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War Widows Turn to Sex Work in Sri Lanka By Feizal Samath - Inter Press Service (IPS)

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COLOMBO, May 11, 2012 (IPS) - On May 18, some 800 women in Sri Lanka’s northern region will hold Hindu religious ceremonies for the welfare of thier husbands who disappeared or surrendered to the military as it moved in to mop up nearly three decades of armed Tamil separatism.

"These women continue to live in hope even though many of those Tamil men may have died in the last days of the fighting," says Shreen Abdul Saroor, a prominent rights activist working with conflict-affected women in northern Sri Lanka. 

"On the other hand, even if they do acknowledge that their men have died, they don’t want to be known as widows as that could result in them being seen in a negative light in the community," Saroor explained to IPS. "They prefer to be known as single women or as women heading households." 

Traditionally, Hindus consider widows to be inauspicious and the religion does not favour remarriage. Tamils, who form 12 percent of Sri Lanka’s 20 million population, mostly follow Hinduism while Sinhalese, who make up 74 percent of the population, are predominantly Buddhist. 

According to government estimates, the ethnic conflict has widowed 59,000 women, the bulk of them in the Tamil-dominated north and east. 

With rehabilitation tardy and options to earn money few, many women have been compelled to resort to sex work to earn a livelihood and provide for their families.

More :: http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=107750


UN finds cluster bombs in Sri Lanka

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UN report says unexploded cluster munitions found in Sri Lanka, appearing to confirm war use

APNewsBreak: UN finds cluster bombs in Sri Lanka

By RAVI NESSMAN | Associated Press | 3 hours, 29 minutes ago in

A report from a U.N. mine removal expert says unexploded cluster munitions have been found in northern Sri Lanka, appearing to confirm, for the first time, that they were used in that country's long civil war.

The revelation is likely to increase calls for an international investigation into possible war crimes stemming from the bloody final months of fighting in the quarter-century civil war that ended in May 2009. The government has repeatedly denied using cluster munitions during the final months of fighting.

Cluster munitions are packed with small "bomblets" that scatter indiscriminately and often harm civilians. Those that fail to detonate often kill civilians long after fighting ends.


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Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/04/26/2026033/apnewsbreak-un-finds-cluster-bombs.html#storylink=cpy


Conference on International Protection of Human Rights in the 21st Century - Case Study on Sri Lanka

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Conference Review

Feb 22,2012

Conference on International Protection of Human Rights in the 21st Century - Case Study on Sri Lanka organized by Center for War Victims and Human Rights was held on Feb 21, 2012 at Pearson Conference Center, Toronto, Canada. Bracing the cold weather academics, lawyers, activists, MPs, and the public filled the conference center to capacity. The conference began with the speech from CWVHR president Anton Philip who outlined the history and development of human rights instruments such as Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations Convention Against Torture and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The panel speaker Ms. Deridre McConnell from Tamil Centre for Human Rights (London, UK) explained the historical, political and social conditions that resulted in the genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka. She showed that the conditions Tamil face in Sri Lanka is worse than apartheid in South Africa.

Danilo Reyes program officer from Asian Human Rights Commission (Hong Kong) spoke on the topic of “Accountability in constitutionally entrenched impunity”. He explored whether is it possible to find accountability in a country where violations find impunity from the constitution.   He urged that this has to be combated and addressed if we are to make any progress with respect to accountability in Sri Lanka.

Rev Dr. S J Emmanuel from Global Tamil Forum (London, UK) provided an activist point of view of the Tamils struggle in Sri Lanka.

David Matas, a human rights lawyer based in Winnipeg, Canada discussed the Tamil refugee situation in Canada, Malaysia, and Indonesia. He noted that considering the tightening of Canadian refugee laws Tamils should take advantage of group sponsorship in sponsoring refugees. He said there are 3000-4000 Tamil refugees in Malaysia who face an uncertain future. Even though there were more than 500 Tamil schools in Malaysia refugee children could not go to school. In Indonesia there are about several hundred Tamil refugees. While Indonesia is a poorer nation refugees there have a better chance of stating there.

Professor R. Sri Ranjan (University of Manitoba, Canada) reached out to the youngsters to educate themselves and educate others about human rights and the plight of Eelam Tamils. He took several articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and showed how they have been clearly violated in Sri Lanka. He urged that youth in various diaspora communities as a vital resource can they can do much more to bring the plight of the Eelam Tamils to the attention of the International community.

Professor Theodore Orlin (Utica University, New York, USA) discussed on the topic of "“The Uncertain Path to the Realization of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P); Its relevancy for the advocacy of Tamil dignity and rights". John Argue co-ordinator for Sri Lanka - Amnesty International Canada pointed out the various efforts Amnesty has and is undertaking to bring the Sri Lankan human rights issue to the forefront.

Final speaker Ali Beydoun Clinic’s director and supervisor for the UNROW Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic provided a clear three part strategy for action in persecuting war criminals from Sri Lanka. First strategy is to use domestic laws to access the judiciary as he has done in persecuting the Sri Lankan general in USA. Second strategy is to use universal jurisdiction laws in foreign courts. These laws exist in UK, France and Canada and can be used against war criminals visiting or living in those countries. The third strategy was using the UN mechanisms for justice and accountability. To the last strategy he stressed the importance of upcoming UN Human Rights Council meeting in March and the Universal Periodic Review in Nov 2012. He urged organizations and individuals to submit report to the UN body before the mid-March deadline for the Nov 2012 Review. He also urged activists to effectively utilize the UN Special Reporter Office. His comprehensive and action oriented talk on "Answering the Call for Justice: Accessing Tribunals and Seeking Accountability for War Crimes" provided the percipients clear framework and contacts to pursue concrete actions.

In addition to the expert speakers two MPs from the ruling Canadian conservative government, the Tamil MP from the NDP opposition party, and two MPs from the Liberal party of Canada offered their support for the conference. The conservative MPs stressed that they will raise Tamil issue in parliament and in the international forums. Liberal MP stressed the need to form alliances outside Tamil community and work together with other communities.

Following the major presentations a panel discussion and questions sessions was held. The conference concluded with a Conference Declaration.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 March 2012 09:30

Conference on International Protection of Human Rights in the 21st Century And its Challenges

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International Protection of Human Rights in the 21st Century

And its Challenges

Case Study on Sri Lanka

Organized by

Centre for War Victims and Human Rights (CWVHR)

Date & Time: 2012 February 18th Saturday 9:30 AM – 04:00 PM

Venue: Pearson Convention Centre

2638 Steels Ave E, Brampton, On, L6T 3L7

International Scholars, Politicians and Human Rights Activists are participating

Discussion of War crimes in Sri Lanka and calling for international investigation &

To bring the attention of The UN Human Rights Council to the continuous human rights violations in Sri Lanka

Above all,

We wish to bring Justice and Peace, Freedom and Harmony to all people in our homeland.

We wish to invite all to join in our endeavors.

Donation $ 30.00, Students $ 20.00

Last Updated on Monday, 06 February 2012 13:15

UN Rights Council: Act on Sri Lanka Report - HRW

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Failure to Follow Up Would Be Shameful
September 13, 2011

(Geneva) – The United Nations Human Rights Council should act on the recommendations in a report commissioned by the UN Secretary-General detailing grave abuses during the final months of Sri Lanka’s armed conflict, Human Rights Watch said today. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent the report to the council on September 12, 2011. Ban has said that he would welcome a mandate to establish an international investigation mechanism, the main recommendation of his Panel of Experts report.

In May 2010, Ban commissioned a three-member Panel of Experts to advise him on accountability in Sri Lanka after President Mahinda Rajapaksa failed to investigate alleged laws-of-war violations during the conflict, which ended in 2009. The panel's report, published on April 25, concluded that government forces and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) conducted military operations “with flagrant disregard for the protection, rights, welfare and lives of civilians and failed to respect the norms of international law.” The report also said that tens of thousands of civilians might have been killed during the last five months of the war, the majority by government shelling.

“When a UN Panel of Experts report concludes up to 40,000 civilians died amid war crimes, the Human Rights Council should feel compelled to act,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The council should order a full international investigation – anything less would be a shameful abdication of responsibility.”

More :: http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/09/13/un-rights-council-act-sri-lanka-report


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