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It is high time for the United Nations to initiate investigation regarding the usage of banned cluster bombs and weapons of mass destruction [WMD]. Even after emerging of substantial evidences, United Nations is delaying the investigations.  United Nations gravely failed to protect the civilians during the war and knowingly ignored to take any action that caused more than the lives of 80,000 Tamils according to United Nations investigations and the UN Rapporteur who investigated added that this may if proved will be amounting to GENOCIDE.

The International Community, Human Activists, Civil Society and Tamils all over the world must urge the United Nations to take immediate investigation in to these genuine allegations.

According to the wife of Prageeth Ekneligoda, the political columnist and cartoonist who has been missing since 24 January, 2010, the main reason for his disappearance is an investigation he carried out on the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Sri Lanka forces in 2008.

https://www.bbc.com/sinhala/news/story/2011/01/110128_prageeth_galle.shtml

Cluster bombs found in Sri Lanka, UN Expert says
Un-exploded cluster munitions have been found in Sri Lanka, a UN expert on land mines has claimed.
In an e-mail, Allan Poston said that small bombs from the weapons were discovered in the north of the country, near to where a child was killed in an explosion last month.
“After reviewing additional photographs from the investigation teams, I have determined that there are cluster sub-munitions in the area where the children were collecting scrap metal and in the house where the accident occurred,” the email said.

“This is the first time that there have been confirmed unexploded sub-munitions found in Sri Lanka.”

 https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-17861187

Sri Lanka has denied its role in the Genocide of Tamils, now they are in Geneva in front of the United Nations Human Rights Council answering to a long list of egregious crimes against humanity, almost all of which were perpetrated upon the Tamil people, who are Hindu, Christian and Muslim.
The United Nations state that roughly 40,000 Tamils died, but other sources place the number of dead and disappeared at 160,000.
A Sri Lankan soldier said that the army used chemical weapons on trapped civilians at the end of the country’s civil war. Soldiers boast of burning skin of Tamilians with a substance similar to white phosphorous.
White phosphorous is forbidden from use on civilian populations under international law. In the video, a Sri Lankan soldier claims LTTE cadres trapped on the beach were eliminated with the use of chemicals.

“In light of recent reports on new evidence that has emerged on the use of cluster munitions towards the end of the conflict, following similar allegations in the OHCHR investigation report, the High Commissioner calls for an independent and impartial investigation to be carried out”. June 2016, OHCHR, Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka. http://colombogazette.com/2018/09/29/sooka-says-sri-lanka-must-explain-discovery-of-cluster-remnants/
Sooka says Sri Lanka must explain discovery of cluster remnants

“Fudging your own past use is simply not an option as President of the body championing the campaign to eliminate this banned weapon,” she said.

All the evidence points to government forces using cluster munitions in 2009 against densely populated areas that they unilaterally declared safe for hundreds of thousands of Tamil civilians, the Executive Director of the International Truth and Justice Project, Yasmin Sooka, who first investigated the allegations in 2011 for the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka, said.
She says the allegations that Sri Lankan forces used the banned weapons during the war have been so persistent that in 2016 the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights himself called for an independent and impartial investigation to be carried out, which has yet to happen.

Under the Convention, Sri Lanka is required to show transparency and report annually in a public document on use, stockpiling, clearance and destruction. These obligations include issuing an immediate and effective warning to civilians living in cluster munitions contaminated areas, instead the Sri Lankan Army has to date tried to hide discoveries of cluster munitions and has not informed or consulted local communities as required by the Convention.

Indeed on becoming President of the Convention on Cluster Munitions this month, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador A.L.A Azeez, again flatly denied the country had ever used cluster munitions without explaining how the remnants keep being discovered.

“This continual denial is an ever increasing affront to the victims who witnessed the death and injury of loved ones – or were themselves injured by cluster munitions,” said Ms. Sooka. “The Government of Sri Lanka has never explained how cluster munitions were dropped from the air onto civilians if it wasn’t from their jets”.

Under the Convention on Cluster Munitions Sri Lanka has an obligation to persuade other states to join, which is difficult to do if the President lacks transparency over both its own alleged past use and its clearance operations post-war.

The Convention also requires Sri Lanka to assist victim communities and not to discriminate against or among victims (Article 5e). At the same time, identifying themselves in the current climate could put Tamil victims at risk from the security forces. Those who are former combatants and not yet detained would fear coming forward because they would risk detention in the government’s “rehabilitation programme”, which was recently declared “wrongful detention” by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

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 the weapons 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.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/20/cluster-bombs-used-sri-lanka-civil-war-leaked-photos-suggest

Images that appear to confirm the use of cluster bombs in the end stages of Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war have been uncovered as new testimony emerged suggesting the country’s armed forces may have deployed the munitions against civilians.
The revelations are likely to prompt serious questions for the current Sri Lankan government, which includes several senior members of the cabinet who oversaw army activity during the last days of the conflict.
The photographic evidence provided to the Guardian depicts cluster bombs uncovered by de-mining teams in parts of the country close to sites where fighting took place in late 2008 and early 2009.
Some of former de-miners claim they identified munitions within government-declared “no fire zones” in which about 300,000 people were told to gather for their safety during the war’s denouement.

https://www.gulf-times.com/story/498798/Cluster-bombs-used-in-Lanka-civil-war

 

Big Trouble for Sri Lanka: UN Has Cluster Bomb Evidence from Northern Province
Salem-News.com
Discovery is further proof of war crimes committed against Tamil civilians in 2009.
(SALEM) – You have to wonder about the life span of a lie – they all have one after all. Dead men tell no tales, but living witnesses, photo and video evidence, and actual battlefield remnants of war crimes… have plenty to say. Those elements when combined, can lead to the sound of prison bars slamming shut.

A government’s use of inhumane weapons on civilian populations is a dishonorable and illegal act; investigations armed with the evidence now mounting against Sri Lanka, generally expose government scoundrels who have no business leading anyone, and their lies make the process of ushering in the truth an even uglier task. Defiance over war crimes is nothing new, but Sri Lanka’s has been nearly unprecedented, by anything in modern history.
http://www.salem-news.com/articles/april272012/sl-cluster-bombs-tk.php

Sri Lankan ‘Soldier’ Claims Chemical Attack on Tamil Civilians
In the video, a Sri Lankan soldier claims LTTE cadre trapped on the beach were eliminated with the use of chemicals.
The video report below reveals a chilling account of a Sri Lankan soldier confessing to war crimes. The Sinhala Buddhist government of Sri Lanka has waged a long war against the Tamil culture.
http://www.salem-news.com/articles/march162014/sri-lanka-chemicals.php

The expert panel said some injuries were also consistent with cluster munitions, and called for further investigation of the issue.

A New York-based human rights group said it would have been disastrous to use such weapons among the hundreds of thousands of civilians crowded into the Sri Lankan war zone.

“If there is evidence that cluster weapons were used, it would show yet again, the government’s constant attempts at deception and underscore our demand that there should be an independent international investigation into all allegations of laws-of-war violations,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director for Human Rights Watch.

The government has been under growing pressure to investigate possible war crimes, culminating last month in a resolution passed by the U.N. Human Rights Council urging a probe into allegations of summary executions, kidnappings and other abuses.

The war pitted ethnic Tamil rebels fighting for an independent state in northern Sri Lanka against a government dominated by the Sinhalese majority, which has marginalized minority Tamils for decades.

The U.N. panel report said tens of thousands of civilians may have been killed in just the last few months of the war in the Indian Ocean island nation.

https://www.sangam.org/2012/04/Cluster_Bombs.php?uid=4693

http://www.itjpsl.com/assets/press/28-sept-2018-cluster-munition-press-release-ITJP-final.pdf
“This continual denial is an ever increasing affront to the victims who witnessed the death and injury of loved ones – or were themselves injured by cluster munitions,” said Ms. Sooka. “The Government of Sri Lanka has never explained how cluster munitions were dropped from the air onto civilians if it wasn’t from their jets”. Under the Convention on Cluster Munitions Sri Lanka has an obligation to persuade other states to join, which is difficult to do if the President lacks transparency over both its own alleged past use and its clearance operations post-war.

“In Sri Lanka’s case they have driven many de-miners and UN staff out of the country and effectively silenced the witnesses. There are also many victims among recent refugees outside Sri Lanka in countries like Switzerland; their geographic dislocation should not diminish their rights as victims,” said Ms. Sooka. “The Convention requires Sri Lanka to undertake a victim survey which should include victims abroad subject to internationally recognised witness protection provisions.”

Sri Lankan NGOs have also collected testimony from survivors of the war who say they saw cluster munitions used against civilians16. A UTHR (J) 17 report said its sources reported that, “cluster shells, known locally as kotthu kundu, were regularly fired from 21st January. They were then noticed by the Oxfam staff at Thevipuram and subsequently by the OCHA, which had its office near Puthukkudiyiruppu Hospital.” The report cites witnesses describing the way the cluster munitions explode and send out bomb lets and described this as a daily occurrence in the “No Fire Zone”. The report goes on to give a very detailed account from a witness called Gunam who in early February saw about 15 unexploded munitions near Puthukkudiyiruppu Hospital. It also references an occasion when a spinning outer rim of the bomb let, upon 14 REPORT On the Second Mandate Of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry Into Complaints of Abductions and Disappearances, Aug 2015. 15 “The Commission is of the view that this is an area requiring further investigation. The Commission believes that there should be a comprehensive medical review of recorded injuries to ascertain whether these weapons were being used, which should also collate the type of injuries caused so that a forensic analysis can be made.” 16 “Palmyra Fallen”: “Suhanthy was vivid in her descriptions of the missiles fired by the Army and falling around them. She testified to seeing cluster bombs (kotthu kundu) and burn bombs (erikundu) or white phosphorous. What she described as a kotthu kundu fell in the bunker next to theirs, killing the father, mother and four children.” P232.

17 UNIVERSITY TEACHERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (JAFFNA)* SRI LANKA. UTHR (J) Special Report No: 34, 13th December 2009 Let Them Speak Part III At Sea in ‘Mattalan: Escape invites Death and Staying is Worse http://www.uthr.org/SpecialReports/Special%20rep34/Uthr-sp.rp34part3.htm 8 falling, embedded itself in the thigh of a woman lying down. She was taken to the hospital and her leg was amputated rather than risk the bomb let exploding while attempting its extraction. This is an incident also reported by other war survivors. In 2009 Associated Press quoted the UN saying cluster munitions were used near PTK hospital18 but the UN later retracted the statement after the government denied having cluster munitions. However in 2012 Associated Press reported on confirmed accounts of unexploded sub-munitions found in Sri Lanka in the Puthukudiyiruppu (PTK) area. This was based on an email from a technical adviser for the UN Development Programme’s mine action group in Sri Lanka. The Government again denied it had cluster munitions19. In 2016 the Guardian newspaper20 reported on leaked images of cluster bombs uncovered by de-mining teams in Sri Lanka, along with testimony from former de-miners working for 3 different groups. Human Rights Watch identified the material “as the remnants of Russian-made cluster bombs and unexploded cluster sub-munitions”. ITJP Testimony in Detail JAN 2009 W155 saw them used in Vishwamadu

It is a travesty of justice that Sri Lanka which alleged to have used Cluster and Chemical weapons on civilians is elected as President of Convention on Cluster Munitions.  This election of Sri Lanka should have been rejected and scorned by the International Community in the interest of Accountability and Justice.

Kumarathasan Rasingam – Secretary Tamil Canadian Elders for Human Rights Org.


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