November 20th, 2012

New Democrats reiterate call for truth, justice and reconciliation in Sri Lanka

The final report released by the Internal Review Panel set up to study the United Nation’s responses during the final days of the Sri Lankan civil war highlights the need for greater accountability, say New Democrats.

The panel makes clear that the responsibility for atrocities lie with the government of Sri Lanka and the rebels. But it also found a serious failure of UN institutions “to stand up for the rights of the people they were mandated to assist.”

New Democrat Foreign Affairs Critic Paul Dewar called on the Conservatives to live up to their commitment to ensure that these mistakes are never repeated by the international community.

New Democrat Human Rights Critic Wayne Marston also welcomed the report and called for it to become a basis for action. “Without sustained international pressure, those responsible for the horrific human rights violations suffered by civilians in Sri Lanka are unlikely to be brought to justice. Establishing the truth of these events is a crucial step towards reconciliation.”

Marston tabled the motion that began a study of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka during the final days of the civil war in the House Subcommittee on International Human Rights, and launched a petition campaign calling on the government to support efforts to establish an independent body to investigate war crimes committed by both sides during this final phase of the conflict.

“The Canadian government has an important role to play in seeking accountability and justice for victims. In light of this report, supporting an independent investigation is more necessary than ever,” Marston concluded.