“Walk for Justice for Tamils” took place from Pothuvil to Polikandy (P2P) in Sri Lanka from Feb. 3 rd to Feb. 7 th 2021. Tens of thousands of Tamils joined.
States to take steps toward the referral of the situation in Sri Lanka to the ICC.”
NEW YORK, USA, February 11, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — “Walk for Justice for Tamils” took place from Pothuvil to Polikandy (P2P) in Sri Lanka from February 3 rd to February 7 th 2021. Tens of thousands of Tamils participated despite intimidation and threats by the Sri Lankan Security Forces.
One of the protesters’ main demands is referral of Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The walk was spearheaded by Tamil Civil Society Organizations in Sri Lanka.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet in her report A/HRC/46/20 dated 27th January, 2021 urged UN Human Rights Council Member States to take steps toward the referral of the situation in Sri Lanka to the ICC.
The Tamil domestic political parties in Sri Lanka, religious organizations and civil society, notably the Association for Relatives of the Enforced Disappearances also called for referral of Sri Lanka to the ICC in their joint letter to member states on January 15.
In 2015, more than 1.5 million people around the world (70,000 in Sri Lanka) signed a petition to ‘Refer Sri Lanka to the ICC’. In 2019, the International Commission of Jurists said that referral of Sri Lanka to the ICC was “fully warranted”.
In her report the High Commissioner stated that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) documented “the “total failure of domestic mechanisms”, including past presidential commissions of inquiry, to ensure accountability and examined the “deeply- entrenched barriers to justice in the domestic criminal justice system, particularly for international crimes”.
The High Commissioner referring to her previous Report in February 2020 stated that she is “not convinced that appointment of yet another commission of inquiry will advance accountability”.
We hear views from some quarters that China will veto any referral to the ICC in the Security Council, thus there is no point to such a referral. First, when Sudan was referred to the ICC with respect to Darfur, even though China had a good commercial relationship with Sudan, it did not oppose the referral. Alternatively, if China vetos, so be it. Let there be a showdown in the Security Council. Last week, China blocked a unified statement from the Security Council about the coup in Myanmar. That does not mean that the coup is no longer of international interest. China cannot block that.
Moreover, China’s action has strengthened the call for the return to democracy in countries such as Myanmar. Similarly, if China blocks the referral of Sri Lanka to the ICC, it will boost the efforts in the other countries to take actions bilaterally or multilaterally.
In fact, President Obama in his latest book “A Promised Land” has says that due to the lack of will and capability the Security Council was not able to prevent the ethnic slaughter in Sri Lanka. The present Secretary of State Mr. Antony Blinken wrote a foreign policy journal that the future course of action is the formation of a league of democracies that will take action in concert.
The call of the hour is to convey the Tamils’ demands to the international community irrespective of the potential outcome.