Why The Global South Should Support UN Action on Sri Lanka — Global Issues

  • Idea by Meenakshi Ganguly (new delhi)
  • Associated Press Service

The United Nations Human Rights Council will soon consider a resolution to address the issue. Countries in the Global South serve on the council– —includes Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Gambia, Namibia and Senegal, has an important role to play in assisting the people of Sri Lanka in addressing the current crisis and its underlying causes.

From 1983 to 2009, Sri Lanka experienced a brutal civil war between the government and the Tamil Eelam Liberation Tigers (LTTE) separatists. The decades of brutality against civilians, and the government’s continued efforts to shield those responsible from justice, cast a shadow over the country. Both sides make broad commitments violate international law.

During the final months of the 2009 conflict, the LTTE used human shields, while tens of thousands of Tamil civilians were killed when government troops shelled fire-free zones and hospitals. As the war ended with the defeat of the LTTE and its leadership destroyed, government forces became embroiled in brief executions, rapes, and forced disappearances.

Since then, many Tamils ​​have sought to find out what happened to those who did not return. In August, a group called Mothers have disappeared Over 2,000 days of continuous protests demanding to know the fate of their loved ones. Instead of getting answers, they were subjected to intimidation and surveillance by the government’s security apparatus. However, representatives of the group went to Geneva to ask the Human Rights Council to keep their hope of justice.

Over the years, people from all faiths and communities of the country have reported their suffering and seeking justice to the Human Rights Council. As a famous activist of Sri Lanka Ruki Fernando recently wrote“It is the inability to obtain truth and justice in Sri Lanka despite great efforts, and the subsequent loss of trust and hope in domestic processes, that has driven many Sri Lankans to Geneva.”

Successive Sri Lankan governments have appointed those believed to be responsible for these atrocities to the high officeand investigations are blockedundermining the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law. In the rare case when a soldier was found guilty of murder, the president pardoned him.

Earlier this year, after years of mismanagement and corruption, Sri Lanka ran out of foreign exchange – meaning it could no longer finance essential imports such as fuel, food and medicine, leaving the government government default. As inflation increased and people could not get their necessities, massive protests broke out leading to Prime Minister’s resignation in May and of President in July.

On the streets, crowds of ordinary Sri Lankans called for constitutional reform and action to tackle corruption. The 2020 constitutional amendment weakened human rights institutions and gave the president the power to appoint senior judges. It also undermines organizations such as the Bribery Commission, which is responsible for fighting economic crime.

The new president, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has promised reform. But he responded by cracking down on dissidents, using army to disperse peaceful protests and dozens of arrests of the alleged protest organizers. He used Anti-Terrorism Act arrive detention of three student activists for up to one year at no charge.

The use of this law shows that government guarantees to the international community regarding human rights cannot be trusted. As recently as June, the then foreign minister told the Human Rights Council that there was a ban on its use, the law was repeatedly used to allow arbitrary arrest and torture, and that successive governments promised to repeal.

The current resolution before the Human Rights Council expanded the mandate of a United Nations project to collect and analyze evidence of war crimes and other crimes under international law committed in Sri Lanka and prepared for use in possible future prosecutions. It also asks the UN to continue to monitor and report on the human rights crisis in Sri Lanka. As people fight for daily necessities and governments crack down on dissent, it matters more than ever.

The Sri Lankan government has opposed these measures, falsely claiming that they were acting to protect human rights. In support of Sri Lankans who are calling for change and accountability, Council members from the global south should fully support the resolution.

© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service


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