Presumptuous and preposterous
Posted on June 25th, 2010

Opinion – Insight -B.S. RAGHAVAN , Courtesy Business Line from THE HINDU group of publications

In a move reeking of the foul odour of cynicism and double standards, the UN Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-Moon has, on June 22, as per a notification posted on the UN Web site, announced the appointment of a so-called advisory panel of three so-called experts “to advise him on accountability issues relating to alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka that ended last year”. The experts will examine “the modalities, applicable international standards and comparative experience with regard to accountability processes, taking into account the nature and scope of any alleged violations in Sri Lanka”. The very basis of the notification is totally unacceptable and untenable. First, Sri Lanka is a sovereign, independent country, having the indisputable right under the UN Charter itself, to act in its best judgment on issues relating to its internal affairs, especially where maintenance of peace and security is concerned.

 It is a settled canon of international conduct that no extraneous agency has any business to poke its nose into matters of internal governance of any country.

 Accountability process

 Mr Ban has exceeded the bounds set for the UN by its founders in seeking to subject a sovereign member of that body, brushing aside its objections, to a misconceived investigation of allegations of violations of human rights, during Sri Lanka’s military operations against a proclaimed terrorist organisation (LTTE). Some media reports emanating from the UN also have the temerity to accuse Sri Lanka of “ƒ”¹…”war crimes’.

 The panel, the notification further says, is a sequel to “commitment on human rights accountability made in the Joint Statement issued by the Secretary-General and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa after the UN chief visited the island country in May 2009.” Sri Lanka has denied its agreeing to any such so-called “accountability process”.

 All that the Joint Statement of May 23, 2009, says on this point is: “Sri Lanka reiterated its strongest commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, in keeping with international human rights standards and Sri Lanka’s international obligations. The Secretary-General underlined the importance of an accountability process for addressing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. The Government will take measures to address those grievances.”

 Insult to injury

 The notification setting up the panel has unjustifiably stretched the language of the last sentence too far. It must be remembered that Sri Lanka has already established an eight-person “Commission on Lessons Learned and Reconciliation” to look into the last seven years of the war. The Secretary-General should have properly waited for that Commission to conclude its work, instead of rushing to create an overlapping body under UN auspices.

 The most objectionable aspect of the move is that it rubs out the right of a state to defend itself and protect its people against frightful killing sprees on its own soil of a proclaimed terrorist organisation.

 The Western countries have always publicly supported the exercise of this right by Israel, and as late as on June 16, following the shooting to death of four so-called “ƒ”¹…”terrorists’ in Iraq by Turkish forces deputed there, the US Department of State explicitly blessed the action saying that Turkey, like any country, had the right to defend itself against terrorist organisations.

 By turning a blind eye to the undoubted crimes against humanity committed by the US and Western countries (invasion of Iraq by touting lies, Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, drone attacks) and holding the democratic government of Sri Lanka answerable for discharging the legitimate functions of a state, Mr Ban has not enhanced his credibility. By including an American as one of the panel members, he has only added insult to injury.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2010/06/25/stories/2010062550680800.htm

One Response to “Presumptuous and preposterous”

  1. Siri Says:

    I commend Mr B.S. RAGHAVAN on this article. he has said it all. Why is Banky Boom not setting up a panel to investigate the criminal activities of UK, USA and Israel? Is he afraid or is it that there is no money in it or is it that he is a stooge of the so called Western Powers? The LTTE still has plenty of money left to bribe Banky Boom. Maybe he needs this money for retirement as he will not get elected to a second term. One way or another his days are numbered. He has been a disgrace to the office of UN Sec. Gen. and has left a black mark on the position he occupies. He is too currupt and incompetant for this position.

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