Daily Archives: September 16, 2015

UN report details ‘horrific level of violations’ in Sri Lanka


Acknowledging that “horrific level of violations and abuses” occurred in Sri Lanka between 2002 and 2011, a report prepared by the U.N. Human Rights Office (OHCHR), released in Geneva on Wednesday, recommended the establishment of a hybrid special court, integrating international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators.

“A purely domestic court procedure will have no chance of overcoming widespread and justifiable suspicions fuelled by decades of violations, malpractice and broken promises,” the report stated.

In March 2014, the U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka during the period between 2002 and 2011.

The period covers three events — the commencement of a ceasefire agreement between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in February 2002; the conclusion of the Eelam War in May 2009 and the submission of final report by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) in November 2011. [The LLRC was established by the previous regime headed by Mahinda Rajapaksa in May 2010].

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein told a press conference in Geneva that the “violations and abuses” included “indiscriminate shelling, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, harrowing accounts of torture and sexual violence, recruitment of children and other grave crimes,”

He added that “importantly, the report reveals violations that are among the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole.” The High Commissioner urged all communities and sections of society, including the diaspora, to view the report as “an opportunity to change discourse from one of absolute denial to one of acknowledgment and constructive engagement to bring about change.”

The OHCHR report added that “the domestic criminal justice system [in Sri Lanka] also needs to be strengthened and reformed, so it can win the confidence of the public, but that is a process which will take several years to achieve and needs to be undertaken in parallel to the establishment of a special hybrid court, not in place of it. Indeed such a court may help stimulate the reforms needed to set Sri Lanka on a new path to justice, building public confidence along the way.”


TN Assembly for international probe on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka


Tamil Nadu on Wednesday stepped up pressure on the Modi government for an international probe against alleged human rights violations and war crimes committed in 2009 in Northern Sri Lanka.

A day after India and Sri Lanka decided to renew efforts to address the vexed ethnic issue in the island nation, Tamil Nadu on Wednesday stepped up pressure on the Modi government for an international probe against alleged human rights violations and war crimes committed in 2009 in Northern Sri Lanka.

In a resolution adopted in the Assembly, the Jayalalithaa government sought diplomatic efforts by India to change any possible pro-Sri Lanka stand adopted by the United States in a UN rights body.

The State government was referring to reports that US, which had earlier sought favoured international probe into the alleged human rights violations and war crimes during the peak of hostilities in Sri Lanka in 2009, had now altered its stand.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa told the assembly that the US had now reportedly proposed internal probe by Colombo at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and that it was “against natural justice.”

Ms. Jayalalithaa moved a resolution in the Tamil Nadu Assembly today in which the State government sought a more pro-active role from India.

The resolution moved by Ms. Jayalalithaa said that India itself should move a “strong resolution” at the UNHRC along with the US seeking international probe against those who had committed human rights violations and war crimes in contravention to the international rules and conventions.

“The Tamil Nadu Assembly requests the Government of India that if America takes a stand supportive of Sri Lanka (at the UNHRC), then India must take diplomatic efforts to change that,” the resolution, which was unanimously adopted by the House, said.

Ms Jayalalithaa recalled the earlier resolutions in the Assembly seeking to stop treating Sri Lanka as a ‘friendly nation’ in the context of the alleged atrocities on ethnic Tamils.

It had also demanded that India boycott a meeting of Heads of Commonwealth nations held in Sri Lanka in 2013, besides insisting that the AIADMK government would not allow Sri Lankan players and officials to participate in IPL sporting fixtures scheduled in Chennai, which was duly followed by BCCI.

Earlier, Opposition parties including DMK welcomed the resolution.

“This is a timely resolution,” DMK’s senior leader Durai Murugan said.


Facebook ready to test button that goes beyond ‘like’


The new button could be rolled out broadly depending on how it does, says Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook may finally be getting a button that lets you quickly express something beyond a “like.”

Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Tuesday that people have been asking for a “dislike” button on the social media site for years.

Speaking at an event at Facebook’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters that was streamed live online, Zuckerberg acknowledged that “like” isn’t always appropriate for some posts about a tragic news event, for example when people might want to express empathy.

Zuckerberg said the company, however, has veered away from making a “dislike” button, which could be used to vote down other people’s posts. He said the new button is ready to be tested soon and could be rolled out broadly depending on how it does.


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