"Human Rights in Sri Lanka under-addressed" - Karen Parker

[TamilNet, Thursday, 28 July 2005, 11:23 GMT]
Noting that the Sri Lankan military and paramilitary forces are carrying out "a kind of shadow war", Ms. Karen Parker, J.D., a San Francisco based attorney, addressing the 57th session of the UN Sub-Commission On Promotion and Protection of Human Rights on Wednesday said that the Tamil people, already having suffered nearly 20 years of war, are also suffering from the failure of the Sri Lanka to allow international post-Tsunami aid to reach the Tamils. Ms. Parker urged the Sub-Commission members to voice their concerns in their own statements, and to "seek out ways to communicate concerns to other UN bodies" for action.

Karen Parker, J.D.The situation in Sri Lanka is "woefully under-addressed" by both Commission and Sub-Commission, Ms. Karen Parker told the Sub-Commission.

"The Norwegian-brokered peace talks must be jump-started," Ms. Parker who testifies regularly at the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, noted when addressing the Sub-Commission on agenda item 2 on Wednesday.

Extracts from Parker's address follow:

"Regarding specific country situations that we have addressed for many years, we again bring up the situation in Sri Lanka -- woefully under-addressed by both Commission and Sub-Commission. At present, the peace process is at a standstill, and, in fact, the Sri Lankan military and para-military forces are carrying out a kind of shadow war. Already having suffered nearly 20 years of war, the Tamil people are also suffering from the failure of the Sri Lankan to allow international post-Tsunami aid to reach the Tamils. Distrust of the Tamil people towards the Sinhala people and its government is growing - and the seeds of renewed war are rapidly taking hold. The Norwegian-brokered peace talks must be jump-started."

"The Sub-Commission members should voice their concerns in their own statements, and seek out ways to communicate concerns to other UN bodies for action."

"International Educational Development ideally seeks full condemnation by both the Sub-Commission and the Commission on Human Rights of any and all situations where governments have seriously violated the human rights of their own citizens, or, when engaged in wars, have seriously violated both human rights and humanitarian law rights in the course of armed conflict. In this context, we clearly understand the political motivations of the States that have sought to limit the ability of the Sub-Commission to 'name names' by means of country-specific resolutions."

"While we accept the Commission's first rule limiting Sub-Commission action to situations that the Commission does not have under active review, we regret the subsequent rule that denies the Sub-Commission the right to address any State in its resolutions."

"We have also addressed Iraq for many years. In November 2004 we joined a petition to the OAS by the Association of Humanitarian Lawyers regarding the assault by the United States on hospitals in Falluja. Our written statement (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2005/NGO/13) details this."

Ms. Parker has been an advocate for victims of rights abuses including Ugandan refugees, World War II comfort women of Japan, and child slavery in Saudi Arabia. She is responsible, in part, for the evolution of international law in such areas as economic sanctions, weaponry, environment as a human right, and the rights of the disabled.

Parker has long defended the right of the Tamil peoples to self-determination.

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