UN Secretary General’s Panel on Sri Lanka is a Blunder of Serious Proportions
Posted on July 11th, 2010

SLUNA MEDIA RELEASE

The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon has clearly exceeded the powers prescribed per Chapter XV of the UN Charter where his role as the Chief Administrative Officer and the limits of his authority are specifically defined in Articles 97 and 98, by his appointing a three member panel to investigate alleged violations of human rights and humanitarian law during the concluding stages of the military action taken by Sri Lanka in 2009 to regain the country from the designated terror group called the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) also known as the Tamil Tigers.  The UN Charter provides that the Secretary General shall perform such functions as are entrusted to him by the General Assembly, the Security Council and other subsidiary bodies such as the Human Rights Council, but lacks authority to act in such matters on his own.  In fact, Sri Lanka’s human rights issues have been dealt with appropriately by the international community in June 2009 at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva where the members decided in a 29 to 12 vote to not intervene in Sri Lanka’s internal issues. 

 Ban Ki-Moon’s action seeks to subject a sovereign member of the UN to an investigation of mere allegations of violations of human rights said to have been incurred during the military action taken by Sri Lanka against LTTE, a designated terrorist organization, disregarding the valid objections by the member state. According to the Op-Ed column written by B.S. Raghavan appearing in “ƒ”¹…”The Hindu’ newspaper of June 25, 2010, he has stated that: “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.”   The double standards being applied by the UNSG overlooking glaring violations in other theatres involving major powers, and pursuing an interventionist role in Sri Lanka despite the absence of directives from the General Assembly, Security Council, or the UNHRC, will no doubt lead to the waning of confidence in the organization and making it irrelevant. 

 The successful military action carried out by Sri Lanka against the Tamil Tiger terrorists not only enabled the rescue of nearly 300,000 Tamil civilians that had been forced to withdraw from their villages and move with the retreating LTTE forces across the Vanni region from mid-2007 to May 2009 to serve as a human shield, but also secured the right to life of her 20 million citizens who were constantly targeted by the LTTE terrorists.  The elimination of the megalomaniacal terrorist leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and his coterie of murderous deputies ended 32 plus years of mayhem and murder that took a heavy toll of lives, limbs and destruction of an inestimable amount of valuable property. It also ushered in a new dawn of peace for the internally displaced Tamil civilians and the rest of the population that emerged from a horrible nightmare of unbridled terrorist violence ranging from bus and train bombs, claymore mine attacks, machete attacks at midnight on remote rural communities, unleashing of suicide bombers, ethnic cleansing and more. 

 Sri Lanka did what was right on the conclusion of the military action by giving priority to providing care to the 300,000 Tamil IDPs that had suffered immensely under the jackboot of the terrorist LTTE, who had been uprooted from their villages, and engaged in the manufacture and laying of anti-personnel mines, digging deep ditches and building high earthen dams to enable the cowardly LTTE cadres to make a stand against the rapidly advancing security forces.  These rescued Tamil civilians had to be temporarily housed, fed nearly a million meals each day, and provided with medical care, schooling for the children, banking and telecommunication facilities, till such time as the land could be de-mined and their homes rebuilt and requisite infra-structure put in place before they could be re-settled with adequate support and livelihood programs to lead normal lives within a democratic environment.  Today, almost 80 percent of the IDPs have been re-settled within the space of 12 months leaving roughly 45,000 awaiting completion of de-mining operations scheduled to finish by August 2010 to get back to their respective villages. 

 In accordance with the Joint Statement of May 23, 2009 issued by the UN Secretary General and the Sri Lankan President, Sri Lanka has established an eight person “ƒ”¹…”Commission on Lessons Learned and Reconciliation’ to look into the last seven years of the conflict.  This quasi-judicial commission is made up distinguished citizens of whom four members are drawn from the majority Sinhalese community with two each from the two main minority groups, namely the Tamil and Muslim communities.  Whilst the Secretary General underlined the importance of an accountability process the Government of Sri Lanka undertook to take necessary measures to address the related grievances.  Sri Lanka is acting within her indisputable sovereign rights to deal with her internal affairs and UN Secretary General’s attempt to intervene at this stage by appointing his own panel is not only an act of bad faith but also a move to interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign member state.

 It appears that Ban Ki-Moon is a “ƒ”¹…”Puppet on a String’ who is being manipulated by those western countries that tended to equate the terrorist LTTE with the democratically and legally elected Government of Sri Lanka, which operated a secret agenda of evolving a two state solution to the three decade long conflict.  It was the same western governments that claimed that the LTTE could not be defeated and wanted Sri Lanka to strike a deal with the terrorists to be facilitated by the Norwegians. When the Tamil Tigers were being cornered and facing total defeat, they sent their representatives, David Milliband and Bernard Kouchner to seek a halt to the military action and a plan to spring the terrorist leaders to safety and asylum in Eritrea or even Norway.  Eric Solheim of Norway, Carl Bildt of Sweden, Navi Pillay UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Robert Blake and Hillary Clinton of USA along with western funded INGO such as the ICG, HRW, etc. were busy working behind the scenes to save these terrorists whilst they ignored the plight of the displaced Tamil civilians who were herded across the Vanni by the LTTE for almost two years to be used as a human shield. 

The Non-Alligned Movement made up of 119 countries of the total of 192 represented in the UN, and other key members of the Security Council such as Russia and China have expressed their objections to the UNSG appointing a panel on his own initiative to investigate issues pertaining to Sri Lanka’s internal conflict which has ended and restoration of peace in the country.  These countries have recognized Sri Lanka’s right to deal with the related issues including violation of human rights if any, and have expressed confidence in the Commission established for the purpose. 

 Ban Ki-Moon has exceeded the bounds set for the UN by its founders in order to please those forces that sought to punish Sri Lanka for not falling prey to their machinations and the failure to have their way at the UNHRC sessions in Geneva, as he is obviously eyeing a second term which he is hoping that he could secure with the assistance of the powerful western nations.  Ban Ki-Moon may or may not get his second term, but even if he does, he will be overseeing a UN which is fractured and disintegrating because of his irregular and partisan actions that clearly display double standards in the application of the Charter rules.

 Yours sincerely,

 Mahinda Gunasekera
Honorary President

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