OHCHR led inquiry inadequate, CoI needed – Tamil civil society

Jaffna press club logo  Criticising the current draft UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka, K. Guruparan, of the Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF), a network of Tamil civil society activists in the North-East, said stressed that “if there is to be a proper international investigation, it must involve criminal prosecutions” and a “Commission of Inquiry is needed as an important part of the process” towards that.

Speaking to journalists at the Jaffna Press Club (JPC) the day after the draft resolution was released, Mr. Guruparan said, “there is a difference between the UN Human Rights Council being asked to undertake a report [following an inquiry] and Navi Pillay’s office being asked to undertake it,” and added that the Government would simply reject any OHCHR report, whilst one mandated by the UNHRC would carry the sway needed to lead to a criminal investigation.

Drawing attention to the high hopes for an international inquiry and criminal prosecutions amongst the Tamil people, especially following several visits by international figures such as the British Prime Minister David Cameron, Mr. Guruparan said that an an investigation led by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) would not fulfill this call.

Warning against any resolution that calls on the government to investigate itself, despite its widely acknowledged failure to do so, Mr. Guruparan said it would be an “emboldening process” to the Sri Lankan government, particularly in its rhetoric to the Sinhala people. He added,

“In the South, whether it’s the UNP, or the civil society there, they don’t say: the Sri Lankan government has committed these atrocities and there needs to be a proper investigation, they say: it has failed in its foreign policy”.

Outlining the on-going and widespread attacks on the Tamil people, he said the draft resolution failed to adequately address this, and make a meaningful change to the day to day lives of the Tamil people.

“The resolution does not adequately address the on-going abuses against the Tamil people. It is present in one place, but that’s it, it’s not enough. Whether that’s land grabs, disappearances, violence against women, and other such issues – what’s the solution to the on-going attacks?”

Mr. Guruparan appeared to add his voice to the growing criticism of the TNA leadership over its reported failure to accurately reflect and aggressively advocate what the Tamil people were calling for.

Earlier, Northern Provincial Councillor, Ananthi Sasitharan, publicly criticised the TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran, alleging that he had prevented her from speaking plainly. Speaking at the Jaffna Press Club at a separate event, Ms. Sasitharan questioned whether it was indeed an international inquiry that he was calling for, and alleged that he was of the mindset that “any resolution would suffice.”

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