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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora