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UNHRC resolution, step towards justice for Tamils; decisive action beyond the Council still necessary – PEARL

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The People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL) yesterday said that decisive international action is the only way to achieve justice and a sustainable peace in Sri Lanka. PEARL said so in the wake of Geneva-based UNHRC adopting resolution against Sri Lanka with 22 members voting for, 11 against and 14, including India skipping the vote:

PEARL said that on March 23, the UN Human Rights Council had passed an important resolution rejecting Sri Lanka’s narrative of reconciliation and progress.

“The resolution mandates the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to collect and preserve evidence of serious violations of international law that occurred in Sri Lanka and report on opportunities for accountability for these crimes. Though the resolution falls short of the robust demands made by Tamil civil society, this is a positive step that has the potential to lead to an international accountability mechanism, which Tamils have long demanded. We welcome the Core Group’s leadership and their engagement with Tamil groups throughout the process,” PEARL said.

The organization said that the limitations of the Human Rights Council have once again become apparent. PEARL said that the Council is limited, by its scope and its inherently political nature, to act decisively, particularly when dealing with intransigent states.

” As a result, the resolution falls short of the joint demands made by Tamil political parties and civil society groups. Many victim-survivors will be disappointed that the resolution didn’t go further, and did not reflect the strong call for action set out in the High Commissioner’s report, which encouraged the Council members to seek alternative avenues for justice such as through universal jurisdiction or the International Criminal Court (ICC). It is crucial for long-term stability in the region that the international community, particularly those in support of a rules-based order, heed the calls of the High Commissioner to “listen to the determined, courageous, persistent calls of victims and their families for justice”.

The organization said that the lessons must be learned from the international community’s failure to leverage their often positive engagement with Sri Lanka to push for progress on accountability, particularly in the period between 2015 and 2019. Tamils have consistently maintained that a credible domestic accountability process is inconceivable and that the government’s actions since 2009 continue to prove them right.

“Sri Lanka’s disingenuous accountability and reconciliation efforts are directly linked to the Sinhala-Buddhist supremacy it upholds. Attempting to address the need for accountability without considering the ethnocratic nature of the state makes such efforts doomed for failure. While PEARL believes this resolution is a step towards justice and accountability, decisive action beyond the Council must be pursued by member states. As highlighted in the High Commissioner’s report, member states should utilize the full breadth of tools and sanctions under international law to support justice and accountability for Sri Lanka. PEARL continues to encourage countries to pursue accountability for Sri Lanka’s mass atrocities in venues such as the International Court of Justice, the ICC, or through the establishment of a special ad hoc tribunal. PEARL also encourages countries to leverage the evidence gathered through the OHCHR to work with Tamil victim-survivor communities to initiate investigations and prosecutions in countries’ own domestic courts. Sri Lanka’s response today, consistent with its actions over the years, shows that decisive international action is the only way to achieve justice and a sustainable peace on the island.”



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Avishka and Sadeera power Jaffna Kings to nine wicket win

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Half tons by Avishka Fernando and Sadeera Samarawickrema powered Jaffna Kings to a nine wicket win over Dambulla Aura in the 3rd match of the LPL2022  at MRICS Hambanthota on Wednesday (07)

Dambulla Aura 121/9 in 20 overs (Jordan Cox 43; Maheesh Theekshana 3/20, Vijayakanth Vijaskanth 3/24, James Fuller 2/16, Zaman Khan 1/28)

Jaffna Kings 122/1 in 15.4 overs (Avishka Fernando 51 , Sadeera Samarawickrema 62 not out; Noor Ahamed 1/28)

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Govt. says selling state assets only way to build reserves and prevent crippling shortages

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardena yesterday (06) said Sri Lanka wouldn’t be in a position to be part of the international trading system unless it boosted its foreign reserves by selling some of its assets. Gunawardena, who also holds media and transport portfolios said so at yesterday’s post-Cabinet press briefing.

Responding to a query about the government’s decision to divest vital national assets, the Minister said that if Sri Lanka did not shore up its reserves to the tune of over three billion dollars, international companies would not accept the letters of credit given by Sri Lankan banks.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his capacity as the Finance Minister, has proposed privatising of several state enterprises including Sri Lanka Insurance and Sri Lanka Telecom.

“Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga sold a number of state owned enterprises. If we don’t increase our reserves, to over three billion USD soon, we will have problems importing fuel, and other essential items. Last week, Fitch again reduced our rating. No matter who governs Sri Lanka, they will all face the same problem. We need to build our reserves,” the Minister said.

Minister Gunawardane said that the need of the hour was to sell some assets and boost Sri Lanka’s reserves.

“China, India, Vietnam, and Malaysia are attracting a lot of investors. Only we have failed to do so, and we need to think why this is. Even our entrepreneurs are leaving for other countries. We need to change the way we think, if we want to attract investors to Sri Lanka,” he said.

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Ven Siridhamma, Mudalige granted bail; latter re-arrested

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Convenor of Bhikku Balamandalaya affiliated Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) Ven. Galwewa Siridhamma Thera leaving Court yesterday (06) after Kaduwela Magistrate Chanima Wijebandara granted him bail. The Thera was held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act for causing damages to public property during a protest opposite the Education Ministry, over three months back. The Magistrate ordered the Thera released after the police failed to identify the monk at an identification parade. However, IUSF Convenor Wasanatha Mudalige, who was also released by the Magistrate, after the police couldn’t identify him, was taken into custody in connection with some other case.

Pics by Kamal Bogoda

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