TOC sent the following email to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and to Singapore's Permanent Representative to the United Nations today:
Mr K Shanmugam
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr Albert Chua
Permanent Representaitve of Singapore to United Nations
Dear Minister and Permanent Representative to UN
As concerned Singaporeans who are keen to see Singapore maintain her good standing in the international community, we request the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs to weigh in on the recent allegations levied against the Sri Lankan government for war crimes against humanity, allegedly carried out at the close of the conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam in 2009.
In recent documentaries titled 'Sri Lanka's Killing Fields' and 'Sri Lanka's Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished', the United Kingdom's Channel 4 has brought to light disturbing evidence that supports allegations that the Sri Lankan government had deliberately targeted civilians in the civil war. Based on current available evidence, the United Nations has also called on the Sri Lankan government to accede to further investigation into the matter.
As a responsible member of the United Nations and of the international community, Singapore has a responsibility to play her part in ensuring that justice is done. This is doubly so, given that Singapore is a small nation with an interest in seeing international law, and not the law of jungle, prevail.
The civilian survivors of the Sri Lankan civil war are still living in deplorable conditions, with no proper roof over their heads and under threat of persecution. They have been denied of their rights, and what the UN decides will play a significant role in their futures, if not their very lives.
The UN Human Rights Council is currently discussing this matter. While Singapore is not a member of the UN HRC, nevertheless she can -- and should -- speak up and stand on the side of right and justice. Singapore is a respected voice on the international stage, and there can be great value in a statement by the Singapore government outside of the UN HRC.
When Singapore first joined the UN in 1965, then Foreign Affairs Minister S. Rajaratnam declared that Singapore was interested in fighting “wars that matter to the people (such as) the war against poverty, ignorance, disease, bad housing, unemployment, and anything and everything which deny dignity and freedom to our fellow men”. If there was ever such a time of need to fulfill the promise of our former Foreign Minister, this will be it.
As such, we sincerely request that the Singapore Government join international efforts in:
- Demanding for an independent, internationally led investigation into the alleged human rights contraventions in Sri Lanka in 2009;
- Stressing for immediate attention to be paid to alleviate the suffering of the survivors of the civil war, who currently live in dismal conditions and are still at risk of military persecution; and
- Pressing for the perpetrators to be brought to justice and duly punished.
Choo Zheng Xi
Siew Kum Hong
Leong Sze Hian
for The Online Citizen
The two documentaries (warning Graphic Violence) HERE.