ACHR PRESS RELEASE

ACHR INDEX: PR/SL/01/2013
Date: 28 November 2013

Sri Lanka's census on death, missing people and damage to property is a sham

New Delhi: Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) in a press release stated that the announcement of the Government of Sri Lanka today to start a census on the deaths, missing people and damage to property in the conflict with the Tamil minorities from 1983 to 2009 is a sham and an attempt to scuttle the impending resolution to be adopted by the UN Human Rights Council at its 25th session in March 2014 authorising a full, credible and independent international inquiry into the war crimes in Sri Lanka.

"The crux of the issue with respect to Sri Lanka's human rights record is not the lack of census or data but accountability for gross human rights violations and war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan security forces from 1983 and 2009. "- stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.

"The data on the disappearances is already available with the Government of Sri Lanka. On 9 December 1994, then President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga issued Presidential Proclamations, appointing three different Commissions of Inquiry to look into the “Involuntary Removal or Disappearance of Persons” in (i) the Central, North West, North Central and Uva Provinces; (ii) the Northern and the Eastern Provinces; and (iii) the Western, Southern, and Sabaragamuwa Provinces. These three Zonal Commissions in their reports in 1997 stated that they had investigated over 27,000 complaints and established more than 15,000 cases of disappearances. These three Zonal Commissions did not pursue 10,136 complaints and forwarded to the “All Island Commission" subsequently set up by the President of Sri Lanka in 1998. In addition to the cases of disappearances documented by the three Zonal Commissions, the All Island Commission established evidence of 4,473 cases of disappearances and referred 16,305 additional complaints to the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission for necessary action." - further stated Mr Chakma.

"However,  no action has been taken either by the Sri Lankan government or the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission into these cases of disappearances forwarded by the All Islands Commission of Inquiry. The proposed census once again shows that the Sri Lanka does not have any intention to establish accountability for gross human rights violations and war crimes as established by its own commissions of inquiries but it is ready to re-invent the same wheel." - also stated Mr Chakma.

Asian Centre for Human Rights called upon international community to take necessary actions at the UN Human Rights Council to establish a full, credible and independent international inquiry into the war crimes in Sri Lanka. [Ends]