Resolution passed in NPC for international mechanism

NPCThe Northern Provincial Council unanimously passed a resolution today, 10 February stating what happened to the Tamils in Sri Lanka is Genocide and recommend appropriate measures for the International Criminal Court in order to ensure prosecutions.

The resolution was moved by the Chief Minister Justice C.V. Wignewaran. The resolution  titled “Request to create an international mechanism to save the Tamil people from Genocide”, was tabled last year by M.K. Sivajilingam, a Tamil National Alliance Member of the Northern Provincial Council. Both ruling and opposition parties passed the resolution unanimously.

The resolution read:

“This resolution provides as overview of the evidence demonstrating successive Sri Lankan governments’ genocide against Tamils, and respectfully requests the ongoing United Nations Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) to investigate the claim of genocide and recommend appropriate investigations and prosecutions by the International Criminal Court (ICC),” the resolution read.

“Although the OISL investigation is a time-bound effort focused on February 2002 – November 2011, Sri Lanka’s genocide against Tamils began with the island’s independence. Since then, Tamils across Sri Lanka, particularly in the historical Tamil homeland of the NorthEast, have been subject to gross and systematic human rights violations, culminating in the mass atrocities committed in 2009. Sri Lanka’s historic violations include over 60 years of state sponsored anti-Tamil pogroms, massacres, sexual violence, and acts of cultural and linguistic destruction perpetrated by the state. These atrocities have been perpetrated with the intent to destroy the Tamil people, and therefore constitute genocide.”

Tabling the motion, Chief Minister retired Supreme Court Judge Wigneswaran said “This brings to an end the long Resolution on Genocide in Sri Lanka that reflects to some extent the feelings and frustrations of our people – an ancient people with an ancient culture and language. It is my hope that this Resolution would not be considered as an epistle to the International Community  only, unrelated to the life of my Sinhalese brothers and sisters. This Resolution is a challenge to your moral integrity and humaneness.  If you could assimilate what brutality and inconsiderateness has preceded you or bypassed you so far, may be chances for moral regeneration and a more healthier cooperative and coordinated life style for the future of all people living in this blessed Isle could be ensured.

If only the words of one of our greater Civil Law Advocates who also happened to be the Leader of his people at that time 40 years ago in September 1974, enshrined in a Memorandum from the Tamils of Ceylon to all delegates attending the 20th Commonwealth Conference in Sri Lanka had been then heeded at that time we may have averted the brutal war and its ill effects.

He said “In Ceylon today there is clearly a situation where immediate action and assistance are necessary to stop a bad situation from getting worse”. He was appealing to this Common Wealth Delegates that they should use their good offices to help in the solution of the problem that had arisen.

Today we need to rewrite the wrongs done by all of us. We need to search our conscience. We need to examine ways and means of ushering in a new way of life a new culture. In this regard let me quote from an excellent speech made by former Prime Minister of Australia Mr.Paul Keating at Redfern Park, Sydney on December 10th 1992 on the occasion of the launch of Australia’s Celebration of the 1993 International Year of the World’s Indigenous People. He said and I quote, “And, as I say, the starting point might be to recognise that the problem starts with us non-Aboriginal Australians.

It begins, I think, with that act of recognition

Recognition that it was we who did the dispossessing.

We took the traditional lands and smashed the traditional way of life.

We brought the diseases. The alcohol.

We committed the murders.

We took the children from their mothers.

We practised discrimination and exclusion.

It was our ignorance and our prejudice.

And our failure to imagine these things being done to us.

With some noble exceptions, we failed to make the most basic human response and enter into their hearts and minds.

We failed to ask – how would I feel if this were done to me?

As a consequence, we failed to see that what we were doing degraded all of us.

If we needed a reminder of this, we received it this year.

The Report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody showed with devastating clarity that the past, lives on in inequality, racism and injustice.

In the prejudice and ignorance of non-Aboriginal Australians, and in the demoralisation and desperation, the fractured identity, of so many Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.

For all this, I do not believe that the Report should fill us with guilt.

Down the years, there has been no shortage of guilt, but it has not produced the responses we need.

Guilt is not a very constructive emotion.

I think what we need to do is open our hearts a bit.

All of us.

Perhaps when we recognise what we have in common we will see the things which must be done – the practical things.

“With these words I commit my Resolution to this august assembly of men and women who are the pride of my dear people of the Northern Province.

 

 

The resolution said although the OISL investigation is a time-bound effort focused on February 2002 – November 2011, Sri Lanka’s genocide against Tamils began with the island’s independence.

“Since then, Tamils across Sri Lanka, particularly in the historical Tamil homeland of the NorthEast, have been subject to gross and systematic human rights violations, culminating in the mass atrocities committed in 2009. Sri Lanka’s historic violations include over 60 years of statesponsored anti-Tamil pogroms, massacres, sexual violence, and acts of cultural and linguistic destruction perpetrated by the state,” it said.

“These atrocities have been perpetrated with the intent to destroy the Tamil people, and therefore constitute genocide”.

The resolution has come at a time the Sri Lankan government and its international friends and partners are pushing to defer the releasing of the UN-led war crime probe report at the 28th Session of the UNHRC in March in Geneva, in the name of giving “time and space” for the newly-elected government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The resolution also made reference to the Rome-based Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT), which in December 2013, found “Sri Lanka guilty of the crime of genocide against the Eelam Tamil people; the UK and USA were found to be guilty of complicity, while the Judges withheld their decision on India’s complicity pending examination of further evidence”.

The NPC resolution said that the evidence related to the “escalation of militarisation, colonisation and forcible imposition of Sinhala Buddhist culture” in Tamil areas contributed to a finding of genocide by the PPT on Sri Lanka, an independent, international organization that has examined human rights violations around the world.

This resolution was originally brought in last year but was deferred by some members of the TNA, citing that it could harm the UN-led investigation.

NPC Resolution on Tamil Genocide

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