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Mannar Bishop and Over Two Hundred Tamil Catholic Priests and Sisters Call For International Investigation of Sri Lanka Human Rights Abuses

March 4th, 2014

“…we are concerned about the post war intensification of systematic efforts to destroy the identity of the Tamil community.”

The bombing of the safe zone, March 4, 2009. Some 40,000 Tamils were killed in the final stages of the war.

The bombing of the safe zone, March 4, 2009. Some 40,000 Tamils were killed in the final stages of the war.

Two hundred and five Tamil Catholic Priests and Sisters from the North and East of Sri Lanka, including the Rt. Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph, Bishop of Mannar and many Oblates, have written to the members of the UN Human Rights Council calling for an international investigation into Sri Lanka’s war crimes and human rights violations. The religious have called for the adoption of a strong and action-oriented resolution on Sri Lanka at the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council. That session opened this week in Geneva.


Below is the statement in full:

3rd March 2014

To: Members of UN Human Rights Council (UN HRC)

Tamil Christian Clergy from North-East Sri Lanka call for an international investigation mechanism from the UN Human Rights Council

Before the 19th and 22nd sessions of the UN HRC, some of us, as Tamil Christian clergy serving in the war ravaged North and East of Sri Lanka, wrote to the members of the UN HRC, appealing to appoint an international mechanism to look into allegations of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, during the war in Sri Lanka. We have experienced, heard and seen indications of numerous such allegations. Our own experience and knowledge correspondent to the findings and recommendations of the UN Panel of Experts, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and well known Sri Lankan and international human rights organizations.

Some of us have engaged with the government of Sri Lanka and numerous governmental bodies and ad hoc Commissions of Inquiries such as the LLRC, but almost 5 years after the end of the war, we have not seen any truth and justice emerging from domestic mechanisms. On the other hand, some of us and others who have engaged with domestic mechanisms have been interrogated, threatened and intimidated.

The letter and spirit of even the limited positive findings and recommendations of the LLRC are not being implemented. And even the symbolic recommendations, such as those related to singing of the national anthem in two languages, commemorating the dead, public apology have not been implemented.

Disappearances, sexual abuse, arrests, detention and torture under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, restrictions and attacks on freedom of assembly, expression, association and movement continue to date. Collective commemoration of dead and disappeared and religious freedom is restricted. Those who criticize, question and challenge government policies and practices, and those who engage with the international community on human rights issues, are branded as terrorist supporters / traitors. They are threatened, interrogated, intimidated by the government’s security apparatus. Some of us have also been targeted in this manner. We are aware that writing this letter and engaging with the UN HRC itself can make us vulnerable to risks, and several of the more vulnerable clergy are not signing onto this, even though they agree with the contents.

The military continues its interference in civil and economic activities, especially in the North and East, undermining the civil and economic empowerment of local people, public officials and elected local government bodies.

We are aware and concerned that such incidents have also spread to other parts of the country, including attacks on Muslim and Christian communities across the country.

At the same time, we are concerned about the post war intensification of systematic efforts to destroy the identity of the Tamil community. This is particularly so by grabbing land for military establishments, development projects and government organized settlement of Sinhalese in the North and East, where Tamils have historically been the majority. The imposition of majority Sinhalese language and majority Buddhist religion in the North and East is another indication of attempts to destroy our identity. There has been no genuine political process to address the root causes of the conflict, which are being aggravated. Thus, there is a need for the international community, through the UN, to find creative ways of assisting Tamils to live in dignity as a nation.

Many of the announcements made by the government are red herring to deceive the international community. The appointment of yet another Commission of Inquiry to look into disappearances, a new census conducted to determine casualties and damages during war, announcement of South African styled Truth & Reconciliation Commission, military tribunals investigating allegations against themselves, are some of the latest such efforts. The mandate given to the Tamil National Alliance by over 78% of the people in the Northern Province is not being respected and in this context, the holding of the elections is becoming meaningless.

It is in this context that we are appealing to you again, to adopt a resolution at the 25th session of the HRC in March 2014 that will appoint an international investigative mechanism that will note the above and will;

  1. investigate allegations of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the war by all parties to the conflict, moving beyond existing findings, such as “credible allegations”, which have already been established by the UN Panel of Experts and others
  2. identify clearly specific units and individuals responsible, with a focus on most responsible senior officials
  3. monitor ongoing human rights violations all over Sri Lanka
  4. monitor progress, assist and advice on domestic accountability mechanisms for past allegations
  5. consist of experts from different parts of the world, and supported by a well resourced secretariat with competent full time staff
  6. receive input from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Special Procedures of the UN HRC
  7. provide for victim and witness protection
  8. have an initial mandate of one year, with an interim report being presented to the 27th session of the UNHRC and full report to the 28th session of the UNHRC, where an extension and enhancement of the mandate could be considered
  9. recommend next steps at national and international level towards ensuring accountability
  10. have unrestricted access to all relevant places, people and documents.

Thank you.

Sincerely yours,

205 Tamil Christian clergy from North and East ;

1.Rt. Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph, Catholic Bishop of Mannar

2.Rev. Fr. V. A. Justin, omi, Trincomalee

3.Rev. Sr. M. Tharcilla, hfc, Mannar

4.Rev. Fr. S. Arul Sutharson, omi, Mannar

5.Rev. Bro. M. Deloshan Rajeeva, omi, Jaffna

6.Rev. Fr. A. V. Alfred, omi, Mannar

7.Rev. Fr. A. Xavier Croos, Mannar

8.Rev. Fr. Terrance Fernando, Vavuniya

9.Rev. Fr. Desmond Angelo, Vavuniya

10.Rev. Fr. M. Nirmalaraj, Vavuniya

11.Rev. Fr. Anthony Bala, Jaffna

12.Rev. Fr. P. Jesurajah, Mannar

13.Rev. Fr. Reginald, cr, Jaffna

14.Rev. Bro. J. Anthony Sosai, Mannar

15.Rev. Fr. S. C. Vaz, Mannar

16.Rev. Sr. Prista, Batticaloa

17.Rev. Fr. Sugnaraj Croos, Mannar

18.Rev. Fr. Bosco, cr, Jaffna

19.Rev. Fr. Lawrence Leon, Mannar

20.Rev. Fr. A. Luckston De Silva, Mannar

21.Rev. Fr. G. A. Arulraj Croos, Mannar

22.Rev. Sr. Christine Croos, fmm, Mannar

23.Rev. Fr. J. Dunstun, Vavuniya

24.Rev. Sr. Mariatharani, Vavuniya

25.Rev. Fr. M.G. Camillus, Jaffna

26.Rev. Fr. J.S.A. Mariathas, Jaffna

27.Rev. Fr. D. V. Patrick, omi, Mannar

28.Rev. Fr. M. Mariasuthan, cr, Vavuniya

29.Rev. Fr. M.P. Peter Manohar, Mannar

30.Rev. Fr. I.C. Ferdinand, cr, Jaffna

31.Rev. Fr. J. Denystan, Vavuniya

32.Rev. Sr. Juliana Kulas, Mannar

33.Rev. Sr. Mary Theresa, Batticaloa

34.Rev. Sr. J. Ragal, Vavuniya

35.Rev. Sr. Jeyam, Vavuniya

36.Rev. Fr. A. Jesuraj Silva, Mannar

37.Rev. Sr. Jacintha, Kilinochchi

38.Rev. Sr. Sylvia, Kilinochchi

39.Rev. Fr. Terrance, Mannar

40.Rev. Sr. Emma, Vavuniya

41.Rev. Fr. Francis Jeyam, Vavuniya

42.Rev. Fr. S. Balendran, Jaffna

43.Rev. Sr. Hilary Fernando, scjm, Vavuniya

44.Rev. Fr. A. Sahayanathan, ivd, Mannar

45.Rev. Sr. Marietta, Vavuniya

46.Rev. Fr. T. Navaratnam, Vavuniya

47.Rev. Sr. Fatima, rgs, Mannar

48.Rev. Sr. Jacintha, scjm, Kilinochchi

49.Rev. Sr. Aquina Joseph, Mannar

50.Rev. Fr. S. Stephen Rajah, Mannar

51.Rev. Fr. S. Mariathas Leon, Mannar

52.Rev. Sr. Mildred Pedrupillai, Mannar

53.Rev. Sr. Amalie, Mannar

54.Rev. Sr. M. Julia, Mannar

55.Rev. Fr. M. R. Figurado, Mannar

56.Rev. Fr. A. Arulanandam, cr, Vavuniya

57.Rev. Fr. Macmilen, Jaffna

58.Rev. Fr. Rajeswaran, cr, Jaffna

59.Rev. Fr. Nevins Peries, Mannar

60.Rev. Fr. Mathanraj, omi, Vavuniya

61.Rev. Sr. Salome Moraes, Mannar

62.Rev. Fr. Douglas Milton Logu, Mannar

63.Rev. Sr. V. S. Celestine, Mannar

64.Rev. Fr. Albanraj, Mannar

65.Rev. Fr. Sebastian Croos, Jaffna

66.Rev. Sr. Rene, Mannar

67.Rev. Sr. Rohini, Mannar

68.Rev. Fr. F. J. Gnanaraj Croos, Mannar

69.Rev. Fr. S. V. Avithappar, Mannar

70.Rev. Fr. A. Celestine Mascringhe, omi, Jaffna

71.Rev. Sr. Sakunthala, op, Mannar

72.Rev. Sr. Maria Goretti, scjm, Vavuniya

73.Rev. Fr. Fr. A. M. Stephen, cr, Vavuniya

74.Rev. Fr. S. M. Devarajah, Mannar

75.Rev. Sr. Rosalind, Mannar

76.Rev. Sr. Doreen, Mannar

77.Rev. Sr. Kosala, Mannar

78.Rev. Sr. M. Christeena, ac, Mannar

79.Rev. Bro. Francis Mark Ignatius, Mannar

80.Rev. Sr. Marsilla, Mannar

81.Rev. Sr. Herman, Vavuniya

82.Rev. Sr. Judesala, Vavuniya

83.Rev. Sr. Marian, Vavuniya

84.Rev. Sr. Rosy, Vavuniya

85.Rev. Sr. Shanthy, Vavuniya

86.Rev. Sr. Sebo, Vavuniya

87.Rev. Sr. Malarvily, Vavuniya

88.Rev. Sr. Victoire, Vavuniya

89.Rev. Sr. Jane, Vavuniya

90.Rev. Sr. Theresa, Vavuniya

91.Rev. Sr. Rita, Vavuniya

92.Rev. Sr. Perinpamalar, Vavuniya

93.Rev. Sr. Antoinita, Vavuniya

94.Rev. Fr. A. Sebamalai, Vavuniya

95.Rev. Fr. J. B. Devarajah, Vavuniya

96.Rev. Fr. V. Yogeswaran SJ, Trincomalee

97.Rev. N. Prabahar, Trincomalee

98.Rev.Fr. Antonthas Morais SJ, Trincomalee

99.Rev. Sujithar Sivanayagam, Trincomalee

100.Rev. Fr. T. Jeevaraj SJ, Batticaloa

101.Rev. Fr. Elil Rajendram SJ, Vavuniya

102.Rev. Fr. Jeevaraj, sj, Batticaloa

103.Rev. Fr. John Joseph Mary, sj, Batticaloa

104.Rev. Fr. A. Ahilaraj, sj, Batticaloa

105.Rev. Fr. T. Sahayanathan, sj, Batticaloa

106.Rev. Fr. A. Lawrence, sj, Batticaloa

107.Rev. Fr. Saminathan, Batticaloa

108.Rev. Fr. A. Arulanantham, Batticaloa

109.Rev. Fr. T. A. Julian, Batticaloa

110.Rev. Fr. Ambrose, Batticaloa

111.Rev. Fr. Douglas James, Batticaloa

112.Rev. Fr. Alex Robert, Batticaloa

113.Rev. Fr. J. S. Morasus, Batticaloa

114.Rev. Fr. Ravikanth cmf, Batticaloa

115.Rev. Fr. K. Mariathasan, Batticaloa

116.Rev. Fr. Laconz Figurado, Mannar

117.Rev. Fr. Jeyabalan Croos, Mannar

118.Rev. Fr. Sebamalai Emmanuel, Mannar

119.Rev. Fr. Augustin Pushparajah, Mannar

120.Rev. Fr. L. Gnanathicam, Mannar

121.Rev. Fr. Pancras Jordan, Mannar

122.Rev. Fr. S. Vasanthan, Jaffna

123.Rev. Fr. S. Roy Ferdinand, Jaffna

124.Rev. Fr. A.J. Jeeyaseelan, Jaffna

125.Rev. Fr. T. Raviraj, Jaffna

126.Rev. Fr. S. V.B. Mangalarajah, Jaffna

127.Rev. Deacon. Varathan OMI, Jaffna

128.Rev. Fr. T. Quinson, Jaffna

129.Rev. Fr. R.H. Sahayhanayagam, Jaffna

130.Rev. Fr. M. Nixon Collin, Jaffna

131.Rev. Fr. P. Pathinathar. Jaffna

132.Rev. Fr. A. Augustine, Jaffna

133.Rev. Ravichchandran, Jaffna

134.Rev. Fr. Mary Joseph, Jaffna

135.Rev. Fr. Punithakumar, Jaffna

136.Rev. Sr. Patricia Joseph, Jaffna

137.Rev. Sr. Rosemary Mudiyappar, Jaffna

138.Rev. Sr. Michel Joseph, Jaffna

139.Rev. Sr. Fabian Andrespillai, Jaffna

140.Rev. Sr. Johnsy Anthony Morais, Jaffna

141.Rev. Sr. Jasintha Marie, Jaffna

142.Rev. Sr. Daniela, Jaffna

143.Rev. Sr. Ranjani B., Jaffna

144.Rev. Sr. Virgine C., Jaffna

145.Rev. Sr. Paulina S., Jaffna

146.Rev. Sr. Anges S., Jaffna

147.Rev. Sr. Theelas, Jaffna

148.Rev. Sr. Stephanic, Jaffna

149.Rev. Sr. Marietta,Jaffna

150.Rev. Sr. Therese, Jaffna

151.Rev. Sr. Carmala, Jaffna

152.Rev. Sr. Dorathy, Jaffna

153.Rev. Sr. Rina, Jaffna

154.Rev. Sr. Marina, Jaffna

155.Rev. Sr. Elsy, Jaffna

156.Rev. Sr. Anista, Jaffna

157.Rev. Sr. Sylvia, Jaffna

158.Rev. Sr. Angelma, Jaffna

159.Rev. Sr. Grace, Jaffna

160.Rev. Sr. Paula, Jaffna

161.Rev. Sr. Iniga, Jaffna

162.Rev. Sr. T.P. Latha, Jaffna

163.Rev. Sr. K. Rita, Jaffna

164.Rev. Sr. Jacintha, Jaffna

165.Rev. Sr. Emmanuel, Jaffna

166.Rev. Sr. Vinoline, Jaffna

167.Rev. Sr. Anushala, Jaffna

168.Rev. Sr. Pricilla, Jaffna

169.Rev. Sr. Chithera, Jaffna

170.Rev. Sr. Lucina, Jaffna

171.Rev. Sr. Emerita, Jaffna

172.Rev. Sr. Mariagorretti, Jaffna

173.Rev. Sr. Virgi, Jaffna

174.Rev. Sr. S.P. Grace, Jaffna

175.Rev. Sr. Geraldine, Jaffna

176.Rev. Sr. Virginia, Jaffna

177.Rev. Sr. Manuela, Jaffna

178.Rev. Sr. Caroline, Jaffna

179.Rev. Fr. Peduru Arulnathan, omi, Jaffna

180.Rev. Fr. Santhiyogu Christy Joy Fernando omi, Jaffna

181.Rev. Fr. John Saminathar Rene Beeshmanomi, Jaffna

182.Rev. Fr. T. Jeno Harance omi, Jaffna

183.Rev. Fr. Pathinathan Sathiyaseelan omi, Jaffna

184.Rev. Fr. Sebamalai Anpurasa, omi, Jaffna

185.Rev. Fr. T. Anson Regikumar, omi, Jaffna

186.Rev. Fr. Paul Jeyanthan Pachchek, omi, Jaffna

187.Rev. Fr. James Pathinathar, Jaffna

188.Rev. Fr. Nasarajah, Jaffna

189.Rev. Fr. Roshan, Jaffna

190.Rev. Fr. Kirubaharan Jaffna

191.Rev. Fr. Denny Calistus, Mannar

192.Rev. Fr. Leo Armstrong, Jaffna

193.Rev. Fr. Elmo Arulnesan, Jaffna

194.Rev. Fr. Arulthasan, Jaffna

195.Rev. Fr. X.W. James, Jaffna

196.Rev. Fr. Nesanayagam, Jaffna

197.Rev. Fr. M. I. Thayakaran, Jaffna

198.Rev. Fr. Canisiusraj, Jaffna

199.Rev. Fr. Sylvester, Jaffna

200.Rev. Fr. A. J. Yavis, Kilinochchi

201.Rev. Fr. Brian, Jaffna

202.Rev. Fr. Eugene Amalaraj, omi, Vavuniya

203.Rev. Fr. P. Anthony Jesuthasan, omi, Vavuniya

204.Rev. Fr. T. Vasantharasa, omi, Vavuniya

205.Rev. Fr. S. Philip Ranjanakumar, omi, Vavuniya



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