British Tamils Forum (BTF) has welcomed the resolution passed by the Northern Provincial Council yesterday on Genocide against Tamils in Sri Lanka.
“BTF commends the Chief Minister and the members of the Northern Provincial Council for passing this historic resolution. BTF hopes that this resolution will strengthen the UK government’s support for an international independent investigation, particularly one that investigates all crimes – including the crime of genocide – that the Tamil people believe they have suffered” BTF said in a statement.
The Northern Provincial Council in Jaffna passed a historic resolution, setting out evidence demonstrating that successive Sri Lankan governments have perpetrated genocide against Tamils and calling for the ongoing United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) to investigate the claim of genocide and recommend appropriate investigations and prosecutions by the International Criminal Court. This significant development has come about in the wake of an attempt by the current Sri Lankan government to delay and derail the submission of the UN investigation report at the UNHRC meeting in Geneva in March.
The resolution further calls for the time-frame of the investigation to be extended, so that the pattern of historical genocide is unearthed. It said, “Although the OISL investigation is a time-bound effort focused on February 2002 – November 2011, Sri Lanka’s genocide against Tamils began with the island’s independence. Since then, Tamils across Sri Lanka, particularly in the historical Tamil homeland of the North East, have been subject to gross and systematic human rights violations, culminating in the mass atrocities committed in 2009. Sri Lanka’s historic violations include over 60 years of state-sponsored anti-Tamil pogroms, massacres, sexual violence, and acts of cultural and linguistic destruction perpetrated by the state. These atrocities have been perpetrated with the intent to destroy the Tamil people, and therefore constitute genocide.”
The report highlighted the urgent need for an international investigation under the following circumstances: “The case of genocide in Sri Lanka is unique among genocides in history because it occurred over several decades and under different governments before intensifying into a no-holds-barred war for nearly three decades and culminating in the mass atrocities of 2009. It is accordingly vital that Sri Lanka’s historic violations against Tamils, in addition to the 2009 attacks, are addressed through an international mechanism in order to combat Sri Lanka’s institutionalized impunity. This international intervention, coupled with action to promote the respect of human rights, is necessary to ensure a sustainable future for self-determination, peace, and justice, in Sri Lanka and for the Tamil people.”
After passing the resolution the Chief Minister of the Northern Province, Justice C V Wigneswaran, pronounced, “It is my hope that this Resolution would not be considered as an epistle to the International Community only, unrelated to the life of my Sinhalese brothers and sisters. This Resolution is a challenge to your moral integrity and humaneness. If you could assimilate what brutality and inconsiderateness has preceded you or bypassed you so far, may be chances for moral regeneration and a more healthier cooperative and co-ordinated life style for the future of all people living in this blessed Isle could be ensured.”
BTF commends the Chief Minister and the members of the Northern Provincial Council for passing this historic resolution. BTF believes it strengthens declarations by UK parliamentarians at the recent APPGT-BTF annual dinner that genocide has occurred in Sri Lanka. BTF also hopes that this resolution will strengthen the UK government’s support for an international independent investigation, particularly one that investigates all crimes – including the crime of genocide – that the Tamil people believe they have suffered.
BTF calls upon the UK government to take immediate diplomatic initiatives to ensure that the Sri Lankan government’s efforts to delay and derail the international investigation are defeated. Furthermore, as called for by the NPC resolution, BTF calls upon the UK government to take immediate diplomatic measures to refer the Sri Lankan case to the International Criminal Court so that the perpetrators of genocide and crimes against humanity are brought to justice.