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Procedure : 2011/2684(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0325/2011

Texts tabled :

B7-0325/2011

Debates :

OJ 12/05/2011 - 256

Votes :

PV 12/05/2011 - 17.1

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2011)0242

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 132kDOC 77k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0324/2011
10.5.2011
PE465.613v01-00
 
B7-0325/2011

with request for inclusion in the agenda for the debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law

pursuant to Rule 122 of the Rules of Procedure


on Sri Lanka: follow up of the Un Report


Geoffrey Van Orden, Charles Tannock, Nirj Deva, Ryszard Antoni Legutko, Michał Tomasz Kamiński, Ryszard Czarnecki, Tomasz Piotr Poręba on behalf of the ECR Group
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

European Parliament resolution on Sri Lanka: follow up of the Un Report  
B7‑0325/2011

The European Parliament,

-       having regard to its previous resolutions on Sri Lanka, in particular those of 2 February 2009 and 22 October 2009,

 

-       having regard to the joint statement by the Government of Sri Lanka and the United Nations at the conclusion of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s visit to Sri Lanka (23 May 2009),

 

-       having regard to the statement by the EU High Representative on Parliamentary Elections in Sri Lanka (13 April 2010),

 

-       having regard to the declaration by the EU High Representative on the Appointment of a UN Panel of Experts on Accountability Issues in Sri Lanka (1 July 2010),

 

-       having regard to the report of the UN Secretary-General's Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka (Darusman Report) (31 March 2011),

 

-       having regard to the statement made by the Sri Lankan Minister of External Affairs on the UN's Darusman Report on Sri Lanka ( 28 April 2011),

 

-       having regard to statements made by US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake on his recent visit to Sri Lanka (4 May 2011),

 

-       having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

 

 

A. Whereas between June 1983 and May 2009, Sri Lanka was afflicted by the armed insurgency and terrorism of the LTTE (Tamil Tigers), resulting in over 90,000 deaths;

 

B. Whereas during the 25 year conflict, the LTTE carried out indiscriminate terrorist attacks on the civilian population, murdered Tamil representatives that opposed it, targeted key figures in government and the security forces and continues to be proscribed as a banned terrorist organisation by the EU, the UK, US, India, Canada and many other countries;

 

C. Whereas on 17 May 2009 the Sri Lankan armed forces successfully defeated the LTTE and retook all LTTE held territory in the North of Sri Lanka, effectively ending 25 years of a brutal terrorist insurrection and re-establishing the rule of law within a unitary state;

 

D. Whereas, as documented by human rights organisations such as Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group, the LTTE forced large numbers of Tamil civilians to act as human shields in the final stages of the conflict;

 

E. Whereas figures from the UN office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) demonstrate how the violent last stand of the LTTE in the North East of the country in the final stages of the conflict (May 2009) led to the internal displacement of some 300,000 civilians;

 

F. whereas the LTTE was a prolific user of anti-personnel-landmines, afflicting large areas of former conflict zones, much of which have now been cleared by the Sri Lankan army as well as by international NGOs;

 

G. Whereas, by April 2011, just 16,606 IDPs remain in camps, pending the clearance of landmines in areas of habitation and farming in the North East of the country;

 

H. Whereas on 15 May 2010, the Sri Lankan Government appointed an eight-member Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) to look into events in Sri Lanka between February 2002 and May 2009, with the aim of ensuring accountability, justice and reconciliation in Sri Lanka;

 

I. Whereas on 22 June 2010, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon appointed a Panel of Experts, chaired by Marzuki Darusman, to investigate alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka, with the panel submitting its findings to the Secretary-General on 12 April;

 

J. whereas the Sri Lankan economy has been growing at an average of 9% per annum since the end of the conflict and EU countries remain the biggest single market for Sri Lanka's exports, and Sri Lankan exports to the EU play an important role in Sri Lanka's continuing economic recovery;

 

 

1.  Expresses its concern at the serious nature of the allegations in the UN's Darusman report; underlines that these allegations, and the issue of accountability for them, must be properly addressed before lasting reconciliation can be achieved in Sri Lanka;

 

2.  Recognises that the report was of a purely advisory nature, produced by a Panel which did not visit Sri Lanka and, by its own terms of reference, was neither a fact finding nor an investigative body, and that the responsibility for action and accountability to deal with human rights abuse ultimately rests with the Sri Lankan Government;

 

3.  Regrets that the report should in any way equate the armed forces of the Sri Lankan state and an internationally banned terrorist organisation such as the LTTE (through its reference to the “warring factions”); recognises that the distinction necessarily places a higher level of moral and operational responsibility upon the forces of the state;

 

4.  Notes that the report, while finding credible allegations that the military operations of the Sri Lankan army resulted in large numbers of civilian deaths, provides no evidence that such violations took place on a deliberate or systematic basis or that they were ordered or condoned at the highest levels;

 

5.  Notes the Report’s confirmation that, in the final stages of the conflict, the LTTE used the civilian population as human shields; intensified its forcible recruitment of civilians, including children, into its ranks; executed civilians who attempted to escape the conflict zone; and deployed artillery in proximity to displaced civilians and civilian installations such as hospitals;

 

6.  Acknowledges that the Sri Lankan Government has established a Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC); trusts that its work will meet international standards of independence and impartiality and in this regard strongly urges the Sri Lankan Government, even at this stage, to have an international input to the work of the LLRC; trusts that its work will be completed in a timely manner before the end of 2011 and will be made public; urges the LLRC to take serious account of the UN’s Darusman Report; notes that the LLRC is empowered to ask the Sri Lankan Attorney-General to institute criminal proceedings, based on its findings;

 

7.  Notes the Report’s conclusion that the Tamil diaspora has provided vital moral and material support to the LTTE over decades; that some refuse to acknowledge the LTTE’s role in the humanitarian disaster in the Vanni; and urges national governments and the EU, working closely with the Sri Lankan authorities, to do more to encourage and educate this diaspora, particularly its younger generations, in commitment to democracy and the rule of law and to peace and harmony in Sri Lanka;

 

8.  Welcomes the Council’s decision of 31 January 2011 to keep the LTTE on the EU's list of banned terrorist organisations; takes serious note of the disclosure in the Europol's EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT 2011) that in 2010, 27 individuals were arrested for terrorist offences linked to the financing of the LTTE in France, Germany and the Netherlands; calls on the Council to acknowledge the continuing funding and propaganda role of elements in the Tamil diaspora, including the Tamil Youth Organisation, the Tamil Co-ordinating Committee, and the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation, in helping sustain the terrorist campaign over the years, and to take appropriate action to ensure that the flames of LTTE terrorism are not reignited;

 

9.  Urges the government of Sri Lanka to be generous and pro-active in addressing the genuine political, economic and social concerns and interests of its Tamil citizens; accordingly, urges the Sri Lankan Government to take active measures in terms of political devolution and to encourage Tamil recruitment to the government service and to the police and armed forces, so that the Tamil peoples feel reassured and will recognise the defeat of the LTTE as a liberation and look forward to a bright and prosperous future, on equal terms with their Sinhalese fellow citizens;

 

10.  Welcomes, in this regard, the commitment of the Sri Lankan Government to provincial devolution that will enable predominantly Tamil, as well as other areas, to exercise genuine control of their administration within a united country and urges more rapid progress in this direction;

 

 

 

11.  Urges all Tamil leaders, as well as the wider Tamil community, to continue to engage positively in political negotiation and to renounce terrorism and violence once and for all; commends the Sri Lankan government for its continued dialogue with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) party and other Tamil political parties and trusts that a political settlement will be reached that can be acceptable to all Sri Lankans;

 

12.  Recognizes that the Sri Lankan Government has significantly relaxed its Emergency Regulations and urges the government to progressively withdraw all Emergency Regulations;

 

13.  Notes that both Reporters Without Borders and the International Federation of Journalists have recognized that the ‘dangers to journalists in Sri Lanka have eased with the end of fighting’ and that there has been a ‘fall in the number of physical attacks and threats' to journalists since the end of the conflict; urges the Sri Lankan Government to guarantee media freedom;

 

14.  Commends the demining activities of the Sri Lankan army and international NGOs such as the HALO Trust, in the Northern parts of Sri Lanka that were heavily mined by the LTTE; urges the Sri Lankan Government, as well as the EU and the Member States, to continue to provide sufficient resources for further clearance of land-mines, the presence of which presents a serious obstacle to rehabilitation and economic regeneration;

 

15.  Calls on the Sri Lankan Government to take the very positive step of acceding to the Ottawa Treaty (The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction); urges the Commission, in particular, to continue to support much needed mine action in Sri Lanka;

 

16.  Applauds the fact that both the presidential elections of 26 January 2010 and the parliamentary elections of 8 April 2010 were peaceful, and were recognised as free and fair by the international community; notes that these were the first presidential and parliamentary elections held across the whole of Sri Lanka in over 25 years;

 

17.  Applauds the EU and certain Member States for providing substantial humanitarian assistance to those affected by the conflict and encourages the EU and its Member States to increase the amount of development aid made available for the reconstruction and resettlement of the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka;

 

18.  Notes that it is through trade rather than through aid that the Sri Lankan economy will fully recover from the lasting effects of the 25 year-long LTTE terrorist campaign and urges the EU and its Member States to restore Sri Lanka's GSP+ status;

 

19.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, to the Governments of Member States, the UN Secretary-General, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Human Rights Watch, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, the Government of Sri Lanka and the governments of the other SAARC countries.

 

Last updated: 10 May 2011Legal notice