British Tamils Press For Self-Determination To Address Human Rights Issues In SL

British Tamils Forum, a Tamil Diaspora body operating in the UK, asserted that the right to self determination should be accepted to address what they termed as systematic violations of human rights of the Tamils in the North and East.

The BTF issued this statement in a context where the Sri Lankan government is currently being reviewed by the Human Rights Committee at the 112th session for its compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

“The Human Rights Team of the British Tamils Forum is closely following the important UN Human Rights mechanism and submitted a NGO reply for consideration to the Human Rights Committee. The Human Rights Team of BTF welcomes that the Committee included and were interested in information which were provided in our report,” the statement said.

The main focus of the 27th session in September for our delegation was to liaise with Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) on evidence gathering & supplying, as well as to find solutions to overcome problems caused by Sri Lanka’s non-cooperation to the investigation, as well as to discuss with Missions regarding further actions against Sri Lanka.

Speaking from Geneva, Human Rights Coordinator Sowjeya Joseph said, “We expect strong recommendations vis-à-vis the Sri Lankan State from the Human Rights Committee which will hopefully be considered by Human Rights Council in its further engagement with Sri Lanka and that those recommendations are useful and fruitful to bring accountability and justice to all people in the Island of Sri Lanka.”

She further commented: “While the OISL investigation is present and the efforts to facilitate submissions are ongoing, however, it is of utmost importance, in a time where the Sri Lankan State is under extreme pressure and is in the focal point of the international community, to engage with all possible UN Human Rights mechanisms in order to force the Sri Lankan State to comply with human rights and to establish the case of violation of collective rights.”

“The failure to address Article 1 during the state review process is significant. The Human Rights Committee needs to do more than just acknowledge the incidences of these violations and point out the need for addressing the structural factors that lead to such systemic violations.

The collective human security of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka rests on providing them with an opportunity to exercise their right to self-determination under the ICCPR’s Article 1,” the statement added. 

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