered at the hands of the Armed forces and the LTTE.

  • 7
    1

    I know one big fat human rights violator since January 2015. His name is Vasudeva Nanayakkara.

  • 4
    1

    “39 Civil Society activists”

    Shouldn’t it be 40?

  • 4
    1

    All these are west funded organizations and the Church.

    They are doing what the west want.

    • 0
      0

      Hi Jim softy, quote you “All these are west funded organizations and the Church. They are doing what the west want”. It is like the cunning Fox saying I can’t reach them it must be the sour grapes. Can you only blame others and not you? Question your conscious first. What does the West want’s from the civil society?

  • 2
    0

    All these Civil society people and UNHCR are funded by the same country.

    • 2
      4

      Jim softy

      “All these Civil society people and UNHCR are funded by the same country.”

      Unlike clan’s income OHCHR has listed their source of income in their website. All you have to do is stop being lazy and stop being stupid then do some research before you start knocking on the keyboard.

      Here is the donor list. There are several countries contributing to the fund including, Pakistan, Hindia, China, Saudi, Turkey, …. etc.

      Voluntary contributions to OHCHR for 2015, in US $

      United States of America – 1,000,000
      Spain – 224,972
      United Arab Emirates – 10,000
      Bulgaria – 10,000
      United Arab Emirates – 30,000
      United Arab Emirates – 50,000
      Spain – 19,672
      European Commission – 3,147,071
      Portugal – 100,000
      European Commission – 3,497,268
      Ecuador – 4,000
      Philippines – 20,000
      Individual donor – 12,000
      Switzerland – 7,650
      Netherlands – 101,427
      Andorra – 11,050
      Poland – 5,964
      Finland – 220,994
      Peru – 20,833
      Afghanistan – 1,000
      Sweden – 294,950
      Sweden – 1,061,822
      European Commission – 555,934
      Chile – 5,000
      Peru – 1,542
      European Commission – 552,486
      Turkey – 50,000
      Finland – 223,714
      Finland – 782,998
      Netherlands – 3,378,378
      Netherlands – 5,446,623
      Finland – 65,359
      United Kingdom – 763,359
      Finland – 494,227
      Belgium – 1,307,190
      Finland – 21,786
      Finland – 1,198,257
      Italy – 50,000
      Canada – 1,835,230
      Switzerland – 52,687
      Turkey – 200,000
      European Commission – 253,452
      Pakistan – 4,310
      Austria – 77,434
      Canada – 13,067
      Italy – 5,000
      Belgium – 553,097
      Belgium – 55,310
      Ireland – 2,212,389
      Morocco – 2,000
      United States of America – 300,000
      OIF – 110,076
      United Kingdom – 3,698,225
      Netherlands – 19,000
      OIF – 3,850
      Republic of Korea – 521,500
      New Zealand – 2,170,767
      Switzerland – 214,675
      Switzerland – 1,554,404
      Nicaragua – 5,000
      Chile – 5,000
      South Africa – 29,682
      Switzerland – 60,601
      Liechtenstein – 129,482
      Luxembourg – 179,574
      Chile – 10,000
      Japan – 165,329
      France – 2,244,669
      Saudi Arabia – 649,360
      Saudi Arabia – 649,360
      Germany – 5,611,672
      Thailand – 20,000
      Algeria – 150,000
      Japan – 620,000
      Bangladesh – 5,000
      European Commission – 272,109
      Liechtenstein – 10,870
      Kuwait – 500,000
      UNDP (UN managed pooled and trust funds funding) – 219,068
      Kuwait – 10,000
      Japan – 1,500,000
      Hungary – 22,676
      Qatar – 10,870
      UNDP (UN managed pooled and trust funds funding) – 43,885
      India – 150,000
      UNDP (UN managed pooled and trust funds funding) – 39,994
      France – 9,877
      Ireland – 238,095
      UNDP (UN managed pooled and trust funds funding) – 760,289
      OCHA (ERF) – 149,239
      Denmark – 4,567,600
      Lithuania – 12,195
      Switzerland – 39,550
      European Commission – 1,814,054
      Switzerland – 125,000
      China* – 800,000
      Norway* – 385,802
      Malaysia – 60,000
      Mexico – 80,443
      Singapore – 15,000
      United States of America* – 700,000
      Sweden* – 12,534,723
      United Kingdom* – 1,110,755
      OIF* – 59,184
      Belgium* – 453,515
      Norway* – 11,423,066
      Denmark* – 208,276
      Belgium* – 1,103,448
      Finland* – 254,600
      Education Above All* – 220,282
      Saudi Arabia* – 1,000,000
      Switzerland* – 1,172,816
      European Commission* – 2,960,913

      OHCHR accepts contributions from Member States, international organizations, foundations, voluntary associations, non-governmental organizations and individuals. If you or the organization you represent would like to make a contribution, please contact the OHCHR Donor and External Relations Section in Geneva.

      Tel: +41 22 917 96 44
      Fax +41 22 917 90 08

      Email: DexRel@ohchr.org

      Jimmy Nutty

      OHCHR will not return your contribution/donation. Please send your donation directly to OHCHR.

      Now tell us what seems to be your problem?

  • 4
    0

    Bullshit where were there capitalised comments you must be off your bloody rocker. You must be one of these Hog washers I referred to and do not want to see my comments about the likes of you.

  • 1
    1

    I don’t see the name of Dr Dayan Jayatilleke (de silva) among the signatories.

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