25 September, 2020

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UN Lacks Credibility: Tamil Civil Society

“How could the UN system decide on supporting a domestic mechanism in abstraction when there has been no proposal or consultation about one?” ask civil society organisations from the North-East of Sri Lanka

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein - The HR Chief

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein – The HR Chief

15 civil society organisations from the North-East of Sri Lanka have yesterday written to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; “As you are well aware the credibility of the UN in the eyes of the Tamil people remains very low. The withdrawal of the UN during the height of the war in 2008, the lack of action on the part of the UN in drawing the attention of the international community for abuses being committed by all parties to the conflict, as they were being committed during the war and the deferral of the OISL report are some reasons that have contributed to this lack of confidence. The announcement by the UN office in Sri Lanka that they have already decided that a domestic mechanism is the best way forward for accountability in Sri Lanka comes as a shock to those of us who have been advocating for genuine accountability.”

We publish below the letter in full;

Vavuniya,

02 July 2015

 

His Excellency Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Palais des Nations

CH-1211 Geneva 10,

Switzerland

 

Your Excellency,

 

Sri Lanka: 1) Lack of consultation in the design of a domestic mechanism 2) Regarding the UN office in Sri Lanka’s decision to support a domestic mechanism

We recall the letter sent by the Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF) to you on the 12th of February 2015[1] prior to your decision to defer the release of the OISL report and the TCSF’s statement dated 20 February 2015[2] on the decision to defer the report. We also refer to the TCSF memo to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence handed over to him in Kilinochchi on the 1st of April 2015[3] wherein TCSF referred to reasons, which in their opinion augur against the possibility of establishing a credible domestic mechanism in Sri Lanka.

Your Excellency, in your opening statement to the 28th session of the UN Human Rights Council in March 2015 you noted that one of the reasons for deferring the release of the OISL report was the ‘broad signals of cooperation’ that you had received from the Government of Sri Lanka[4]. In your speech that day you noted that Sri Lankan authorities must consult with the victims to ‘design mechanisms that will work and not repeat the failures of the past’.

Similarly in your opening speech to the 29th session of the UN Human Rights Council on 15 June 2015 you reiterated the importance of conducting a transparent and inclusive consultative process in the design of a domestic mechanism for accountability[5].

We write to state with regret that we are unaware of any such process of consultation that the Government of Sri Lanka has initiated with the victims. A huge majority of these victims as you are aware are from the Tamil community and the government has not had any consultation at all with the Tamil community in the design of a mechanism.

It is in this context that we take note with serious concern the recent announcement by the UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka that the UN has already decided to fund a domestic mechanism[6]. The Resident Coordinator had said that the UN had decided to provide ‘technical support to establish an inclusive and credible domestic mechanism to address human rights violations and accountability and provide redress to victims and conflict affected groups, including families of the missing, in line with international standards’. This component, the announcement further added, will be led by your office (OHCHR).

The following questions arise from this announcement:

A) How could the UN system decide on supporting a domestic mechanism in abstraction when there has been no proposal or consultation about one?

B) Does this announcement not pre-empt the recommendations of the OISL report and any possible follow up action by the UN Human Rights Council and other UN bodies?

As you are well aware the credibility of the UN in the eyes of the Tamil people remains very low. The withdrawal of the UN during the height of the war in 2008, the lack of action on the part of the UN in drawing the attention of the international community for abuses being committed by all parties to the conflict, as they were being committed during the war and the deferral of the OISL report are some reasons that have contributed to this lack of confidence. The announcement by the UN office in Sri Lanka that they have already decided that a domestic mechanism is the best way forward for accountability in Sri Lanka comes as a shock to those of us who have been advocating for genuine accountability.

We urge you to take note of the contents of our letter and act swiftly to prevent any undermining of the OISL process.

Signatories:

Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF)

Jaffna University Teachers Association

Jaffna University Science Teachers Association

Jaffna University Students Union

Mannar Citizens Committee

Vavuniya Citizens Committee

Centre for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights – Trincomalee

Organisation for the Families of Forcibly Disappeared Persons – North and East Provinces

Foundation of Changers – Batticaloa

East Civil society Activist Alliance – Batticaloa

Batticaloa Social Workers Network

Paduvaankarai People’s Alliance

Commission for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Diocese of Jaffna

Mannar Economic and Social Development Organization

Hindu Development Society Karaithivu – Amparai


 

[1] Available here: https://www.scribd.com/doc/255560059/TCSF-Letter-on-OISL-to-HC-Final

[2] Available here: https://www.scribd.com/doc/256360888/Statement-on-the-deferral-of-the-OISL-report-TCSF-English

[3] Available here: https://www.scribd.com/doc/260580929/Memo-to-UNSR-on-TJ

[4] UN Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, Opening Statement, 28th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, Available at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15642#sthash.XXYsHubz.dpuf

[5] UN Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, Opening Statement, 29th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, Available at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=16074&LangID=E

[6] Full text of speech made by Subinay Nandy, the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations, Sri Lanka at the Donor Conference on the Comprehensive Policy Framework and Formulation of the Resettlement Action Plan held in Colombo on June 4 2015, Available here: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=features%2Fsl-government-committed-resettlement#sthash.whiEJoZR.dpuf

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Latest comments

  • 8
    2

    This human rights issue is a joke. Let’s start the investigation from USA violations as well. At least strating from Iraq, Libiya, Syria (no need to go back to nuclear bombs in Hiroshima/Nagasaki)

    After those investigations are doneyou can lobby this letter to UN.

    >>As you are well aware the credibility of the UN in the eyes of the >>Tamil people remains very low.

    Correction, not only Tamil people, but the entire world except for white house.

    • 2
      2

      Do you know that UN and most of world organizations established after WW II… SL Gov killed so many unarmed own people in 1971 and 88~89 and lot of own Tamil minority too, I don’t believe SL has any say or respect in UN… So SL can’t make any suggestions to improve UN.. If you don’t want be part of UN, talk to your leaders and get out of it…
      By the way, do you know the country Japanese people and Gov respect most?? USA… there is no other nation love and respect USA than Japan.. it is the USA which helped Japan to stand up again after WW II.. Japan had special tariff to export goods to USA until 90s…

    • 3
      1

      UN Lacks Credibility: Tamil Civil Society

      Yes. UN Lacks Credibility.

      Iraq was invaded on Flimsy lies and grounds. Israel is Committing Crimes.

      1 Million Killed.

      5 Million Destroyed

      Allowed the Wahhabi Inspired ISIS to take Over,.

      UN Lacks Credibility:

      Tamils do not count that much on a global scale. Just grow up try to get rid of Mahinda Rajapaksa, whgi was helped nby Velupillai Ptabakaran, the LTTE Mootal Verran.

  • 5
    1

    Father Rayappu Joseph created this Tamil Civil Society and waging a war against Sri Lanka to achieve his dream of Tamil home land like kosovo and East Timor. Pro Yahapalanaya Sri Lankans are manipulated against Sri Lanka unconsciously.

  • 0
    0

    What does the regulations of the UN say about alleged war crime inquiry by the UN? All
    forms of local/domestice inquiries must be exhasted before the UN takes it up. SL found
    a way out – just do not hold any exhaustive domestic inquiriy. The UN knew MRs game
    and created the OISL, but unfortunately or fortunately a change of Govt. took place and
    the new Govt. put forward proposals of “co-opüeration”, which brought the matter to
    square one ! This was preferred action of India supported by USA. Lets wait what
    Sept.2015 brings up, whilst there is no doubt that the UN has let down the Tamil
    population in a civil-war; to keep up with National Intergrity of a so-called
    democratically elected government.

  • 1
    0

    Tamils don’t understand real – reality as they are tribalists.

  • 1
    0

    All these Tamil international Terrorists should be charged for funding the LTTE war. LTTE killed thousands of innocent Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslims including Presidents, Prime Ministers, Cabinet Ministers and priests. How-come this shameless Tamil Groups pretend that they have forgotten the past. Yes, UN is lacking Credibility for not laying criminal charges against these Tamil Criminals. The drug money generated by these Tamil thugs are distributed among politicians in the West to get publicity. Shame on you criminals!!!!

  • 0
    1

    Tim,
    Please read Schalk’s article.
    He, an outsider has faulted successive governments for the sufferings of tamils including 171 recorded massacres.
    LTTE may have been criminals as they were ‘terrorists’, but elected supposedly democratic governments usually do NOT deliberately kill civilians.

    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/ilattamils-defying-gosls-disenfranchisement-of-mourning-after-may-2009/

    • 0
      0

      Justice,

      So when USA drop the atomic bomb onto Japan, there were no civilians on it right?

  • 1
    0

    What I don’t understand is why Tamils don’t ask for a separate nation from India. Tamilnadu (The Land of Tamils or Tamil Country..) Tamilnadu has the largest tamil population in the world and it’s name implies that it’s the county of Tamils.

    These Tamils are nuts(some of them). seriously.

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