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HindustanTimes Wed,24 Sep 2014

India should back US move against Sri Lanka: Jayalalithaa

IANS  Chennai, March 18, 2013
First Published: 18:38 IST(18/3/2013) | Last Updated: 18:41 IST(18/3/2013)

India should take a "strong stand" against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) meet in Geneva, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa said Monday.

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She urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a letter that India should also move an independent resolution to strengthen the earlier US resolution.

"To assuage the legitimate sense of outrage and deeply hurt sentiments (of Tamils), it is absolutely important that India takes a strong stand in support of the US-sponsored resolution at the 22nd session of the UNHRC and more importantly moves necessary independent amendments to further strengthen the resolution," she said.

Jayalalithaaa said Tamils in Tamil Nadu and around the world were outraged and incensed "over the impunity with which the Sri Lankan government is 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".

Expressing her dismay at the statements made by Manmohan Singh and  External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and terming these as equivocal and prevaricating, Jayalalithaa said they do not give a clear indication of India's stance, particularly with reference to "the genocide which has taken place in Sri Lanka resulting in enormous loss of innocent, civilian lives and gross violation of human rights".

"It was disappointing that India had maintained a deafening silence when the US sponsored draft was taken up for discussion in the on-going UNHRC session," she said.

"India must take a strong, historic and courageous stance in this matter and not just support the US sponsored draft resolution on Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka, but strengthen it further through suitable amendments that would make the resolution unambiguous in intent and effective in implementation," she added.

According to Jayalalithaa, India should seek a mention of the UN Secretary General's Panel of Experts report in addition to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report in the preambular para (PP) 5 of the resolution.

She said the words "serious concern and dismay" be inserted in PP 9 at the reports of continuing violations of human rights.

Jayalalithaa also sought the condemnation of Lankan government's failure to fulfill its public commitments including on devolution of political authority to Tamils there. She said there resolution should 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," she said.

According to her, the resolution should insist that the OHCHR (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights) report be implemented in its totality.

Stressing that Tamils in Sri Lanka live like a second class citizen there and are subjected to harassment, discrimination and torture, Jayalalithaa said the Lankan government 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.

She said the ongoing session of UNHRC is an appropriate forum to mount pressure on Sri Lanka "..to ensure that accountability is established under an international framework for the war crimes and genocide committed in the closing stages of the civil war and the ongoing gross human rights abuses."

She said it is also an opportunity to secure for Sri Lankan Tamils equal constitutional rights and a life of dignity.

Jayalalithaa hoped that the Indian government at this historic moment would "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."

Sri Lanka is under attack for the killing of a large number of Tamil civilians during the final stages of the conflict that crushed the Tamil Tigers in May 2009.


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