The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) yesterday said it was dismayed that more than eight years after the end of war, Sri Lanka has yet to demonstrate that it is genuinely committed to addressing the accountability issues occurred during the brutal armed conflict. Despite twice co-sponsoring UNHRC resolutions calling for comprehensive transitional justice measures, the present coalition government has not lived up to its commitments and yet to take any meaningful steps in this respect.
“The lack of progress to-date in many ways is eerily reminiscent of the past when commitments made on political and governance issues concerning to the Tamil people (such as Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam or Dudley-Chelvanayakam pacts) were reneged at the slightest of political opposition. While GTF acknowledges that some progress has been made it is far from adequate,” GTF said.
The London based diaspora group said that a careful comparison of the commitments made and the actions carried out unambiguously shows a glaring disparity.
“No efforts have been made by the top Sri Lankan leaders to integrate credible international participation in the local judicial processes as stipulated in the UNHRC resolutions. The report from the government’s own Consultation Task Force (CTF) – set up to recommend transitional justice measures based on country-wide consultations – has remained ignored for more than six months after its official release, reinforcing the impression most Tamils have that setting up Commissions and then discarding their reports is a continuation of delaying strategy practiced by many previous governments. The Office of Missing Persons (OMP), the only transitional justice mechanism Sri Lankan Parliament enacted exactlya year ago, was signed into law by the President only recently and yet to be operationalised. The parliamentary process to ratify Enforced Disappearances as illegal has been indefinitely postponed and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) is yet to be repealed, while continuing use of torture to extract confessions is widely reported. Complete elimination of this dreadful practice from Sri Lanka needs leadership from the government which is solely lacking,” GTF said.
GTF says the government has utterly failed to engage the majority Sinhala community about the need for true reconciliation and the indispensability of transitional justice to achieve that.