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15 years of official peace: Continuity of violence in Sri Lanka

Berlin
4 June 2024, 11:00 am

15 years of official peace: Report by the UN Commission on Human Rights on the lack of reappraisal and continuity of violence in Sri Lanka

2024 marks the 15th anniversary of the end of the decades-long civil war in Sri Lanka. In the last phase of the war,
hundreds of thousands of Tamils were displaced within a few months and indiscriminately bombed from the air,
ground and water, even in explicitly declared „no fire zones“, on a final remaining beach strip near Mullivaikal in
the north-east of the island, creating a new example of global warfare in the name of counter-terrorism. Conser-
vative estimates put the number of casualties at around 40-70,000 in very view weeks only.

To date, there has been no investigation or prosecution of the events, which according to UN experts in internati-
onal law are to be categorised as war crimes and crimes against humanity. Although the Sri Lankan government
once again presented a draft law for a new Truth, Unity and Reconciliation Commission in 2024, the conditions
for a credible truth-finding process are still not in place. Tens of thousands of families of the disappeared are still
searching for their loved ones and are exposed to a continuity of intimidation, arrests and violence.

The recently published report by the United Nations Sri Lanka Accountability Project is the first to systematically
outline how the lack of investigation and previous impunity for the crimes prevents justice for the victims. The
report impressively describes how this creates a social climate that continues to enable forms of exclusion,
discrimination, abuse and disappearances against the Tamil minority, human rights activists and journalists and
creates deep re-traumatisation.

The results of the report will be presented at the event by Annemarie Devereux, head of the OHCHR project, and
conclusions will be discussed.

Organized by medico international, Sri Lanka Advocacy Group and ECCHR

Location: Senatssaal Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin Main Building, 1st floor, Unter den Linden 6, 10117 Berlin

Greeting by Niels Helle-Meyer, Vice-President of the Humboldt University of Berlin
Greeting by Volker Türk, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Keynote: Annemarie Devereux, Head of OSLAP at OHCHR
Comment: Tamil Human Right Activist WHRD, Sri Lanka/Northern Province
Comment: Andreas Schüller, Programme Manager International Crimes and Accountability, ECCHR

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