No need to establish another commission -Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) and the Center for Human Rights and Research (CHR) (NGO) welcome the move to release presidential commission reports
Posted on October 6th, 2015

Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon Executive Director –Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) and the Center for Human Rights and Research (CHR)

No need to establish another commission

Reports published on Sunday (04) indicated that three government mandated reports regarding mission persons and human rights violations; the Udalagama Commission report, the Paranagama report on the second mandate and the report by Desmond De Silva’s advisory panel to the Missing Persons Commission are expected to be tabled in Parliament during the course of this week.

Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) and the Center for Human Rights and Research (CHR) have been campaigning for the release of these reports welcomes this move and states that this is a step in the right direction. It has also been reported that Paranagama committee appointed by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to probe complaints regarding missing persons in the Northern and Eastern Provinces from June 10, 1990 to May 19, 2009 named some army officers as alleged perpetrators .

The credibility of the commissions

Commenting on the Paranagama Commission last week in his speech at the UNHRC Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said there were widespread concerns raised about its credibility and effectiveness. We believe this Commission should be disbanded and its pending cases transferred to a credible and independent institution established in consultation with families of the disappeared.”

However Maxwell Paranagama has vouched for the credibility of the investigations carried out his Commission and dismissed calls to disband it to make way for a more credible investigative mechanism. When we invite about 250 people for oral submissions, nearly 1000 people come, sometimes defying local leaders. This is proof enough of our credibility,” he told the Sunday Observer.

CaFFE and CHR have been covering various attempts by government and non-governmental actors to obtain information from those affected by the conflict. We have seen thousands of people complaining to the ICRC, the LLRC, the Civil Society Actors, the Paranagama Commission and an extended Udalagama Commission. Most of the family members of those who have disappeared have given evidence before all the above mentioned commissions. We have seen them repeat the same story and each time they relive their deepest moments of sorrow and are paralyzed for days and as an organization who has seen this ground reality, we see no reason to subject the same individuals to go through the same process through another  ‘credible and independent institution’.

Thus we believe that these documents must be public, so we can have a true judgement on their credibility. That is why last week CaFFE and CHR made an open request from President Sirisena to publicize the Undulagama and Paranagama Commission reports and interim reports of these committees as the best way to open a dialogue on alleged human rights violations. Moreover, these documents can be made base documents which can be used to investigate alleged human rights allegations as the evidence given by victims and associates of victims of assassinations, abduction and torture.

There might be criticisms on the commission, how they conducted themselves and recommendations. However concrete facts of over 60 incidents, including high profile cases like the assassination of Lakshman Kadiragamar, killing of ACF workers in Muttur, the murder of five students in Trincomalee and the disappearance of Father Jim Brown, have been considered by these commissions.

It is our belief that these reports are more than adequate to have an initial debate on alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka, the needs of the people and whether a new institution needs to be formed to consult the families of the disappeared. It would be the right step towards a credible local investigation.

Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon

Executive Director – CaFFE/CHR

 

4 Responses to “No need to establish another commission -Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) and the Center for Human Rights and Research (CHR) (NGO) welcome the move to release presidential commission reports”

  1. Christie Says:

    We are a colony of the Indian Empire with more than quarter of the population being Indians who colonized the island under the British-Indian Empire and now the Indian Empire..

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    “However concrete facts of over 60 incidents, including high profile cases like the assassination of Lakshman Kadiragamar, killing of ACF workers in Muttur, the murder of five students in Trincomalee and the disappearance of Father Jim Brown, have been considered by these commissions.”

    These were NOT released for good reasons.

    There will be MORE CHAOS and WAR CRIMES calls if these are released.

    FOOLISH move by the Maru Sira govt.

  3. Fran Diaz Says:

    What a relief to know that matters are moving in the right direction, at last. Those who want to see Justice and Peace in Lanka must push hard to achieve those worthy goals.

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    Fran,

    Be very careful with what you wish for.

    In MOST of these brave men of armed forces are blamed WRONGLY. That was why they were NOT released by MR.

    Now these fools will release it and there will be REVENGE attacks against innocents.

    Some things are best kept secret. EVERY country has STATE SECRETS.

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