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Brian Stewart: Why Canada is calling Sri Lanka to account Human rights violations are too big to ignore, Canada and the UN now say


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#1 வீணா

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 05:02 PM

When victims of mass abuse are ignored they are twice victimized: first by their oppressors, secondly by the world's indifference.
That's why few failures in the field of human rights are more discouraging than the old double standard of favouring one set of victims over another.
Just ask the ethnic Tamil's of Sri Lanka. In the past three years they've absorbed brutality, military defeat and world indifference all at once, as other of the world's injustices took centre stage.
In the spring of 2009, at the end of that country's long civil war, as many as 40,000 Tamil civilians were allegedly slaughtered by the Sri Lankan military as the insurrection by the Tamil Tiger independence movement collapsed.
This number, based on estimates by the UN and respected human rights' groups, is considerably higher than the number of Libyans or Syrians killed in their respective uprisings, yet it still receives miniscule world attention by comparison.
Western nations like Canada sent fighter-bombers to help in Libya and have even agonized (vaguely) over possible intervention in Syria.
But they have done very little until only recently about the massacred men, women and children in Sri Lanka. Why is that?
No 'safe zone'

Of course this was not a conflict with many redeeming qualities. For over 26 years, civil war raged mainly in the north of Sri Lanka before the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) were defeated by a full government offensive.
/gfx/images/news/photos/2012/03/22/sri-lanka-300-rtr2yjcv.jpgA supporter of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa shouts anti-UN slogans in Colombo in February 2012, in one of a growing series of demonstrations aimed at Western 'meddling.'
As usual in civil wars, human rights abuses were committed on both sides. The Tamil Tigers were notorious for assassinations, for using child soldiers and for shaking down their own countrymen who lived abroad.
But now it is being widely reported that that final offensive in May 2009 turned into a giant killing machine as government forces used heavily artillery and bombings on civilian Tamils.
Shocking satellite pictures obtained by the UN show the corpses of thousands of civilians killed by shelling within a government-designated "safe-zone" for non-combatants. The dead often lay near emergency food-distribution points.
What's more, the killings apparently did not stop with the surrender.
In the last few months alone, human rights activists and others, including a Sri Lankan reconciliation commission, have called for further investigation into widespread allegations of killings and disappearances of Sri Lankan Tamils.
Last year, a particularly searing British documentary, "Sri Lanka's killing fields," lit a similar fire with the international community.
Western 'meddling'

Throughout all this the Sri Lankan government steadfastly denied any wrongdoing on its part and there have been huge street demonstrations in recent weeks, including by the country's colourful Buddhist monks, supporting the government and attacking the West for trying to raise these concerns.
Sri Lanka's actions, beginning with its decision not to let foreigners in to document the end of the civil war in 2009, are typical of a nation trying to get away with oppression on a huge scale because it believes the rest of the world will let them. It's that simple, really.
"They did not believe that anyone in the international community was willing to stop them, and they were right," says John Holmes, a British diplomat and former head of UN humanitarian operations, in the U.K. documentary.
The "they" in this case may well have been thinking of Western governments like Canada's.
During the long conflict, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives were quick to ban the Tamil Tigers as a terrorist organization (it was one of their first actions on taking power in the spring of 2006) and reluctant to criticize the Sri Lankan government, a fellow Commonwealth member and long-time friend.
After the war was over, Canada's roughly 300,000 Tamil-Canadians felt largely betrayed by the Harper government and perhaps even by the Canadian public.
When their massive pro-Tamil protests in Toronto tried to warn of the slaughter of civilians they were widely dismissed as being self-absorbed and criticized for disrupting traffic.
Within a very short time, it seemed, their cause faded from the headlines.
The UN takes note

Only now are we starting to see Sri Lanka called to account. Over the past year a substantial case has been put together detailing humanitarian crimes on the island that other nations can no longer ignore.
For this we can thank the quiet and dogged persistence of human rights' groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
This week, the UN Rights Council in Geneva finally passed a tensely debated U.S. resolution calling on Sri Lanka to "address serious allegations of violations of international law" through credible investigations and prosecutions of guilty soldiers.
This particular UN council has a great deal to make up for. Right after the war it passed a resolution praising Sir Lanka's conduct during the conflict — which was typical of the kind of easy pass that the country had received for years.
But the UN council is not the only body to reverse course.
To its credit, the Harper government has recently morphed from defender of Sri Lanka into one of its strongest critics, for refusing to investigate these alleged crimes.
Canada co-sponsored the American resolution and lobbied hard for its passage.
We are also directly urging Sri Lanka to take on serious reconciliation with its Tamil minority, and sending a fact-finding team of MPs there this week.
Another about-face

As expected Sri Lanka's government has denounced this recent pressure as Western meddling. It has long felt safe if it could keep friendly China and, especially, big neighbour India onside.
This week, it was shocked when India abruptly switched positions and voted for the UN resolution.
India's about-face, rather like Canada's, was clearly connected to skilled Tamil political pressure. The main party representing the large Tamil population in southern India successfully threatened to scupper the Indian coalition government unless India backed the UN resolution.
Meanwhile, it is a good time to remind everyone that any future investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka will be messy. An inquiry will have to investigate allegations against both sides to have any credibility.
I'm not overly hopeful. I've been disappointed before in Sri Lanka but I am also reluctant to see its cause further ignored.
I remember Sri Lanka, following the disastrous tsunami of 2004, as an achingly beautiful country battered by war and nature and just dying to be restored to peace.
It cannot achieve that dream now by suppressing the pain of its Tamils.


http://www.cbc.ca/ne...-sri-lanka.html

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#2 Raj Logan

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 07:54 PM

ஒரு சில நூறாயிரம் தமிழர்கள் வாழும் கனடா, பிரிட்டன் Nhன்ற நாடுகளே சுயாதீனமான நடுநிலைமையான, இலங்கையின் போக்கைக் கண்டித்து முடிவுகள் எடுக்கையில் தமிழர்களை ஒரு மாநிலமாகக் கொண்ட இந்தியா தமிழர்களை எதிர்த்து வாக்களிக்க முடிவெடுத்திருப்பது என்பது ஒரு அஅரசியல் ராஜதந்திமற்ற முட்டாள்தனமான செயல்.
அழுத்தங்களின் மத்தியில் அமெரிக்காவின் காலில் விழுந்து தீரமானத்தை மாற்றி அதரவளித்திருப்பது இந்தியாவின் இயலாத்தன்மையைப்படம்பிடித்து காட்டுகின்றது.




Anjali


யாழ் இணைய கருத்துக்களத்தில் எழுதப்படும் கருத்துக்கள், இணைக்கப்படும் ஆக்கங்கள், கட்டுரைகள் அல்லது செய்திகள் ஆகியவை கருத்துக்கள உறுப்பினர்களால் இணைக்கப்படுவன. எனவே, அவற்றுக்கு யாழ் இணையம் பொறுப்பல்ல + பொறுப்பேற்காது. அதே போன்று - இங்கு எழுதப்படும் கருத்துகள் அல்லது வெளிப்படுத்தப்படும் எண்ணங்கள் அதை எழுதும் எழுத்தாளரினுடையதே/உறுப்பினருடையதே - அன்றி - யாழ் இணைய நிர்வாகத்தினது அல்ல. எனவே - எழுதப்படும் கருத்துகளின்/ஆக்கங்களின்/கட்டுரைகளின்/செய்திகளின் உண்மைத்தன்மைக்கும், முழுமைத்தன்மைக்கும் யாழ் இணையம் (நிர்வாகம்) உறுதி அளிக்காது. இக் கருத்துக்களம் உறுப்பினர்களில் இருந்து தேர்ந்தெடுக்கப்பட்ட மட்டுறுத்துனர் குழுவால் கருத்துக்கள விதிமுறைகளின் அடிப்படையில் மட்டுறுத்தப்படுகிறது. யாழ் இணையத்தில் காப்புரிமை மீறல் ஏதும் இடம்பெற்றிருந்தால், யாழ் இணைய நிர்வாகத்தினருக்கு நீங்கள் அறியத்தரலாம். நாம் அது தொடர்பாக உடன் நடவடிக்கை எடுப்போம். [கருத்துக்கள விதிமுறைகள்]