The International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) held an event held on the sidelines of the UN Human Rights Council on the sidelines of the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council Geneva. The event saw speakers from the North-East who described the violations that take place and called for a international Commission of Inquiry.
Speakers that addressed the event included IMADR President Nimalka Fernando, Anne-Kathrin Glatz from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, TNA Northern Provincial Council member Ananthi Sasitharan, Rev. Jeyabalan a member of the Christian clergy in Mannar, Sri Lankan human rights activist and lawyer Niran Anketell, and Sandya Ekneligoda, wife of disappeared cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda
Nimalka Fernando spoke on the denial of the right to self-determination as one of the several violations currently taking place, adding that “the reconciliation that is needed should also provide dignity to the Tamil Nation on the island. She further said “The international intervention we are calling for is a just cause, people in Sri Lanka have waited for long enough… The issue is not just about setting up any international mechanism…. We need a comprehensive international investigation that addresses violations before during and after the war.”
Anne-Kathrin Glatz from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre noted the plight of IDPs in the North-East, stating that government figures which claim that there were 23,568 were false. She stated that figures obtained from the organisation’s research suggested that there were over 90,000 IDPs.
Addressing the event Reverend Jeyabalan from Mannar spoke of ongoing disappearances in the North-East, including the recent abduction of a Tamil priest and added “There is a clear attempt to change the ethnic makeup of the North-East through land grabs and militarisation”.
Northern Province Councillor, Ananthi Sasitharan outlined on genocide of the Tamil people telling the audience that, “The government is trying to systematically destroy the Tamil nation. They are destroying its culture, politics economy and society.” Calling for a Commission of Inquiry and a political solution that addresses the root causes of the conflict, she added, “Sri Lanka has done nothing towards reconciliation and the root causes of the conflict remain unresolved. The Sri Lankan state is conducting: land grabs amounting to demographic changes, military occupation, coercive birth control methods, torture of political prisoners and other ongoing human rights violations. All of this is aimed at breaking down the Tamil nation. They are using these methods to carry out a genocide of our people.”
Niran Anketell, a human rights activist and lawyer stated that the Sri Lankan government does not need any more time and space to address these issues and commenting on the lack of independence in the judiciary, said “What are the prospects of a domestic process where every judge is picked by the president himself?”