ANGER has greeted the United Nations announcement that it will not report on its investigation into the genocide in Sri Lanka next month after all, with allegations that the United States and India are behind the delay.
British Tamils Forum (BTF) said yesterday that it shares the deep disappointment and anguish felt by Tamil people across the world on learning that the OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) report, scheduled to be released in March 2015, will be deferred by another six months.
Tamil Diaspora organisations and Tamil parties in the island of Sri Lanka and India, together representing Tamil people across the world, have repeatedly requested that this long awaited report be released in March 2015 as mandated.
The victims and the witnesses of this genocide have already waited far too long.
In his explanation for this unprecedented move, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Dr Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, states that there are ‘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’.
However, legal sources familiar with the evidence already collected have indicated that there is enough hard evidence to prosecute the perpetrators.
The High Commissioner further states: ‘I have received clear commitments from the new Government of Sri Lanka indicating it is prepared to cooperate with my Office on a whole range of important human rights issues – which the previous Government had absolutely refused to do – and I need to engage with them to ensure those commitments translate into reality.’
BTF commented: ‘We, as victims, too have a right to know what these commitments are and how these will facilitate the emergence of new information.
‘We also wish to know what measures have been considered to protect the sources of this new information from the Sri Lankan state.
‘The same military that threatened victims who sought justice from the previous High Commissioner during her visit is occupying, and is very much in control of, the North and East of Sri Lanka.
‘Jeyakumari Balendran, the mother who sought help from the previous High Commissioner to find her missing son, is still in a Sri Lankan prison on trumped-up charges, and the sister who pleaded to be reunited with her brother is now separated from her mother too.
‘Tamil victims have not seen any change in their plight in the island of Sri Lanka. The Tamil people do not see any change in the nature of the Sri Lankan state. The High Commissioner goes on to rightly state: “I am acutely aware that many victims of human rights violations in Sri Lanka, including those who have bravely come forward to provide information to the inquiry team, might see this as the first step towards shelving, or diluting, a report they have long feared they would never see.
‘ “I fully understand those fears and deep anxieties, given the history of failed or obstructed domestic human rights inquiries in Sri Lanka, and the importance of this international investigation being carried out by my team at the UN Human Rights Office.”
‘Sri Lanka’s 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 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.
‘British Tamils Forum, on behalf of the Tamil people, appeals to the High Commissioner to review his position, release the report as originally scheduled and restore Tamil people’s faith in the UN system.’
Tamilnet reported that, as anticipated by the ‘regime change’ in Colombo, engineered by Washington and New Delhi, who also designed and remotely directed the genocidal war against the nation of Eezham Tamils in the island, the release of the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) report mandated by the UNHRC on the war crimes and the crimes against humanity in the island, has been postponed to September.
One of the citations of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, for the postponement of the report is the ‘possibility that new information will become available,’ besides ‘signals of broad cooperation (from the Government of Sri Lanka)’.
‘My request is based on the changing context in Sri Lanka, and the signals of broad cooperation I have received from the Government, as well as the possibility that new information will become available for the report,’ the UN Human Rights Chief has written to the president of the UNHRC.
Last week, Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran revealed that the US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal, who recently visited the island, was not in favour of pursuing the Geneva OISL investigation on Sri Lanka in the March sessions as scheduled.
Immediately after the war, on two occasions, the New Delhi Establishment blocked any investigations on the island and signed a military-to-military relationship agreement with genocidal Sri Lanka.
Now, with the postponement of the OISL report and with the visit of the SL President, New Delhi has signed a civil nuclear treaty with Colombo. The whole process takes place for the last five years amidst an ongoing genocide and without any guarantee or protection for the affected nation of Eezham Tamils.
Who will be questioning the motive of the postponement at the UNHRC, remains to be seen for the future assessment of the actors and allies by the Tamils, commented Tamil activists in the island and in the diaspora.
If the postponement of the report is to facilitate ‘domestic investigations’ by the new regime as cited by the UN Rights Chief, the immediate release of the OISL report on the investigations that took place so far, will actually be helping such a domestic process.
But, it is obvious the reason is something else, the activists further said. The international dimensions of the struggle polity of Eezham Tamils should be degraded and reduced into a ‘rat race’ for domestic and petty political positions, is the idea behind the current manoeuvrings of the concerned Powers.
While the nation of Eezham Tamils aspire to an internationally conceived and guaranteed solution for its liberation from protracted genocide, certain ultimate culprits think of confining it under their armpits.
That is the drama taking place at the UNHRC, the activists further said.
• Carrying the clothes and photographs of the Tamil youth, who are reported missing after arrest or abductions by the occupying Sri Lankan forces in Batticaloa district, the family members of the missing persons staged a day-long fast in front of Gandhi Park in Batticaloa city on Monday.
After the entire district of Batticaloa was brought under the control of the Sri Lankan military in 2007, around 300 Tamil youth have been reported missing until 2010, the organisers said.
The white-van squads operated by the genocidal military occupying the Tamil homeland have been behind most of the abductions.
Around 300 family members of the missing persons, most of them women, took part in the protest.
This is the second protest to be organised in Batticaloa in February.
Earlier, on 3rd February, demonstrations were organised in Trincomalee and Batticaloa by the Naangkal movement in collaboration with the missing persons associations of Batticaloa and Trincomalee.
The federation of women groups in Trincomalee also took part in the protest. In the meantime, missing persons organisations in Jaffna have also called for protests with mass participation.
The organisers said they are demanding immediate answers from the Sri Lankan government on the fate of missing persons before the Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva in March.