UNHRC Resolution 40/1: The Victims of War in Sri Lanka

April 19, 2019 Asia , HUMAN RIGHTS , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

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Kumarathasan Rasingam



The UNHRC Resolution 40/1 was passed earlier this year without voting giving Sri Lanka another two years to delay the implementation of UNHRC Resolution 30/1. In fact, Tamils are fully aware that Sri Lanka is finding ways and means to delay, deviate and finally by giving false promises and excuses will go on demanding more and more extensions until the death of the last victim of the war.


UN High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet stated that “the Sri Lankan Government should now refocus its efforts on fulfilling its obligation to provide justice and accountability and honour its commitments to establish the truth about what happened and to promote reconciliation.”


In the meantime, there has been hardly any pressure on Sri Lanka to meet its obligations. This was despite President Maithripala Sirisena declaring on November 2017 that there won’t be “international war crimes tribunals or foreign judges,” Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, on February 16, 2019, asking the Tamils to “forget the past and move forward,” and the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana, announcing on March 20, 2019 that the country’s constitution does not allow foreign judges, dismissing the idea of a hybrid court, an integral part of Resolution 30/1.


Sri Lanka has appointed foreign judges and eminent persons to investigate human rights abuses:


The International Independent Group of Eminent Persons, abbreviated to IIGEP, was a group of individuals nominated by international donor countries and the government of Sri Lanka, vested with a wide mandate to observe all investigations and inquiries conducted by and on behalf of the Commission of Inquiry into alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. The following individuals were members of the IIGEP:




The mandate of the IIGEP has come under criticism from several human rights organisations, underlining its inherent weaknesses, including:


IIGEP did not have independent access to witnesses or conduct independent investigations, and the Commission of Inquiry indicated early that IIGEP were to observe and not investigate. The reports of the IIGEP were submitted to the President, who has the power to veto publication of information sensitive to national security – this is seen as especially disturbing given that Sri Lankan armed forces have been implicated in several of the killings that are to be investigated by the Commission of Inquiry. None of IIGEP’s reports to the President have been publicized so far.



Main findings


The main concerns of the IIGEP were:


  • A lack of political will from the Government of Sri Lanka to support a search for the truth;
  • A conflict of interest in the proceedings before the Commission, with officers from the Attorney General playing an inappropriate and impermissible role in the proceedings;
  • Lack of effective victim and witness protection;
  • Lack of transparency and timeliness in the proceedings;
  • Lack of full cooperation by State bodies;
  • Lack of financial independence of the Commission



It is an undisputable fact that ten years after the end of the war, not a single family affected by enforced disappearance has been able to ascertain the truth, or received justice or reparation, and no one has been punished for the war crimes committed. Even in the emblematic cases such as the killing of 5 students in Trincomalee; the massacre of 17 aid workers in Muttur (both in 2006); and the murder of the high-profile journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge (2009) – there has been no judicial outcome more than a decade after. If the past is of any indication, there is not a single case or outcome to support the independence and impartiality of the judiciary when serious cases of human rights violations are heard – particularly when the perpetrators are security forces and those linked to the establishment, and the victims are Tamils.



Crisis Group



Sri Lanka’s Transition to Nowhere


Torture of detainees remains routine, and the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act has yet to be replaced, as promised.


There never was a serious attempt to incorporate in the national dialogue the importance of accountability, the need to end impunity and the urgency of constitutional reforms to achieve genuine reconciliation, peace and prosperity benefiting all communities.


The articles [below] clearly explain the intention of Sri Lanka and its defiance and unwillingness to implement the UNHRC Resolution 30/1 even after a lapse of four years [2015 to 2019] and it is very doubtful Sri Lanka will implement all the recommendations within the extension granted by UNHRC until March 2021 unless the Member countries in the UNHRC take any drastic action like economic, diplomatic and political sanctions.


The member countries and UN can send monitoring teams periodically to monitor the progress made by Sri Lanka and report to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Secretary General.

Sri Lanka Largely Failed To Implement Its Human Rights Obligations: International Jurists Tells UNHRC


Democracy Undermined By Discrimination


Tamils in Sri Lanka [North and East of Sri Lanka] are demanding their lost sovereignty and are entitled for the right of self-determination.


It has been proved that what happened to Tamils in Sri Lanka is Genocide. The documentary “Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” very clearly proves this and the article titled “Justification for the Tamils to fight to regain their lost sovereignty.”


Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields” Former UN Staff Gordon Weiss and other witness to the horrors of the war.


Justification for the Tamils to fight to regain their lost sovereignty





Kumarathasan Rasingam

Kumarathasan Rasingam

Kumarathasan Rasingam, a Human Rights activist and former President of the Tamil Canadian Elders for Human Rights Organization, migrated to Canada from Sri Lanka in April 2011.

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