EU rejects intl. probe on Lanka but wants action taken on Darusman report

Saturday, 14 May 2011 00:11 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The European Parliament yesterday defeated an attempt by the Socialist group “to seek the immediate establishment of an international justice mechanism” on Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Embassy in Brussels said.

The eventual resolution adopted instead during an ‘urgency’ debate called by the Socialist and Green parties at the Strassbourg Plenary session to draw attention to the so called “UN Panel Report” on accountability issues in Sri Lanka, the European Parliament said.


Earlier in the Debate, Chair of the ‘Friends of Sri Lanka’ group of the European Parliament Geoffrey Van Orden (The European Conservatives and Reformists/UK) said, “I regret that we are having this debate today. I suspect that it has been promoted by extremist elements in the Tamil diaspora — the same people who have helped to sustain the LTTE terrorist campaign over many years through political activity and funding, often from the proceeds of crime. Instead of trying to bring together the peoples of Sri Lanka, there are those that seek to continue a campaign of hatred and division. They see this Darusman Report as a weapon in this campaign and just want to put the Sri Lankan government in the dock. This approach is malicious and counter-productive”.

 “Of course there should be an enquiry and openness regarding allegations of human rights abuse. This is the responsibility of the Sri Lankan government which has set up an eight-member Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) with the aim of ensuring accountability and justice. I believe that its work would be strengthened enormously with international input and it needs to take serious account of the UN’s Darusman Report. Let us do all that we can to support the Government and peoples of Sri Lanka instead of attacking them”. He urged the European Parliament “to remain vigilant concerning those that seek to reignite the embers of LTTE terrorism. I call on the EU and European governments to be more active in dealing with extremists in our midst”.

German MEP Thomas Mann representing the Majority European Peoples Party (EPP) said in February 2011 he “was in Sri Lanka as a member of the South Asian Delegation and saw just how much effort was being made to progressively deal with the post conflict issues like removing land mines and facilitating displaced people to return to their homes. The Government’s readiness to cooperate, desire to integrate minorities and assure proper democratic and human rights standards implies that there will be a valid future for this country”.

Representing the European Conservatives and Reformists, UK MEP Dr. Charles Tannock said the report “is a far cry from the reality and was heavy on criticism but light in substance”. He said “Sri Lanka has finally achieved peace by defeating a ruthless terrorist organisation LTTE which rejected all the peace bids made by the government”. He said “the term ‘Genocide’ is being mentioned by some even without the knowledge of its meaning”. Dr. Tannock questioning the arguments made by the Socialists and Greens, asked “how anyone could accuse the Sri Lanka Army for genocide or crimes against humanity when the same Army rescued more than 200,000 Tamil civilians from the LTTE and have now helped re-settle most of them”.

The Belarus regime’s harassment of journalists and opposition leaders, the plight of human rights activists in Azerbaijan and the fate of Tamil citizens in Sri Lanka were the three topics selected for urgent debates and resolutions by the European Parliament on Thursday.

The EU Parliament in a statement said that ‘two years after the civil war in Sri Lanka ended with the surrender of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Parliament urges the Sri Lankan government to take active measures to protect the Tamil people so that they can look forward to “a bright and prosperous future, on equal terms with their Sinhalese fellow citizens.”