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  • a U.

  • N report seeking an International Criminal Court investigation into Sri Lanka is being discussed today at a meeting in Geneva.

  • The report by the UN's top human rights official, Michelle Partially, also calls for sanctions against top she Lankan officials accused of war crimes.

  • The report accuses the government of Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa off clamping down on democracy in the country and not bringing to book people responsible for rights violations during Sri Lanka's decades long civil war.

  • For 26 years, Tamil separatists battle the Sri Lankan government for a separate state.

  • The war ended in 2000 and nine with the defeat of the rebels, but it also left significant casualties among the civilian population.

  • For many of the Tamils who lost loved ones, the search for accountability has made little progress.

  • This'll is the number of days thes mothers have been protesting for four years.

  • They've stood on the side of the road in the town of Vavuniya in the north of Sri Lanka.

  • The women want to know where their Children and husbands are.

  • They've been missing since the end of the civil war in 2009.

  • Jail Juanita gossip ally has also been here every day for four years.

  • She's looking for her daughter way.

  • Need each other.

  • My suffering is also felt by these other mothers.

  • Because of that, I keep on fighting not only for my child but for all the Children and husbands who went missing Way have to find out what happened to our Children away.

  • These mothers believe that their Children and loved ones will return.

  • They can't lose their hope.

  • The 52 year old says she recognized her daughter in this photo from 2015.

  • It apparently shows the girl standing next to former Sri Lankan president Metropolis Sirisena seeing the photo spurred her to initiate their mothers protest.

  • The family belongs to the Tamil minority.

  • During the last days of the civil war, they were forced to leave their home and were taken to a camp run by Sri Lankans.

  • Secret Service on interrogated on the way Joe Juanita Cassie Polite says her daughter was kidnapped by whom is unclear.

  • Shortly before the end of the civil war in 2009, Mr Lankan army combed Tamil territory.

  • The soldiers were looking for fighters from the Tamil Tiger Liberation Organization, or LTT E, who were fighting for independence.

  • According to the U.

  • N, both warring parties committed serious war crimes.

  • Up to 15,000 Tamils are officially missing there.

  • The United Nations believes the number to be much higher.

  • It has been impossible for this family to find peace since their eldest child disappeared.

  • They've been to the police time and again and even called on the U.

  • N refugee agency and the U.

  • N Human Rights Commission to get involved, but in vain.

  • It's very difficult now that my wife stays in Vienna, Vanier at the protest site.

  • But I'm with her and thought all the time and I keep telling my wife to bring our daughter home.

  • I'm I'm convinced that my daughter is still alive.

  • Protests by Sri Lanka's Tamils are growing Thousands took to the streets for three days in early February, demanding the government clarify what happened to the countless missing.

  • Sri Lanka's current president Gotta by Rajapaksa declared all missing persons deceased in 2020 including the daughter of J.

  • Juanita Catsup.

  • Ally Rajapaksa was the defense minister during the civil war.

  • The U.

  • N.

  • Commissioner for Human Rights lays the blame for alleged atrocities committed during that war.

  • On Rajapaksa's current army chief Theo.

  • Women simply want to know what happened to their Children.

  • So far, no Sri Lankan government has offered to help them.

  • And for some perspective on this, I'm joined now from Colombo by Ambika South Jonathan, a former member of the Human Rights commission off Sri Lanka.

  • Welcome Ambika.

  • Why is it so hard for victims off a civil war that tore the country apart to get any justice?

  • Well, I think it's difficult for the victims to get any justice because this government in particular, denies that there was even an ethnic conflict.

  • Hence, the root causes of those off the conflict has still not being addressed.

  • On duh, the victims cannot find justice.

  • For instance, we have, ah number of people who have disappeared, forcibly disappeared.

  • The government now says that those people, we're all part of the LTTE and hence under international humanitarian law that gets justified.

  • Hence there is a culture off denial and the culture of impunity.

  • In this context, victims find it very difficult to have their voices even heard, let alone actually, you know, get truth and justice.

  • Human Rights Commissioner Michele Barschel aces in her report that events over the past year in Sri Lanka have caught eroded Democratic checks and balances and civic space on reprised a dangerous, exclusionary and majoritarian discourse.

  • Is she right?

  • She is.

  • I mean, I'm sad to say, but she is right because we have seen since the election off the new government in November 2019 is a concentration of power in the executive.

  • We have seen the 20th amendment to the Constitution, which also has provisions which undermine the independence of the judiciary on also undermine, undermine the independence off.

  • Let's say, the Human Rights Commission.

  • Uh, in addition, we also see rapid militarization.

  • There is shrinking of civic space, particularly in the conflict affected North and the East, where civil society organizations are subject to surveillance, intimidation and harassment by security agencies.

  • We find people are self censoring, and there is a climate of fear that if you are particular the government there might be Reprisals, or you will be called the traitor I international.

  • We're talking about a country Ambika that has emerged from more than two decades off civil war.

  • The kinds of things you're describing should apparently be the exactly the kinds of things that the government should avoid.

  • And therefore, I wonder, why is the government of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa pursuing this agenda?

  • I mean, that's a very good question.

  • And I think it goes to the fact that historically we have had a majoritarian state on, of course, now more so.

  • This government in particular, practices ethno nationalist politics on I think they do not view the minorities or the numerical minorities, the channels and the Muslims as equal citizens.

  • And hence there is in a way you confined contempt like the fourth cremations off Muslims who have died of Corbett in that climate to them in according to their ethos, values and strategies.

  • I suppose this would make total sense.

  • Do you think there is a danger, Ambika, that this sort of an agenda from the government could give rise to a new cycle of violence in the country?

  • I think this kind of intolerance discrimination is what led to the the ethnic conflict that we had.

  • We suffered with it for like 30 years, the root cause that's still not being addressed.

  • We also can find this is the kind of intolerance, bigotry and discrimination that can lead to radicalization off the youth.

  • In that context, we have covered.

  • We have severe economic hardships that people are facing at the moment.

  • I think all that is a recipe for definitely more more violence in society and potentially down the line.

  • Perhaps another conflict America, Michelle partially has called for international action, including targeted sanctions and taking the matter to the International Criminal Court.

  • Are those the only avenues left to achieve reconciliation and human rights?

  • Accountability in Sri Lanka?

  • I would say right now, yes, because domestically there is a culture of denial.

  • As I said on, they feel that there is nothing to even deal with.

  • There is no need to deal with the past.

  • Eso There are no domestic remedies that the victims can access.

  • Although I know very well that the international mechanism is, uh, you know, faulty and it's not perfect right now for the victims.

  • That is the only option they have in their long march towards truth and justice.

  • I'm bigger, sat Jonathan.

  • We'll leave it there for the time being.

  • But thank you so much for joining us.

  • Thank you.

  • Thank you.

a U.

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Is Sri Lanka's government failing to heal the nation? | DW News

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/02/25
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