9th session / 9ème session / 9° período de sesiones
08/09/2008 -- 26/09/2008
Tamil Centre for Human Rights - TCHR
Centre Tamoul pour les Droits de l'Homme - CTDH
Centro Tamil para los Derechos Humanos
(Established in 1990)
Hypocrisy of Mahinda Rajapaksa
“There is no ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka
as some media mistakenly highlight”Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Los Angeles world Affairs Council – 28 September 2007
“Ladies and Gentlemen, our goal remains a negotiated and honourable end to this unfortunate conflict in Sri Lanka. Our goal is to restore democracy and the rule of law to all the people of our country. 54% of Sri Lanka’s Tamil population now lives in areas other than the north and the east of the country, among the Sinhalese and other communities. There is no ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka - as some media mistakenly highlight. Sri Lanka’s security forces are fighting a terrorist group, not a particular community.”
“I see no military solution to the conflict. The current military operations are only intended to exert pressure on the LTTE to convince them that terrorism cannot bring them victory.” (Excerpt)
“....We are equally committed to seeking a negotiated and sustainable solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka”
Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit
at New Delhi on 13 October 2007 “It is necessary for me to repeat here that while my Government remains determined to fight terrorism, we are equally committed to seeking a negotiated and sustainable solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka. If those who carry arms against the State are willing to enter a process of genuine negotiation towards a peaceful and democratic solution, the government and the people will reciprocate. In this, it would not be out of place to look forward to understanding and assistance from our regional neighbours and friends, especially those with whom we share the strongest bonds throughout history. We will see in such understanding and assistance the true signs of emerging greatness”. (Excerpt) http://www.president.gov.lk/speech_latest_13_10_2007.asp * * * * *
“We are still ready to talk,..”
Mahinda Rajapaksa’s speech at Oxford Union – 14 May 2008
“As our forces seek to defeat and disarm the LTTE, we are firm in our resolve to have a negotiated solution to the crisis in Sri Lanka. I do not believe in a military solution. We have attempted talks with the LTTE on several occasions – thrice since my election as the President – but they have not reciprocated. They have always left the talks with lame excuses. We are still ready to talk, once we are certain of their genuine intent for a political solution… and their readiness to give up arms”. (Excerpt)http://www.president.gov.lk/speech_New.asp?Id=51
* * * * *
They must give up arms, and give up terrorism” Sunday Observer, 13 July 2008 - Answering a question about a statement by the LTTE's Political Wing leader, Nadesan, that the Government was not willing to reopen negotiations, President Rajapaksa said the government was ready even today.
"I am ready today. Let them keep their weapons down, because whenever they are weak they are ready for talks."
Asked about possible deadline for talks with the LTTE, President Rajapaksa said there was no deadline as it was up to the LTTE. "From my side, we are ready. Only, they must give up arms, and give up terrorism. You know the problems you have in your own country with terrorists and terrorist organisations." (Excerpt)
* * * * *
TCHR participation in United Nations
World conferences and other meetings
* The Tamil Centre for Human Rights (TCHR) officially participated in the 61st annual DPI/NGO conference in UNESCO, Paris, 3-5 September 2008.
* TCHR is a registered participant in the European Social Forum 2008 in Malmo, Sweden 17-21 Sept 2008. * TCHR officially participated in the ‘United Nations 7th Global Forum, Re-instating good governance’, in Vienna, Austria 26-29 June 2007.
* Members of TCHR participated in the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) seminar in Geneva, Switzerland, 29-31 July 2007.
* TCHR officially accredited to participate in the United Nations Conference on Anti-corruption Measures, Good Governance and Human Rights, in Warsaw, Poland 8–9 November 2006.
* A meeting was held on 7 March 2006, in the European Parliament – titled "EU contribution to the peace process in Sri Lanka". This was jointly organised by TCHR and Mr. Robert Evans, a member of European Parliament and of Labour Party in UK.
* Accredited by the United Nations to participate in the World Summit on the Information Society – WSIS in Tunisia, 16 – 18 November 2005.
* Officially participated in the NGO forum of the UN World Conference Against Racism – WCAR in Durban, South Africa, from 28 August to 1 September 2001. TCHR held an information stall including an exhibition at the forum. The TCHR representatives also attended the main WCAR conference held in Durban, 31 August to 7 September 2001.
* A meeting was held on 14 October 1998, in the European Parliament – titled "Press censorship in Sri Lanka". This was jointly organised by the Tamil Centre for Human Rights (TCHR) and Ms. Anita Pollack, a member of European Parliament and of Labour Party in UK.
* In 1993, TCHR held an information stall and a photo exhibition on human rights violations, in the United Nations 2nd World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna, Austria, from 14-25 June.
* TCHR participates in meetings of Treaty bodies and submits reports to the same.
Fact finding missions to the North East of the Island of Sri Lanka
* May 2003 (http://www.tchr.net/report_studymission_2003.htm)
* December 2003 – addendum report (http://www.tchr.net/report_studymission_2003add.htm)
Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, The Netherlands, United Kingdom
The President September 2008
Members and Delegates
Human Rights Council - 9th Session
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Distinguished Sirs / Mesdames
First of all, we extend our congratulations to you for your appointment as the Chairperson of the 9th session and the following sessions. We regularly report on the human rights violations taking place in the Island of Sri Lanka. Our reporting is based on indisputable facts, the authentic details of which we receive from our sources directly from the North East and other parts of the Island. The United Nations human rights monitoring bodies have appreciated the veracity of our reporting.
On a daily basis, over a hundred Tamils are being arrested and detained. The security forces and paramilitaries are given a free hand to abduct, arrest, rape and carry out arbitrary killings. Aerial bombing and artillery attacks on the civilian population are causing severe problems in the North.
The situation of the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in the North East remains critical. Press freedom and freedom of expression are in peril in Sri Lanka. Journalists are arrested, tortured, abducted, disappeared and killed over-night.
International human rights law and international humanitarian law are being massively violated by Sri Lanka.
Impunity is a very serious problem. Many notorious human rights violators in the Security forces especially in the Army, Police and the Paramilitary have received the best promotions and appointments as Ministers and to high profile jobs in the government. The government of Sri Lanka encourages and allows the perpetrators to move freely in society - and the violations continue.
In the Northeast the human rights situation has been deteriorating for many long years. Genocide, cultural genocide, multiple displacements are occurring and a systematic economic embargo to the North East is starving the people.
First hand witnesses to these Crimes against humanity - hospitals full of child and adult casualties, cemeteries full of murdered bodies, camps full of displaced people, people starving due to the economic embargo and buildings destroyed in all parts of North East. The security forces have created “High Security Zones” in the densely populated residential areas of the Northeast and are occupying civilian homes and public buildings.
Misinformation is disseminated locally and internationally by the Sri Lankan government, to distort the real picture of what is happening in Sri Lanka.
Sirs / Mesdames, members and delegates will be aware that in October 2006, Diplomats of the European Union took the initiative and Finland as the holder of the EU presidency tabled a draft decision 2006/.....‖ (A/HRC/2/L.37) on Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, as anticipated by many, this was unsuccessful in earlier sessions. We fervently hope it will be successful during the current session. We urgently appeal to you and other distinguished delegates to seriously consider all available mechanisms to ensure rigorous and timely international scrutiny.
In addition, we urge this session to take immediate steps and prompt action to alleviate the humanitarian catastrophe that is being deliberately inflicted by the government of Sri Lanka on civilians in the North East.
Sir, being the President of the 9th session of the Human Rights Council, you can see that the international community is failing to take action against a government which even claims, “There is no ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka as some media mistakenly highlight”(Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Los Angeles world Affairs Council – 28 September 2007) and which perpetrates war crimes and crimes against humanity against a people who have been struggling for their Right to Self-determination for many decades.
We appeal to you to take immediate action during this session of the Human Rights Council.
S. V. Kirubaharan
The Right to Self-determination
Tamils of Sri Lanka (Ceylon)
Comparison with Kosovo
Tamil Centre for Human Rights – TCHR/CTDH – March 2008
Kosovo Tamil Eelam (North East)
UDI on 17 February 2008 (De-facto government for more than 17
years. Minimal initiative by the International Community to recognize the Tamils’
right to self- determination)
Sq. Kilo meters 10,887 km² 19,509 km²
Coastal area ---- More than 400 km
Capital Pristina Trincomalee Annexed with Serbia in 1989 Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in 1948
Conflicting peoples Serbs vs Kosovars Singhalese vs Tamils
Proposed solutions to settle the ethnic conflict Year Type of political solutionResult 1957 Banda-Chelva pact – Regional Councils Unilaterally abrogated by GOSL
1965 Dudley-Chelva pact – District Councils Unilaterally abrogated GOSL
1970 Proposals placed by the Tamil Federal Party Rejected by the GOSL
(A federal form of government with an autonomous
Tamil-Muslims state and three autonomous Sinhala states) 1979 Presidential Commission to report on This did not fulfil the Tamils’ aspirations.
(creation of District Development Councils) Not intended to provide a different
political or administrative structure for any particular part of the country
1983 All Party Conference TULF rejected these proposals as it was
(Proposals merely extended the scheme of not the originally formulated set of
decentralization at District level to the proposals, known as Annexure – C.
Provincial level with limited co-ordination) 1985 In Thimpu - The devolution proposal by Sri Lanka Rejected by the Tamil representatives
(District councils without executive power)
Thimpu (principle) proposal placed by TamilsRejected by the GOSL
(Homeland, Nationhood, Right to self-determination Talks collapsed because while the talks
and equal rights ) take place Sri Lanka renewed its military
offensive in the North East
1986 “19 December” proposal s by Indian envoys GOSL expressed reservations and
(Formation of a new Eastern Province byeventually rejected this proposal.
excising Sinhalese majority areas and the creation
of two Tamil Provincial Councils in the Northern and
the reconstituted Eastern Province) 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord (Provincial Councils) After 18 years, the Sri Lanka
(North and Eastern Provinces were mergedunder Supreme Court rejected this merger
this accord. 95% Tamils didn’t support this accord)16 October 2006
1989-90 Premadasa Talks The holding of fresh elections in North East
(LTTE formed a political party-PFLT never took place. Prevented LTTE from
and prepared to contest in the elections) demonstrating its support from the people
in North East
1992-93 Parliamentary Select Committee Reports Eyewash to International Community (President D.B.Wijetunga said that there No progress was made
is no 'ethnic problem')
1995 Devolution Package Rejected by Buddhist Maha Sanga and
(Refused to recognise the existence of the other Sinhala political parties
Tamil homeland, rejected an asymmetric approach,
continued to treat all the provinces in the same way) 2003 ISGA proposal by LTTE Rejected by the GOSL and other
2005 Post Tsunami Operational Management Rejected by the Sri Lanka
Structure – PTOMS Supreme Court
Year Type of political solutionResult
2007 All Party Conference* Not ALL political parties invited to
Sinhala political parities UNP, JVP, JHU participate in its discussions.
strongly against its proposals Tamil National Alliance, especially
was kept away.
*Mr. N. Satyendra, a scholar and legal expert who participated in the earlier political negotiations with GOSL, described the legislation as a "comic opera." The provisions of the 13th Amendment are impossibly "burlesque and farcical," he stated. Further Parliamentarians and academics described this proposal as ‘political mockery’.