Why The Sri Lankan President Is Attempting To Undermine The Human Rights Council Resolution

Why The Sri Lankan President Is Attempting To Undermine The Human Rights Council Resolution

President Sirisena turned against something he himself had sponsored.
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After the end of the 23-year-old civil war in Sri Lanka between the government and the Tamil Tigers and other ethnic minority separatist groups, a human rights organization decided that both the separatist groups and the government of Sri Lanka perpetrated human rights violations, some even counting up to the charge of war crimes. Following the report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations, the Human Rights Council took up the matter drafting a resolution that was co-sponsored by the United States, Britan, and other nations, including Sri Lanka itself.

The resolution that was produced called for a number of things, including the creation of an Office of Missing Persons (OMP) for the forced disappearances that had occurred during the civil war, criminal war tribunals, and the amendment of domestic constitutional laws; this includes the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), which allowed the government to kidnap and detain its citizens for undisclosed reasons for any period of time. The resolution, the Human Rights Council’s consensus resolution 30/1, the October 2015 resolution on transitional justice, has largely failed to be implemented by Sri Lanka.

A recent interview by President Maithripala Sirisena at the Sri Lankan network Derana on February 6th, 2018 denounced the resolution, which his administration co-sponsored, completely. In this interview, the Sri Lankan President made various claims that depict either a genuine or construed ignorance of what these and other UN resolutions called for and an admission on the Sri Lankan co-sponsorship of HRC resolution 30/1.

On February 9th, the Asian Tribune reported:

“When the president declared in the interview that Sri Lanka had not been accused of committing any international war crimes he displayed his ignorance that the UNHRC Resolution 30/1, a joint effort by his own government and the United States, in several places called for accountability for past abuses. In fact the March 2017 subsequent resolution in Geneva clearly used the term ‘war crimes’ noting that the government of Sri Lanka agreed to probe the issue.”

Then the president made another admission, stating that the reason that he had removed Mangala Samaraweera from the position of Foreign Minister was regarding the resolution he co-sponsored with the United States at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

According to the Asian Tribune:

“The resolution proposed to invite foreign judges to investigate allegations of human rights violations during the military offensive against the separatist Tamil Tigers. The president stated that he did not agree to the involvement of foreign judges then, and he does not agree with it now. 'Therefore I told them not to send foreign judges to my country. There will be no international war tribunals or electric chairs,' he said, in the interview with Derana 360°.”

Whether this ignorance is genuine, which seems unlikely, or simply created as a way out of Sri Lanka’s promises to the UN and the international community, one thing that it's not is shocking. The Sri Lankan government continues to use the very policies that the HRC resolution wanted to conduct these tribunals in reference to. For example, concerning the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act, the Sri Lankan government says more than 80 detainees are still being held under this act but human rights groups believe that number to be much higher.

All the while, President Sirisena continues to adamantly state that there are no secret detention and torture camps in Sri Lanka. Even the one part of the resolution that has been fulfilled has been little more than for show. The Office of Missing Persons is the only mechanism in which any progress has been made, and yet even with this the office has not been formally constituted and operationalized. In addition, the initial steps have been conducted in less than perfect ways, with little to no consideration for the victims' voices and concerns, as well as the lack of transparency about the Constitutional Council’s selection process of the OMP chairs. This has left it wide open to allegations and due process has been subverted as a result of political bargaining, which will have profound consequences for the future of the OMP.

There is still speculation toward Mahinda Rajapaksa, the former president of Sri Lanka, who was in power during the atrocities committed in the civil war. As Rajapaksa regains his power, the current administration is afraid of losing to him and then being left at his mercy. This may lead to further conflict as violence and riots ensue.

Cover Image Credit: Joe Roberts / Unsplash

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I'm A Christian And I Have A Tattoo

Stop judging me for it.
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Like most people, I turned 18 years old during the course of my senior year of high school.

I'll never forget the months prior to my birthday, though, because I spent hours making a decision that would be with me forever, the decision of where I would go to get my first tattoo and where that tattoo would go, and of course I spent a lot of time deciding on the font, the colors, and all of the other aspects of the tattoo I wanted.

Throughout this time, two things stood firm 1) the fact that I was going to get a tattoo, and 2) the six letter name that it would consist of.

Now, three years later, I'm 21 years old and I still get the occasional dirty look at church on Sunday or in line at Walmart, and more often than not this look is accompanied by the following words: “Why would you do that to your body when God says not to?"

A few weeks ago at a new church, a woman came up to me and said, “How can you consider yourself a Christian when you have that blasphemous thing on your foot?", I simply smiled at her and said: “God bless you, have a good week." I let it roll off of my back, I've spent the past three years letting it “roll off of my back"… but I think it's time that I speak up.

When I was 8 years old, I lost my sister.

She passed away, after suffering from Childhood Cancer for a great deal of my childhood. Growing up, she had always been my best friend, and going through life after she passed was hard because I felt like even though I knew she was with me, I didn't have something to visually tribute to her – a way to memorialize her.

I, being a Christian and believing in Heaven, wanted to show my sister who was looking down on me that even though she was gone – she could still walk with me every day. I wanted it for me, for her. I wanted to have that connection, for her to always be a part of who I am on the outside – just as much as she is a part of who I am on the inside.

After getting my tattoo, I faced a lot of negativity. I would have Leviticus 19:28 thrown in my face more times than I cared to mention. I would be frowned on by various friends, and even some family. I was told a few times that markings on my body would send me to hell – that was my personal favorite.

You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks on you: I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:28

The more I heard these things, the more I wanted to scream. I didn't though. I didn't let the harsh things said about me and my choice change the love I have for the Lord, for my sister, or for the new precious memento on my left foot. I began to study my Bible more, and when I came to the verse that had been thrown in my face many times before – I came to a realization.

Reading the verses surrounding verse 28, I realized that God was speaking to the covenant people of Israel. He was warning them to stay away from the religious ways of the people surrounding them. Verse 28 wasn't directed to what we, in today's society, see as tattoos – it was meant in the context of the cultic practice of marking one's self in the realm of cultic worship.

26 "You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying. 27 You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard. 28 'You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD. 29 'Do not profane your daughter by making her a harlot, so that the land will not fall to harlotry and the land become full of lewdness. 30 'You shall keep My sabbaths and revere My sanctuary; I am the LORD. 31 'Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God."
Leviticus 19:26–31

The more I have studied my Bible over the past few years, the more I pity those who rely on one verse in the Old Testament to judge and degrade those, like myself, who made the decision to get a tattoo for whatever reason they may have for doing so.

This is because, you see, in the New Testament it is said that believers are not bound by the laws of the Old Testament – if we were, there would be no shellfish or pork on the menus of various Christian homes. While some see tattoos as a modification of God's creation, it could also be argued that pierced ears, haircuts, braces, or even fixing a cleft lip are no different.

24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor."
Galatians 3:24-25

In Galatians, we read that the Old Testament law was created to lead people to Jesus. However, we know that Jesus has come and died on the cross for our sins. He has saved us, therefore we are no longer held to this law in order to have a relationship with the Lord. Our relationship with Him comes from believing that Jesus came to Earth to die on a cross for our sins, and repenting of our sins – accepting Jesus as our Savior.

I am a Christian, I have a relationship with the Lord that is stronger than it has ever been, and - I HAVE A TATTOO.

I have a beautiful memento on my left foot that reminds me that my sister walks with me through every day of my life. She walked with me down the red carpet at my senior prom, she walked with me across the stage the day I graduated from high school, and she continues to be with me throughout every important moment of my life.

My tattoo is beautiful. My tattoo reminds me that I am never alone. My tattoo is perfect.

Stop judging me for it.

Cover Image Credit: Courtney Johnson

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The Epitome of Shower Thoughts

Why is the ELEVE in 7 eleven uppercase in the stores sign and the n isn't?

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Have you ever wondered why you have more elaborate thoughts and think more out of the box when you're taking a shower? It turns out that there's science to back that up. People tend to have creative epiphanies when doing something very monotonous. Because not much thinking is required for showering, our brains occupy themselves with singing, dancing, fake arguing someone who irritated you in math 101 first semester, mentally signing autographs after accepting your fourth Oscar, and shower thoughts.

I was inspired by these fun facts and started to pay more attention to what runs through my head besides the shampoo and conditioner. The more I introspected the more interesting my thoughts got and I began writing them down.

The first one was a social experiment. It'd be cool to see what would happen if a fraternity had to raise a kid from birth. They would be a collective group of parents for one child up until they turn 18. I wanna see how the kid would turn out. Would it be well rounded due to all the personalities in his environment? Would the child become the epitome of the frat boy stereo types or would he be more intact because he'll learn what not to do? So many questions.

Another thought that runs through my head a lot is about school and mental health. I feel like that's a healthy thing to ponder on. However, I've always wondered whether my grades or my mental health are lower than one or the other. Even more so, are they in a race? Because wouldn't be surprised if my grades and my serotonin levels are constantly competing on which can drop lower and faster.

Also, do you think professors would allow an absence due to being overwhelmed by your love life? I've contemplated on writing an email about it a few times. In my head it would probably read as, Good afternoon, I hope all is well. I won't be able to make it into class today because I'm overwhelmed by recent events. My crush is starting to give me attention, therefore, I need time to process this and reciprocate this immense emotion. I will try to make it next class.

Thank you xoxo,

Yas

My thoughts may be incomplete, however, according to science that's how shower thoughts work. Simply exploring different thought patterns and not questioning the legitimacy of it. It can be very blissful.

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