“The Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Michelle Bachelet is a Human Rights based approach. But the present Zero Draft has over – shadowed the Human Rights’ based approach with a mere politically oriented approach’ document”, said Parliamentarian and former Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister Justice CV Wigneswaran.
He was speaking at a discussion at the Jaffna Press Club on the “Endless War – The destroyed Land, Life and Identity of the Tamils in Sri Lanka” research report on land grabbing published by the Oakland Institute.
In his speech, Velan Swamigal stressed the need for Sri Lanka to be referred to the International Criminal Court for justice for the Tamil people in Sri Lanka and an end to human rights abuses against the Tamil people.
Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute, Oakland Institute Researcher Andy Currier, Justice CV Wigneswaran, Parliamentarian and Former Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council , Thavaththiru Velan Swamigal, P2P People Uprising Movement, Nilanthan, Political Analyst participated in this discussion.
Political Analyst Nilanthan in his speech said the government forces had waged the war against the Tamil people before 2009, but state departments were waging a war against the Tamil people after the war. He added that the war was being waged invisibly.
Wigneswaran also said that the report released by the Oakland Institute with evidence emphasized the need for an international independent inquiry into Sri Lanka.
Wigneswaran further said the following:
This Report of Oakland Institute is very important. When the Member Countries in the United Nations Human Rights’ Council are deliberating what sort of Resolution need to be passed with regard to Sri Lanka, this Report indeed is timely and opportune.
This Report enlightens with facts and figures not only to the world but even to our own people with regard to the pathetic situation of the Tamils in the North and East who are fast losing their traditional lands, their heritage and identity.
I hope this Report will open the eyes of those Countries in Geneva which are expected to take an important decision with regard to Sri Lanka soon. I am sure many of our own people who were living cut off from reality will now open their eyes after reading this Report. We need to have this Report translated to Tamil and Sinhalese and have them released.
Our people have been continuously complaining, demonstrating, going around in processions and intermittently fasting during the past 12 years trying to impress upon everybody that their lands were being grabbed, their cultural identities were being destroyed and their livelihoods were being expropriated by outsiders. But the International Community did not take their complaints seriously nor seek appropriate remedies. That is why our predicament today has exacerbated.
If the Military has been able to destroy centuries old religious institutions in Valikamam North to erect palatial Army Residences on the same land the International Community should shoulder part of the responsibility for their lethargy, indifference and may be ignorance.
This Report also exposes the extent to which Buddhistisation and Sinhalisation are taking place in the Mullaitivu District. The fact that there are now over 100 Military Camps there and 67 Buddhist places of worship have been built after the end of the War in 2009 is proof to the fact of continued Military dominance and interference in these areas after the War.
Thus it is time the International Community does not view Sri Lanka from a political stand point but instead from a wholly Human Rights’ stand point and take appropriate steps instead.
It is to be noted that the Report of Madame Bachelet, Human Rights’ Commissioner, is a Human Rights based approach. But the present Zero Draft has over – shadowed the Human Rights’ based approach with a mere politically oriented approach’ document.
We are saddened by the contents of the Zero Draft before the Human Rights Council now.
While the World Community discusses purely political matters in the UN, lots of Human Rights’ violations are taking place even today here in the North and East. Like the “war without witnesses” that took place in 2009 and before, all the Human Rights’ violations taking place here today are also secretly being undertaken and implemented. We still do not know how many Temples, Churches, Schools have been razed to the ground in Army controlled areas in Valikamam North and elsewhere an in their place Army Camps and Palaces installed.
This is why we have continuously demanded an International Independent Inquiry in the North and East.
Anuradha Mittal’s Report called “Endless War” has very effectively underlined the importance of an Independent International Inquiry in the North and East.
We hope the world community would at least now open their eyes to the realities of the situation in North and East of Sri Lanka and take urgent appropriate steps in this regard.