CaFFE and CHR welcome release of commission reports
October 6, 2015 03:04 pm
The Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) and the Center for Human Rights and Research (CHR) today welcomed the decision to release the reports of the Udalagama and Paranagama Commissions on alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka.
Various reports published on Sunday (04) indicated that three government-mandated reports regarding missing 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.
CaFFE and CHR, who have been campaigning for the release of these reports, in a statement welcomed this move and stated that it 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,” it said.
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.
CaFFE and CHR said they 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’,” they said.
CaFFE and CHR said they believe that these documents must be public, so the public can have a true judgment 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,” the statement said.
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 said.
CaFFE and CHR believe 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.”