US Group opposes GSP+ extension

[TamilNet, Monday, 28 September 2009, 03:59 GMT]
In a submission to the Chairperson of Human Rights Subcommission of the European Union (EU), Ms. Heidi Hautala, US-based pressure group Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) said that the EU should terminate GSP+ privileges to Sri Lanka especially after the "failure of the UN system to uphold international human rights and humanitarian laws," and the "abdication of moral and diplomatic leadership by the UN Secretary General." The Subcommission is scheduled to meet on 1st October, and the decision on the status of the GSP+ to Sri Lanka is to be made on 15th October, according to sources in UK.

"We submit that the GoSL [Government of Sri Lanka], with its almost totally Sinhalese armed forces and its mercenary paramilitaries, is engaged in a deliberate state policy of genocide of the Tamil people—as indeed publicly declared by the Army Commander that “Sri Lanka belongs only to the Sinhalese” and by Sri Lanka’s President Rajapakse, in his victory speech, that "there are no more minorities in Sri Lanka,"" TAG said in its letter to the EU.

As supporting documents, the group enclosed a booklet prepared by Professor Boyle of Illinois College of Law on the rights of Tamils under international law and practice, the model indictment for genocide against Major Gen. Fonseka and Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse under review at the US Department of Justice, and the court documents filed against IMF loan to Sri Lanka.

The letter said the Model Indictment contained details and evidence of crimes committed by Sri Lanka's security forces until January 2009, and that the IMF document contained similar crimes committed from January to March this year.

"If the EU were to continue its preferential tariff arrangement for Sri Lanka, it would be actively facilitating and supporting Sri Lanka in its crimes, and funding the forced detention of civilians, the expansion of the oppressive security apparatus, and the ethnic cleansing of traditional Tamil areas," TAG's letter further said.

The Economist, in the 3rd September edition, points to a damning 130-page report by the European Union which concludes that "Sri Lanka has failed to honour important human-rights commitments, and is ineligible for GSP Plus."

The report, Economist said, concludes that Sri Lanka has failed to honour important human-rights commitments, and is ineligible for GSP Plus. Widespread police torture, abductions of journalists, politicised courts and uninvestigated disappearances have all played a part in creating a state of “complete or virtually complete impunity in Sri Lanka”. The internment of the Tamil displaced, which the government claims is necessary to weed out the last Tamil Tiger rebels and to protect them from munitions left in their fields, is “a novel form of unacknowledged detention."


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External Links:
Economist: The price of truth
Channel-4: Footage reveals Sri Lanka camp conditions
BG: Genocide in Sri Lanka
Economist: Losing touch with old friends
Channel4: Investigating claims of Sri Lankan ‘war crimes’
TAG: Tamils Against Genocide


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