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Lanka Tamil party slams delay in UN rights report

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Colombo: Sri Lanka’s main Tamil party has expressed dismay over the UN’s decision to delay a report on the human rights situation in the country describing it as “justice delayed is justice denied”.

Denouncing the decision by the UN to defer its report by six months, Tamil National Alliance’s (TNA) northern provincial councillor M K Shivajilingam has written to UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Raad Al Hussein, saying that the Tamil people sincerely hope the UN system will not delay or deny them full and complete justice.

He wrote that “the Tamil people are highly disappointed and dismayed by your announcement on February 16, to delay the investigation on Sri Lanka”.

“The Tamil people had been anxiously waiting with high hopes for the release of the report, but this unexpected delay has caused serious concerns to the victimised Tamil population, and we strongly believe justice delayed is justice denied,” Shivajilingam said in the letter hoping that the report will be duly released in September and the UN judicial proceedings will follow without any further delay.

“We sincerely hope this extended time will be used to strengthen the report and not to weaken it. Tamil people have experienced disappointment and disillusionment in the last 67 years, and we do not believe Sri Lanka will ever deliver true justice to the Tamils.

“Instead, it will use the time and space to hoodwink the international community again, and try to derail the UN process of accountability and justice to the Tamils,” Shivajilingam said.

Despite the new government of President Maithripala Sirisena taking measures such as the release of private lands acquired for military purposes, Tamils remain discontented. The northern provincial council recently adopted a resolution urging an investigation into alleged “genocide” of Tamils during the country’s 30-year civil war with the LTTE that ended in 2009.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe whose 100-day programme is committed to making genuine reconciliation measures towards the Tamils, has described the TNA-adopted genocide resolution as “racist”.

Speaking at a public engagement over the weekend, Wickremesinghe said the UNHRC’s decision to delay the report was a fitting reply to the northern council’s attempt to raise communal passions.

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