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

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey 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.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid