GTF challenges GoSL to face UN probe

GTF   The UK-based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) said yesterday that the proposed UN probe would give an opportunity to establish the circumstances under which the war was brought to an end on the Vanni east front five years ago.

GTF spokesman Suren Surendiran told The Island that the government shouldn’t shun the investigation. Instead, the government should participate and facilitate the process. In an exclusive statement, Surendiran said that as President Rajapaksa always maintained that his government had nothing to hide, there was no reason for the GoSL not to cooperate with the UN. In fact, the UN-led process would help the GoSL to address the accountability issues for once and for all.

Recalling statements attributed to President Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as well as presidential envoy Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe and the then military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara during eelam war IV, Surendiran said that there had been nearly 300,000 civilians caught up in the no fire zones, though the government gave an extremely low figure.

“The UN probe will establish why, what or whether this under estimation had any international law implications and whether this was deliberate. How this underestimation might have impacted in the claim that the government was sending ‘enough’ food, medical and milk powder (for children) supplies to the war zone during the war.”

“Evidence, including Channel 4 documentaries which dealt with breaches of international law, particularly targeting of innocent civilians with heavy weapons, deployment of heavy weapons until the very last minute of the war in spite of claiming such weapons weren’t used, attacks on known medical facilities even after the coordinates were shared by the Red Cross should be fully investigated. Above all, the video graphic and photographic evidence of persons who were captured or surrendered after the end of the war including several children who were seen alive in these video and photo evidence in military custody and then been dead or disappeared too should be subjected to international scrutiny.”

The GTF insisted that ongoing infrastructure development projects in the Northern and Eastern Provinces wouldn’t make the allegations go away.

Responding to a query, the GTF said that the GoSL couldn’t suppress the international community, the Diaspora as well as the international media.

GTF vowed to represent the Tamil community at international forums until Sri Lanka addressed accountability issues and those few responsible for atrocities were punished.

“We believe only when justice is served and root causes for the military conflict are addressed permanently with international guarantees can the affected begin to consider moving on and a sustainable peace for all in the island can be achieved. President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government can deliver peace with the overwhelming majority they command in Parliament, if they had the political will to resolve this fundamental national issue.” (The Island)

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