An influential Tamil diaspora group wants Sri Lanka to be kept on the agenda at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
The London based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) welcomed the new resolution A/HRC/46/L.1/Rev.1 (Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka) tabled on March 16th at the United Nations Human Rights Council by the Core Group of countries that include Canada, Germany, Malawi, Montenegro, North Macedonia and UK.
“We call upon all member countries of the Council to support and non-member countries to co-sponsor the resolution. This will ensure that human rights and accountability in Sri Lanka remain on the international agenda and the hope of the thousands of victims of violence in Sri Lanka for justice is not abruptly extinguished,” GTF said.
GTF noted that the Tamil community in Sri Lanka suffered enormously during the war, and twelve years on, accountability and justice are completely denied to them.
“There are also victims from other communities who are seeking answers about the fate of their loved ones. For all those who were denied due process and justice in Sri Lanka, the international community through its concerted initiatives at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), has provided much needed hope,” GTF said.
GTF noted that Sri Lanka has withdrawn from its sponsorship of UNHRC Resolution 30/1, with very little progress to show. In the meantime, Sri Lanka’s problems have multiplied. The nature of governance in the country, the human rights and freedoms enjoyed by its citizens have taken a dramatic U-turn in the past 12-18 months, GTF said.
It said that the minority communities – Tamils and Muslims in particular – are being proactively marginalised, with a clear sense of ‘second class citizenship’ in their own country.
“A simple illustration is the enormous amount of pain the Muslim community was unnecessarily subjected to due to forced cremation of its COVID dead and now the planned burqa ban,” GTF said.
GTF warns any failure in Geneva will remove Sri Lanka from the only multi-lateral forum, the UNHRC agenda.
The diapora group notes that it is absolutely essential therefore that the UNHRC, which was established 15 years ago to replace the widely criticised Commission on Human Rights, does not fail and faithfully remain the voices of the victims of human rights abuses all across the world. (Colombo Gazette)