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ALRC wants Matale Mass grave probed by UN

 

Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) has urged The United Nations (UN) to assist in the investigations into the mass grave unearthed in Matale last year.

In a written statement submitted to the UN Human Rights Council, ahead of the 22nd session which begins tomorrow ALRC has said that the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances should, through their experts, study the situation and the conduct of inquiries relating to the remains of the 200 or more persons found in Matale and assist the Sri Lankan government to ensure that these inquiries meet international standards.

The written submissions ALRC has made to the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council:

SRI LANKA: The need for the preservation and proper inquiries into the remains of about 200 bodies found in the mass grave at Matale

1. The ALRC and its sister organisation, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), have documented numerous cases of enforced disappearances to the state of Sri Lanka and to the UN Working Group.

2. The question of enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka has been a matter of concern for the Working Group for a long period now. The particular issue that the ALRC wishes to highlight in this submission is the finding of the remains of around 200 bodies at Matale, which is under investigation by the Sri Lankan authorities. According to forensic experts who have so far done the preliminary work, the remains of the bodies indicate injuries and therefore the experts now regard the site containing these remains as a crime scene.

3. The assumption so far is that these remains are of persons who were arrested as suspects of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna during the period of its second uprising, known usually as the second insurrection. The period was between 1987 and 1991. According to the reports of the commissions of inquiry into involuntary disappearances there were complaints to these commissions of disappearances of persons numbering around 30,000.

4. Now that it has come to the notice of the authorities of the discovery of these remains in what may be called a mass grave it is the duty of the state to conduct thorough inquiries into the circumstances under which these persons have suffered the injuries which are evidenced by their remains and to ensure a credible course of action leading to the discovery of all the details relating to the alleged crimes.

5. An inquiry must be able to ascertain the identity of the persons whose remains have been found; where they were arrested if these persons were disposed of after arrest, what is the nature of the injuries indicated on the remains and what the historical circumstances that led to their treatment that in turn led to these injuries. Such information should finally lead to the identity of those who caused these injuries which led to the death of these persons. Once such factual details are established it would be possible to decide the course of action needed to ensure justice.

6. However, there are serious concerns about the manner in which the remains are being preserved and also the manner in which the inquiries are being conducted. There are detailed processes and techniques essential for the scientific investigation of atrocity crimes. These include methods for the location, evaluation, excavation, recovery, and recording of mass graves and the analysis of human remains and other evidence in order to establish the identity of victims and the cause and manner of their deaths.

7. The ALRC suggests that the United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearances should, through their experts, study the situation and the conduct of inquiries relating to the remains of the 200 or more persons found in Matale, Sri Lanka and assist the Sri Lankan government to ensure that these inquiries will meet the international standards required for such inquiries. The ALRC also suggests that the international community should assist the Sri Lankan government with expertise, equipment and the necessary financial resources for the proper conduct of investigations as well as the preservation of these remains under ideal conditions, which are required for such purposes.

8. The ALRC is concerned that if such international cooperation is not extended there is the possibility of the neglect of these remains which may lead to their destruction as a whole or in part and also that if the remains are not preserved under proper conditions their evidentiary value may progressively degenerate.

 

“We'd even implement 13 plus” – Rajapaksa has told Manmohan Singh say TN MPs

 

India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has stressed that there would be no compromise on government of Sri Lanka’s promise to implement the 13th Amendment of the Constitution.

Indian Premier has given this undertaking to a delegation of Congress MPs from Tamil Nadu in Parliament House yesterday (22nd).

Singh has said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had assured him that his country “would even implement “13 plus” (more than what was there in the amendment) for the welfare of Tamils.”

The Tamil Nadu delegation urged Dr. Singh to ensure that India voted keeping Sri Lankan Tamils’ interests in mind when political resolutions are taken up at United Nations meetings. They said New Delhi must vote against the Rajapaksa government when a resolution is taken up at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva next month regarding Colombo’s alleged human rights violations against Tamils.

Among the delegation that had discussion with Indian PM were E.M. Sudarsana Natchiappan, N.S.V. Chithan, Manicka Tagore, P. Viswanathan, M. Krishnaswamy and S.S. Ramasubbu.

 

Vietnam-Sri Lanka Friendship Foundation makes a financial donation to ‘Orange’ victims in Vietnam

Vietnam-Sri Lanka Friendship Foundation made a financial donation on 18th of this month to the victims of Agent Orange chemical which was used in Vietnam during 1961-71 by the US forces.  The donation which was contributed by the Vietnamese in Sri Lanka too was handed over by the vice-president of the foundation, Specialist Dr. R.A Chandrasena to the Vietnam Association for the Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) at its head quarters in Hanoi, Vietnam. President of VAVA Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Rinh, its other officials and Ms. Nguyen Hoa Khanh of Vietnam Embassy in Sri Lanka participated at the event.

Addressing the gathering Dr. Chandrasena said that after a terrible war and looking after millions of Agent Orange chemical victims, the socio-economic success that Vietnam has achieved is highly appreciable.  He further said that war memorials including prisons used to imprison and torture Vietnamese during war time portray the extent of war that the Vietnam experienced.

President of VAVA Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Rinh said that millions of people either were killed or maimed by Agent orange chemical and still babies are born in the third generation with birth deformities. He commended the Sri Lanka-Vietnam Friendship Foundation and Vietnamese in Sri Lanka for the friendly help.

JVP at 8th National Convention of Nepal Youth Federation

The Member of the Central Committee of the JVP Dr. H.P. Dhammika participated at the 8th National Convention of the Nepal Youth Federation of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist).

A large number of youth organizations of international left movements participated in the Convention that was held in Lumbini in Nepal from 22nd to 24th of this month.

Money from decentralized budget is not from pockets of politicians – Handunneththi

“Today parents have to maintain schools in this country. Even then they cannot have any confidence regarding examinations their children have to sit. Nor can they have any hope for employment for their children.

The poor in the villages cannot admit their children to schools. The super college near the home is closed for the underprivileged. The parents have to go behind politicians. There are no facilities for village schools but schools where children of the affluent parents go have super luxuries. The masses must consider whether this system is suitable for our country,” said JVP Parliamentarian Sunil Handunneththi.

Mr. Handunneththi made these observations at a ceremony held at Meegoda to declare open a new building for the Atygala Maternity Home constructed with funds from the decentralized budget.

Speaking further Mr. Handunneththi said decentralized fund is not money the ministers, Parliamentarians or Members of provincial or other councils bring from home. It is money paid by the masses as taxes. However, some politicians act as if they spend from their pockets and get their photographs and names inscribed in plaques to build their images. What is necessary is to use public money for the benefit of the public he said.

The Public Health Officer for Homagama Lakshman Jayamanne addressing the gathering said certain media in Sri Lanka promote harmful food. This causes spread of non-communicable diseases among our people and all should rally to save the masses from this situation.

The Leader of the Opposition of Homagama Pradeshiya Sabha  Anura Panagoda and Member Anura Bamunuarachchi too were present.