Sri Lanka Urged to Probe the Murder of Tamil MPs

The Inter-Parliamentary Union is calling on the government of Sri Lanka to mount a thorough investigation of the murders of three Members of Parliament, two of them Tamils.   The IPU's Human Rights Committee, which has wrapped up its latest session, has examined cases of abuse of some 300 MPs in 29 countries.  

The Inter-Parliamentary Union says the Sri Lankan government no  longer has any reason for not investigating the murders of the Parliamentarians now that its long-running civil war with the Tamil Tiger rebels is over.

Chair of the IPU's Human Rights Committee, Canadian Senator, Sharon Carstairs, says the government has always maintained it was unable to investigate the murders because they occurred in rebel-held territory.  She says that excuse no longer exists.

She tells VOA, Tamil Parliamentarians are subject to arbitrary arrest, harassment and intimidation.  She says her Committee is concerned about the situation of 12 Tamil Parliamentarians.  She says they essentially have been stripped of their rights of freedom of movement and of their ability to perform their legislative duties.

She says the Tamil Parliamentarians are reluctant to leave the capital, Colombo, because their security is not guaranteed.

"So, there is great fear among the Tamil Parliamentarians," Carstairs said.  "So, what we hope from Sri Lanka at this point is to get a new signal from them that Tamil Parliamentarians will have freedom of movement, they will have adequate security, they will be full participants of the government of Sri Lanka because they are duly elected Parliamentarians."   

The IPU Committee is also very concerned about the cases of two Parliamentarians in Iraq.  Hareth Al-Obaidi, who was the Vice-Chair of Iraq's Human Rights Committee, was murdered on June 12.  His colleague, Mohammed Al-Dainy, who also was a member of the Committee, disappeared on February 5th.  

Carstairs says Al-Dainy eventually surfaced in another country.  But, she says 19 of his family members and staff were arrested and some were tortured.

"Now both these men, and this is what I think is important, had both called for the creation of a Commission of Inquiry in cases of torture, rape and death in Iraqi prisons," Carstairs said.  "And, so, they essentially were working on the same file together… The concerns were that these were not American-run prisons that these two men were concerned about.  They were Iraqi-run prisons."   

The IPU Committee is calling for the reinstatement of a female MP in Afghanistan.  She was suspended from her duties two years ago for publicly criticizing some warlords on television.  Carstairs says the male-dominated Parliament described her remarks as un-Islamic.  

"If you are a Parliamentarian and a you are a woman in Afghanistan, it is better to be seen and not heard," Carstairs said.  

In a rare bit of good news, the IPU welcomes Israel's decision to release three Palestinian Parliamentarians who were duly elected in Gaza in 2006.  It calls on the Israeli government to also release 40 other Palestinian Members of Parliament who the IPU charges were kidnapped and imprisoned in Israel after the election.


This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syriai
November 26, 2015 5:21 AM
Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs