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Sri Lanka’s Authoritarian Turn: The Need for International Action - International Crisis Group

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Sri Lanka’s Authoritarian Turn: The Need for International Action

Asia Report N°24320 Feb 2013



Government attacks on the judiciary and political dissent have accelerated Sri Lanka’s authoritarian turn and threaten long-term stability and peace. The government’s politically motivated impeachment of the chief justice reveals both its intolerance of dissent and the weakness of the political opposition. By incapacitating the last institutional check on the executive, the government has crossed a threshold into new and dangerous terrain, threatening prospects for the eventual peaceful transfer of power through free and fair elections. Strong international action should begin with Sri Lanka’s immediate referral to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) and a new resolution from the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) calling for concrete, time-bound actions to restore the rule of law, investigate rights abuses and alleged war crimes by government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and devolve power to Tamil and Muslim areas of the north and east.





Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 15:52

The UN’s ‘grave failure’ in Sri Lanka demands an answer

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The UN’s ‘grave failure’ in Sri Lanka demands an answer


It’s been called Ban Ki-moon’s Rwanda moment: a little-reported war three years ago on a tiny Indian Ocean island where tens of thousands of civilians were slaughtered, waiting for the United Nations to come and rescue them.

What happened in Sri Lanka in 2009 has come back to haunt the UN with the leak of an internal inquiry commissioned by the Secretary-General. The independent report concluded that the UN’s own conduct during the final months of Sri Lanka’s civil war marked a “grave failure.” There was damning criticism of senior staff, who “simply did not perceive the prevention of killing of civilians as their responsibility.”

Would the entire report have seen the light of day if a draft hadn’t been leaked to the BBC? A reluctant UN in New York had to publish the document, but chose to do so without its powerful executive summary that set the conflict in the context of post-9/11 global attitudes to terrorism that tragically skewed the reporting of the bloodshed. Internal communications show senior UN officials struggling to portray the proscribed terrorist group, the Tamil Tigers, as the ones primarily to blame for the killings.

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AI index: ASA 37/009/2012

13 June 2012

The Human Rights Situation in Sri Lanka, June 2012

A statement for the June Human Rights Council Session

Sri Lanka is not fulfilling many of its international human rights obligations.  Impunity remains

the norm for gross violations of human rights, including alleged war crimes. Gross and

systematic human rights violations continue to take place. Sri Lanka’s armed conflict ended in

2009, but its legacy of unlawful detention practices continues; arbitrary arrest and detention,

torture and other ill-treatment and custodial killings remain hallmarks of Sri Lankan policing.

The number of reports of enforced disappearances in the past six months is alarming; political

activists critical of the state continue to be victims. Intimidation and smear campaigns against

human rights defenders and journalists in government-owned newspapers have included

attacks on individuals advocating for human rights accountability before this Council.

Full Report



War Widows Turn to Sex Work in Sri Lanka By Feizal Samath - Inter Press Service (IPS)

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COLOMBO, May 11, 2012 (IPS) - On May 18, some 800 women in Sri Lanka’s northern region will hold Hindu religious ceremonies for the welfare of thier husbands who disappeared or surrendered to the military as it moved in to mop up nearly three decades of armed Tamil separatism.

"These women continue to live in hope even though many of those Tamil men may have died in the last days of the fighting," says Shreen Abdul Saroor, a prominent rights activist working with conflict-affected women in northern Sri Lanka. 

"On the other hand, even if they do acknowledge that their men have died, they don’t want to be known as widows as that could result in them being seen in a negative light in the community," Saroor explained to IPS. "They prefer to be known as single women or as women heading households." 

Traditionally, Hindus consider widows to be inauspicious and the religion does not favour remarriage. Tamils, who form 12 percent of Sri Lanka’s 20 million population, mostly follow Hinduism while Sinhalese, who make up 74 percent of the population, are predominantly Buddhist. 

According to government estimates, the ethnic conflict has widowed 59,000 women, the bulk of them in the Tamil-dominated north and east. 

With rehabilitation tardy and options to earn money few, many women have been compelled to resort to sex work to earn a livelihood and provide for their families.

More :: http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=107750


UN finds cluster bombs in Sri Lanka

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UN report says unexploded cluster munitions found in Sri Lanka, appearing to confirm war use

APNewsBreak: UN finds cluster bombs in Sri Lanka

By RAVI NESSMAN | Associated Press | 3 hours, 29 minutes ago in

A report from a U.N. mine removal expert says unexploded cluster munitions have been found in northern Sri Lanka, appearing to confirm, for the first time, that they were used in that country's long civil war.

The revelation is likely to increase calls for an international investigation into possible war crimes stemming from the bloody final months of fighting in the quarter-century civil war that ended in May 2009. The government has repeatedly denied using cluster munitions during the final months of fighting.

Cluster munitions are packed with small "bomblets" that scatter indiscriminately and often harm civilians. Those that fail to detonate often kill civilians long after fighting ends.


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Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/04/26/2026033/apnewsbreak-un-finds-cluster-bombs.html#storylink=cpy


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