Sri Lanka ‘lacks political will to establish transitional justice’

The UN chief visiting Sri Lanka’s war affected north has been told that the government lacks the political will to initiate any meaningful process for Transitional Justice.

Tamil activists and organisations working in the North and East of Sri Lanka handed over a letter on Friday (2) to Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon accusing the government of using transitional justice as ‘just a tool for managing foreign policy goals’.

The Secretary General visiting the northern town of Jaffna during the last leg of his Sri Lanka visit was met with hundreds of war affected Tamils who took to the streets urging UN to persuade the government to set up a transitional justice process with significant international involvement.

'Close relationship'

Tamil activists and organisations working in the North and East of Sri Lanka who handed over the letter to the General Secretary have requested him to raise serious concerns regarding the transitional justice process currently underway in the country.

They have also criticized the 'close relationship among the Task Force entrusted with the consultations on transitional justice, civil Society members involved in the Task Force and their connection to the Government.'

“The Task Force members themselves seem to have very strong views on the outcomes of the transitional justice process (which appear closely aligned with those of the Government). We fear that this may have an impact upon the impartial nature of the consultations,” says the letter.

UN resolution

A transitional justice process for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka was adopted by the UN human rights commission in Geneva last year.

However, Sri Lanka President had earlier said that the secretary general had no discussion about the UNHRC resolution when they met in Colombo.

“During the hour-long bilateral discussion and the 10 minute one-on-one discussion with Mr Ban Ki-moon, there was no mention about the UNHRC resolution,” President Sirisena told journalists who met him at the President’s House on Friday.