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Sri Lanka Priests and Religious to UN Body: Adopt International Mechanisms to Address Human Rights Crimes October 6th, 2015

One hundred seventy priests and Religious from North and East of Sri Lanka recently urged the United Nations Human Rights Council to adopt international mechanisms that address the gravity of crimes committed, especially committed in the last phase of war in Sri Lanka.  Writing to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, priests and Religious said; “Since the end of the armed conflict many of the structural causes of the conflict remain intact.” The letter was endorsed and signed by several Missionary Oblates and other Catholic priests and religious.

o   Read the letter here: Sri Lanka Priests and Religious to UN body.

Meanwhile Church and human rights activists in Sri Lanka have applauded a resolution the UN Human Rights Council (forty-seven member nation body) approved in Geneva on October 1, that would allow foreign judges and prosecutors to help Sri Lanka try people accused of serious crimes during and after the civil war. The U.N resolution calls for punishment of those responsible for war crimes. It also paves the way for accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

o   Read more Church & Human Rights Activists applaud in UN Resolution on Sri Lanka

Senate Foreign Relations Chair Supports UN Resolution on Sri Lankan War Crimes Investigation March 19th, 2014


Catholic Nuns in northern Sri Lanka protest the arrest of human rights defender, Balendran Jeyakumari

Senator Robert Menendez, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sent a letter earlier today addressed to Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The letter supports the US-sponsored Resolution before the UN HR Council in Geneva calling for an international investigation into crimes committed during the Sri Lankan civil war. In his letter, Chairman Menendez also said: “Over the past year, this committee has noted with concern the deteriorating environment for the democratic process and human rights in Sri Lanka. While this is particularly acute in the north, there are also disturbing reports of an increasingly authoritarian approach across the South and East.”

Read Chairman Menendez’s letter here…

UN Envoy Sees Evidence of Serious International Crime in Sri Lanka Video June 7th, 2011

Shocking video footage of summary executions apparently committed during the Sri Lankan civil war has been examined by experts and appears to be convincing evidence of “serious international crimes,” according to Christof Heyns, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

Since late last year, the United Nations has closely studied the video that allegedly showed acts committed during the civil war that ended in 2009. “I conclude on the basis of the extensive technical evidence we obtained from independent experts that what is depicted in the video indeed happened,” Mr. Heyns told the Human Rights Council in Geneva, adding that “I believe that a prima facie case of serious international crimes has been made.” He said an international panel should investigate the evidence.

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UN Report on Sri Lanka War Crimes Released April 26th, 2011

The panel of experts set up to advise Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on accountability issues with respect to the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka has found credible reports of war crimes committed by both the Government and Tamil rebels and calls for genuine investigations into the allegations, according to a report released in full by the Secretary General yesterday.

According to a statement released by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

“The United Nations has today made public the advisory report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on accountability with respect to the final stages of the decades-long armed conflict in Sri Lanka, which was submitted to him on 12 April 2011. The decision to release the report was made as a matter of transparency and in the broader public interest.”

“The report was shared in its entirety with the Government of Sri Lanka on 12 April. The Secretary-General has indicated his willingness to publicize the Government’s response alongside the report. This invitation was extended to the Sri Lankan Government throughout the week, including again on Saturday by the Secretary-General to the External Affairs Minister of Sri Lanka. The Government has not responded to this offer, which nonetheless still stands.”

Read the full report…

Human Rights Groups Urge Investigation of Sri Lanka War Crimes May 21st, 2010

WarCrimeSatelliteImagesHuman Rights groups, from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to the International Crisis Group, are calling for an independent investigation into war crimes by both sides during the traumatic end of the war between the LTTE and government forces one year ago.

In a report released on May 17th, a year after the war’s end, the International Crisis Group cited “reasonable grounds to believe the Sri Lankan security forces committed war crimes” by intentionally shelling civilians, hospitals and humanitarian operations in a final push to destroy the separatist Tigers. In turn, the Tigers reportedly shot civilians who tried to flee rebel areas and held others captive in a bid to raise international pressure for a ceasefire.

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