The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) welcomes the visit of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to Sri Lanka last week.
“Ms. Pillay’s visit reinforces the call of all those interested in human rights and international law for an independent international investigation of crimes against a large section of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka at the end of the war,” said TGTE Prime Minister Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran.
“Continued human rights abuses against the Tamils by the Sinhalese-dominated government and its military necessitate some form of international protection mechanism to prevent the impoverishment, marginalization and decimation of our population on the island.”
Ms. Pillay’s observation pertaining to the failure of rule of law in Sri Lanka, her shaken confidence in the independence of the judiciary there, and her reference to the “side-stepping” of the much needed full, transparent, impartial investigation into the war crimes and other violations committed during the final stage of war in the LLRC Report, reinforce the need for an international investigation.
Even after the publication of the domestic LLRC report, the UNSG’s Expert Panel’s Report, and the UN Internal Review Report, along with Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other reputed NGOs all explicitly stating that there is neither a political environment nor a judicial environment to dispense justice through domestic mechanisms, Ms. Pillai’s observation reinforces her position that only an international investigation can bring justice” noted Mr. Rudrakumaran.
“The TGTE pointed out earlier that threats had been made by the all-Sinhalese Sri Lankan army against the people who met Ms.Pillay. We congratulate Ms.Pillay for addressing this issue forcefully,” said Mr. Rudrakumaran. “The visit also enabled Ms.Pillay to see firsthand the militarization of Tamil civilian lives, the continuing disappearances, and the sexual violence against Tamil women committed by the army, especially in households headed by female breadwinners. The quote by Ms.Pillay of a missing man’s wife “Even when we eat we keep a portion for him” touches the conscience of every human being. The need of the hour is an International Protection Mechanism”
Mr.Rudrakumaran further stated, “TGTE welcomes Ms.Pillay’s call for the repeal of, the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), which on face value appears neutral but in effect targets Tamils, and for the speedy and transparent trials of political detainees”.
We note that High Commissioner Pillay’s reference to the Northern Provincial elections as an important new stage in the devolution of power has been refuted even by the Tamil domestic leadership.
The comments of Ms.Pillai who works for an organization of states on the LTTE might have been made in order for her to appear as a balanced and neutral person, but we believe that there is no symmetry between the persecutor and the persecuted. There is no moral equivalence between the perpetrator and the victim.
“We wish to bring to the High Commissioner’s attention the fact that the then Presidential candidate Zuma and the African National Congress itself have called the LTTE a National Liberation Movement when expressing solidarity with them, not in June 1999, but in December 2008 and March 2009 respectively. We wish to reiterate our position that the sacrifice of their lives made by thousands of Tamil youths in the cause of freedom must be respected and paid homage to by all Tamils, and by all those who consider freedom as one of mankind’s highest ideals,” said Mr. Rudrakumaran.
“We concur with High Commissioner Pillay when she says that what is needed in Sri Lanka is a ‘more holistic approach to provide truth, justice and reparations for peoples’ suffering during the war’”. “It has been TGTE’s consistent view that an environment should be created on the island for Tamils to exercise their inherent right to self-determination in a remedial fashion.”
“The TGTE is grateful for Ms. Pillay’s effort and engagement on human rights on the island of Sri Lanka and we look forward to her thorough reporting in due course to the UN Human Rights Council. Diaspora Tamils applaud the work and hold the hands of all protectors and promoters of Human Rights throughout the world,” concluded Mr. Rudrakumaran.
*Full text of the TGTE press release