How little Lanka beat the big, bad West -Part III
Posted on June 12th, 2010

H. L. D. Mahindapala

 The 11th Special Session of UNHRC held in Geneva in May 2009 was to deal exclusively with the resolution titled: The human rights situation in Sri Lanka.  The title was ominous. The Western powers had failed on all fronts to stop the advance of Sri Lankan forces just at the moment when the forces were about to capture the last few acres of Mullativu occupied by the Tamil Tigers in the east coast.. The last throw of the dice of the anti-Sri Lankan West, allied to the Tamil diaspora, was to send David Milliband and Bernard Kouchener, to put maximum pressure on Sri Lanka to stop the war. There were even moves, according to reports, to evacuate the Tiger leadership by air. The main objective of the West was to gain the upper hand in the domestic affairs of Sri Lanka by using human rights as a means to muscle their way in.

 The Rajapakse government was equally determined to resist any outside interference because any concession would have contributed only to save the Tigers “”…” a result that would have been detrimental to the overall objectives of a durable peace, stability and progress. Even Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN Under Secretary General for Children and Arms, and former head of the Colombo-based International Centre for Ethnic Studies and other NGOs like the Centre for Policy Alternative agree now that using military forces was acceptable as a means of defeating the fascist Tamil Tigers, with due consideration to the lives of civilians.  

 Because the West intervened to save the Tamil Tigers their defeat at the hands of the Rajapakse government was seen as a defeat for the West. This was something that the European powers could not stomach. To get even they opened a new anti-Sri Lankan in the international arena. Their next move was to condemn Sri Lanka in the eyes of the world for not concluding the war according to their standards. First they moved in the UN to blacken the image and force an international investigation into the last days of the Vadukoddai War. This was another tactic to muscle their way in to have a say in Sri Lankan domestic politics. But they did not have a ghost of a chance of playing their neo-colonialists role through the UN because the veto powers of China and Russia blocked Western maneuvers.   Ambassador H. M. G. S. Palihakkara too had done the necessary lobbying quietly, in his usual professional style, to ward off any offensive launched by the West against Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka was safe at the UN.

 Having failed at the UN the West shifted their battleground to UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Decisions at UNHRC are taken on a majority vote of the participating governments without any overriding vetoes of big powers obstructing the passage of resolutions. The West’s strategy was to indict Sri Lanka by manipulating the majority vote at the Human Rights Council. So, according to the Western plan, the resolution on human rights situation in Sri Lanka came up on May 26 -27, 2009. These were two critical days for Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. No one was quite sure as to how the votes would go.

 The European bloc, led by EU, UK and Ireland were the prime movers attempting to indict Sri Lanka for alleged violations of human rights in the concluding stages of the 33-year-old Vadukoddai War. The Sri Lankan Ambassador Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha and the Sri Lankan team were lobbying strenuously to combat the European move. Bi-lateral and multi-lateral meetings were held over breakfast, lunch and dinner to dispel the misinformation and rally support for Sri Lanka.

 In broad terms, the battle was shaping out to be a contest between the West and the East. Earlier, at the concluding stages of the Vadukoddai War, David Milliband, the former British Foreign Minister and Bernard Kouchner, his French counterpart, rushed to stop the Sri Lankan offensive advancing to finish off the Tigers holed up in Mullativu. The Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapakse told them politely to go jump in the Indian Ocean. It was a bold and daring decision and it paid off.

 The rebuff from tiny Sri Lanka was too much for the big Western powers. The neo-colonialists were peeved that they were scorned. After that they moved into Plan B: the vindictive politics of trying to teach Sri Lanka a lesson for disobeying their orders. The so-called international community was ganging up against Sri Lanka in devious ways.. They were bent on showing that they were the masters of world who should be obeyed. The only instrument available to them was to whip Sri Lanka into submission with the sharp edges of human rights. Hence the move to indict Sri Lanka at UNHRC.

 The Commissioner of UNHRC, Navi Pillay, who could not attend the session in person, addressed the gathering of nations on a video screen. She gave a stern lecture baying for punishments on parties that violate human rights. She threw in the name of the LTTE too just to impress that she’s impartial.. But everyone knew that it was a red herring that had no relevance because the LTTE was dead in the waters of Nanthikadal Lagoon. In effect her threats could apply only to Sri Lanka. And she made no bones about it.

 She sounded more like a school ma’am telling the inter-governmental delegates assembled at UNHRC how to behave according her interpretation of human rights. In the lobbies there was always the suspicion that she would pull for the Tamils because her Tamil ethnic blood was thicker than the pure waters of human rights. Besides, her actions since she occupied the chair of UNHRC Commissioner indicated that she is tilted more towards the West than the rest.

 Sri Lanka, however, went over the heads of the European ex-colonialists, and lobbied the Asian, South Asian, African, NAM, Indian, Pakistani, Chinese and Russian delegates. Meanwhile, outside in the streets the Tamil diaspora was flexing their muscle. One Tamil even set himself on fire as a tactic of their psychological war to influence the UNHRC decision. Inside the Council shady NGO hirelings like Sunanda Deshapriya  — a crook who embezzled the money meant to serve the journalists and fled the country saying that the government is harassing him —  was stuttering his protests accusing the Sri Lankan government of the usual allegations. Though he took himself seriously no one else did.

 It was at this critical stage that Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka took the bold step of confronting the West head-on. His task was not to appease but to give back with interest and he did it with exuberant gusto. He thundered with his counter-attack on the West. In very blunt terms he told the French if they could hold a commission of inquiry into French atrocities in Vietnam and Algeria, including electric shocks administered in the genitals of men and women, and if the British and Irish would set the example by holding independent international inquiries into what happened on “Bloody Sunday” in Londonderry and announce the results of the two commissions of inquiry which are kept under lock and key, Sri Lanka would consider following their examples. He blasted the British by saying that they promoted all the officers involved in the “Bloody Sunday” massacre. This was a shocking blow to the holier-than-thou West who thinks that they alone own the exclusive monopoly of all rights to speak on human rights. . .

 Radhika Coomaraswamy, UN’s Under Secretary-General for Children and Arms, nearly collapsed hearing this unexpected blast and the results of the voting. She immediately sent a private and confidential e-mail to her international network crying that Dayan had made an “obnoxious” speech and Sri Lanka had won. She said:  Dear All,  Disiater (sic) is final. The Sri Lankan (sic) draft as modified  has been adopted at the HRC, Europeans lost openly and Dayan made the most obnoxious speech. It is terrible. RC.” Though she pretends to be the objective and independent UN bureaucrat this statement reveals her hidden agenda of pulling for her Tamil politics than for human rights.

 From Coomaraswamy’s point of view the voting was, indeed, “terrible”. Naturally, the anti-Sri Lankan lobby of Coomaraswamy, Navi Pillay and Louise Arbour was stunned by a decisive and overwhelming vote. It was a record 29 for Sri Lanka as against 12 for the defeated West with 6 abstentions.The voting was as follows: 

In favour:     Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia (Plurinational State of),  Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Uruguay, Zambia;

Against:      Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland;

Abstaining: Argentina, Gabon, Japan, Mauritius, Republic of Korea, Ukraine.

This unexpected turn of events riled the West, more so because the UNHRC had condemned Israel for its ruthless attacks on Gaza. They were stunned that UNHRC did not adopt the same stance against Sri Lanka. Louise Arbour, one of the main manipulators of the anti-Sri Lankan lobby summarized the attitude of West in the following comment:  “On Sept. 29, 2009, Justice Richard Goldstone presented its report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, calling for an end to impunity for violations of international law in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The UN mission reported Palestinian casualty figures at between 1,166 and 1,444.

“There was never any Goldstone report on Sri Lanka. Rather, on May 27, 2009, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution welcoming the conclusion of hostilities and “the liberation by the government of Sri Lanka of tens of thousands of its citizens …” (Khaleej Times “”…” 6/10/2010)

The blind antagonism towards Sri Lanka, seeking revenge, is revealed in this statement. Her dogged anti-Sri Lankan prejudices blinds her to the difference between liberating 300,000 Tamils imprisoned and used as a human shield by the Tamil Tigers and the naked military offensive of Israelis to keep the Palestinians of Gaza as virtual prisoners without food, medicine and other basic essentials.

This background was outlined to explain the subsequent actions of Navi Pillay, Louise Arbour and even Radhika Coomaraswamy “”…” all three of whom are supposed to be independent actors. As acknowledged by Coomaraswamy the “Europeans lost openly” at UNHRC. They had lost on all global fronts. Earlier, Ambassador Palihakkara had kept the Western wolves at the UN at bay. Then the West lost at UNHRC in an open vote. They had nowhere else to go except to manipulate the I/NGOs.

This is how Louise Arbour, the CEO of the International Crisis Group, came to the rescue of the West. She produced her own indictment admitting openly that the only weapon available to deal with the Mahinda Rajapakse government was to beat it with human rights issues. She wrote in her ICG report issued on May 17 “”…” timed to target the first anniversary celebration of victory “”…” that “the only serious leverage they have to push the Rajapakse government  is human rights.”

What more evidence is required to prove these three anti-Sri Lankan busybodies are using human rights for their political agenda and not to serve human rights? Arbour openly states that ““the only serious leverage they have to push the Rajapakse government is human rights.” Coomaraswamy states the Sri Lankan victory at UNHRC is “terrible”. And Navi Pillay is openly flouting the inter-governmental decision of the UNHRC which rejected an inquiry into the domestic affairs of Sri Lanka. UNHRC overwhelmingly voted to congratulate the Sri Lankan government for the way it handled the humanitarian crisis. But Pillay, taking the law into her own hands, has been pushing her anti-Sri Lankan agenda, insisting on an independent commission of inquiry.

Not surprisingly, these three Gorgon sisters, sharing one eye to look at Sri Lanka, have ganged up to mount an aggressive attack on Sri Lanka. Dressed in tinsel garments of human rights these three charlatans are playing their own political games which, unfortunately, reflects on the credibility of UN and the ICG which claim to be institutions established for the protection and preservation of the human rights.

Consider first the role played by Coomaraswamy. In the UN lobbies diplomats are wondering what sinister motive is making Coomaraswamy lips tight on Sri Lanka issues both in the Ban Ki-Moon’s Cabinet and outside, because she can be considered to the best available expert on Sri Lanka, having headed the International Centre for Ethnic Studies in Colombo. . Of course, her excuse is that she has to maintain her objectivity and independence. If so, how come she circulated that anti-Sri Lankan e-mail, which not only described the “European loss” as a disaster but also condemned Dayan’s speech as “terrible”. To whom is the “European loss” a disaster? And why is Dayan’s speech defending Sri Lanka so “terrible”? Neither the “European loss” nor Dayan’s speech can be “terrible” unless the writer is anti-Sri Lankan. .Q. E. D. If you add to this evidence the fact that it is the Chinese representative that is always speaking up for Sri Lanka and not Coomaraswamy there is no additional proof required to establish Coomaraswamy’s anti-Sri Lankan politics which she had pursued in subtle ways from the day she joined the ICES aligned openly to the Tamil National Aliance.

Second, where is the objective commitment to human rights when Louise Arbour confesses unashamedly and candidly that she is using human rights to beat the Rajapakse government? In her confession she admits that she is using human rights for political ends. The fact that she refers to human rights is purely secondary, if not incidental. She is not alone in this. She is only one of the countless politicized INGO gangs bashing Sri Lanka. Credit, however, must be given to her for admitting it openly.

Third, Navi Pillay has no mandate from UNHRC “”…” the inter-governmental body that makes decisions on global human rights — to insist on launching an international inquiry into what happened in the last days of the Vadukoddai War. The mandate given by the UNHRC, with an overwhelming majority is to congratulate Sri Lanka for the exceptional manner in which she has handled the human rights crisis. In acting arbitrarily, the way she does, she seems to take the law into her own hands without any respect or regard to due processes of implementing the law as laid down by the UNHRC. Her duty is to implement the decisions of the UNHRC. How can she expect others to respect human rights law when she is acting as the dictator of human rights without any backing from the Human Rights Council? Is she appointed as CEO to implement the decisions of the UNHRC? Or is she appointed to dump the decisions of the UNHRC into the nearest wpb?

Ambassador Gopinath of India told her off in no uncertain terms when he urged her not to step out line of the decision of UNHRC. Raising the UNHCR resolution as a matter of serious concern to inter-governmental delegates at the UNHRC he told Navi Pillay bluntly: “It would be extremely unfortunate, if the inter-governmental decisions adopted by the human rights council, were to be ignored or set aside, and the High Commissioner and/or her office were to misinterpret them or willfully neglect them, or supersede them according to their convenience or in accordance with the agenda of some states, or unrepresentative or unacco   untable organizations, or to pursue their own agenda.”

He added: “The High Commissioner (Navi Pillay) has welcomed the special session and consequently, we consider it safe to assume that she also accepts its concomitant outcome. The High Commissioner and her office would be fully aware of the discussions and negotiations on the different elements of the outcome, and on the positions adopted by different member states and groupings on these elements.

“It is important to recall and reaffirm that the outcome of the special session reflects an inter-governmental decision, adopted according to the rules of procedure of the council. What is more, it endorses the joint communique”ƒ…‚¡ issued at the end of the recent visit to Sri Lanka by the UN secretary General, which among other things, reaffirms the willingness of the government of Sri Lanka to address the issue of accountability in response to the concerns expressed by the UN Secretary General in this regard.

“We feel that in these circumstances, it will be prudent to adhere to the outcome of the special session and be sensitive to the concerns expressed already, rather than take a position on contested proposals or controversial issues and ideas, which did not find eventual acceptance in the outcome of the special session.”

So what right has Navi Pillay to go beyond her mandate given by the UNHRC unless it be that she is bent on pursuing her own political agenda like her other two Gorgon sisters?

The solid evidence available poses a simple question to Sri Lanka: Should Sri Lanka surrender to the political machinations of partisan international agencies posing as defenders of human rights or should Sri Lanka ignore them totally and go ahead with its own Lessons to Learn and Reconciliation Commission?

My answer is to send them three airline tickets, drive them to the Galle Face Green when they arrive at Katunayake airport and then ask them to fly a kite.


4 Responses to “How little Lanka beat the big, bad West -Part III”


    We need to be careful about responding and reacting to these western stooges including UNHRC. We must not let anyone dictate to us including our giant neighbour India. Current Government is capable of taking all the necessary decisions about human rights and the future of Tamils in Sri Lanka. Let the west do whatever they can, we would go our way non-stop. We need to detect, understand and control the traitors and stop corruption. Then we have more than enough talent to steer our Nation to prosperity.

  2. cassandra Says:

    You have provided your own answer, and an interesting one at that. Kite flying can be a very rewarding pastime, and who knows the three good ladies might even actually the experience!

    Seriously, though, very clearly, Sri Lanka cannot “surrender to the political machinations of partisan international agencies posing as defenders of human rights”. But neither can she ignore the calls made by international agencies for an inquiry, into alleged war crimes and human rights violations. Those calls will need to be dealt with soberly and sensibly and with diplomacy and, dare I say, without unnecessary name calling or publicly imputing base motives.

    In the meantime there is no question that the Lessons to Learn and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) should proceed as planned. One of the reasons stated in the International Crisis Group (ICG) report for calling for an inquiry is “the absence of political will or capacity for genuine domestic investigations”. The LLRC gives the lie to that assertion.

    And speaking of the ICG, its Homepage states that “The International Crisis Group is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict.” Note the operative words – “preventing “and “resolving” The recent ICG report on Sri Lanka is not about “preventing” and “resolving” a conflict. It is about a post-conflict situation. So, is it not time that someone pointed out, very politely, to the ICG that this report is going outside the ICG’s remit?

    And Navi Pillai may have to be gently reminded of what the Ambassador Gopinath of India told her, in very clear terms, in Geneva last May. It should be pointed out there is no reason to re-visit an issue that was discussed and disposed of at that time – it is like trying a man twice for the same alleged offence.

  3. cassandra Says:

    Sorry, in the second sentence, “even actually the experience” should read “even actually enjoy the experience”.

  4. Manjula Says:

    Louise Arbour , Navi Pillay and Coomaraswamy all have proved that they operate with biased mentalities and therefore are disqualified from serving in high positions in UN. If UN is unable to dispell these biased characters from UN, then the crdibility is down the drain for UN and there is no purpose for poor countries to in be a member of UN. UN is expected to be fair on all members because they are all “members”. You cannot have discimination and prejudice in UN while they(UN) preach for “anti-discrimination and anti-prejudice” to member governments.

    This article is a great eye-opener regarding the nature of UN and its operatives. It is high time the UN is cleaned off from such rot if UN needs to be accepted as “fair and unbiased”. Otherwise UN would simply become a “private” charity organisation similar to Red Cross or Human Rights Watch. I myself can create such an NGO tomorrow with few neighbours participating in it. All I need is few “big mouths” regardless of their level of balanced common sense.

    Well done Mr. Mahindapala, for your great articles as always, which are full of “real information” rather than imaginative gossip in western media.

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