WTO deeply disappointed on UNHCR announcement
World Thamil Organization expresses its profound disappointment and deep anguish at the announcement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Dr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, that OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) report, scheduled to be released in March 2015, will be deferred by another six months.
In March 2014, World Thamil Organization sincerely thanked the United States for its initiative and tremendous efforts in successfully passing the UNHRC resolution in Geneva. Nonetheless, World Thamil Organization is deeply disappointed now with the United States for its influence in the postponement of the OISL report at the present critical time when it really matters in carrying forward the UNHRC resolution and seeking justice which has been denied for a long time.
The report by the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) was to be a “comprehensive report” into past and ongoing human rights abuses. In its March 2014 Resolution, the UN Human Rights Council expressed “serious concern at continuing reports of violations of human rights in Sri Lanka, including sexual and gender-based violence, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, [and] torture…”
The Northern Provincial Council last week unanimously passed a monumental resolution urging OISL to investigate and report on the crime of genocide in its March 2015 report.
The UN High Commissioner’s statement mentioning “strong arguments for deferring the report’s consideration a bit longer, given the changing context in Sri Lanka, and the possibility that important new information may emerge which will strengthen the report” ignores adverse realities which include: 1) the entrenched anti-Tamil stance and ‘hegemonic’ mindset of the Sinhalese, 2) the historical and time-honored duplicity of their elected leaders in repeatedly deceiving the Tamil people by unilaterally abrogating the signed agreements, and 3) the fact that the current president, Maithripala Sirisena, was acting defense minister during the Mullaivaikkal massacre and the then-army commander, Lt. General Sarath Fonseka, is currently the president’s defense advisor – neither one having any incentive to earnestly cooperate with OISL.
Sri Lankan President, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Sri Lankan Government spokespersons have already publicly stated that they will not allow an international investigation and will only set up a domestic probe into a few “incidents”. Given this explicit position of the Sri Lankan state, it is difficult to see how the High Commissioner has arrived at the conclusion that there is a “change in context” in Sri Lanka. It would be a great betrayal of trust by the UNHRC if the report is never released, diluted or transferred to a domestic inquiry.
The deferral of this report without any consultation with the victims has already eroded the credibility of UNHRC in the eyes of the victims. The UN has belatedly acknowledged that it failed to protect the Tamil people from the massacre in Mullivaikkal; it is once again failing the Tamil people by delaying justice.
World Thamil Organization fervently requests the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to give an oral report on the investigation it has conducted on the war crimes and genocide of the innocent Tamil people in Sri Lanka during the last phase of war.
President, World Thamil Organization, Inc.
February 21, 2015