Posts Tagged ‘Sri Lanka’

Grossbritannien: Olympiade & Menschenrechte

Dienstag, Juli 31st, 2012

“Am Wochenende starteten die XXX. Olympischen Spiele in London mit einem Riesenspektakel, die Kritik an ihnen konnte die Show jedoch nicht ausblenden. Neben Greenwashing-Vorwürfen wegen des Dow Chemical-, Rio Tinto- und BP- Sponsorings kritisieren viele vor allem den Kontrast zwischen Schein und Sein der Spiele. Das bezieht sich nicht nur auf den Unterschied zwischen dem Glamour der Spielorte und der Lebensrealität im armen Londoner Osten, sondern auch auf die Kehrseite der Spiele in den globalen Sportartikel-Fabriken. So zeigt die Playfair-Kampagne in einer aktuellen Recherche, dass Produkte rund um die Olympiade noch immer unter ausbeuterischen Bedingungen hergestellt werden. Sportliche Spiele stellen wir uns anders vor.

Olympia 2012: Systematische Ausbeutung von ArbeiterInnen immer noch Teil des Spiels

Chinesische Arbeiterinnen in einer Sportschuh-Fabrik

Eine Recherche in zehn Textil-Fabriken Chinas, Sri Lankas und der Philippinen ergab, dass Sportbekleidung, aber auch offizielle Uniformen der diesjährigen olympischen Spiele, unter ausbeuterischen Bedingungen hergestellt wurde. Laden Sie den Bericht „Fair Games? Human rights of workers in the Olympic Games 2012“ bei uns kostenlos runter.

Bericht “Fair Games” runterladen

(…)

Bangladesch: Lage von TextilarbeiterInnen spitzt sich weiter zu

Tausende Beschäftigte gingen Ende Juni auf die Strassen, um höhere Löhne zu fordern. Daraufhin wurden über 300 Werke geschlossen. Bei den darauf folgenden schweren Zusammenstössen mit der Polizei wurden zahlreiche Menschen verletzt, 25 Personen verhaftet. Obwohl die Fabriken inzwischen wieder geöffnet sind, bleibt die Forderung nach einer Lohnerhöhung ein dringendes Anliegen. GewerkschaftsführerInnen befürchten, dass es zu Übergriffen durch den bangladeschischen Geheimdienst kommen könnte.

Zu den Hintergründen

(…)

 

(Quelle: EvB.)

Siehe auch:

Lizenz zum Landraub

Sri Lanka: Tausende bleiben “verschwunden”

Sonntag, Mai 20th, 2012

“SRI LANKA: Thousands missing three years after war ends

COLOMBO, 18 May 2012 (IRIN) – Three years after the government of Sri Lanka declared an end to decades of civil conflict with separatist rebels, thousands of people are still missing, according to the UN and Sri Lankan activists.

The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) of the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights has recorded 5,671 reported cases of wartime-related disappearance in Sri Lanka, not counting people who went missing in the final stages of fighting from 2008 to 2009.

Hostilities between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels, who had been fighting for an independent Tamil state for nearly 30 years, ended on 18 May 2009.

“It’s been almost three years. My son went missing on 14 May [2009] and I have not heard from him ever since. He was not a member of LTTE or [any] other group. He was just a normal Tamil civilian,” said Aarati*, 56, a mother of three in the northern town of Kilinochchi, in the former war zone. Another son has been missing since 1993.

Ganeshan Thambiah from the town of Jaffna, also in the north, told IRIN he has lost hope. “My son has gone missing for three years. It hurts me a lot but he is probably dead.”

Disappearances occurred on a “massive scale”, especially between 2006 and 2009 during the last phase of the war, said Ruki Fernando from the Christian Alliance for Social Action, a local NGO. “At the end of the war, many who surrendered to the army disappeared, including a Catholic priest and several high-profile LTTE leaders.”

Fernando includes journalists, human rights defenders and humanitarian workers among the missing, but says the real “tragedy” has been the reluctance of law enforcement authorities and state institutions to confront “this horrible crime, even when some leads are available”.

In one alleged disappearance, Fernando said, law enforcement personnel and the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka have been unable to get a statement from a government advisor six months after he indicated he had information about a missing journalist.

Successive governments resorted to abductions to deal with political dissenters, militants, and now criminals. “This indicates a reluctance to use the criminal justice system and [a] total breakdown of rule of law,” he commented.

However, a high-ranking military officer who requested anonymity maintains that the state has not been involved in any alleged abductions, and that most of these allegations have been politically motivated. “There is a law in the country and we respect it. The army and government [are] clearly not behind any abductions, as claimed by various groups,” he told IRIN.

But, three years on, the numbers of disappeared do not add up, said Jehan Perera, executive director of the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka. He points to the discrepancy between the number of people who once lived in five districts in the north – collectively known as the Vanni, and most heavily affected by fighting – and the number there today.

“There needs to be a credible investigation into [these disappearances] to lay all doubts to rest. There needs to be involvement of independent groups in ascertaining the facts, or else the doubts will continue as to the fate of the missing persons,” he said.

The government has faced mounting pressure to act on the recommendations of a commission appointed by the president in December 2011, one of which is the criminalization of enforced or voluntary disappearances.

Acknowledgement of the disappearances and legal remedies are “prerequisites for any successful, durable and all-inclusive reconciliation process,” noted the Commission of Inquiry on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation.

Yet local activists say the disappearances have not stopped. “They still occur with sufficient regularity to make people feel that there is no clear break with the past, so there is still a dark cloud of fear in the country,” said Perera.

“Many dissenting voices faced ‘white van’ abductions more recently, and the list is not short by any means,” said Jayasuriya Chrishantha Weliamuna, a senior human rights lawyer in Colombo, the capital. He reported that two activists working against abductions, while organizing Human Rights Day events in Jaffna on 9 December 2011, had also been abducted. 

Twenty-one disappearances have been reported to the government-appointed Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka from the beginning of the year to 18 April.

Perera said that with the state’s “massive security network “and “top class intelligence system” there should be “no justification for even a single disappearance today”.

*not her real name

contributor/pt/he

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]”

 
(Quelle: IRIN Asia.)

Sri Lanka: Der ewige Ausnahmezustand

Donnerstag, September 8th, 2011

“The Continuing ‘State of Emergency’ in Sri Lanka

By Amali Wedagedara

September 5, 2011

The decision of the Sri Lankan government to lift the Emergency Regulations (ER) has been received in good faith by many. The international community has expressed its pleasure and satisfaction. The Indian minister of external affairs, S.M. Krishna welcomed the move as an “effective step leading to genuine national reconciliation in the country” (The Hindu, August 27, 2011). But, at the same time, it has also generated a suspicion whether the act of repeal is merely an attempt “to generate good publicity for the government on the eve of the meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva next month” (The Telegraph, August 30, 2011). This sense of uncertainty and doubt is being strengthened by the introduction of new regulations, which would provide the basis for the operation of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), High Security Zones (HSZs) and the prosecution of LTTE cadres, etc. In addition, militarisation of the society, internalisation of emergency rules within the institutions responsible for law and order and the systemic issues which encourage authoritarian political practices other than the prevalence of PTA and Public Security Ordinance (PSO) have resulted in a permanent state of emergency.

Since 1971, Sri Lanka has been in a constant state of emergency with the exception of brief intervals. The state has demonstrated a penchant for emergency laws in responding to various kinds of crises such as communal riots, youth riots, even natural disasters and labour strikes. The excessive use of emergency regulations for a long period of time has resulted in a complex and intricate legal framework, which has, in turn, blurred the distinction between normal and emergency laws. Such an environment brews a sense of uncertainty in exercising one’s right to free speech and association.

The state of emergency or the State of Exception as Giorgio Agamben1 puts it, is the anomic space within the legal framework which excludes people from their political and civil rights. There have been different forms of state of exceptions in history, ranging from state of siege, state of necessity, martial law and presidential dictatorship. State of exception, which is originally meant to be an interim period during crisis situations such as war, diseases, climate disasters and economic downfalls, has resulted in an expansion of the powers of the executive to the legislative sphere, suspension of the constitution and prolongation of war time authority in peace time thus infringing on the civil life. Exception rendered by the “permanent state of emergency” (p.2) risks “the physical elimination not only of political adversaries but of entire categories of citizens who for some reason cannot be integrated into the political system” (p. 2). As a result, in instants of crises and unrest, governments use the ‘safe haven’ of exception to crack down upon dissent. Agamben further states that the creation and maintenance of a permanent state of exception is “one of the essential practices of contemporary states, including so-called democratic ones” (p. 2). It is “the dominant paradigm of politics in contemporary politics” (p. 2).

The foundation of emergency regulations in Sri Lanka is two pillared. One pillar comprises of the Public Security Ordinance (PSO) 1947, a last piece of law ratified by the British in order to suppress and control political dissent. The other is the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) of 1979, a temporary measure, but which has remained in force since its enforcement. In this context, an abolition of the state of emergency without addressing its real foundation is futile. The new rules introduced, along with the relapse of emergency regulations and its various provisions, under the pretext of permitting the continuance of High Security Zones in the North, proscription of the LTTE, handling of ex-LTTE combatants detained and empowering the office of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation (CGOR) add on to this. It is just an interim to a new era of state of emergency, which Mohan Peiris, the former Attorney General of Sri Lanka, refers to as “the Emergency Consequential Provisional Bill” (Daily Mirror, August 31, 2011).

The obscure nature of the practice of emergency leading to insecurity has had a deep impact on society. The superimposition of state security over the security of individuals in formulating national security policies has led to a disjuncture between the state and the individual, ensuing a negative bearing on the social capital in society. There is a depreciation of trust between the individuals and the state. The violent attack against the trade union action of the BOI workers who opposed the Pension Bill sheds light on the brutal nature of state force against its population. In Sri Lanka, it is taken for granted that the state employs force only against the Tamils owing to ‘othering’ which took place during the Civil War between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE. The characterisation of the identity of the state after the ethnic majority, the Sinhalese, has also influenced this perception. Though the state has used force against the Sinhalese in the South several times such as in 1971, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, these events have been long forgotten. In such instances of short memory, the attack on the BOI workers came as a cruel reminder of the brutality of the state irrespective of ethnicity and religion.

If it is argued that transition from emergency to normalcy will be a gradual, step by step process, there seems to be no sign of such a transition in the Sri Lankan polity. The Executive Presidency, the mother of most of evils in Sri Lanka with its wide ambit of powers, continues to grow while slashing on transparency and accountability. Even though the original idea behind the 18th amendment was to improve accountability and enable the President to attend the parliament and participate in debates, the ad-hoc manner of its practice explains the actual ground reality.

One may presume that a state which is being socialised, internalised under emergency, which is accustomed to execute its day-to-day activities through a securitised discourse, in consequence undergoing a transformation of its identity and character, would find it difficult to survive in a state of normalcy. In such a situation, the state would have no other alternative except to maintain the environment by various overt and covert tactics and policies. Therefore, the attempt of the Sri Lankan government to replace emergency laws with another set of laws under a different name, yet meant to do the same task, is not surprising. The state of emergency is not only a particular set of laws. Removing emergency regulations while continuing with militarisation and a massive project of policing in socio-cultural arenas do not indicate a journey towards normalcy.”


  1. 1. Giorgio Agamben, State of Exception (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2005).
 

(Quelle: Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.)

Europa/USA: Eurozentrische Nabelschau

Samstag, Juni 25th, 2011

“Wie im Westen so auf Erden”

Interview: Christine Baumgartner, science.ORF.at

Europa und die USA sehen sich international als Vorbilder der Demokratie und beharren darauf, dass westliche Werte universalisierbar sind. In welcher Weise werden diese Werte – nach über 400 Jahren Kolonialgeschichte – anderen Ländern rund um den Globus immer noch aufgedrängt?

Die Ethnologin Shalini Randeria versucht, die Welt aus einer nicht-europäischen Warte zu sehen. Im Interview mit science.ORF.at spricht sie über Gefahren des europäischen Weltbilds, den arabischen Frühling und ihre außergewöhnliche Familie.

science.ORF.at: In einem Interview haben Sie gesagt: “Europa ist kein Hort des weltweit zu lernenden Guten. Wenn westliche Wissenschaft Begriffe wie Zivilgesellschaft, Gerechtigkeit oder Staat als universell gültig ansieht, verfehlt sie das Spezifische anderer Gesellschaften.” Zwingt der Westen anderen Staaten und Kulturen immer noch seine Werte auf?

Shalini Randeria: Das Aufoktroyieren europäischer Werte, Normen und Ideen basiert auf einer langen imperialen und kolonialen Geschichte. Heute wird mancherorts sehr selektiv im großen Stil interveniert – aus humanitären oder militärischen Gründen und je nach geostrategischen Interessen. Die Weltbank oder der IWF gestalten zum Beispiel Rechtssysteme und finanzielle Institutionen in Entwicklungsländern um. Kreditnehmerstaaten sind zwar freiwillige Mitglieder dieser Institutionen, haben aber kaum Einfluss auf die Politik des IWF, der WTO oder der Weltbank.

Welche Rolle spielt diese Oktroyierung, beispielsweise wenn der Westen in Konflikte arabischer Staaten wie Libyen eingreift?

Der Fall Libyen ist zwiespältig. Mit welcher Glaubwürdigkeit können westliche Regierungen in Libyen – angeblich zum Schutz der Zivilbevölkerung – eingreifen, die für hundert Tausende zivile Tote im Irak mitverantwortlich sind? Aber in Ländern des Nahen Ostens gibt es eine Sehnsucht in weiten Teilen der Bevölkerung nach politischer Teilhabe, gerechter Verteilung, Menschenwürde und Demokratie. Das allerdings sind nicht nur westliche Werte, die von Altertum oder Christentum direkt abgeleitet werden können. Säkularismus, Zivilgesellschaft und Demokratie in Europa sind das Ergebnis eines jahrhundertelangen Kampfes gegen die Kirche und die absolute Herrschaft gewesen. Ich glaube, in jeder Gesellschaft gibt es eigene Vorstellungen von Gerechtigkeit. Und was nach dem "arabischen Frühling" zustande kommen wird, ist wahrscheinlich keine französische oder britische Demokratie.

Und wenn ein Flüchtlingsboot aus Libyen nach Lampedusa unterwegs ist – wie muss sich Europa verhalten? Gibt es eine historische Verantwortung?

Aufgrund der langen Geschichte des Imperialismus und Kolonialismus gibt es eine historische Verantwortung. Über Formen der Wiedergutmachung kann man diskutieren. Und auch darüber, ob sie nur von den ehemals kolonisierenden Staat getragen wird oder von allen europäischen Ländern, die vom Sklavenhandel profitiert haben, auch wenn sie selbst keine Kolonien für längere Zeit im Übersee besaßen. Außerdem gibt es eine Verantwortung, die in den heutigen Beziehungen zwischen europäischen Staaten und autoritären Regimes begründet ist: Regierungen, die bis vor kurzem gute Geschäfte mit Diktatoren wie Gaddafi gemacht haben, dürfen sich jetzt nicht aus der Verantwortung für die Flüchtlinge aus Libyen stehlen. Und wer von universellen Menschenrechten spricht, muss auch danach handeln.

Wie präsent ist das westlich-zentralistische Weltbild in Europa?

Das ist das herrschende Weltbild hier.

Und die Folge davon ist…

… dass man sich hier kaum eine Welt vorstellen kann, in der statt Europa Länder wie China; Brasilien oder Indien die Vormachtstellung hätten. Verkürzt könnte man die eurozentristische Sicht so formulieren: Wie im Westen so auf Erden. Paradox daran ist, dass man einerseits glaubt, dass der Westen universalisierbar sei, andererseits wird aber darauf beharrt, dass er auch einzigartig in seiner historischen Entwicklung ist.

Wie lange werden aufstrebende Weltmächte wie China den westlichen Anspruch auf Werteführerschaft dulden?

Dieser Anspruch wird auf ganz unterschiedliche Art und Weise angefochten. China eignet sich selektiv westliche Institutionen und Werte an: Kapitalismus ja, Demokratie nein. Konsum ja, Menschenrechte nein. Die Kommunistische Partei versucht die politische Kontrolle über das, was man ins Land hineinlässt an Werten, Ideen und Technologien zu behalten. Ich weiß nicht, wie lange das gut geht.

Die Frauenquote ist in Europa immer wieder Thema. In einem Interview mit der "Zeit" wunderten Sie sich über die Debatte einer weiblichen Kanzlerschaft und betonten, dass in Südasien seit 35 Jahren Frauen in politische Spitzenämter gewählt werden und am Können nie gezweifelt wurde. Wäre das etwas, was dem Westen als Vorbildwirkung dienen könnte?

Auf jeden Fall. Die ehemaligen Premierministerinnen Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, Indira Gandhi in Indien, Khaleda Zia in Bangladesch und Chandrika Kumaratunge in Sri Lanka – sie waren alle an der Regierungsspitze, bevor Europa so weit war. Aber die Position von Frauen in der Gesellschaft wurde nicht automatisch dadurch verbessert. Man muss auch dazusagen, dass diese Frauen aus mächtigen politischen Familien des jeweiligen Landes kamen.

In Ihrer Vorlesung an der Uni Wien spielt die Gender-Thematik eine große Rolle. In Europa wird beklagt, dass Frauen keine Kinder bekommen und gleichzeitig gelten Entwicklungsländer als überbevölkert. Wer trifft also – global gesehen – die Entscheidung, wie viele Menschen wo leben und Kinder bekommen sollen?

Es gibt tatsächlich eine demografische Zweiteilung der Welt. In Europa führt man Steuererleichterungen für deutsche oder französische Kinder ein, während die vermeintliche Überbevölkerung der "Anderen" als globales Problem dargestellt wird. Zu viele sind immer die Anderen, seien es die Migranten in Europa oder die Armen in den Entwicklungsländern. In den USA versucht man durch Kürzungen der Sozialleistungen arme und schwarze Familien dazu zu bringen, weniger Kinder zu bekommen. Reproduktive Freiheit gilt in jeder Gesellschaft nur für bestimmte Klassen und ethnische Gruppen. Dabei darf man nicht übersehen, dass solange Afrika und Asien europäische Kolonien waren, sich die Europäer über niedrige Geburtenraten in diesen Ländern beklagt haben. Sie hatten nämlich Interesse an den billigen Arbeitskräften. Die Belgier haben etwa in Kongo versucht, die Stillzeit der Mütter zu verkürzen, damit sie häufiger Kinder gebären.

Liegt Ihnen die Gender-Thematik am Herzen, weil sie persönliche Erfahrungen mit Formen der Diskriminierung gemacht haben?

Im Gegenteil. Vielleicht liegt sie mir am Herzen, weil ich eben keine Diskriminierungserfahrungen gemacht habe. Ich komme aus einer Familie von vier Generationen Frauen, die universitäre Ausbildung genießen. Meine Urgroßmutter hatte sieben Kinder und 1901 als eine der ersten Frauen Indiens einen Universitätsabschluss. Sie war Mitbegründerin des "All India Women’s Council", die erste indische Frauenorganisation. Mein Urgroßvater ging in den 1870er Jahren nach England, um sich Institutionen für Mädchen- und Frauenbildung anzusehen. Meine Familie war immer schon sehr ungewöhnlich. Meine Eltern haben beide nie einen Tempel betreten und sind überzeugte Atheisten. Jegliche Art von religiösem Ritual war absolut Tabu. Diese Art der Modernisierung war aber immer verknüpft mit einer sehr traditionellen Haltung in Sachen Essen oder Sprache. Wir aßen stets vegetarisch zuhause, es wurde kein Alkohol getrunken. Außerdem achtete meine Mutter peinlich genau darauf, dass in der Familie kein Englisch gesprochen wird, obwohl nur englische Tageszeitungen, indische wie britische, gelesen wurden. Ich glaube, mich hat meine Familie geprägt – und nicht die Erfahrung mit Diskriminierung.”


Zur Person:
Prof. Dr. Shalini Randeria hat Soziologie und Sozialanthropologie an den Universitäten Delhi und Heidelberg sowie an der Freien Universität Berlin studiert. Heute ist sie Professorin für Ethnologie an der Universität Zürich. Am Institut für Zeitgeschichte der Universität Wien ist sie im Sommersemester Sir Peter Ustinov Gastprofessorin.

 

(Quelle: science.ORF.at)

Australien: Menschenrechte – Wieso?

Samstag, Mai 14th, 2011

“Australia says 32 asylum seekers will go overseas

By ROD McGUIRK, Associated Press

A boat load of 32 asylum seekers found in Australian waters will become the first to be sent to Malaysia, Papua New Guinea or another Asia-Pacific country under the government’s contentious new strategy to deter future refugees from making the same journey, an official said on Saturday.

The government last week struck a deal with Malaysia to swap asylum seekers for bona fide refugees and is negotiating with Papua New Guinea to accept hundreds of people who have paid smugglers to bring them to Australia by boat.

The message to asylum seekers is that Australia will not accept any more of them.

The navy intercepted the latest boat load of asylum seekers suspected to be from Afghanistan and Pakistan off the northwest coastal town of Broome overnight, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said.

They would be housed in a detention center at Christmas Island, an Australian territory near Indonesia, temporarily before they were sent to another country where their refugee applications would be processed, Bowen said.

Bowen said Malaysia had a right to reject any of the individuals on board. Papua New Guinea was not the only other country in the Asia-Pacific region which Australia was asking to accept its asylum seekers, he said.

“I am not going to flag which country these people will be sent to, but they will be held at Christmas Island, pending removal to a third country,” Bowen told reporters.

Lawyers and human rights groups have condemned Australia’s deal with Malaysia, under which Malaysia will accept 800 asylum seekers who entered Australia illegally by sea in return for Australia settling 4,000 registered refugees living in Malaysia.

Lim Chee Wee, president of the lawyers’ association Malaysian Bar, labeled the deal misguided and irresponsible and accused Australia of trying to dodge its international obligations.

Australia was effectively consigning 800 people to a “degrading, demeaning and dehumanizing” life of uncertainty and suffering because Malaysia was not a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Convention, he said.

The Law Council of Australia, another lawyers’ group, called the deal an inappropriate solution to a complex problem.

Australia has long attracted people from poor, often war-ravaged countries hoping to start a new life, with more than 6,200 asylum seekers arriving in the country by boat last year. Most are from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Iran and Iraq, and use Malaysia or Indonesia as a starting point for a dangerous sea journey to Australia.

 

(Quelle: San Francisco Chronicle.)

Sri Lanka: Alle Kriegsparteien begingen Kriegsverbrechen

Donnerstag, April 28th, 2011

SRI LANKA: UN report finds both sides liable

“The government of Sri Lanka has criticized the UN for releasing a report alleging war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by both sides during the country’s decades-long civil war.

“The UN Panel report is completely baseless and lacks credibility,” Keheliya Rambukwella, the Minister of Mass Media and Information and government spokesman, told IRIN on 26 April in Colombo, rejecting all allegations of war crimes against the government.

“We do not see the release of this report as constructive… This will have a destructive effect in the context of Sri Lanka’s progress,” added Rajiva Wijesinha, a ruling party parliamentarian and Sri Lanka’s former secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights.

The 196-page panel report, published on 25 April, concluded that both government forces and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) conducted military operations with flagrant disregard for the protection, rights, welfare and lives of civilians and international law during the final months of the war.

Tens of thousands lost their lives from January to May 2009, many of whom died anonymously in the carnage of the final days, the report said.

The three-person panel of experts set up to advise UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon over issues of accountability after the war found credible allegations comprising five core categories of potential serious violations committed by the government, including the killing of civilians by widespread shelling and the denial of humanitarian assistance.

Between September 2008 and 19 May 2009, the Sri Lankan Army advanced its military campaign into the island’s north, using large-scale and widespread shelling, which resulted in large numbers of civilian deaths, the report said.

At the same time, the report cited the LTTE with six core categories of potential serious violations, including using civilians as human buffers, as well as killing civilians who attempted to flee LTTE control.

It also implemented a policy of forced recruitment throughout the war, and in the final stages intensified that to include children as young as 14, the report added.

The panel, which began work in September 2010, determined an allegation was credible if there was a reasonable basis to believe the underlying act or event occurred.

A way forward?

But despite the government’s harsh response to the report’s release, coupled with the UN panel’s call for a credible investigation, some rights activists see it as an important opportunity in the country’s future peace and reconciliation.

“The release of the UN panel report is an important step,” said Sunila Abeysekara, one of the country’s leading human rights defenders, noting it was imperative that the report be made available to all Sri Lankans.

Others, however, remain more cautious, noting that this island nation of 20 million needed its own space to negotiate and foster its own approach to peace.

“I am concerned that changes sought to be imposed from the outside will not be sustainable if the population is not a part of this process of change,” Jehan Perera, director of the National Peace Council, a think-tank in Colombo.

“The most sustainable path forward in the country will have to be constructed within the country and in a manner that will ensure that people make their own investment in the processes of democratization and justice. Without internal acceptance, no popular change in Sri Lanka will be sustainable,” he said.

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]”

 

(Quelle: IRIN Asia.)