Chennai, Mar 18 : Asking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take a strong, historic and courageous stance in the matter of the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC Meeting in Geneva, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today suggested amendments to strengthening the draft to make the resolution 'unambiguous in intent and effective in implementation.'
In a letter to the Prime Minister, a copy of which was released to the press here, Ms Jayalalithaa said 'the Tamil diaspora across the world were legitimately outraged and incensed over the impunity with which the Sri Lankan Government was ignoring international sentiments and binding resolutions relating to reconciliation and accountability for the war crimes and genocide committed in the closing stages of the civil war in Sri Lanka and the ongoing gross human rights abuses.
'It was absolutely important India took a strong stand in support of the US-sponsored Resolution at the 22nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council and more importantly moves necessary independent amendments to further strengthen the Resolution.'
Suggesting changes, Ms Jayalalitaa said in Perambular Para 5 (PP5) India must seek a mention of the UN Secretary General's Panel of Experts report in addition to the LLRC report. In PP9, it should strengthen the language from expression of 'concern' to 'serious concern and dismay' at the reports of the continuing violations of human rights.
'In PP10 strengthen the language to 'condemnation' of the failure of the Sri Lankan Government to fulfill its public commitments, including on devolution of political authority. 'In operative para 1, there should be an unequivocal call for a credible, independent, international mechanism to prosecute genocide, war crimes and war criminals and the accused should stand trial before an International Court.
'This process should be completed within a period of six months and the outcome reported for a special discussion in the 25th session of UNHRC in 2014. In operative para 2 there should be an insistence that the OHCHR report be implemented in its totality. In operative para 3 there should be a strong call to the Government of Sri Lanka to accept the establishment of an impartial, international institution to initiate credible and independent actions to ensure justice, equity, accountability, including investigation of violations of international law and reconciliation of all Sri Lankans, including Tamils. This should include Sri Lanka providing a pragmatic political package to the Sri Lankan Tamils and restoring their equal rights of citizenship on par with the Sinhalese Community.
Ms Jayalalithaa recalled she had written to Dr Singh twice on February,29 and March 6, 2012 urging India take a strong stance in support of the Resolution on Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka in the 19th Session of the UN Human Rights Council. India later supported the resolution which called upon the Sri Lankan Government to implement the constructive recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission's (LLRC) report. However, the report was relatively mild since it was viewed as a flawed report not covering many of the points contained in the UN Secretary General's Panel of Experts Report, she claimed.
'It is pertinent to point out that the Report itself was toned down at the instance of the Government of India which itself is a betrayal of the Tamils,' she alleged. Despite a full year after the resolution was passed, the the events and developments of the past year in Sri Lanka, as evidenced by the report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, are a continued and sorry saga of human rights violations against the Tamils in that country. The OHCHR report indicates that Sri Lanka is yet to act on many of the recommendations contained in the LLRC's report.
The report also notes that much needs to be done in the area of justice, reconciliation and resumption of livelihoods and notes the continuance of serious human rights violations against the Tamils. 'Clearly the present government in Sri Lanka is not keen on genuine reconciliation or even to allow the Sri Lankan Tamils to be rehabilitated, let alone start life as equal citizens in that country, which is reflected in the lack of adequate action even on a relatively mild UNHRC Resolution,' she alleged.
'I request you to kindly immediately instruct Indian diplomats to strongly push for these independent amendments to strengthen the US-backed Resolution in the 22nd Session of the UNHRC since the final draft is to be placed for consideration of the Council on 19th March, 2013. 'Further, India should also mobilize the support of other member nations, particularly those who are opposed to the resolution and are lobbying to water down or nullify the impact.
'Mr Prime Minister, I hope that at this historic moment, the Government of India will decisively step forward as a champion of human rights and democracy and take a bold stand in support of the much discriminated against and long suffering Tamil minority in Sri Lanka and thereby demonstrate its empathy and solidarity with the millions of Tamils both in Tamil Nadu and elsewhere and assuage the legitimate sense of outrage amongst them," she added.