Wrong to give more time

It was not right to give Sri Lanka more time to address the issue of accountability over the alleged war crimes committed during the civil war, Northern Province Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran said today.

The Sri Lankan government has sought two more years from the UN Human Rights Council to deliver on the accountability mechanism.

Wigneswaran said “the UN must see first what good the government has done so far”. “Without doing that and granting time for some political reason does not see correct to me,” the Tamil leader said.

The northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka are the traditional homeland of the ethnic Tamil people where an almost three-decade-long separatist war was fought by the LTTE which ended in 2009 during the tenure of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Highlighting the issues not addressed by the government, Wigneswaran said missing persons’ relatives were still to receive justice. “Allowing the missing persons’ protest for 28 days was wrong. The report on the missing has not been published so far. The government is in the mentality of safeguarding the military men linked to the disappearances,” Wigneswaran said.

The northern provincial council last week had resolved that the government had not taken adequate measures to fully implement the Resolution 30/1 that it co-sponsored at the UNHRC Session in September 2015, especially with regard to the accountability, establishment of a Commission for truth, reconciliation; nonrecurrence of oppression, return of lands to its rightful civilian owners and an office of reparation.

The council calls upon the UNHRC and the International Community to ask Sri Lanka to agree to an International accountability mechanism, ratify the Rome Statute as recommended by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) Report of September 2015 and offer the Tamils a political solution with the Mediation of the UN.

Earlier this month, the UNHRC had criticised Sri Lanka’s “slow” progress in addressing its wartime past and reiterated its earlier call for hybrid court of international and local judges to investigate allegations of rights violations.

The Tamils insist on having foreign judges and investigators claiming lack of confidence in the local judiciary. According to the UN, up to 40,000 civilians were killed by security forces during Rajapaksa’s regime that brought an end to the conflict. (Business Standard)

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