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What is the UN Expert Panel on Sri Lanka?
United Nations Expert Panel on Sri Lanka is an advisory panel created to advise UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon on “the issue of accountability with regard to alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka”. It’s mandate is consultative and not binding to Sri Lanka. The Panel has been denied entry into Sri Lanka by the Sri Lankan government.

The Expert Panel consists of Yasmin Sooka, Marzuki Darusman, and Steven Ratner. Ms. Sooka is a former Commissoner on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. Mr. Marzuki was the Attorney General of the Republic of Indonesia for the period 1999 to 2001. He has a member of the National Commission of Human Rights in Indonesia and has participated on two UN fact finding missions. Prof Steven Ratner is the Bruno Simma Collegiate Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School.

The panel was first appointed in June 22, 2010. It began its work in Sep 2010. Call for submission from the general public was made on middle of Oct 2010. The New dead line for submissions is Dec 31, 2010. The panels four month mandate ends in the middle of middle of Jan 2011.

What is the scope and powers of this Panel?
The panel role is to advise Ban Ki Moon. It has a consultative role, and does not have any investigative or prosecutive powers. It has a four month mandate to provide recommendations to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.

In the Press Release the scope is outlined as follows: “The Panel will look into the modalities, applicable international standards and comparative experience with regard to accountability processes, taking into consideration the nature and scope of any alleged violations in Sri Lanka. The Panel advises the Secretary-General and is not an investigative or fact- finding “

What is the UN Panels request for submission?
UN Expert Panel has called for submissions from anyone with respect to their mandate. This only through email, and must be done before Dec 15, 2010.

What is the expected outcome of this panel’s mandate?
The panel could recommend an impartial international investigations into alleged human rights violations and war crimes in Sri Lanka. Or it may just provide recommendations to the Sri Lankan government on how they can improve their human rights accountability.

Who can submit to the UN Panel?
The call for submissions has not specified a format or a strict criteria for submission. It states that “anyone wishing to make submissions in respect of the above may do so as follow”. One one submission per person or organization, maximum 10 pages, and must be submitted before Dec 15, 2010.

Individuals directly affected, or those whom relatives have been affected can provide submissions. Individuals with knowledge of human rights violations in Sri Lanka can also provide submissions. Community organizations such as village associations, student organizations, religious organizations and human rights groups can also provide submissions.

How can we submit to the UN Panel?
You can send your submission to the panelofexpertsregistry@un.org email. The press release states the “submissions mad to the Panel of Experts will be treated as confidential”.

When should we submit this information by?
The final dead line for submissions is Dec 15, 2010.

What information needs to be submitted to the UN Panel?
The following information or issues can be included in the submissions to the UN Panel of Experts:
* How yours or your relatives human rights violations have been violated (killed, maimed, disappeared, tortured, detained, sexually violated, loss of home)?
* The need for an impartial international investigation
* The lack of impartial functioning judicial system in Sri Lanka or any compensation mechanism
The submission’s author(s) contact information must be provided.

Why should we submit to the UN Panel?
The appointment of this UN Expert Panel on Sri Lanka has came despite strong opposition from Sri Lanka and its allies. There is a need for an impartial international investigation in Sri Lanka, and there is possibility that this Panel may recommend that option. The recommendations this Panel provides will weigh on Western and other governments. This is an important first step, and victims and Tamils should do their part in proving the necessary information, specially since they have been denied entry to Sri Lanka.

How can we encourage the Tamil organizations and individuals to submit?
Individual Tamils as well as Tamil community organizations need to make submissions. Please make this a priority item for you, and share this news with others.

How can we encourage the non Tamil organizations and individuals to submit?
You encourage main stream student organizations, labour organizations, human rights organizations to make this submission. You can ask local councillors, MPs, and MPPs to make submissions.

Who is coordinating this work in Canada?
In Canada this project is co-ordinated by Center for War Victims and Human Rights. We do this in collaboration and co-operation with many other Tamil community organizations, across political stands.

How can I help with these submissions?
* Make you own submission. Help others with their submissions.
* Media (Radio/TV/Newspaper/Online, writers/hosts/listeners)
* Data Collection (Listen and record cases in a computer applications in Scarbrough/Mississauab/Brampto locations)
* Writers, Proofreaders, Law/Human Rights experts
* Call Center - need people to call others to follow and provide info
* Any other way you can help with this project, we welcome it.

Why Commission on Lessons Learned and Reconciliation?
The Commission on Lessons Learned and Reconciliation set up by the Sri Lankan government is not an independent or or investigative commission. Sri Lanka has a failed, biased, and discriminatory justice system and the commission is an extension of it. All major Human Rights groups including Amnesty, HRW, and Crisis Group have denounced it and have not provided any input to it. We need an impartial, international investigation in to alleged war crimes and human rights violations in Sri Lanka.


Center for War Victims and Human Rights (CWVHR) is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, human rights organization. We believe that verified, evidence based documentation of human rights violations to be a key preventive and protective human rights instrument.