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Sri Lankan government 'has not lived up to its commitments' - GTF

Criticising the failure of the Sri Lankan government to make significant progress on implemented the UN Human Rights Council resolution it co-sponsored, the Global Tamil Forum reiterated the need for accountability, stating the "the present coalition government has not lived up to its commitments and yet to take any meaningful steps in this respect."

"No efforts have been made by the top Sri Lankan leaders to integrate credible international participation in the local judicial processes as stipulated in the UNHRC resolutions," the organisation said. 

See full statement here. Extracts reproduced below: 

"The report from the government’s own Consultation Task Force (CTF) – set up to recommend transitional justice measures based on country-wide consultations – has remained ignored for more than six months after its official release, reinforcing the impression most Tamils have that setting up Commissions and then discarding their reports is a continuation of delaying strategy practiced by many previous governments."

"The Office of Missing Persons (OMP), the only transitional justice mechanism Sri Lankan Parliament enacted exactly a year ago, was signed into law by the President only recently and yet to be operationalised. Mothers of disappeared have been protesting for over five months crying for attention living with the agony of not knowing the fate of their children for so many years. A month has passed since President Sirisena met with the relatives of the missing, but his promise to release any existing lists of surrendered and detained within 48 hours remains unfulfilled. We fail to understand the obstacles in bringing justice to these mothers, four of whom have died since the vigils started, and the unwillingness on the part of the government to bring closure to this highly emotive issue."

"The parliamentary process to ratify Enforced Disappearances as illegal has been indefinitely postponed and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) is yet to be repealed, while continuing use of torture to extract confessions is widely reported. Complete elimination of this dreadful practice from Sri Lanka needs leadership from the government which is solely lacking."

"The government has utterly failed to engage the majority Sinhala community about the need for true reconciliation and the indispensability of transitional justice to achieve that. In fact, a consistent narrative articulating the above and the need for ending the culture of impunity is absent in the political discourse of the country.  If Sri Lanka is to enter a new era of respect for rule-of-law and good governance, resolute and consistent efforts are imperative."

"GTF calls upon the International Community and the Government of Sri Lanka to take serious note of the impartial assessments made by such eminent organisations and mandate holders, and to recognise that Sri Lanka is truly in danger of losing the momentum in addressing the accountability issues that are critically important at this juncture. The Tamils are seeing the same old political dynamics that has plagued Sri Lanka since Independence and are understandably becoming cynical of the Government. For our part, the GTF would like to reaffirm its commitment to assist in any meaningful initiatives to arrest this dangerous trend."