- Jan 26, 2010
US Congress moves ahead with resolution to recognize “traditional Tamil homeland”Sri Lanka GuardianMay 30, 2021
The resolution is now in the pipeline. Its outcome depends on the decision to be made by the Foreign Relations Committee. Obviously, the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington DC will have to work hard in not letting the resolution through. Otherwise, the LTTE rump is sure to portray an approved resolution as recognition of their homeland.
On the international front, just two months after the devastating debacle at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Government is facing another challenge. As revealed last week in these columns, this is a resolution in the US Congress, a Colombo-based weekly Sunday Times has reported.
According to the report, "It has now been sent to the Foreign Relations Committee for study. It is clear from the full text published below, this resolution interlocks with the one adopted in Geneva and is constructed with events spanning from 2009 when the Tiger guerrillas were militarily defeated. In some diplomatic quarters this resolution is being viewed as “much more serious” since its overriding effort is to seek recognition for a “separate homeland” for Tamils. The resolution refers to the north east of Sri Lanka as the “traditional Tamil homeland.”
The House Foreign Affairs Committee was sent the resolution on May 18 which seems to be auspicious for the Tiger guerrilla rump. They secured the “Genocide education week” in Ontario, Canada and held a commemoration event adjacent to Downing Street in London. This is despite the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) being proscribed in the United Kingdom. One is not sure what counter measures are being adopted by Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. Now to the full text of the resolution which reveals the distinct link between what transpired at the UNHRC and what is due in the US Congress. Taking issues lightly as the Government did in Geneva would only cause irreparable damage.
“Recognising 12 years since the end of the war in Sri Lanka on May 18, 2009, honoring the lives lost, and expressing support for justice, accountability, reconciliation, reconstruction, reparation, and reform in Sri Lanka to ensure a lasting peaceful political solution and a prosperous future for all people of Sri Lanka.
“Whereas May 18, 2021, marks the 12-year anniversary of the end of the 26-year armed conflict between the Government of Sri Lanka and various armed Tamil independence organisations, including the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE);
“Whereas all communities suffered from violence and counterviolence during the civil war;
“Whereas the Tamil people of Sri Lanka suffered tens of thousands of deaths, disappearances, abuses, and displacements;
“Whereas in the absence of Sri Lanka implementing the recommendations of its own Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission or instituting a credible justice mechanism to investigate serious crimes committed during and after the war, the United States sponsored resolutions in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in 2012, 2013, and 2014 calling in ever stronger terms for domestic action and reconciliation:
“Whereas the United Nation’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a report in 2015 (the OISL Report) that outlined the occurrence of war crimes and crimes against humanity and violations of international humanitarian law during the war in Sri Lanka;
“Whereas following a change in government in Sri Lanka, the release of the OISL Report, and the recommendations of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United States cosponsored with Sri Lanka a UNHRC resolution in 2015, HRC 30/1, which was reaffirmed in 2017;
“Whereas under HRC 30/1, the Sri Lankan government made transitional justice commitments for post-war reconciliation including— (1) an accountability mechanism with a special court inclusive of foreign judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and investigators; (2) a truth commission; (3) an office of missing persons; (4) an office of reparations and institutional reforms aimed at nonrecurrence; and (5) a number of confidence-building measures;
“Whereas following the Easter Sunday terror attacks and the reinstallation of the Rajapaksa government in November 2019, Sri Lanka withdrew from HRC 30/1;
“Whereas the northeastern region of the country, the traditional Tamil homeland, remains heavily militarized with up to one soldier for every two civilians in the most war affected regions;
“Whereas the Northern Provincial Council of Sri Lanka adopted in resolutions calling for an international investigation into alleged war crimes committed during the armed conflict and for a U.N.-monitored referendum in the northeastern region of the island to support the development of a permanent political solution;
“Whereas the Government of Sri Lanka has postponed provincial elections for multiple years, denying all Sri Lankans, including the Tamil people in the Northern Province and the Eastern Province, their democratic right to local representation;
“Whereas Sri Lanka’s COVID–19 response has been led and executed by the military, exacerbating longstanding concerns regarding state surveillance, harassment, and discrimination against Tamil and Muslim communities;
“Whereas a 2021 report from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights found that the Government of Sri Lanka has, over the past year— (1) elevated individuals implicated in war crimes to senior governmental positions; (2) pardoned a convicted war criminal; (3) reversed key democratic reforms and consolidated power behind the office of the President; (4) obstructed efforts to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of war crimes; (5) promoted majoritarian and exclusionary rhetoric; (6) engaged in surveillance and harassment of civil society organisations and human rights advocates; and (7) allegedly employed security forces to abduct and torture dissidents;
------ Post added on Jun 2, 2021 at 5:19 PM