On 20 September, Dr Manoharan, whose story we shared here in August, joined Amnesty International to deliver your signatures during a visit to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. An incredible 47,545 people from 181 countries signed it.
Dr Manoharan has spent the last seven years trying to get Sri Lanka’s authorities to tell the truth about what really happened to his son Ragihar, who he alleges was gunned down by Sri Lankan security forces in 2006. The petition called for the release of a report which would have given Dr Manoharan at least some of the answers he has been searching for.
With the petition – a hefty stack of paper – under his arm, Dr Manoharan expected to meet the Sri Lankan Ambassador and hand it over. But at the last minute, the Ambassador cancelled. Instead, Dr Manoharan had to hand it to other consular officials.
Although disappointed, Dr Manoharan remains undaunted. As he says in his thank you message to all of you who supported him: “This is not the end.”
It certainly isn’t.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights told the Human Rights Council on 25 September that her office will be watching Sri Lanka’s progress in this case and reporting back to the UN Human Rights Council. She also said that unless Sri Lanka credibly investigates and prosecutes these and other such crimes by March 2014, the international community will have to set up its own inquiry.
In November, the leaders of Commonwealth countries are gathering for a meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka – despite the continuing human rights abuses in the country. These meetings usually end with the appointment of the host country as the next chair of the Commonwealth. We can’t let that happen. In the coming weeks, we will be asking the Commonwealth to think again and refuse to give its seal of approval to Sri Lanka.
We’ll update you here on what you can do soon.
In the mean time, please show your solidarity with Dr Manoharan by posting messages of support for his continuing search for the truth in the comments box below his YouTube video message.