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Victims not convinced by reasons cited for postponement of OISL findings: JUTA

[TamilNet, Friday, 20 February 2015, 05:35 GMT]
We were expecting at least some justice through the release of OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) report, originally scheduled to be released this March. The people on the ground, especially the victims, are dismayed to learn the news of the postponement of the OISL report. The reasons cited for the postponement of the report do not seem to be victim-centric and the people on the ground feel betrayed, said Lecturer A. Rajakumaran, the head of Jaffna University Teachers Association (JUTA) in an interview to TamilNet on Thursday. The JUTA has called for protests on 24th February against the postponement of the OISL report.

Even though the Human Rights Chief wants the victims to believe that there is a possibility of accommodating new evidences, the victims do not see any change in the Terms of Reference (ToR) initially given to the OISL by the OHCHR. The OISL report is already complete.

If the Sri Lankan State is the only party to submit new evidences in an atmosphere of cooperation with the OISL, then the outcome would not be strengthening of results of the OISL report, he said.

“The victims have no trust in the current Sri Lankan regime, which is pre-occupied with protecting the culprits who had committed war-crimes. The SL State would not be allowing the OISL investigators to make direct field trips to interact with the victims. So, what is the point with the postponement,” Mr Rajakumaran asked.

“If OISL investigators could use the opportunity to visit the victims on the ground and secure assurances for the security of the eyewitnesses, at least then we could conclude that there is a victims-centric approach in the postponement,” Mr Rajakumaran said.

“At the outset, it looks like we have a peaceful environment here under the new regime. In fact, we also backed the regime-change, as it was the only way forward to oust the previous regime. For example, I would have to worry about my security if I were to give an interview like this to you under the previous regime. But, now, the situation seems to be better. But, it is only an illusion. There is a question how long this would last. It is a big question how the security situation would be after the coming elections. It would not take much time for the future rulers to frame us under the so-called terrorism clauses for articulating our political opinion,” he said.

There is broad support from the public organisations to make the protest rally a success on 24th February, the head of JUTA told TamilNet.


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