OHCHR / SRI LANKA HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

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27-Jan-2021 00:04:03
A new UN report published on Wednesday warns that the failure of Sri Lanka to address past violations has significantly heightened the risk of human rights violations being repeated. UNTV CH

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STORY: OHCHR / SRI LANKA HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
TRT: 04:03
SOURCE: UNTV CH
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH/NATS

DATELINE: 27 JANUARY 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / FILE

SHOTLIST:

FILE – ARCHIVE FOOTAGE

1.Med shot, shot gun firing, LTTE soldiers (no sound)
2.Med shot rocket launcher, LTTE soldiers (no sound)
3.Wide shot explosion (no sound)
4.Med shot, Mortar being shot, Sri Lankan government forces

27 JANUARY 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

5. SOUNDBITE (English) Jyotsna Poudyal, UN Human Rights officer:
“It has been 12 years since the armed conflict ended in Sri Lanka and victims are still looking for justice and truth. And this report by the High Commissioner for Human Rights basically concludes that the domestic initiatives for accountability have repeatedly failed to deliver justice for victims. And this failure to deal with the past has a devastating impact on tens of thousands of victims.”

FILE – ARCHIVE FOOTAGE

6.Wide shot, people fleeing May 2009. Filmed in the final No Fire Zone after it was over-run by the Sri Lankan Army (no sound)
7.Med shot, people fleeing Filmed in the final No Fire Zone after it was over-run by the Sri Lankan Army (no sound)

27 JANUARY 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

8.SOUNDBITE (English) Jyotsna Poudyal, UN Human Rights officer:
“This report finds that impunity for serious human rights violations and abuses by all sides is more deeply entrenched than ever. For instance, the current government is proactively interfering in investigations and trials and whatever little progress that was achieved in the past years have been reversed.”

FILE – ARCHIVE FOOTAGE

9.Wide shot, Tamil civilians fleeing government shelling of the first No Fire Zone (no sound)
10.Med shot, Tamil civilians fleeing government shelling of the first No Fire Zone (no sound)

27 JANUARY 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

11.SOUNDBITE (English) Jyotsna Poudyal, UN Human Rights officer:
“The high commissioner warns that this unwillingness of Sri Lanka to address past violations and abuses has significantly increased the risk of human rights violations being repeated.”

FILE – ARCHIVE FOOTAGE

12. Wide shot, May 2009. Government soldiers hold victory celebrations on the beach at Mulliviakkal after taking the final No Fire Zone. (no sound)
13.Med shot, shot military LTTE Military parade. Time unknown – (but well before the final government offensive) - (no sound)

27 JANUARY 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

14. SOUNDBITE (English) Jyotsna Poudyal, UN Human Rights officer:
“The report documents really worrying trends and patterns over the past year, such as militarization of civilian government functions, marginalization and discrimination against minority communities, Tamil and Muslims.”

FILE – ARCHIVE FOOTAGE

15.Close up, person holding sign during protest by mother of the disappeared (no sound)
16. Med shot, protest by mother of the disappeared (no sound)
17.Med shot women during demonstration (no sound)

27 JANUARY 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

18.SOUNDBITE (English) Jyotsna Poudyal, UN Human Rights officer:
“We documented a pattern of intensified scrutiny and harassment of civil society organizations, victims and a shrinking space for media. More than 40 civil society organizations have reported to us this harassment by security services.”

FILE – ARCHIVE FOOTAGE

19.Wide shot, demonstration (no sound)

27 JANUARY 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

20.SOUNDBITE (English) Jyotsna Poudyal, UN Human Rights officer:
“Tamil and Muslim minorities have been increasingly marginalized. They have been increasingly left out from the national vision, and the divisive and discriminatory rhetoric from the highest officials risk further polarization and violence.”
21.Close up, Report: OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka 16 September 2016.
22.SOUNDBITE (English) Jyotsna Poudyal, UN Human Rights officer:
“Given the unwillingness of the Government of Sri Lanka to advance accountability at the domestic level, the High Commissioner is calling for international action to ensure justice for international crimes.”

FILE – ARCHIVE FOOTAGE

23.Wide shot, plume of smoke over the no fire zone (no sound)

27 JANUARY 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

24.SOUNDBITE (English) Jyotsna Poudyal, UN Human Rights officer:
“The high commissioner also recommends States to consider targeted sanctions such as travel bans and assets freeze accounts, credibly alleged perpetrators of grave human rights violations.”

27 JANUARY 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

25.Wide shot, canon firing, not absolutely sure if this is Tiger or government forces (no sound)

FILE – ARCHIVE FOOTAGE

26.Wide shot, government tank (no sound)

27 JANUARY 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

27. SOUNDBITE (English) Jyotsna Poudyal, UN Human Rights officer:
“One of the key recommendations is states should actively pursue investigations and prosecutions of international crimes committed by all parties in Sri Lanka at the national courts.”


STORYLINE:

A new UN report published on Wednesday warns that the failure of Sri Lanka to address past violations has significantly heightened the risk of human rights violations being repeated. It highlights worrying trends over the past year, such as deepening impunity, increasing militarization of governmental functions, ethno-nationalist rhetoric, and intimidation of civil society.

SOUNDBITE (English) Jyotsna Poudyal, UN Human Rights officer:
“It has been 12 years since the armed conflict ended in Sri Lanka and victims are still looking for justice and truth. And this report by the High Commissioner for Human Rights basically concludes that the domestic initiatives for accountability have repeatedly failed to deliver justice for victims. And this failure to deal with the past has a devastating impact on tens of thousands of victims. “

Impunity for grave human rights violations and abuses by all sides is more entrenched than ever, with the current Government proactively obstructing investigations and trials, and reversing the limited progress that had been previously made, states the report, mandated by UN Human Rights Council resolution 40/1.

SOUNDBITE (English) Jyotsna Poudyal, UN Human Rights officer:
“This report finds that impunity for serious human rights violations and abuses by all sides is more deeply entrenched than ever. For instance, the current government is proactively interfering in investigations and trials and whatever little progress that was achieved in the past years have been reversed.”

SOUNDBITE (English) Jyotsna Poudyal, UN Human Rights officer:
“The high commissioner warns that this unwillingness of Sri Lanka to address past violations and abuses has significantly increased the risk of human rights violations being repeated.”

Among the early warning signals the report highlights are the accelerating militarization of civilian governmental functions, reversal of important constitutional safeguards, political obstruction of accountability, exclusionary rhetoric, intimidation of civil society, and the use of anti-terrorism laws.

Since 2020, the President has appointed at least 28 serving or retired military and intelligence personnel to key administrative posts, the report states.

SOUNDBITE (English) Jyotsna Poudyal, UN Human Rights officer:
“The report documents really worrying trends and patterns over the past year, such as militarization of civilian government functions, marginalization and discrimination against minority communities, Tamil and Muslims”.

The report also documents a pattern of intensified surveillance and harassment of civil society organizations, human rights defenders and victims, and a shrinking space for independent media. More than 40 civil society organizations have reported such harassment from a range of security services - including the Criminal Investigation Department, Terrorist Investigation Division, National Investigations Bureau and State Intelligence officials.

SOUNDBITE (English) Jyotsna Poudyal, UN Human Rights officer:
“We documented a pattern of intensified scrutiny and harassment of civil society organizations, victims and a shrinking space for media. More than 40 civil society organizations have reported to us this harassment by security services.”

The report notes that Sri Lanka’s armed conflict grew out of progressively deepening discrimination and marginalization of the country’s minorities, particularly the Tamils. Grave human rights violations and abuses committed by all parties have been documented in successive UN reports, including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture and sexual violence affecting Sri Lankans from all communities.

SOUNDBITE (English) Jyotsna Poudyal, UN Human Rights officer:
“Tamil and Muslim minorities have been increasingly marginalized. They have been increasingly left out from the national vision, and the divisive and discriminatory rhetoric from the highest officials risk further polarization and violence.”

Numerous commissions of inquiry appointed by successive governments have failed to credibly establish truth and ensure accountability for the violations, the report notes. The Government has now appointed a new commission of inquiry to review the findings of previous commissions, but its membership lacks diversity and independence, and its terms of reference do not inspire confidence it will produce any meaningful result.

SOUNDBITE (English) Jyotsna Poudyal, UN Human Rights officer:
“Given the unwillingness of the Government of Sri Lanka to advance accountability at the domestic level, the High Commissioner is calling for international action to ensure justice for international crimes.”

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet stressed that the failure to deal with the past continues to have devastating effects on tens of thousands of family members from all communities who persist in seeking justice, reparations – and the truth about the fate of their loved ones.

SOUNDBITE (English) Jyotsna Poudyal, UN Human Rights officer:
“The high commissioner also recommends States to consider targeted sanctions such as travel bans and assets freeze accounts, credibly alleged perpetrators of grave human rights violations.”

SOUNDBITE (English) Jyotsna Poudyal, UN Human Rights officer:
“One of the key recommendations is states should actively pursue investigations and prosecutions of international crimes committed by all parties in Sri Lanka at the national courts.”

In preparing the report, the UN Human Rights Office sent detailed questions to the Government and received written responses, followed by a substantive virtual meeting with Government representatives on 7 January 2021. The report was also shared with the Government for their comments.

The report will be formally presented to the Human Rights Council on 24 February, followed by an interactive dialogue.
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