2ND LEAD (Corrections)

CBK answerable for crimes committed under her regime: Ananthy Sasitharan

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 31 August 2016, 20:43 GMT]
Executive Presidents of the SL State in the past and at the present are accountable and answerable for the crimes committed during their regimes, said Ananthy Sasitharan on Tuesday. She was targeting former SL President Chandrika Kumaratunga (CBK), who is now heading the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR), as responsible, accountable and answerable for the crimes committed during her rule. “If the current and former presidents are serious about reconciliation, they should first stop calling the genocidal war a ‘humanitarian war’. They should officially recognize the Tamil struggle as a liberation struggle and those who participated in it as freedom fighters without any qualms or reluctance. We can only start reconciliation from a position that those who were made to disappear were not terrorists,” Ananthy has said vowing to step up the campaign for international justice.

Conference, Picketing in Colombo on Missing Persons Day

On Tuesday, Ananthy was addressing more than 200 delegates at an island-wide conference, held in Kelaniya in Colombo on the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

“Former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga Bandaranaike is currently leading the State office for reconciliation. In 2004, she came with an apology to the victims of 1983 Black July anti-Tamil pogroms that were carried out during the times of the UNP government. When she came with the apology, she compared the crime with what happened in Nazi Germany,” Ananthy Sasithran said citing CBK's own words in the apology: “I believe honestly that what happened in 1983, the attitudes that led up to it, and the consequences are similar to what Germany suffered in the 1930’s and 40’s”.

CBK's apology came 21 years after the crime. “12 years have now passed since her apology. But, she is yet to take accountability for the grave crimes committed under her rule,” Ananthy said adding that CBK's failure was illustrating the pathetic state of the so-called reconciliation in the ‘Sri Lankan’ context.

Conference, Picketing in Colombo on Missing Persons Day
[L-R] Sandhya Ekneligoda from Colombo, Ananthy Sasitharan from Jaffna and Anu Asha from Trincomalee

The Northern Provincial Councillor is still searching for her husband Elilan, who was a political leader of the LTTE.

Mr Elilan was handed over to the SL military in front of her family on 18 May 2009 at Vadduvaakal in Mulllaiththeevu. In her fight to trace the whereabouts of her husband and seeking justice for victims like her, Ananthy entered politics and became a councillor of the NPC

On Tuesday, Ananthy Sasitharan was addressed the delegates, along with Anu Asha from Trincomalee and Sandhya Ekneligoda, the wife of the popular Sinhala Journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda, who was abducted and reported missing since January 2010.

Mrs Ekneligoda blamed the SL military for withholding crucial records needed for investigating the whereabouts of her husband.

Tamil women have totally rejected the deceptive designs of the SL State and its strategic partners, especially the latest establishment of the so-called Office of Missing Persons (OMP), which Ananthy described as a move to dilute and distort the struggle for international justice.

More than 200 women delegates had travelled from Jaffna, Ki'linochchi, Vanni, Trincomalee, Batticaloa in the North-East and from Kandy, Passara and Colombo in the South to attend the picketing and conference held at Kelaniya.

Conference, Picketing in Colombo on Missing Persons Day

The delegates condemned the attempts by Colombo to dilute the demand for justice with funds and humanitarian assistance.

While claiming livelihood assistance as a right, the delegates resolved that the victims would never opt for humanitarian assistance as a compensation for the lives of their missing family members.

The delegates also rejected the term widows being applied to them.

Each and every case of the missing persons should be investigated and traces of their whereabouts should be brought out with international assistance, going beyond the parameters of the Sri Lankan state-controlled investigations and mechanisms, Ananthy Sasitharan said.

Families of persons subjected to disappearances protest in Mannaar

Further extracts from Ananthy Sasitharan's speech follow:

“The Sri Lankan State brought out 6th Amendment and made the political aspiration of Eelam Tamils into a crime and as a result State Terrorism was born.

“There are also other State actors who failed to admit the State Terrorism of the Sri Lankan State, but took a one-side stand by declaring the Tamil side as Terrorists. These State actors are also accountable and are complicit in the genocide against Tamils. This is why there are also engaged in diluting the burning issue and are aiding the Sri Lankan State to continue to deviate from real accountability.

“While recognizing most of the crimes as War Crimes, these international actors refuse to call the Tamil prisoners as Prisoners of War. This also indicates a serious shortcoming in the existing International Law and the Human Rights regime.

“While the International Community is reluctant to regard the Tamil-speaking prisoners as Prisoners of War, the Sri Lankan State which engaged in State Terrorism is refusing even the status of Political Prisoners to the Tamil-speaking prisoners and detainees.

Therefore, the struggle for accountability on forcefully disappeared persons is a struggle against international injustice as well as it is being a struggle against the State that engaged in State Terrorism and genocide. It is precisely therefore it is a betrayal to the victims if we avoid their collective Tamil identity.”

Conference, Picketing in Colombo on Missing Persons Day



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