The UN Higher Commissioner for Human Rights must respond right away to the yesterday’s exposure by Channel four News relating to a UN initiated strategy to establish a domestic mechanism for accountability in Sri Lanka, the Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF) has stated right now.
“The UN Higher Commissioner for Human Rights, if he is to sustain the dignity of his office, can’t be silent any longer”, the TCSF stated in a statement.
We publish beneath the statement in complete
The Tamil Civil Society Forum takes critical note of the yesterday’s exposure (28 July 2015) by Channel four News with regards to a UN initiated plan to establish a domestic mechanism for accountability in Sri Lanka. In a joint letter dated the 3rd of July 2015 signed by 15 civil society organizations from the Tamil majority North-East of Sri Lanka addressed to the UN Human Rights Commissioner we raised concerns about the UN in Sri Lanka’s collaboration with the Government of Sri Lanka to set up a credible domestic mechanism in Sri Lanka. The concerns had been raised primarily based on a speech delivered by the UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka on 04 June 2015. The speech appears to have been primarily based on the UN Memo now exposed by Channel 4. In our letter we argued that these moves preempt the OISL report scheduled for release in September 2015. There has been no response to date to our letter from the UN in Sri Lanka or the Higher Commissioner’s office, except for an acknowledgement of receipt from the UN Resident Coordinator’s workplace. Complete text of our letter can be discovered right here.
The leaked document by Channel 4 provides for a domestic mechanism to be run by the Government of Sri Lanka with mere ‘technical assistance’ from the UN. We condemn and reject these moves hatched in secrecy to establish a domestic mechanism solely negotiated among the Government of Sri Lanka and the UN. The UN clearly does not see the Tamil folks as being partners in the method towards accountability in Sri Lanka, in spite of the truth the High Commissioner has repeatedly insisted on consultation with victims. TCSF has regularly maintained that establishing a credible domestic mechanism in Sri Lanka would be not possible. The UN Higher Commissioner for Human Rights, if he is to preserve the dignity of his workplace, cannot be silent anymore. He should respond quickly.
Kumaravadivel Guruparan & Elil Rajan
Co-Spokespersons, Tamil Civil Society Forum.