US Congress Resolution 413

The recently tabled US 413 Resolution in the US Congress led by Ms. Ross breathes fresh air, confidence and hopes for the Tamils, particularly the victimized Tamils whose grievances which commenced in 1948 reached the climax with the genocidal war crimes committed during the war [2006-2009]

However, structural genocide has now taken a strong hold on their lives compounded with denial of accountability and non-dispensation of justice and reparations for the victims.

The UNHRC Resolutions of 31/1, 34/1, 37/1, and 40/1, sponsored by core members including USA, UK and Germany were met with contempt, rejection and denials of Sri Lankan Governments which consider accountability and justice as anathemas, irrelevant and interference with Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and integrity which are exploited as convenient shields of impunity for defying the Resolutions.

Under these circumstances when the victimized Tamils are living pessimistically and desolately without hopes for remedies, USA’S 413 Resolution in the Congress has sprung like an oasis in the desert for the victims in the Tamil community as a whole.

This Resolution has highlighted the 12 years grievances of Tamils, exposed the sinister design, malignant motives and hidden agenda of Sri Lankan Governments to gloss over, delay, deny, defeat and discard those Resolutions slapping the faces of UN, UNHRC and the International community.

The Resolutions’ salient features are as follows:-

[1] For 12 years, Sri Lanka has failed to take any simple action on those Resolutions successfully employing the dilly dallying deceptive tactics.

[2] Sri Lanka has even failed to implement its own commitments, Recommendations like the LLRC of 2012 and Paranagama Commission Report on Enforced Disappearances – 2014.

[3] Sri Lanka has failed to initiate any local independent impartial investigation including offering reparations, thereby has buried the values of accountability and justice.

[4] Sri Lanka excels in doling out occasional promises meant for instant consumption, but without any good faith for compliance and implementation.

[5] It is high time that the hollow promises and time buying tactics of Sri Lanka are exposed for suitable actions by the UN, UNHRC and the International Community.

[6] The promised accountability and justice have been thrown overboard while Sri Lanka’s system of entrenched impunity is boosted and nourished infusing more flesh and blood. The April 19, 2021 Resolution tabled in Parliament by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakshe has elevated impunity at its highest pedestal where the Security Forces and State Officials involved in the alleged commission of war crimes etc. including bribery, corruption and money laundering are out of the reach of the long arm of the law shielding any prosecution. Adding insult and compounding miseries of victimized Tamils, those convicted and jailed for the massacres of innocent Tamil civilians like the TRINCO MASSACRE OF 5 STUDENTS, are pulled out of the jails to walk free, an act of insult and a blot on the judiciary and legal system.

[7] The US Resolution 413 has hit hard at the Government’s dereliction of obligations to implement and enforce the provisions of Enforced Disappearances Act of 2011 including the Office of the Missing Persons [OMP] which are almost archives and forgotten.

[8] The Resolution has also slammed the Sri Lankan Government’s denial of democratic rights to the people living in the North and East by postponing the Provincial Council elections, the only semblance of power sharing mechanism half-heartedly granted to the North and East under the much criticized Indo/Sri Lanka Accord of 1987.

[9] Sri Lanka’s open challenge and defiance of UN, UNHRC and the International Community is fully exposed with its blatant breaches of several promises made to the world organizations particularly pledging to repeal the dreaded draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1978

[PTA]. On the contrary, PTA has now become the Government’s main weapon to hunt down the media, and anyone opposing or daring to criticize the Government and its top Officials. There is no iota of doubt that the PTA will remain as the frontal armoury to advance the dictatorial agenda by intimidation and threats of violence against peaceful protesters like the threats made against the families of the disappeared who have been protesting day and night in the North and East for more than four years.

[10] Increased surveillance, intimidation and threats against Muslims including arbitrary arrests like the arrest of a Muslim Poet  Ahnaf Jazeem

[11] The 20A Amendment to the constitution has placed the President above the laws of Sri Lanka by granting full impunity from prosecutions for any civil and or any criminal acts committed by him in his official capacity as President during the term of his office.

Coupled with the US Resolutions is the European Union’s Resolution which is calling for the immediate repeal of PTA and implementation of its own promises.

There is no doubt that the President has assumed supremacy over the legislature, judiciary and executive aided by his family members who are holding several Ministerial and sub Ministerial positions controlling about 16 Ministries and Departments. Undoubtedly Sri Lanka’s fate of the mangled democracy’s survival hangs at the whims and fancies of Rajapakahas and it appears there is little hope it will emerge unscathed during Rajapakahas’ reign unless and until UN and International community take the necessary punitive measures against Sri Lanka without delay.

The gleaming feature of the UN Resolution 413 is the recognition of North and East as traditional homeland of the Tamils implying their inhabitation in the North and East for more than 2000 years and as a Nation. Better late than never, it is a historical recognition of the Tamil Nation in the North and East which is entitled to exercise full rights and powers over those living in the North and East subject to Central Government’s control over defence, exercise, customs, postal service and immigration. In summary, Sri Lanka has abysmally failed to respect its undertakings and international obligations, paid scant respect to recognize the roles of UN and UNHRC thereby becoming an outcast.

In the face of these breaches, lapses and failings displayed by Sri Lankan Government, The Tamils hope that the UN and the International Community will rally together to back this important UN Resolution 413  and make it a successful one, by also cooperating with US to initiate and enforce the required measures to force Sri Lanka to comply with the wills and recommendations of UN, UNHRC and the International Community commencing with the honoring and implementing the UNHRC Resolutions Nos. 30/1, 34/1, 37/1, 40/1 and 46/1.

Thambu Kanagasabai  LLM ]London] Former Lecturer in Law, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka


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