Lanka: Tamil clergy calls for UN intervention – rights

March 19, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

conflict between Sinhalese and Tamil minorityColombo, March 18, 2014: The petition signed by Bishop Rayappu J of Mannar, 205 priests and religious, including the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Jesuits, other religious and more than 100 nuns called for a UN intervention.

The ethnic Tamil Christian clergy in Sri Lanka has sent a letter to the United Nations Human Rights Council asking for an international investigation into the country’s war crimes and human rights violation.

The petition signed by Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Mannar, 205 priests and religious, including the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Jesuits, other religious and more than 100 nuns called for a UN intervention.

The petition asked the UN to investigate allegations of violations of human rights and humanitarian law during the war by all parties to the conflict, moving beyond credible allegations already established by the UN Panel of experts. It also asked to provide for victims, protection of witnesses and to guarantee experts unrestricted access to all relevant places, people and documents.

Sri Lanka had been ravaged by a more-than-3-decade-old ethnic conflict between majority Sinhalese and Tamil minority, which ended in 2009 after a bloody conflict in which several thousands of innocent civilians were killed. International rights groups have in recent times demanded an impartial inquiry into war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan Army while annihilating the Tamil militant group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

“Almost five years after the end of the war, we have not seen any truth and justice emerging from domestic mechanisms,” the letter said, listing the discriminations Tamil population suffer. “Disappearances, sexual abuse, arrests, detention and torture under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, restrictions and attacks on freedom of assembly, expression, association and movement continue to date,” the petition said.

The religious denounced the government intimidations, “Collective commemoration of dead and disappeared and religious freedom is restricted. Those who criticize, question and challenge government policies and practices, and those who engage with the international community on human rights issues, are branded as terrorist supporters/traitors.”

“The military continues its interference in civil and economic activities, especially in the North and East, undermining the civil and economic empowerment of local people.”

“We are concerned about the post war intensification of systematic efforts to destroy the identity of the Tamil community. This is particularly so by grabbing land for military establishments, development projects and government organized settlement of Sinhalese in the North and East, where Tamils have historically been the majority,” the letter said.

“There has been no genuine political process to address the root causes of the conflict, which are being aggravated,” the petition said.

– agenzia fides

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