Muttur and Qana massacres:
I. Muttur massacre of
Over 800 people are estimated to have been killed in
On 5 August 2006, 17 workers from French NGO, Action Contre la Faim (Action Against Hunger, ACF) were shot dead at Muttur town allegedly by the Sri Lanka Army soldiers who entered the town in the early morning on that day. The aid workers wearing ACF agency T-shirts were reportedly trapped inside their Muttur branch office residence located close to Muttur Cultural Centre. The bodies were all face downwards on the front lawn of the ACF office, seemingly lined up and shot at very close range.
"The bodies [of Muttur massacre victims] were all face downwards on the front lawn [of ACF office], seemingly lined up and shot at very close range. The sight was too much to handle," said a Fact Finding Mission of the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies that visited Muttur town 6 August 2006.
Bodies of 15 of the slain aid workers were recovered at the front lawn of the ACF office. Bodies of two others were recovered in a car that suggests that they have apparently been killed while trying to flee the scene of the attack. The two were obviously killed in an attempt to destroy evidence. Out of 17 killed, 16 were Tamils while one was Muslim. Four of the slain were women.
The targeting of aid workers belonging to the Tamil minorities allegedly by the Sri Lankan soldiers exposes one of the main reasons of the failure of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission. The Sri Lankan authorities and the mainstream Sinhalese political parties perceive the humanitarian agencies as pro-LTTE. The international monitors have often been criticised as partial.
II. Qana massacre of
Nearly 1,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in the Israeli attacks on
While Hezbollahs have been undoubtedly responsible for the continued attacks on the Iasraeli targets including civilians, the disproportionate use of force especially against the civilians in These are war crimes. It is another matter that relevant international bodies may not declare so.
These are war crimes. It is another matter that relevant international bodies may not declare so.
III. Response of the UN and its bodies on
International community was shocked by the images of the Qana massacre on 30 July 2006. The United Nations bodies have been seized of the conflict in
On 31 July 2006, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour condemned “killing of dozens of civilians, among whom a very high proportion were children, resulting from the shelling by the Israeli Forces of a residential building in which civilians were sheltering in Qana,
On 3 August 2006, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination held a general debate on the humanitarian crisis in
The independent experts of the UN Human Rights Council planned an investigative mission to
On 7 August 2006, the Group of the Arab States and Organisation of Islamic countries at the UN Human Rights Council also placed a request to convene a Special Session of the Human Rights Council to “consider and take action on gross human rights violations by Israel in Lebanon, including the Qana massacre, country wide targeting of innocent civilians and destruction of vital civilian infrastructure”. The proposal is supported by The Human Rights Council is scheduled to hold its Second Special Session on Lebanon on 11 August 2006.
The Human Rights Council is scheduled to hold its Second Special Session on Lebanon on 11 August 2006.
As we upload this issue of ACHR WEEKLY REVIEW, the United Nations Security Council is considering a draft resolution aimed at ending the conflict between
IV. The lack of response of the UN on the Muttur massacre
There is no difference between the Qana massacre and Muttur massacre. The aid workers of the Action Contre la Faim have been targeted because of their Tamil ethnic origin, an act of worst form of racism. The workers of ACF were civilians and were only providing humanitarian assistance to those who have been affected by the conflict.
Three days have passed since the Muttur massacre took place but unfortunately there has not been any public statement from the UN Bodies including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and concerned UN Special Rapporteurs on the massacre of the ACF workers.
While Sri Lankan government has promised an independent investigation, its investigations into previous massacres of the ethnic Tamil minorities do not evoke any confidence.
Asian Centre for Human Rights calls for interventions from the UN Human Rights Council and its various mechanisms and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights into the Muttur massacre. An international inquiry into the Muttur massacre is crucial to uphold accountability for such gross violations of the Geneva Conventions.
The escalating conflict in