Support grows for EU move on Sri Lanka rights situation

[TamilNet, Sunday, 10 June 2007, 12:50 GMT]

The deteriorating human rights situation in Sri Lanka is fuelling support for a long-pending European Union (EU) resolution against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council, a British government note to UK members of the EU parliament says. The briefing came as the EU last week issued the most strident international condemnation of the Sri Lankan government’s deportation of several hundred Tamils from Colombo. The deportations came a day after Sri Lanka was severely criticized at a EU Parliament held a public hearing into the human rights situation in the island.

The UK government’s note on Sri Lanka to British members in the European Parliament was published by the Sunday Leader newspaper this week.

“With on-going human rights violations, and an ineffectual Commission of Inquiry and Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission, there is a growing case for introducing international human rights monitors to Sri Lanka,” the note says.

The CoI is a body appointed by Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse to look into a select group of violent incidents over the past few years.

The SLMM are international monitors overseeing the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government. The truce only exists on paper now.

“An EU text for a UN Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka has been on the table at HRC since the third session last autumn. [However] as Sri Lanka currently has the Chair of the Asia Group, influencing voting in that group, they have so far managed to prevent the resolution from being tabled.”

“In the likely event that the situation in Sri Lanka continues to deteriorate, support for the resolution may increase,” the UK said. “Various NGO groups are lobbying for an EU-US, and possibly India co-sponsored resolution.”

Last week the EU issued one of the harshest criticism of the Sri Lankan government’s decision to deport hundreds of Tamils from Colombo on the grounds of ‘national security.’

“The European Union strongly condemns the eviction of Tamils from Colombo,” a statement issued by the embassy of Germany, currently President of the 27-state bloc.

“These actions are a blatant violation of internationally recognized human rights.”

“Sri Lanka has genuine concerns about internal security, but the European Union believes these evictions will not enhance security and will ultimately be counterproductive. The forced removal of Tamil people from the capital is likely to deepen the rift between the ethnic communities and risks intensifying the conflict.”

The European Union called upon the Government of Sri Lanka “to stop immediately the forced displacement of Sri Lankan citizens from Colombo and take urgent action to safeguard the rights of those already removed.”

“The European Union encourages Sri Lanka to find a peaceful solution to its conflict,” the statement also said.

Also last week Sri Lanka came under severe criticism at a public hearing by the European Parliament on the human rights situation in the island at the conclusion of which the President of the European Parliament, Joseph Borrell Fontelles, called for a resolution against Sri Lanka.


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