GTF urges UNHRC to push for time-bound action plan in Sri Lanka

The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) says Tamils have lost faith in the coalition Government in Sri Lanka.

The London based Tamil diaspora group said that the confidence level among the Tamil community that Sri Lanka will fully implement its commitments under UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Resolution 30/1 in a faithful and timely manner is presently at its lowest.

“The outcomes of the local council elections, the recent anti-Muslim violence, and the fact that the present coalition government at its halfway mark is in disarray without significant achievements on Tamil related issues, make most of the Tamil people to wonder whether Sri Lanka, once again, has missed a great opportunity,” GTF said.

Under such pessimistic future outlook, GTF says it is vital that the international community, in particular, the key member countries of the UNHRC, make honest and principled public statements during the sessions which will give hope and confidence to the long-suffering people.

“The role international community needs to play in dealing with the complex issues of accountability and political resolution is vital, and the key countries should do their best to get Sri Lanka agree to an implementable action program using both public and private diplomacy. It is noteworthy that Sri Lanka has finally appointed the commissioners for the Office of Missing Persons (OMP). Though proper consultations were not carried out with all stakeholders as expected, some of those appointed appear to be persons of good reputation. We believe the international community must have played a key role in getting this outcome, to which the Tamil community is grateful. Such a move just before the UNHRC session is so typical of Sri Lanka and is often a cause for concern about its sincerity. Even allowing for that, we still welcome this development and hope that the OMP will be able to do its job by establishing regional offices, seeking necessary expert assistance. It is important that UNHRC continues to monitor and ensure the effective functioning of the OMP without further delay,” GTF added.

GTF notes a key outcome of the UNHRC session ought to be ‘Sri Lanka agreeing to a well-defined, time-bound action plan, where all transitional justice processes are in simultaneous operation with active UNHRC oversight’, without which Sri Lanka meeting its targets prior to the comprehensive review in the last quarter of 2019 is virtually impossible.