Rights Coalition urges Obama to initiate War Crime investigations

[TamilNet, Thursday, 02 July 2009, 00:07 GMT]
A Coalition of six US-based Human Rights Organizations in a letter to U.S. President Obama wrote: "[t]o address abuses associated with the recent fighting [in Sri Lanka's north], there is an urgent need for an independent, international commission of inquiry into many credible allegations of laws of war violations, including possible war crimes, by both sides, as well as illegitimate detentions. Mr. President, we urge you to publicly call for an international commission of inquiry and to take necessary steps to achieve it. We also urge you to take steps for the full protection of internally displaced persons, including independent access to camps, former areas of conflict and to conflict-affected civilians by humanitarian and human rights organizations and the media."

The Coalition included the Carter Center, American Jewish Council through its Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), International League for Human Rights (ILHR), Freedom House (FH), and Amnesty International (AI) representatives signed the letter.

A. Frank Donaghue, CEO PHR
A. Frank Donaghue, CEO PHR
Robert Arsenault, President ILHR
Robert Arsenault, President ILHR
Felice D. Gaer, Director JBI
Felice D. Gaer, Director JBI
Karin Ryan, Director, HR Program, Carter Center
Karin Ryan, Director, HR Program, Carter Center
Jennifer Windsor, Executive Director FH
Jennifer Windsor, Executive Director FH
Larry Cox, Executive Director AI
Larry Cox, Executive Director AI
"Despite repeated warnings by several international organizations of impending mass killings of civilians and despite strong statements of concern by you and several other world leaders, more than 20,000 civilians are reported to have been killed. The Times of London and Le Monde have published investigations, based on reliable data, and suggested that most of the civilian deaths were caused as a result of shelling by the Sri Lankan government," the Coalition said in the letter.

The letter warned that "[t]he failure of the international community to take concrete action to protect civilians in Sri Lanka has given the green light to regimes around the world and has signaled that there is nothing that the international community will do when a government kills its own people under the cover of sovereignty."

On the 300,000 Tamil civilians still held in internment camps, the HR Organizations appealed to "urgently address the plight of those in de facto internment camps and to initiate action to hold accountable those responsible for the mass killings. There are reports that some in the camps have already died from starvation or malnutrition....there are consistent reports of widespread and serious human rights violations facing the displaced people, including enforced disappearance, extrajudicial executions, torture and other ill-treatment, forced recruitment by paramilitary groups and sexual violence."

Pointing out that "the Sri Lankan government’s record on investigating serious human rights abuses is poor and impunity has been a persistent problem," and that "[t]here have been serious ongoing violations of human rights and a backlog of cases of enforced disappearance and unlawful killings that run to tens of thousands," the letter drew attention to the the past failed efforts to address violations through the establishment of ad hoc mechanisms in Sri Lanka, such as presidential commissions of inquiry, the letter urged Obama to take steps to initiate an international inquiry into "allegations of laws of war violations, including possible war crimes, by both sides."

In the background of the failure of the United Nations to take any punitive action and realizing that effective leverage can only be exercised by the U.S., the letter said, "[i]t is now imperative that the United States assume the leadership necessary to mobilize the international community to protect the surviving civilians and to hold accountable those responsible for mass atrocities. Failure to do so would encourage governments to commit mass atrocities without fear of consequence. That is why your immediate action is important at this juncture," the letter said.

 

Latest 15 Reports
04.02.24 15:40   Photo
சியோனிசம் காணும் தோல்வி ஈழத்தமிழருக்குப் பலன் தரவல்ல படிமை மாற்றத்தின் அறிகுறி
24.04.22 05:44  
தீவின் நெருக்கடிச் சூழலில் ஈழத்தமிழர் தேசம் கடைப்பிடிக்கவேண்டிய நிலைப்பாடுகள்
09.04.22 14:44   Photo
குறிதவறும் ஈழத்தமிழர் தலைமைகளுக்கு வரலாறு தருகின்ற எச்சரிக்கை
21.01.22 07:24   Photo
ஈழத்தமிழர் தேசத்தின் தலைமைத்துவம் தேர்தல் அரசியற் கட்சிகளுக்கு அப்பாலானது
02.11.21 15:32   Photo
13 ஆம் சட்டத்திருத்தத்தால் கட்டமைக்கப்பட்ட இன அழிப்பை எதிர்கொள்ள முடியுமா?
15.09.21 08:19  
English version not available
17.05.21 19:23   Photo
Ananthi blames war criminal Silva for blocking collective memorial at Mu'l'livaaykkaal
09.04.21 14:46  
English version not available
23.03.21 12:41   Photo
No focus on Tamil genocide, geopolitics gets played out in Geneva in favour of QUAD formation
21.03.21 13:34   Photo
Navi Pillay explains ‘human rights’ limitations in Geneva on Tamil genocide
15.03.21 20:36   Photo
Deceived Tamil activists in UK falsely claimed ‘substantial changes’ to Zero draft
09.03.21 21:34   Photo
UK repeatedly wronged Tamils says hunger-striker, demands genocide justice
26.02.21 11:53   Photo
Tamils witness false dilemma in Geneva as geopolitical formations pit against each other
19.02.21 14:02   Photo
UK not prepared to push for ICC option in new UNHRC Resolution
07.02.21 23:16   Photo
Unprecedented P2P uprising paves the way for rights-oriented politics of Tamils and Muslims
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=29699