Resolutions: It could well be you, next!
Posted on March 10th, 2012

Dr Bandula Kothalawala LondonN7

Uncle Sam’s Human Rights Brigade has moved to the front and shifted into top gear, ready to occupy the centre stage with a seemingly innocuous resolution againstSri Lanka.

The US Resolution is a craftily worded text wrapped in apparently anodyne verbiage to conceal its truly sinister intent, but bears the hallmark of sheer hypocrisy, moral turpitude and intellectual decrepitude of an international gendarme aiming at an elusive quarry. The maliciously brewed concoction, without a shadow of doubt, is an insidious attempt by the US and its stooges to pull the wool over the eyes of unsuspecting developing nations and others in the UNHRC to secure their support for its adoption in order to gain leverage to use it as the basis subsequently to bring in a deadly resolution against Sri Lanka for “her failure” to “comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of this resolution”.  In 2002, the UN Security Council was duped into adopting a resolution against Iraq, calling upon the country to comply with its disarmament obligations. Subsequently, the US and UK in flagrant violation of their own pledge to the Security Council to return[1] to it before embarking on military action, went ahead with the invasion. Once again in 2011, the UN Security Council was taken for a ride by the US and allies by inveigling its members to adopt a resolution against Libya, ostensibly, to protect civilians[2]. It is transparently clear that the current Resolution would have no raison d’ƒÆ’†’ªtre if the US and its stooges in the UNHRC were acting in good faith. Let me take a close look at the reasons. 

  • It is only about three months since the Report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was tabled in parliament. It is hard to comprehend the indecent haste with which the proponents of the Resolution expect the SL Government to implement its recommendations. It took 26 years for the British Government to institute a proper inquiry into the events of January 1972 and another 12 years for the Bloody Sunday Inquiry to complete its investigations in 2010. In other words, it is only after 38 long years that a semblance of justice appears to have been done to the victims of a horrific massacre that happened on Sunday 30 January 1972.The same Government in league with its master with an unsavoury record on human rights, put it mildly, is demanding that the recommendations of a commission that looked into events spanning nearly three decades be implemented forthwith.
  • As far as I am aware, the Government of Sri Lanka has repeatedly indicated its willingness to implement the recommendations of the LLRC and is working on a viable, practicable long-term strategy to give effect to them on a sustainable basis. In addition, it has provided the UNHRC with details of the measures already taken to implement some of the recommendations.
  • The Government of Sri Lanka has never refused to work in close collaboration with the UN Human Rights Council. Therefore, it is hard to understand why a resolution is needed to compel a country already fully co-operating with the UNHRC.
  • The Universal Periodic Review of Sri Lanka is due later this year, which provides a suitable forum to raise all matters relating to violations of human rights. In fact, this procedure has been followed with few exceptions since the inception of the UNHRC. There is hardly any justification for the departure from past practice.

If the proponents of the Resolution are genuinely concerned about war crimes, it is curious that they make no reference or allusion to the crimes committed by the LTTE including its hostage-taking. In fact, the enormity of the use of nearly 300,000 innocent civilians “”…” men and women, young and old, sick and dying – as a human shield by a ruthless terrorist outfit has been discreetly swept under the carpet by the sanctimonious crowd now babbling over human rights in Geneva. Not only International Humanitarian Law, but also the status of customary law strictly prohibits the use of civilians as human shields. The Additional Protocol to the Geneva Convention expressly bans[3] any movement of civil population in an attempt to shield military objectives. The terror outfit did exactly that. In the final weeks of the war, the LTTE forcibly removed hundreds of thousands of civilians out of their homes, frogmarched them into an ever shrinking patch of its “territory” and, strategically, placed them around their heavy weaponry targeted on Sri Lankan armed forces. Moreover, those who attempted to escape were relentlessly pursued and ruthlessly executed by the outfit. Although there were a few politicians in the West who, to their credit, condemned the barbaric acts and demanded that the LTTE free civilians, today’s self-proclaimed human rights angels were conspicuous by their absence. In fact, I do recall David Miliband’s “”…” then Foreign Secretary – steadfast refusal, widely reported in the Sri Lankan press at that time, during his unsuccessful bid to bail out the outfit to make a declaration in Colombo to condemn the despicable hostage-taking.

The UK Government is, indeed, in a league of its own when it comes to crowing about its commitment to human rights. It has few rivals in this regard. Yet, it has no qualms about harbouring Adele Balasingham “”…” Australian Aunty-, numerous footages of whose garlanding of innocent young Tamil girls with cyanide capsules are widely available on the internet. It is hard to imagine that the angelic Jeremy Browne, FCO Minister, who waxes lyrical about human rights while referring to Sri Lanka as a failed state[4] was unaware of the fact that the conscription of children[5] or their use in hostilities is a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Moreover, I do not remember Mr Browne who often makes a song and dance about the rule of law in distant lands, raising a whimper when a terror outfit proscribed in the EU, USA, Canada andIndia was allowed to hold street demonstrations for 73 days inLondon in 2009. The same Government had no hesitation to use the Terrorism Act to ban a protest by an Islamic group in 2010, not to mention that police violence against G8 protesters led to one death in May 2010

Of course, Uncle Sam’s credentials on human rights are impeccable and second to none. Perhaps, their undying concern for the sanctity of human life was best crystallised in the remark made by one of their most illustrious colleagues in the UN. On May 12, 1996, Madeleine Albright, US Ambassador to the UN claimed that the half a million Iraqi children said to have died due to sanctions was a price worth paying! (“I think the price is worth paying”, according to the transcripts of the programme[6].). One might get a tiny insight into the callous disregard and utter disdain with which the US Government treats civilian deaths in conflict.

Strangely enough, Maria Otero,US Under-Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, who has arrogated to herself the right to sermonize developing nations in the UNHRC on human rights has made no mention of her country’s unenviable record inVietnam. Ms Otero is certainly very fortunate in that no ghost from among the two million Vietnamese, in whose innocent blood her Government drenched a once prosperous land in Asia, seems to disturb her sleep in the salubrious Geneva. I still recall with horror the pictures of American soldiers proudly dangling severed heads of Vietnamese fighters “”…” so-called trophies – dripping with blood. As for the-holier-than-holy Browne, neither the horrific treatment meted out to 7-10 million Africans transported across oceans as slaves under abominable conditions causing the death of nearly half of them in transit, according to some accounts, nor the unspeakably horrendous crimes committed against the people in the former colonies like Sri Lanka, India, Kenya and others appears to stir his conscience in the slightest when ranting and raving about human rights.  

Uncle Sam’s Human Rights Brigade is said to be working overtime to win the votes of African members in the UNHRC. I doubt whether people’s memories on the African continent are as short as Ms Otero and her colleagues seem to think. African delegates to the UNHRC may well recall how the Apartheid regime inSouth Africabecame the embodiment of evil and injustice in the post-War era. Not only did the South African Government under Apartheid ruthlessly oppress black South Africans, but it also carried out vicious attacks against its neighbours. Moreover, it made use ofNamibia””…” its colony before the country became independent””…” as a springboard to launch brutal offensives against neighbouring countries which resulted in many civilian casualties. The mounting opposition against Apartheid and aggression by the then South African Government against neighbouring states found expression in a number of resolutions in the UN General Assembly as well as in the Security Council. This was clearly too much to stomach for the three saintly nations “”…” US, UK and France “”…” who have now metamorphosed into indefatigable defenders of human rights. Today, their leaders and diplomats can hardly open their mouth without muttering about human rights. The table below summarizes their voting record.

Use of Veto on Resolutions on South Africa and Southern Rhodesia

Country South Africa Southern Rhodesia
France 3 0
UK 8 8
USA 9 2

Source: UN Security Council

Although it is difficult, in a brief article, to detail the contents of some of the resolutions vetoed by the three self-proclaimed angels, a cursory look at them reveals the extent of their callous disregard and utter contempt for human rights. One resolution[7] which followed the Sharpeville Massacre in March 1960, inter alia, deplored “that the recent disturbances in the Union of South Africa should have led to the loss of life of so many Africans” and extended “to the families of victims its sympathies”. Another resolution[8], inter alia, called upon the South African authorities to stay execution and commute the death sentences imposed on the Sharpeville Six. One other resolution[9] brought before the Security Council in June 1964 while the Rivonia trial, in which Mr Nelson Mandela was indicted, was in progress, urged the Government of South Africa to “grant an amnesty to all persons already imprisoned, interned or subjected to other restrictions for having opposed the policy of apartheid, and particularly, to the defendants of the Rivonia trial”. None of these resolutions, some of which were in fact watered-down versions of those already adopted with an overwhelming majority by the UN General Assembly, stood any chance! The self-selected, self-appointed defenders of democracy and human rights who today parade about in the corridors of the UN and elsewhere as paragons of virtue took good care of them! Remember the way in which the same crowd lost no time in jumping on the bandwagon and rejoicing over the joys of the people ofSouth Africa when Apartheid was abolished in 1994.

Some governments like that of the UK brooked no criticism or interference from the UN, especially, when it threatened their interests. When Ian Smith made the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) in 1964, the UK was adamant that the UN had no role to play and that it was a “British problem”. In addition, it showed extreme reluctance to take any meaningful effective action to end the racist regime and in 1972 offered a deal, described by the Rhodesian Methodist Churchas the “Constitutional rape of Africans by both the Rhodesian and British Governments”. Suffice it to say that the UK made use of its veto eight times to keep the UN out, that it did everything within its power to keep the racist regime afloat and that it managed to persuade its allies to do so.

I do hope that developing countries in Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Africain particular, will think twice and not fall prey to smooth, slimy, sleek operators like Ms Otero. It could well be you next. It is the thin end of the wedge. Finally, a word of caution is in order for Geneva residents, especially, those around the Lake. Please, do not be surprised if the waters of Lake LĮՠթmantaste a bit brackish these days. This is simply due to the tears of born-again defenders of human rights in the West gushing into your lake!

Dr Bandula Kothalawala

LondonN7



[1] There is no “automaticity” in this resolution. If there is a further Iraqi breach of its disarmament obligations, the matter will return to the Council for discussion as required in paragraph 12. We would expect the Security Council then to meet its responsibilities,UK Ambassador to the UN on 8 Nov 2002, on UN SC Resolution 1441

[2] to take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory, UN Resolution 1973, 26 Feb 2011

[3]The Parties to the conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military operations, Article 51.7, Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977.

[4] The British High Commissioner inColombo is reported to have corrected the Ministerial statement, Pl see BHC Website.

[5] Conscripting or enlisting children under the age of fifteen years into the national armed forces or using them to participate actively in hostilities, Article 8.2c xxvi, Statute of Rome, ICC

 

[6] 60 Minutes, Interview with Lesley Rene Stahi, 1996

[7]134(1960) Resolution of 1st April 1960

[8]623 (1988) Resolution of 23rd of November 1988

[9]190 (1964) Resolution of 9th June 1964

5 Responses to “Resolutions: It could well be you, next!”

  1. aravinda Says:

    The veto numbers given in the table speak volumes. USA and EU lacks complete regard to fairness, human rights, morality and humanity.

    This absurd resolution submitted by USA will be defeated 30-12. The nations of Asia, Africa and South America will vote to support Sri Lanka. Europe and few lapdogs will vote to support US resolution. Now we know who was behind LTTE, don”t we?

    Idea is to kill Mahinda and install a remote-control-military-puppet. Dream on USA.

  2. stanley perera Says:

    30-12 is a good majority. It looks like sleepy GL with MS are doing well. However we should not be complacent. Fight to the end.

  3. nilwala Says:

    Hope the majority that is AGAINST the US resolution continues to hold or grows as more and more countries increasingly realise the impact this precedent will have on their own national sovereignty.
    This apart from the utter unfairness of the resolution in selecting a country that has done more for its minorities during an ongoing war than any other on record.

  4. Christie Says:

    If what is reported in the local media is right, the US has watered down its concoction. So there is nothing much to worry about.

    My concern is the people like this writer and others who live in the West piling up their sh– on the West in this case.

    What US or other Western countries do is their business.

    In this case we have to talk to the West in a reasonable manner to counteract the massive work done behind the scene by India, Indians in the West and Indian colonial parasites against the non-Indians of the island nation.

    If you live in London ask any of your Indian friends, neighbors and work friends what they think of this issue.

  5. Christie Says:

    “nor the unspeakably horrendous crimes committed against the people in the former colonies like Sri Lanka, India, Kenya and others appears to stir his conscience in the slightest when ranting and raving about human rights”

    Nor Man

    It is the Indian Sepoys and Coolies who committed horrendous crimes against the locals in Burma,Ceylon, Kenya, Malaysia, Fiji and other British dominions.

    They still cause so much suffering to the locals.

    Have you heard about the killing of a mother and daughter by a drug dealer in Kahawatta near Ratnapura?.

    India is flooding the pumping island nation with heroine and artificial narcotics to destroy the non-Indian population of the country.

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