The Australian Tamil Congress welcomes the UN Investigation Team for Sri Lanka and urges the Australian Government to take Necessary Steps to Support the Investigation

On June 25th, 2014, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay announced that three distinguished experts will advise and support the UN international investigation team set up to conduct a comprehensive investigation of alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka, as mandated by Human Rights Council resolution 25/1 in March 2014.  The experts include: Mr. Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; Ms. Silvia Cartwright, former Governor-General and High Court judge of New Zealand; and Ms. Asma Jahangir, former President of Pakistan’s Supreme Court Bar Association and of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. The Investigation Team working alongside the experts will consist of 12 staff, including investigators, forensics experts, a gender specialist, a legal analyst and various other staff with specialized skills. It will be operational for a period of 10 months, until approximately mid-April 2015.

 

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has welcomed the investigation team, stating “This investigation is an important step in establishing the truth and facilitating reconciliation within Sri Lanka. The inclusion of Martti Artisaahri, Silvia Cartwright and Asma Jahangir completes a strong team with a clear mandate from the UN Human Rights Council”, and has also “strongly urge(d) the government of Sri Lanka to cooperate fully with the Office of the High Commissioner and this investigation, and to ensure those engaging with the investigation can do so without fear of intimidation or reprisals.”  US State Department has also released a statement supporting the appointment of the eminent panel and urged the Sri Lankan government for its full cooperation with the Office of High Commissioner and investigation.

 

The Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) appreciates the progress being made on the UN resolution on Sri Lanka, and welcomes the investigation team and its advisors in their new role.  As an organization that campaigned hard and worked with its partner organizations towards the passage of this resolution, and its predecessor resolutions for the last five years, ATC is pleased to see the advancement of this crucial step in achieving justice and accountability, and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. We also would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation for the political parties and individual Parliamentarians in Australia, and a large number of Australian entities and eminent persons, who consistently supported this just call and helped towards achieving this outcome.

 

ATC extends its fullest support and cooperation to this investigation team.  ATC also urges the UN investigation team to visit Australia and collect evidence from those residing in Australia who may have been affected in the final stages of the war.  We earnestly call on the Australian government to welcome the UN investigation and also urging it to take necessary steps to support the investigation process in Australia.