The PSG (Peace Support Group) welcomes the Ceasefire Agreement between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, and in particular their recognition that a negotiated solution to the ongoing ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka is "the overall objective of the peace process". We especially welcome Article 2.1 of the Agreement which states: "The parties shall in accordance with international law abstain from hostile acts against the civilian population" and the section in the Preamble which recognises that "groups that are not directly party to the conflict are also suffering the consequences of it. This is particularly the case as regards the Muslim population. Therefore, the provisions of this Agreement regarding the security of civilians and their property apply to all inhabitants".
Any permanent ceasefire negotiated between the two Parties must be based on the firm foundation of respect for human rights and human dignity. This will reinforce civilian confidence in the peace process.
The Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE have on many occasions reiterated their commitment to international human rights standards and international humanitarian law. Only a commitment to international human rights and humanitarian law will ensure a long lasting ceasefire acceptable to all sections of Sri Lankan society.
A ceasefire should not be limited to the interests of the armed combatants alone, but must protect and strengthen the rights of the civilian population and also define the relationship between the combatants and the civilians. In this regard we are concerned about the exclusion of the districts of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu in the LTTE-controlled areas of Vanni from the purview of the Monitoring Mission.
Fairness, transparency and a respect for rights during the course of the ceasefire will only strengthen the viability of any final political solution. Therefore, in the implementation of the Agreement, respect for human rights and humanitarian norms should be given the highest priority.
While recognising that the Agreement as it now stands seeks to protect the interests of the civilian population, in the Section which refers to Measures to Restore Normalcy there are other internationally accepted human rights standards that are not reflected in this document.
We urge that these standards are incorporated into the Guidelines for the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission which are yet to be formulated, as set out in Article 3.13 of the Agreement. We are deeply concerned that such Guidelines have not already been agreed upon and that a Monitoring Mission has been set up without procedures for carrying out its mandate. We therefore urge that the Guidelines be agreed upon without delay and include respect for international human rights standards and international humanitarian law. [Top]
Home | History
| Briefings | Statements
| Bulletins | Reports
| Special Reports | Publications
Copyright © UTHR 2001