During fighting between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil forces (LTTE) in the first half of 2009, between 7000 and 20,000 civilians were reportedly killed by both sides. Yet, a May 27, 2009 UN Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution condemned only the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for “using civilians as human shields,” and reaffirmed “the principle of non-interference” in “domestic” matters – thereby absolving the Sri Lankan government of responsibility. In stark contrast, and indicative of the HRC’s double standards, Israel was the only party condemned during the Gaza conflict, while the war crimes of Hamas were ignored.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticized the “deeply flawed resolution” on Sri Lanka, and Amnesty International stated that the resolution “made a mockery of the Council.” However, these statements ignore the significant role played by these and other NGOs in whitewashing the use of human shields by Hamas and Hezbollah. For example, HRW labeled the Tamil Tigers’ tactics as “human shields,” but refused to apply this terminology to identical tactics employed by Hamas. Amnesty has also condemned the LTTE for human shielding, while blaming Israel for “launch[ing] a military offensive on an unprecedented scale …killing many civilians and destroying homes and other civilian property.” On the other hand, in the context of assaults against Israel, the use of human shields is not on the agenda of these NGO superpowers.