A US-based Hindu organisation has called for an international independent probe into the alleged war crimes during Sri Lanka's final assault on the LTTE as America is set to bring a resolution in the UN rights body supporting a domestic probe. "The US and other UNHRC member countries have a moral responsibility to deliver justice to the victims of Sri Lanka's civil war, particularly the estimated 40,000 Tamil civilians that were massacred in the closing months of the war in 2009," said Samir Kalra, senior director and Human Rights fellow of the Hindu American Foundation. "An international independent investigation is the best means to achieving accountability and justice for the victims.
A purely domestic mechanism will not heal the country's wounds or allow it to move forward," Kalra said as HAF released its 11th annual human rights report for 'Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora'. The report's release comes as the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is holding meetings in Geneva, where the question of whether to move forward on an international investigation or a domestic inquiry into the Sri Lankan civil war will be at the forefront of the agenda. HAF said the US of late has announced a reversal of its previous position and indicated an intention to back the Sri Lankan government's plan to set up a domestic mechanism. "There is nothing so far in Sri Lanka's history that would lead the victims of the country's brutal war to expect justice from the state," said Miriam Young, Director, US Counsel on Sri Lanka. "If the Sri Lankan government is serious (about accountability and reconciliation) it will first and foremost seek dialogue with the victims, as well as civil society, and representatives of all ethnic communities," he said. "Sri Lanka needs to undertake serious reform and reconciliation through a coherent, comprehensive, integrated process of transitional justice responding the needs and demands of the victims," Young said. "There needs to be international involvement at every step of the process in order to provide guarantees that this will not be one more failed attempt at justice," he said. HAF's latest human rights report also examines human rights conditions in nine other nations and regions across the world in 2014-2015 including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bhutan, the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, Fiji, Saudi Arabia, and Trinidad and Tobago. "From systemic legal and institutional discrimination, to attacks on places of worship, to restrictions on religious freedom and violence against women, Hindu minorities continue to be denied their basic human rights in these countries," said Jay Kansara, HAF's director of Government Relations.