The following statement from the ANC is important not only because of South Africa’s profile in world affairs but also because of the leadership role of South Africa in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) that had been supporting Sri Lanka’s pushback against Secretary-General Ban when Ban was creating the Panel of Experts. In general, South Africa (along with Brazil and other major Southern powers) has been willing to acquiesce in, if not support, Sri Lankan diplomatic strategies seeking to obfuscate the way the war ended in 2009 and the developments since then. Against that background, This statement would seem to represent an important ‘defection’ of a Global South heavyweight from Sri Lanka support ranks. The statement is published in full below.
The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, had appointed a Panel of Experts to advise him on accountability in the Sri Lankan conflict. Amongst those who served on the panel is Yasmin Sooka, a prominent South African jurist. The Panel of Experts concluded that there were serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed by both the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers Tamil Eelam (LTTE), some of which would amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The African National Congress has consistently condemned any act of violation of human rights in all conflict areas. We therefore urge all conflicting parties to resolve problems through peaceful dialogue and negotiation. We have noted, with regret, that breakdown of the ceasefire and the negotiations between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE led to a military solution of resolving the problems.
The ANC supports the recommendations of the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Panel of Experts that called for the establishment of an independent body to investigate all violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws committed in the conflict.
We also call on the government of Sri Lanka to take immediate steps to address the core grievances of the Tamil population and engage in a genuine reconciliation process.
Head of International Relations
Dr Ebrahim Ebrahim
African National Congress
Moloto Mothapo 082 370 6930