Action Alert Archive
Investigate War Crimes in Sri Lanka
February 17, 2010
It has been nine months since the end of Sri Lanka's civil war, but Tamil civilians are still waiting for justice. Last October, the U.S. State Department released a report to Congress detailing instances in which the Government of Sri Lanka committed war crimes and violated international humanitarian law. Although Sri Lanka promised to create a committee of experts to examine the war crime allegations, it has yet to follow through. It is now time for the U.S. to help secure justice in for Tamils by investigating Sri Lanka's numerous crimes against humanity.
Sri Lanka's government officials refuse to accept responsibility and are hostile toward any criticism of its administration and actions. As such, President Mahinda Rajapaksa's recent reelection will most likely continue to deny justice to Sri Lanka's civilian population. Last week, the government labeled retired General Sarath Fonseka “traitor” after he told the BBC, "I am definitely going to reveal what I know, what I was told and what I heard. Anyone who has committed war crimes should definitely be brought into courts" and subsequently arrested him. This arbitrary arrest is just one example of Sri Lanka's attempts to block inquiries and avoid responsibility.
Human rights monitors such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have been calling for investigations into the numerous reports of war crimes committed during Sri Lanka's civil war. Many allegations are being substantiated, as shown by the UN's authentication of a cellphone video of Sri Lankan soldiers committing extrajudicial executions.
The U.S. should use its powerful role as a key international player to call for an immediate war crimes investigation. Because Chinese and Russian opposition preclude the initiation of an investigation by the UN Security Council, it is imperative that the U.S. take action on its own. Please call upon your colleagues in Congress and the State Department and begin an inquiry into Sri Lanka's crimes. There can be no future peace or justice in Sri Lanka without holding the Government of Sri Lanka accountable for its crimes. Thank you for your concern and actions toward achieving justice in Sri Lanka.
The mission of People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL) is to end the systemic human rights abuses against the Tamil population in Sri Lanka, and promote equality, rights and justice on the island. PEARL is 501(c)3 non-profit organization led by human rights activists concerned about the situation in Sri Lanka.