Rights body to UN: Prosecute Rajapaksa

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Sunday, May 10th, 2009
Gotabhaya and Mahinda
NEW DELHI: The Indian government's failure to effectively intervene in the humanitarian tragedy in Sri Lanka seems to have forced human rights activists in India to move the United Nations to highlight the grievances of Tamil civilians living in the Vanni area of the island nation.

The People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), a leading human rights group, has approached the UN Security Council with a plea to launch military intervention in the war in Sri Lanka in view of the threat to the lives of thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils who face the prospect of being bombed to death or even die due to starvation and lack of medical care. 

In an unusual step, the rights body also wants the Security Council to initiate steps for the prosecution of Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa, the secretary of defence Gothabaya Rajapaksa, and the army commander for war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

"We are only a human rights group and we are not interested in taking sides in the issue," said K G Kannabiran, president of the PUCL. "We don't have the powers to muscle the international community to take action on this. Our strength is our ability to persuade people and we have accessed the Security Council. We also realize that most states violate human rights and so we can't expect them to work for the protection of the rights of minorities," he said. 

Kannabiran added that further action would depend on the outcome of the Security Council deliberations. 

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