North East Secretariat on Human Rights (NESoHR), which was formed during the internationally mediated peace process as the Human Rights body of the Tamil Nation and functioned in the Tamil homeland from July 2004 till January 2009, has released its human rights reports from 2005 till January 2009. Given the current climate of investigation by the OHCHR on Sri Lanka these old NESoHR reports are published in a large single file with continuous page numbers and content pages for easy access, according to Attorney K. Sivapalan and Dr Malathy of NESoHR. Majority of the atrocities covered in these reports falls within the period currently being investigated by the OHCHR. “It is well known that the UN and other international agencies ignored these atrocities when they were taking place. NESoHR team hopes that the OISL investigators will pay due attention to these reports,” they further said.
In this collation (800 pages; 50 MB; PDF file) the reports are organised by category of violations covered in the report and has the following six subsections: massacre reports (22) including three on hospital bombings; individual case reports (15); reports on food and medicine embargo (7); land grab and displacement reports (6); reports on curtailment of Tamil fishing rights (3); and Monthly Human Rights from Aug-07 to Dec-08.
Though all of the NESoHR reports can be accessed from its website (www.nesohr.org), over the years due to multiple redesigning of the website the old reports are harder to access, the NESoHR team issuing the collation said.
All of the NESoHR reports in this collation, except the monthly reports are based on information provided directly to NESoHR by the affected people. The monthly reports in addition to documenting information provided by the families affected by the bombings and shelling also collate data gathered from various sources on the extrajudicial killings and disappearances for that month.
“Initially, in order to satisfy international demand, NESoHR poured all its resources to address the issue of release and recruitment of those under the age of seventeen by the LTTE. Indeed, NESoHR under the leadership of Fr Karunaratnam, succeeded in obtaining the release of hundreds of those under the age of seventeen. A resident UN official in Sri Lanka at that time, Rory Mongoven, who visited NESoHR in 2006, was surprised when he was told of this,” Dr N Malathy, who was involved in the original reporting by the NESoHR from Vanni, told TamilNet.
Fr Karunaratnam was also an outspoken critique of the atrocities by the Sri Lankan forces for which he was assassinated in a landmine attack in April 2008.
In 2005, NESoHR also added the task of documenting past atrocities against Tamils to its program. NESoHR released two detailed reports on past atrocities and a statistical report on the people who were forcefully evicted from their land.
“Within six months of launching this task, the genocidal assault on Tamils was re-launched by Sri Lanka in December 2005, immediately following the current President of Sri Lanka taking the oath. It began with the assassination of another founding member NESoHR, Joseph Pararajasingam, in December 2005. NESoHR now added another urgent task to its program of documenting current atrocities. In this task NESoHR was over stretched until January 2009 when it could no longer operate,” Mr K. Sivapalan, who is exiled in Norway, added.
Ms Malathy is a member of the Eezham Tamil Diaspora and a naturalised New Zealand citizen, who stayed in Vanni from March 2005 to March 2009. Recently, she authored a book, “A Fleeting Moment in My Country: The last years of the LTTE de-facto state”.