Expressing its “full support” for the call for an international investigation into Sri Lanka’s mass atrocities in the UN Human Rights Council resolution tabled this week, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said Wednesday: “this is what we had been asking for, for five years.In this resolution, it very clearly gives a mandate to establish a comprehensive international investigation,” said Mr. Sumanthiran, TNA MP.
“We fully support the call for an investigation in this resolution – this is what we had been asking for for five years,” he added.
Mr. Sumanthiran was speaking to reporters at an impromptu press conference outside HRC plenary room, soon after UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay had presented her report on Sri Lanka.
He was accompanied by other TNA MPs, Maavai Senathirajah, Suresh Premachandran, S Sritharan, Selvam Adaikalanathan and MK Shivajalingham.
Calling for urgent implementation of the resolution, which is to be voted on later Thursday Mr. Senathirajah said any delay would allow Sri Lanka to carry out further land grabs, sexual violence against women, arrests, detentions, disappearances, and militarisation.
Mr. Sumanthiran added, “After [the resolution] has been passed, we want the OHCHR to undertake an independent international investigation immediately. “This investigation should happen, before the evidence is erased.”
“The British Prime Minister went to Jaffna, and made a statement there itself [that he] will call for an international investigation – we thank him for leading on this,” he said.
He went on,
“We thank America for continuously leading and tabling this resolution forward, for the third year running.
“We thank the other three countries who joined together and supported this. We thank all states who will vote.”
“We request that those states who are not voting, or voting against it, to again reconsider their position over the next 24 hours.”
Asked by the Tamil Guardian, how the TNA would respond if, given the Government of Sri Lanka’s previous conduct, it does not cooperate with the OHCHR’s investigation, Mr. Sumanthiran drew attention to the “remote inquiry” used in the case of North Korea, and said, “that does not in any way diminish the quality or the validity of that report.”
He added, “We know very well, that given our own experience that the Sri Lankan government will not cooperate.”
“But since you ask the question, we are asking the Sri Lankan government to cooperate even at this stage, because this is a resolution that is good for the country. It is not something that will harm the country. It is good for all the peoples in that country.”
“Therefore our appeal to the government also, is please cooperate with the international community.”
Asked by the Tamil Guardian if the TNA would support travel bans and asset freezes on Government officials, as some Western officials have already said they would be looking at, Mr. Sumanthiran replied,
“That is matter for those countries. They have said it. We don’t wish to comment on it right now. When a country defaults there are consequences. That sri Lanka must know and take adequate steps. We don’t wish to comment on that now.”