The final draft of a resolution to investigate human rights abuses in Sri Lanka has been tabled in the UNHRC. Among the human rights abuses to be investigated is the persecution of religious minorities in Sri Lanka. Over the past two years, attacks on Christians and their places of worship has dramatically increased. In 2013, over 100 churches were violently attacked and some were forced to close down. Provided below are two sections of the final draft that pertain to human rights abuses focused on religious minorities. The question now is whether this investigation will cause Sri Lanka to actually change.
3/26/2014 Sri Lanka (Colombo Page) – The final draft of the resolution on Sri Lanka sponsored by the United States, the United Kingdom and three other countries was submitted to the 25th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva this morning.
The sponsors submitted the revisions and amendments to the resolution HRC25 “Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka” before today’s deadline. The Council will vote on the resolution Wednesday, March 26.
The draft of the revised resolution, which specified a time period to investigate the alleged human rights violations, was circulated among the member states of the UNHRC Monday.
The revised version requests the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to undertake a comprehensive independent investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka, during the period covered by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), and establish the facts and circumstances of such alleged violations and of the crimes perpetrated with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring accountability, with assistance from relevant experts and special procedures.
The revised draft limits the time period for the OHCHR to conduct the investigations to the period covered by the LLRC which investigated the incidents from February, 2002 to May, 2009.
The more recent time period specified by the resolution means the numerous suicide bombings, massacres and other atrocities committed by the Tamil Tiger terrorist organization Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) before 2002 during the three-decade long war, as well as the violations by the Indian Peace keeping Force (IPKF) in the late 80s will not be investigated.
The Sri Lankan government has stressed that it is grossly unfair to investigate only the last phase of the war and constantly called for a comprehensive investigation during the whole three decades of war if an international inquiry were to be conducted.
However, the text of the final version of the resolution formulated with the help of India effectively eliminates any probe on India’s complicity in Sri Lanka’s terrorist war.
Following is the text of the revised draft resolution HRC#25.
Recognizing the Human Rights Council’s support of Reaffirming that all Sri Lankans to are entitled to the full enjoyment of their human rights regardless of creed, faith religion, belief, or ethnicity, in a peaceful and unified land,
4. Urges the Government of Sri Lanka to investigate all alleged attacks, by individuals and groups, on
temples, mosques, and churches and to take steps to prevent future attacks; and calls on the Government of Sri Lanka to investigate and hold accountable perpetrators of attacks on places of worship, journalists, human rights defenders, members of religious minority groups, and other members of civil society, as well as on temples, mosques and churches, and further urges the Government of Sri Lanka to hold perpetrators of such attacks to account and take steps to prevent such attacks in the future;