Even as State-wide students’ protest continues on the issue of Sri Lanka’s human rights record, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Monday called for a “strong, historic and courageous stance” of India in the matter and wanted the Union government to not only support the US-sponsored resolution in the 22nd session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) but also strengthen it through suitable amendments.
In her letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Chief Minister gave a host of specific suggestions in making the text of the resolution stronger.
Emphasising that there should be, in the operative portion of the resolution, an unequivocal call for a credible, independent, international mechanism to prosecute “genocide, war crimes and war criminals” and the accused should stand trial before an international court, she said “this process should be completed within a period of six months and the outcome reported for a special discussion in the 25th session of UNHRC in 2014.”
The operative part should also insist that the OHCHR [Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights] report be implemented in its totality. Also, there should be a strong call to the Sri Lankan government to accept the establishment of an impartial, international institution to initiate credible and independent actions.
“This should include Sri Lanka providing a pragmatic political package to the Sri Lankan Tamils and restoring their equal rights of citizenship on par with the Sinhalese community,” she pointed out. Among her other suggestions was a mention in the resolution of the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts report, in addition to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report. In the portion dealing with reports of the continuing violations of human rights, the words, “serious concern and dismay” should replace “concern.”
In another paragraph, the term, “condemnation” should be included with reference to the failure of the Sri Lankan government to fulfil its public commitment including devolution of political authority.
She expressed dismay over the recent statements of the Prime Minister and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, saying that they did not give a clear indication of India’s position. “It was disappointing that India had maintained a deafening silence when the US- sponsored draft was taken up for discussion in the ongoing UNHRC session.”
Recalling her memorandum presented to Dr. Singh in June 2011 and a resolution adopted by the Tamil Nadu Assembly in the same month on the issue of war crimes and the imposition of an economic embargo on Sri Lanka, she said that after a resolution was adopted in the 19th session of the UNHRC last year with the support of India, “the events and developments of the past year in Sri Lanka, as evidenced by the report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, are a continued and sorry saga of human rights violations against the Tamils in that country.”