Tamil parties in unified call to refer Sri Lanka to international courts

In an unprecedented development, rival Tamil political parties have come together in urging the international governments refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court.

The demand comes in a letter to Heads of Missions of the 47 Member States represented in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

The increasing frustration of Tamils over the lack of progress in Sri Lankan Government’s commitments to investigate war crimes and abuses of international humanitarian law is clearly evident in the letter.

Backed by international rights watchdogs, the UNHRC since 2012 granted extensions of time to Sri Lanka to deliver.

“It is now time for Member States to acknowledge that there is no scope for a domestic process that can genuinely deal with accountability in Sri Lanka,” says the letter by Tamil national political parties, Tamil war victims and Tamil civil society organizations.

Leader of the Tamil National Alliance R. Sampanthan, Leader of the Tamil National People’s Front Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam and Leader of the Tamil Makkal Tesiya Kootani Justice C.V. Wigneswaran are the Tamil party leaders who have signed the letter.

Oppression & forced cremation

Tamil leaders have called the attention of Member States to Sri Lanka’s denial of Muslims right to burial.

“The continuing and intensifying oppression against the Tamils including militarisation, indefinite detention of political prisoners, land grab in the name of archaeological explorations, the denial of traditional, collective land rights like cattle grazing rights, intensifying surveillance of political and civil society activists, the denial of burial rights during COVID19 to our Muslim brethren and the denial of the right to memory underscores the urgency of addressing the deteriorating situation.”

Tamil national political parties, Tamil war victims and Tamil civil society organizations have made the following demands.

We request the following:

1. Member States urge in the new resolution that other organs of the United Nations including the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly take up the matter and take suitable action by reference to the International Criminal Court and any other appropriate and effective international accountability mechanisms to inquire into the crime of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

2. The President of the UNHRC refers matters on accountability in Sri Lanka back to the UN Secretary General for action as stated above.

3. Member States to mandate the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to continue to monitor Sri Lanka for ongoing violations and have an OHCHR field presence in country.

4. Without detracting from that which has been stated in point 1 above, take steps to establish an evidence gathering mechanism similar to the International Independent Investigatory Mechanism (IIIM) in relation to Syria established as a subsidiary body of the UN General Assembly with a strict time frame of twelve months duration.

UNHRC meeting in February and March 2021 is to evaluate the Sri Lankan Government’s commitments.

Read the full letter by Tamil leaders HERE.



Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

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