WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, issued a statement on November 7 strongly condemning the Sri Lankan government's 'continuing campaign of distortion and disinformation' to discredit and obstruct the UN Human Rights Office's investigation into Sri Lanka (OISL).
He called the Government's attempts to deter and intimidate individuals from submitting evidence to a UN investigation "unacceptable conduct" and said that a "wall of fear has been created that has undoubtedly served to deter people from submitting evidence."
"Such a refusal does not, however, undermine the integrity of an investigation set up by the Council – instead it raises concerns about the integrity of the Government in question. Why would Governments with nothing to hide go to such extraordinary lengths to sabotage an impartial international investigation?" Mr. Zeid said.
"We welcome the High Commissioner's robust remarks which speak directly to the government's attempts to delegitimize the impartial investigation, intimidate human rights defenders, and prevent witnesses from submitting statements to the investigation team," said Dr. Karunyan Arulanantham, President of US Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC).
Over five years after the mass atrocities of 2009, and the complete failure of domestic processes to address violations, the UN-led investigation offers the best hope for reconciliation and lasting peace in Sri Lanka. To this end, the Government of Sri Lanka would be well served to acknowledge its fundamental responsibility toward all its citizens by addressing the injustice done to the Tamils. Instead, Sri Lanka's long-entrenched impunity and lack of political will is apparent not only in its outright refusal to cooperate but its active obstruction of the UN-led international investigation of serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.
For the first time in over 60 years, the Sri Lanka Government has a golden opportunity to restore democracy and right its course of increasing authoritarianism through construction of a mono-ethnic Sinhala state and elimination of all dissent. This attitude is furthered by the heavy military occupation of Tamil areas in the North, facilitating continued systematic destruction of the Tamil people and permanent demographic imbalance within the country in favor of a Sinhala State. Without the intervention of a robust and impartial international mechanism, Sri Lanka's reach for reconciliation and justice is futile.
"USTPAC strongly supports the High Commissioner's call for an unobstructed UN-led investigation and urges the Government of Sri Lanka to genuinely engage in the investigation mandated by the UN Human Rights Council," continued Dr. Arulanantham. "USTPAC is committed to seeking justice for all grave human rights violations that took place during the Sri Lankan armed conflict in 2009 and to ending the ongoing abuse that continues to this day. USTPAC is dedicated to providing a voice to oppressed Tamils and to ultimately achieving a peaceful political solution to the ethnic conflict."