Target: Navi Pillay, high commissioner of the UN Human Rights Council
Goal: Commend investigation into human rights violations in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s civil war ended in 2009 amid much speculation that war crimes may have been committed on both sides. The UN Human Rights Council, led by high commissioner Navi Pillay, has voted to open an international investigation into the matter, despite protestations from the ruling Sri Lankan government. Human rights organizations around the world have lauded the investigation as necessary and a step in the right direction. Pillay has pushed for year for this investigation to be conducted. Thank him and commend his efforts today.
The council is composed of 47 members, 23 of whom (including the United States), voted to approve a resolution that would open an extensive investigation into violations of human rights, especially sexual violations, committed by both the government forces and the rebel Tamil Tigers. The investigation comes after years of slow-moving and questionably-motivated investigations conducted internally by the Sri Lankan government. The Sri Lankan ambassador to the UN, Ravinatha Aryasinha, had strong words concerning the resolution, suggesting it threatened Sri Lanka’s sovereignty. A few of Sri Lanka’s allies in the council abstained from a vote, including Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the United States stressed that the resolution is vital in light of continued abuses after the war, including kidnappings, torture, and executions conducted without trials. Such concerns were prompted after groups like Human Rights Watch exposed the continued deterioration of conditions within Sri Lanka. The advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, Julie de Rivero said, “It will shed light once and for all on the atrocities that took place during the last phase of the war in Sri Lanka.”
This investigation is crucial to restoring human rights to the citizens of Sri Lanka. Thank UN Human Rights Council High Commissioner Navi Pillay for his dedication to human rights today.
Dear High Commissioner Navi Pillay,
The human rights violations committed in Sri Lanka during the civil war and in the years since are deplorable, and must be unacceptable to the international community. The UN Human Rights Council was founded to deal with situations of exactly this nature. Thank you for upholding its purpose.
I am writing today to commend your efforts in the push to open this investigation and to ask for your continued vigilance on behalf of the people of Sri Lanka. Thank you.
[Your Name Here]
photo credit: Basil D Soufi via wikimedia commons