TORONTO: Lawyers Rights Watch Canada has sought an independent international inquiry by a neutral agency into the execution of Balachandran, the 12-year-old son of former Tamil Tigers chief Vellupillai Prabhakaran.
Addressing the UN Human Rights Council on Monday on behalf of Lawyers Rights Watch Canada and the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR), Ms Vani Selvarajah said new evidence has surfaced showing that 12 year-old Balachandran Prabhakaran was “summarily executed while in Sri Lankan army custody on the last days of the war in 2009. These and other violations of international law, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, must be investigated by a neutral party.’’
She said the Tamils and the international community were looking forward to UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay’s report to the Council seeking “a Commission of Inquiry in Sri Lanka, in order that the senseless slaughter of a child and other crimes are addressed.’’
Selvarajah, who also sits on the board of directors of the Canadian Tamil Congress, said the situation in Sri Lanka is “deteriorating, with an increased level of militarization, suppression of free speech, the breakdown of the rule of law and the loss of any democratic space.’’
She said the Tamils “are living under army occupation. Students from the University of Jaffna were illegally arrested and detained for peacefully protesting. Journalists continue to live and work in fear of reprisals. The Chief Justice, Shirane Bandaranayake, was illegally impeached this January.’’
Selvarajah said, “We are encouraged by your optimism that findings of the Secretary General’s landmark internal review undertaken by Charles Petrie, would allow for increased responsibility, transparency and accountability within the UN system.
“To effectively promote accountability in Sri Lanka, Council itself must act to ensure acceptance of the UN Panel of Experts Report as an official document. The Panel of Experts concluded that there were credible allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by both sides of the conflict in Sri Lanka.’’
She said Sri Lanka was trying to throw the credibility of the UN body into doubt as part of its agenda to “silence calls for adherence to international human rights norms. We encourage you to continue to advocate for the cessation of systemic human rights abuses in Sri Lanka and to call for remediation of past violations.’’