News / Asia

UN Presses Sri Lanka to Pursue War Crimes Probe

Reuters
The United Nations urged Sri Lanka in a resolution on Thursday to carry out credible investigations into killings and disappearances during its nearly 30-year civil war, especially in the brutal final stages in 2009.

It voiced concern at reports of continuing violations including killings, torture, curbs on the right to freedom of expression, and reprisals against activists and journalists.

Resolutions such as that brought by the United States are not binding, but the scrutiny by the U.N. Human Rights Council maintains pressure on the government to prosecute crimes committed in the conflict against Tamil Tiger rebels.

"This resolution, which builds on a similar 2012 resolution, re-affirmed that Sri Lanka must take meaningful action on reconciliation and accountability in order to move forward,'' U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement. "While some important progress has been made, there is much work still to be done."

Tens of thousands of civilians were killed in the final months of a war that began in 1983 as government troops advanced on the last stronghold of the Tamil Tiger rebels fighting for an independent homeland, a U.N. panel has said.

The panel said it had "credible allegations" that troops and the Tamil Tigers both carried out atrocities and war crimes, but singled out the government for most of the responsibility for the deaths. The government rejects the allegation.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a report last month that Sri Lanka was failing to investigate alleged wartime atrocities committed by government forces and that activists and opposition politicians were still being killed or abducted.

The U.S. resolution "calls upon the government to conduct an independent and credible investigation into allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law."

Need for "Concrete Action"

The 47-member Geneva forum adopted the text with 25 countries in favor, including India; and 13 against, including Pakistan. Eight abstained and one delegation was absent.

"We note with concern the inadequate progress by Sri Lanka in fulfilling its commitment to this council in 2009," India's ambassador Dilip Sinha told the talks.

Rights groups welcomed the continuing spotlight on Sri Lanka but regretted that the council failed to establish an international investigation into wartime crimes.

"It is clear that the Sri Lankan government is unwilling and unable to investigate these events itself, so an international probe is the only way to obtain the truth and justice necessary for genuine reconciliation," Yolanda Foster, Amnesty International's expert on Sri Lanka, said in a statement.

Alex Conte, of the International Commission of Jurists, said: "Sri Lanka has a long history of promising justice but delivering impunity ... With this resolution, the international community shows it wants to see concrete action."

Sri Lankan presidential envoy Mahinda Samarasinghe took the floor at the debate to reject the U.S. resolution as "highly intrusive" and called for states to vote against the text.

"Why this preoccupation with Sri Lanka, why this inordinate and disproportionate level of interest in a country that has successfully ended a 30-year conflict against terrorism and has demonstrated so much progress in a relatively short space of time," Samarasinghe said.

Referring to Sri Lanka's Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, he said: "We have every confidence in our domestic processes and mechanism."

Former army chief Sarath Fonseka, who led the military to victory in the conflict, said this week he was ready to face questions about allegations of war crimes.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Real_Peace
March 22, 2013 1:59 PM
The US-led UN resolution is a welcoming small step to attempt towards reconciliation. But we have to be realistic about the current situation which is seen below through the infographics below, created by an independent organization that released into the PUBLIC domain.

So the REAL questions will be:

1. what happened since the March 2012 UN Resolution and now - did the situation get better?

2. Now that a second UN resolution is passed asking Sri Lanka to investigate... wouldn’t that be like asking Syrian Assad to investigate why so many Syrian civilians died etc.?


by: Vishnudeep from: Tamil Nadu
March 22, 2013 11:10 AM
UN RESOLUTIN ON SRI LANKA : Because of Genocide of Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka the following immediate steps are required :

1.The Indian Govt. should include the deleted clause in the draft resolution stating that “Credible International Investigation by experts to be done in Sri Lanka to determine the extent of Genocide and bringing all those culprits to justice.
(It is painful to read that India has diluted the draft resolution on Sri Lankan Genocide)

2.The discredited Sri Lankan Army should be withdrawn from Tamil areas immediately and civil administration should be restored in Northern Sri Lanka.

3.LLRC is farce and there is no credible justice system in Sri Lanka and none is punished for killings, rape and torture of unarmed civilians. Hence UN, UNCHR and ICJ should intervene in Sri Lanka to stop the killings, rape and torture still going on in Sri Lanka.

4.India should remember the greatest Epic “RAMAYANA” and the war between Ram and Ravana for abducting Seetha . When Ravana lost all his weapons Ram magnanimously told him “GO TODAY AND COME TOMORROW” (Of course to fight with weapons). Here Seetha was physically unharmed. Compare with the situation in Sri Lanka where more than 1,40,000 unarmed civilians were killed and more than 80,000 Rape victims and widows. How will you justify that ?

5. Therefore India has a moral duty to stop the genocide and persuade the opposing countries to vote for the resolution. India need not intervene in Sri Lanka with Indian troops but only support American or International intervention to bring to justice the persons who committed war crimes and Genocide in Sri Lanka. If justice is not done for the genocide the retribution will come by providence or by divine punishment.

In Response

by: SRLKN from: SL
March 23, 2013 12:37 AM
Only Tamils in Tamil Nadu keep parrotting these views. Genocide is their favourite word regardless of how grossly misplaecd it is. They only convey an egotistical nature, and complete disingenuity because it is easily understood that you don't actually care about the tamils in Sri Lanka. Tamils in Sri Lanka don't want all this fuss they just want to get on with their lives. they have returned to their homes and their livelihoods, and wish all this noise would stop. They too know that tamil nadu doesn't really have their best interest at heart. So stop crying incessesantly like some petulant child over something you cannot have which is to divide this country. Get real and let others live!


by: Banda from: Colombo
March 21, 2013 11:06 PM
Where is credible accountability on human rights violations by US on Iraq, Afganistan, Pakstan. And horde of other wars they fought in tha past. When Srilanka ended the brutal guerrilla terrorism that plagued the country for 30 long years they should have been commended and should have been a shinning example to the world, but jealous nations of the west want revenge instead of praise. The whole world knows the truth but goes along with USA for economic gains.

In Response

by: manimaran from: tamilnadu
March 22, 2013 8:35 AM
banda, u have no rights to talk about human violations; tamils were forced to take weapon becoz u ruthless monsters(tamils were denied of basic rights). is this what ur peaceful buddhism teaches u?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid