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Mar-03-2014 16:54printcomments

Mannar Bishop And 204 Tamil Christian Priests Call For International Investigation On Sri Lanka

"...we are concerned about the post war intensification of systematic efforts to destroy the identity of the Tamil community."

Tamils in Sri Lanka
Unacceptable, yet this is life for Tamils in Sri Lanka; this is Sri Lanka's regard for its own citizens, simply because they are Tamil.

(COLOMBO Columbo Telegraph) - Two hundred and five Tamil Christian priests from North and East including Mannar Bishop have written to the members of UN Human Rights Council calling for international investigation on Sri Lanka’s war crimes and human rights violations. The priests call for a strong and action oriented resolution on Sri Lanka at the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Rt. Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph, Catholic Bishop of Mannar

We publish below the statement in full;

3rd March 2014

To: Members of UN Human Rights Council (UN HRC)

Tamil Christian Clergy from North-East Sri Lanka call for an international investigation mechanism from the UN Human Rights Council

Before the 19th and 22nd sessions of the UN HRC, some of us, as Tamil Christian clergy serving in the war ravaged North and East of Sri Lanka, wrote to the members of the UN HRC, appealing to appoint an international mechanism to look into allegations of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, during the war in Sri Lanka. We have experienced, heard and seen indications of numerous such allegations. Our own experience and knowledge correspondent to the findings and recommendations of the UN Panel of Experts, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and well known Sri Lankan and international human rights organizations.

Some of us have engaged with the government of Sri Lanka and numerous governmental bodies and ad hoc Commissions of Inquiries such as the LLRC, but almost 5 years after the end of the war, we have not seen any truth and justice emerging from domestic mechanisms. On the other hand, some of us and others who have engaged with domestic mechanisms have been interrogated, threatened and intimidated.

The letter and spirit of even the limited positive findings and recommendations of the LLRC are not being implemented. And even the symbolic recommendations, such as those related to singing of the national anthem in two languages, commemorating the dead, public apology have not been implemented.

Disappearances, sexual abuse, arrests, detention and torture under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, restrictions and attacks on freedom of assembly, expression, association and movement continue to date. Collective commemoration of dead and disappeared and religious freedom is restricted. Those who criticize, question and challenge government policies and practices, and those who engage with the international community on human rights issues, are branded as terrorist supporters / traitors. They are threatened, interrogated, intimidated by the government’s security apparatus. Some of us have also been targeted in this manner. We are aware that writing this letter and engaging with the UN HRC itself can make us vulnerable to risks, and several of the more vulnerable clergy are not signing onto this, even though they agree with the contents.

The military continues its interference in civil and economic activities, especially in the North and East, undermining the civil and economic empowerment of local people, public officials and elected local government bodies.

We are aware and concerned that such incidents have also spread to other parts of the country, including attacks on Muslim and Christian communities across the country.

At the same time, we are concerned about the post war intensification of systematic efforts to destroy the identity of the Tamil community. This is particularly so by grabbing land for military establishments, development projects and government organized settlement of Sinhalese in the North and East, where Tamils have historically been the majority. The imposition of majority Sinhalese language and majority Buddhist religion in the North and East is another indication of attempts to destroy our identity. There has been no genuine political process to address the root causes of the conflict, which are being aggravated. Thus, there is a need for the international community, through the UN, to find creative ways of assisting Tamils to live in dignity as a nation.

Many of the announcements made by the government are red herring to deceive the international community. The appointment of yet another Commission of Inquiry to look into disappearances, a new census conducted to determine casualties and damages during war, announcement of South African styled Truth & Reconciliation Commission, military tribunals investigating allegations against themselves, are some of the latest such efforts. The mandate given to the Tamil National Alliance by over 78% of the people in the Northern Province is not being respected and in this context, the holding of the elections is becoming meaningless.

It is in this context that we are appealing to you again, to adopt a resolution at the 25th session of the HRC in March 2014 that will appoint an international investigative mechanism that will note the above and will;

  1. investigate allegations of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the war by all parties to the conflict, moving beyond existing findings, such as “credible allegations”, which have already been established by the UN Panel of Experts and others
  2. identify clearly specific units and individuals responsible, with a focus on most responsible senior officials
  3. monitor ongoing human rights violations all over Sri Lanka
  4. monitor progress, assist and advice on domestic accountability mechanisms for past allegations
  5. consist of experts from different parts of the world, and supported by a well resourced secretariat with competent full time staff
  6. receive input from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Special Procedures of the UN HRC
  7. provide for victim and witness protection
  8. have an initial mandate of one year, with an interim report being presented to the 27th session of the UNHRC and full report to the 28th session of the UNHRC, where an extension and enhancement of the mandate could be considered
  9. recommend next steps at national and international level towards ensuring accountability
  10. have unrestricted access to all relevant places, people and documents.

Thank you.

Sincerely yours,

205 Tamil Christian clergy from North and East ;

1.Rt. Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph, Catholic Bishop of Mannar
2.Rev. Fr. V. A. Justin, omi, Trincomalee
3.Rev. Sr. M. Tharcilla, hfc, Mannar
4.Rev. Fr. S. Arul Sutharson, omi, Mannar
5.Rev. Bro. M. Deloshan Rajeeva, omi, Jaffna
6.Rev. Fr. A. V. Alfred, omi, Mannar

7.Rev. Fr. A. Xavier Croos, Mannar
8.Rev. Fr. Terrance Fernando, Vavuniya
9.Rev. Fr. Desmond Angelo, Vavuniya
10.Rev. Fr. M. Nirmalaraj, Vavuniya
11.Rev. Fr. Anthony Bala, Jaffna
12.Rev. Fr. P. Jesurajah, Mannar
13.Rev. Fr. Reginald, cr, Jaffna
14.Rev. Bro. J. Anthony Sosai, Mannar
15.Rev. Fr. S. C. Vaz, Mannar
16.Rev. Sr. Prista, Batticaloa
17.Rev. Fr. Sugnaraj Croos, Mannar
18.Rev. Fr. Bosco, cr, Jaffna
19.Rev. Fr. Lawrence Leon, Mannar
20.Rev. Fr. A. Luckston De Silva, Mannar
21.Rev. Fr. G. A. Arulraj Croos, Mannar
22.Rev. Sr. Christine Croos, fmm, Mannar
23.Rev. Fr. J. Dunstun, Vavuniya
24.Rev. Sr. Mariatharani, Vavuniya
25.Rev. Fr. M.G. Camillus, Jaffna
26.Rev. Fr. J.S.A. Mariathas, Jaffna
27.Rev. Fr. D. V. Patrick, omi, Mannar
28.Rev. Fr. M. Mariasuthan, cr, Vavuniya
29.Rev. Fr. M.P. Peter Manohar, Mannar
30.Rev. Fr. I.C. Ferdinand, cr, Jaffna
31.Rev. Fr. J. Denystan, Vavuniya
32.Rev. Sr. Juliana Kulas, Mannar
33.Rev. Sr. Mary Theresa, Batticaloa
34.Rev. Sr. J. Ragal, Vavuniya
35.Rev. Sr. Jeyam, Vavuniya
36.Rev. Fr. A. Jesuraj Silva, Mannar
37.Rev. Sr. Jacintha, Kilinochchi
38.Rev. Sr. Sylvia, Kilinochchi
39.Rev. Fr. Terrance, Mannar
40.Rev. Sr. Emma, Vavuniya
41.Rev. Fr. Francis Jeyam, Vavuniya
42.Rev. Fr. S. Balendran, Jaffna
43.Rev. Sr. Hilary Fernando, scjm, Vavuniya
44.Rev. Fr. A. Sahayanathan, ivd, Mannar

45.Rev. Sr. Marietta, Vavuniya
46.Rev. Fr. T. Navaratnam, Vavuniya
47.Rev. Sr. Fatima, rgs, Mannar
48.Rev. Sr. Jacintha, scjm, Kilinochchi
49.Rev. Sr. Aquina Joseph, Mannar
50.Rev. Fr. S. Stephen Rajah, Mannar
51.Rev. Fr. S. Mariathas Leon, Mannar
52.Rev. Sr. Mildred Pedrupillai, Mannar
53.Rev. Sr. Amalie, Mannar
54.Rev. Sr. M. Julia, Mannar
55.Rev. Fr. M. R. Figurado, Mannar
56.Rev. Fr. A. Arulanandam, cr, Vavuniya
57.Rev. Fr. Macmilen, Jaffna
58.Rev. Fr. Rajeswaran, cr, Jaffna
59.Rev. Fr. Nevins Peries, Mannar
60.Rev. Fr. Mathanraj, omi, Vavuniya
61.Rev. Sr. Salome Moraes, Mannar
62.Rev. Fr. Douglas Milton Logu, Mannar
63.Rev. Sr. V. S. Celestine, Mannar
64.Rev. Fr. Albanraj, Mannar
65.Rev. Fr. Sebastian Croos, Jaffna
66.Rev. Sr. Rene, Mannar
67.Rev. Sr. Rohini, Mannar
68.Rev. Fr. F. J. Gnanaraj Croos, Mannar
69.Rev. Fr. S. V. Avithappar, Mannar
70.Rev. Fr. A. Celestine Mascringhe, omi, Jaffna
71.Rev. Sr. Sakunthala, op, Mannar
72.Rev. Sr. Maria Goretti, scjm, Vavuniya
73.Rev. Fr. Fr. A. M. Stephen, cr, Vavuniya
74.Rev. Fr. S. M. Devarajah, Mannar
75.Rev. Sr. Rosalind, Mannar
76.Rev. Sr. Doreen, Mannar
77.Rev. Sr. Kosala, Mannar
78.Rev. Sr. M. Christeena, ac, Mannar
79.Rev. Bro. Francis Mark Ignatius, Mannar
80.Rev. Sr. Marsilla, Mannar
81.Rev. Sr. Herman, Vavuniya
82.Rev. Sr. Judesala, Vavuniya

83.Rev. Sr. Marian, Vavuniya
84.Rev. Sr. Rosy, Vavuniya
85.Rev. Sr. Shanthy, Vavuniya
86.Rev. Sr. Sebo, Vavuniya
87.Rev. Sr. Malarvily, Vavuniya
88.Rev. Sr. Victoire, Vavuniya
89.Rev. Sr. Jane, Vavuniya
90.Rev. Sr. Theresa, Vavuniya
91.Rev. Sr. Rita, Vavuniya
92.Rev. Sr. Perinpamalar, Vavuniya
93.Rev. Sr. Antoinita, Vavuniya
94.Rev. Fr. A. Sebamalai, Vavuniya
95.Rev. Fr. J. B. Devarajah, Vavuniya
96.Rev. Fr. V. Yogeswaran SJ, Trincomalee
97.Rev. N. Prabahar, Trincomalee
98.Rev.Fr. Antonthas Morais SJ, Trincomalee
99.Rev. Sujithar Sivanayagam, Trincomalee
100.Rev. Fr. T. Jeevaraj SJ, Batticaloa
101.Rev. Fr. Elil Rajendram SJ, Vavuniya
102.Rev. Fr. Jeevaraj, sj, Batticaloa
103.Rev. Fr. John Joseph Mary, sj, Batticaloa
104.Rev. Fr. A. Ahilaraj, sj, Batticaloa
105.Rev. Fr. T. Sahayanathan, sj, Batticaloa
106.Rev. Fr. A. Lawrence, sj, Batticaloa
107.Rev. Fr. Saminathan, Batticaloa
108.Rev. Fr. A. Arulanantham, Batticaloa
109.Rev. Fr. T. A. Julian, Batticaloa
110.Rev. Fr. Ambrose, Batticaloa
111.Rev. Fr. Douglas James, Batticaloa
112.Rev. Fr. Alex Robert, Batticaloa
113.Rev. Fr. J. S. Morasus, Batticaloa
114.Rev. Fr. Ravikanth cmf, Batticaloa
115.Rev. Fr. K. Mariathasan, Batticaloa
116.Rev. Fr. Laconz Figurado, Mannar
117.Rev. Fr. Jeyabalan Croos, Mannar
118.Rev. Fr. Sebamalai Emmanuel, Mannar
119.Rev. Fr. Augustin Pushparajah, Mannar
120.Rev. Fr. L. Gnanathicam, Mannar
121.Rev. Fr. Pancras Jordan, Mannar

122.Rev. Fr. S. Vasanthan, Jaffna
123.Rev. Fr. S. Roy Ferdinand, Jaffna
124.Rev. Fr. A.J. Jeeyaseelan, Jaffna
125.Rev. Fr. T. Raviraj, Jaffna
126.Rev. Fr. S. V.B. Mangalarajah, Jaffna
127.Rev. Deacon. Varathan OMI, Jaffna
128.Rev. Fr. T. Quinson, Jaffna
129.Rev. Fr. R.H. Sahayhanayagam, Jaffna
130.Rev. Fr. M. Nixon Collin, Jaffna
131.Rev. Fr. P. Pathinathar. Jaffna
132.Rev. Fr. A. Augustine, Jaffna
133.Rev. Ravichchandran, Jaffna
134.Rev. Fr. Mary Joseph, Jaffna
135.Rev. Fr. Punithakumar, Jaffna
136.Rev. Sr. Patricia Joseph, Jaffna
137.Rev. Sr. Rosemary Mudiyappar, Jaffna
138.Rev. Sr. Michel Joseph, Jaffna
139.Rev. Sr. Fabian Andrespillai, Jaffna
140.Rev. Sr. Johnsy Anthony Morais, Jaffna
141.Rev. Sr. Jasintha Marie, Jaffna
142.Rev. Sr. Daniela, Jaffna
143.Rev. Sr. Ranjani B., Jaffna
144.Rev. Sr. Virgine C., Jaffna
145.Rev. Sr. Paulina S., Jaffna
146.Rev. Sr. Anges S., Jaffna
147.Rev. Sr. Theelas, Jaffna
148.Rev. Sr. Stephanic, Jaffna
149.Rev. Sr. Marietta,Jaffna
150.Rev. Sr. Therese, Jaffna
151.Rev. Sr. Carmala, Jaffna
152.Rev. Sr. Dorathy, Jaffna
153.Rev. Sr. Rina, Jaffna
154.Rev. Sr. Marina, Jaffna
155.Rev. Sr. Elsy, Jaffna
156.Rev. Sr. Anista, Jaffna
157.Rev. Sr. Sylvia, Jaffna
158.Rev. Sr. Angelma, Jaffna
159.Rev. Sr. Grace, Jaffna

160.Rev. Sr. Paula, Jaffna
161.Rev. Sr. Iniga, Jaffna
162.Rev. Sr. T.P. Latha, Jaffna
163.Rev. Sr. K. Rita, Jaffna
164.Rev. Sr. Jacintha, Jaffna
165.Rev. Sr. Emmanuel, Jaffna
166.Rev. Sr. Vinoline, Jaffna
167.Rev. Sr. Anushala, Jaffna
168.Rev. Sr. Pricilla, Jaffna
169.Rev. Sr. Chithera, Jaffna
170.Rev. Sr. Lucina, Jaffna
171.Rev. Sr. Emerita, Jaffna
172.Rev. Sr. Mariagorretti, Jaffna
173.Rev. Sr. Virgi, Jaffna
174.Rev. Sr. S.P. Grace, Jaffna
175.Rev. Sr. Geraldine, Jaffna
176.Rev. Sr. Virginia, Jaffna
177.Rev. Sr. Manuela, Jaffna
178.Rev. Sr. Caroline, Jaffna
179.Rev. Fr. Peduru Arulnathan, omi, Jaffna
180.Rev. Fr. Santhiyogu Christy Joy Fernando omi, Jaffna
181.Rev. Fr. John Saminathar Rene Beeshmanomi, Jaffna
182.Rev. Fr. T. Jeno Harance omi, Jaffna
183.Rev. Fr. Pathinathan Sathiyaseelan omi, Jaffna
184.Rev. Fr. Sebamalai Anpurasa, omi, Jaffna
185.Rev. Fr. T. Anson Regikumar, omi, Jaffna
186.Rev. Fr. Paul Jeyanthan Pachchek, omi, Jaffna
187.Rev. Fr. James Pathinathar, Jaffna
188.Rev. Fr. Nasarajah, Jaffna
189.Rev. Fr. Roshan, Jaffna
190.Rev. Fr. Kirubaharan Jaffna
191.Rev. Fr. Denny Calistus, Mannar
192.Rev. Fr. Leo Armstrong, Jaffna
193.Rev. Fr. Elmo Arulnesan, Jaffna
194.Rev. Fr. Arulthasan, Jaffna
195.Rev. Fr. X.W. James, Jaffna
196.Rev. Fr. Nesanayagam, Jaffna
197.Rev. Fr. M. I. Thayakaran, Jaffna

198.Rev. Fr. Canisiusraj, Jaffna
199.Rev. Fr. Sylvester, Jaffna
200.Rev. Fr. A. J. Yavis, Kilinochchi
201.Rev. Fr. Brian, Jaffna
202.Rev. Fr. Eugene Amalaraj, omi, Vavuniya
203.Rev. Fr. P. Anthony Jesuthasan, omi, Vavuniya
204.Rev. Fr. T. Vasantharasa, omi, Vavuniya
205.Rev. Fr. S. Philip Ranjanakumar, omi, Vavuniya



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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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