White House Protest Corps

After roaming oceans and continents, Sri Lankan Tamils find home in Oakland
June 16, 2010, 5:51 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,


Palani Nadarajah

Please remeber our Heroes

Sri Lanka Tamil killings ‘ordered from the top’


Channel4: Executions of Tamils at the end of the Sri Lankan civil war were carried out under orders

Genocide of Tamils

Genocide of Tamils

Exclusive: a senior Sri Lankan army commander and frontline soldier tell Channel 4 News that point-blank executions of Tamils at the end of the Sri Lankan civil war were carried out under orders.

In August 2009 Channel 4 News obtained video evidence, later authenticated by the United Nations, purporting to show point-blank executions of Tamils by uniformed Sri Lankan soldiers.

Now a senior army commander and a frontline soldier have told Channel 4 News that such killings were indeed ordered from the top.

One frontline soldier said: “Yes, our commander ordered us to kill everyone. We killed everyone.”

And a senior Sri Lankan army commander said: “Definitely, the order would have been to kill everybody and finish them off.

“I don’t think we wanted to keep any hardcore elements, so they were done away with. It is clear that such orders were, in fact, received from the top.”

Despite allegations of war crimes, Sri Lanka’s government has managed to avoid an independent inquiry. But the evidence continues to mount.

‘Body blows to humanitarian law’
So decisive was Sri Lanka’s victory over the Tamil Tigers last year that other nations facing violent insurgencies are now citing the “Sri Lanka option” as a model for crushing rebellion, writes Channel 4 News foreign reporter Jonathan Miller.

International lawyers, human rights and conflict prevention groups are alarmed, accusing the Colombo government of riding roughshod over international law.

Last night Louise Arbour, a former chief prosecutor in international war crimes trials, told an audience at Chatham House – the foreign policy think tank – that “the [Sri Lankan] government’s refusal to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants” and the “sheer magnitude of civilian death and suffering” dealt what she called “the most serious of body blows to international humanitarian law”.

Now, the International Crisis Group, of which Ms Arbour is the president, has joined forces with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to demand an independent international investigation into what they brand “massive human rights violations” and “repeated violations of international law” – by both sides.

Channel 4 News reports on the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war
– 12 May 2009: thousands flee Sri Lanka bombardment
– 25 Aug 2009: is this evidence of ‘war crimes’ in Sri Lanka?
– 26 Aug 2009: Sri Lanka calls ‘war crimes’ video a fake
– 01 Sep 2009: UN probing Sri Lanka ‘executions’
– 11 Sep 2009: Sri Lanka steps up death video rebuttal
– 16 Sep 2009: Tamil medic describes camp conditions
– 07 Jan 2010: Sri Lanka video ‘appears authentic’
– 27 Jan 2010: Sri Lanka’s Rajapaska wins re-election

The Sri Lankan government has repeatedly rejected the charges of civilian deaths as grossly exaggerated and has denied that any of its security forces have committed war crimes or violated international humanitarian law.

Ms Arbour appeared live on Channel 4 News to outline options available to the international community to prevent the “Sri Lanka option” gaining currency. A new ICG report entitled War Crimes in Sri Lanka defines this option as “unrestrained military action, refusal to negotiate, disregard for humanitarian issues, keeping out international observers including press and humanitarian workers”.

‘War Crimes in Sri Lanka’
– Download the International Crisis Group report in full (.pdf)

Ms Arbour also responded to dramatic new evidence contained in a film broadcast by Channel 4 News. The fresh evidence, detailing extremely serious allegations of possible war crimes, has been gathered in an extended undercover investigation in Sri Lanka. Testimony from soldiers interviewed by Channel 4 News corroborates persistent allegations aired by this programme since the end of the war a year ago.

Chief among these: the accusation that Sri Lankan soldiers were responsible for extrajudicial executions – as graphically illustrated by the disturbing video we aired last August. The video – long dismissed as a fake by the government in Colombo – was authenticated by the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions in January this year.

The clamour from international rights groups for an impartial investigation into alleged atrocities contrasts sharply with the failure of the UN to demand accountability from the Sri Lankan government. Last year, the Sri Lankan president promised the UN Secretary General that he would look into the question of accountability.

On Monday President Mahinda Rajapaksa named an eight-member panel to glean lessons learned from the war.  But members of the group say they have no legal power to investigate alleged abuses. “If this is ‘it’,” Louise Arbour said last night, “there’s no reason to expect from the government’s past record that it’s got any intention to investigate or put in place an appropriate accountability mechanism.”

The UN Human Rights Council seems to provide little hope of investigating war crimes, having congratulated the Sri Lankan government on its victory, within days of the war ending.

Channel 4 News blogs on events in Sri Lanka
– Blogs by Jon Snow, Jonathan Miller and Nick Paton Walsh

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council holds out no hope at all. The Sri Lankan issue has failed to force its way onto the UNSC agenda – and were it to do so, China and Russia would likely stand in the way of any unlikely referral to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

The secretary general has also so far failed to appoint international experts to investigate – as he’s previously promised he might.

Amnesty and the ICG have taken the UN to task for its failure to act decisively to push for accountability. Crisis Group went so far as to recommend that the UN should open an inquiry into its own conduct in Sri Lanka. Last night Louise Arbour – herself a former UN human rights commissioner – talked of the UN’s “silence – verging on complicity” with the Rajapaksa regime.

A statement from the Sri Lankan high commission
The High Commission of Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom totally deny the allegations made against the Government of Sri Lanka and its armed forces. As it has been repeatedly stressed and supported by evidence, Government’s security forces were engaged in a humanitarian operation with the objective of rescuing the civilians held as human shields by a terrorist outfit: the LTTE, which was banned in many countries including the UK. All internationally accepted standards and norms of such operations were followed in the prosecution of the humanitarian operation by the security forces which were under strict orders to follow a zero civilian casualty policy.

The government of Sri Lanka is now in the process of rebuilding and reconciliation. The President of Sri Lanka has established the “Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission” of eight eminent persons reflecting all ethnic groups in Sri Lanka to inquire and report institutional administrative and legislative measures which need to be taken in order to prevent any recurrence of such concerns in the future, and to promote further national unity and reconciliation among all communities.

This High Commission is not in a position to make comments on specific allegations said to have been made in the video without viewing it. Therefore, we appreciate it if you could forward the said video to the High Commission for viewing and for verifying its authenticity prior to the telecast.

High Commission of Sri Lanka
The United Kingdom
18 May 2010

In January 2009, as the final chapter opened in the 30-year-long Sri Lankan civil war, I was in Gaza, picking over the humanitarian disaster left after Israel’s three-week war there. Between 1,200 and 1,400 civilians were killed during the aerial bombardments and subsequent ground offensive. In the final weeks of the Sri Lankan government offensive on the “no-fire zone”, Ms Arbour believes a figure of 30,000 civilian deaths “is not implausible”.

Within months of the Gaza conflict, the UN Human Rights Council had dispatched Judge Richard Goldstone to investigate possible war crimes. He produced a damning report.

There has been no investigation in Sri Lanka. Local journalists who’ve raised their heads above the parapet have been jailed or disappeared or killed. The UN has done nothing concrete in moving towards an impartial inquiry. There has been no Goldstone in Colombo. Even the UN rapporteur for extrajudicial executions has been denied a visa for the past four years.

You can kind of see why the “Sri Lankan Option” might just catch on.

Sri Lanka not safe for war crimes witnesses
May 18, 2010, 5:18 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,
SL War Crimes: Govt intentionally violated the law by attacking civilians, hospitals and humanitarian operations
[ Tuesday, 18 May 2010, 01:56.52 AM GMT +05:30 ]
Evidence gathered by International Crisis Group (ICG) provides reasonable grounds to believe that government security forces repeatedly and intentionally violated the law by attacking civilians, hospitals and humanitarian operations, says the report released yesterday by ICG.
The report concludes that the newly revealed evidence of war crimes in Sri Lanka last year makes an international inquiry essential. “The international community has a responsibility to uphold the rule of law, the reputation of international agencies and respect for international humanitarian law, most importantly the protection of civilians lives. Many countries facilitated or permitted the conditions under which these alleged crimes were committed. They did little to speak out against them and even less to prevent them. Even at this late stage, they have a responsibility to press for investigations and prosecutions as an integral part of their efforts to support the people of Sri Lanka in rebuilding their country,” the report said in its conclusion.
The ICG media release said: War Crimes in Sri Lanka , the latest report from the International Crisis Group, exposes repeated violations of international law by both the Sri Lankan security forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during the last five months of their 30-year civil war. That evidence suggests that the period of January to May 2009 saw tens of thousands of Tamil civilian men, women, children and the elderly killed, countless more wounded, and hundreds of thousands deprived of adequate food and medical care, resulting in more deaths.
Released on the eve of the first anniversary of the end of the fighting, the report calls for an international inquiry into alleged crimes. The government has conclusively demonstrated its unwillingness to undertake genuine investigations of security force abuses and continues to deny any responsibility for civilian casualties. A true accounting is needed to address the grievances that drive conflict in Sri Lanka, so the international community must take the lead. “The scale of civilian deaths and suffering demands a response”, says Crisis Group President Louise Arbour. “Future generations will demand to know what happened, and future peace in Sri Lanka requires some measure of justice.”
Both sides in Sri Lanka’s civil war violated international humanitarian law throughout the decades-long conflict. However the violations became particularly frequent and deadly in the months leading to the government’s declaration of victory over the LTTE in May 2009. Evidence gathered by Crisis Group provides reasonable grounds to believe that government security forces repeatedly and intentionally violated the law by attacking civilians, hospitals and humanitarian operations. The government declined to respond to Crisis Group’s request for comment on these allegations. Evidence also shows that the LTTE violated the law by killing, wounding or otherwise endangering civilians, including by shooting them and preventing them from leaving the conflict zone even when injured and dying.
Much of the international community turned a blind eye to the violations when they were happening. Many countries welcomed the LTTE’s defeat regardless of the cost of immense civilian suffering and an acute challenge to the laws of war. The United Nations too readily complied with the government’s demands to withdraw from conflict areas. The international community has a responsibility to uphold the rule of law, the reputation of international agencies and respect for international humanitarian law, most importantly the protection of civilians lives. Today, a number of other countries are considering “the Sri Lankan option” – unrestrained military action, refusal to negotiate, disregard for humanitarian issues, keeping out international observers including the press and humanitarian workers – as a way to deal with insurgencies and other violent groups.
“An international inquiry is necessary not only for justice and long-term peace in Sri Lanka but also to help prevent a repeat elsewhere”, says Robert Templer, Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director. “It would serve as a warning to other governments that may be considering ‘the Sri Lankan model’ to address their own internal conflicts.”

Palani Nadarajah

Please remeber our Heroes

Next Year  in TAMIL EELAM

Stop Genocide in Sri Lanka

Tamils say lives at risk if sent home
March 13, 2010, 1:34 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Tamils say lives at risk if sent home

Updated Sat Mar 13, 2010 9:37am AEDT

Sri Lankan civilians escape the conflict zone

Three Tamils were recently sent home and another 38 may be returned shortly (AFP: Sri Lankan Army)


Tamil groups say the Australian Government is putting lives at risk by starting to send some asylum seekers back to Sri Lanka.

The Government says three Tamils were recently sent home and another 38 may be returned shortly as the situation improves following the end of the civil war last year.

The decision has been made ahead of new refugee guidelines from the United Nations, which are expected to reflect the improvements in Sri Lanka.

But Dr Victor Rajakulendran from the Australasian Federation of Tamil Associations says the Tamils are likely to be arrested as soon as they return home.

“Even the opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka is under arrest and under investigation and all kinds of things are happening even for the powerful people like that,” he said.

“If that is the case, what would happen to an ordinary Tamil that is a suspected ex-LTTE [Tamil Tiger]? Their life is in danger.”

He says the Government is putting lives at risk by refusing to wait for the new UN guidelines.

“[The] Foreign Minister would say always that ‘We have our own advice, our High Commissioner there, she gets all the information and we base our assessments on those information’,” he said.

“But are they correct? Are they free to move around and get all this information which we get from relatives and other people?

“They should be calling us and talking to us too, but they never do that.”

Tags: community-and-society, immigration, world-politics, unrest-conflict-and-war, refugees, australia, sri-lanka

First posted Sat Mar 13, 2010 8:43am AEDT

Comments Off on Tamils say lives at risk if sent home