Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka advocates implementing 13A
Posted on March 24th, 2012

Mahinda Gunasekera Canada  

Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka has once again advocated that Sri Lanka should implement the 13th Amendment in his article published in the Island newspaper on March 23, 2012.  He believes that it is the best way to countervail and neutralize the opposition from the anti-Sinhala extremists in Tamilnadu and the Diaspora and win the support of India. He goes on to speak of  ” The balanced solution of fullest autonomy within a unitary framework …”, but does not define what he means by ‘fullest autonomy’, except to say that he is confident that the extremist forces within the Sinhala majority will not be able to do any harm as compared to damage resulting from Tamilnadu pressure.

 The Diaspora leaders are still pursuing the same objectives that they sought by financing the armed confrontation of Tamil terrorist groups, i.e. the creation of a separate state called “Eelam” in the north and east of Sri Lanka.  The most vociferous and best organised groups of the Tamil Diaspora are the leaders of the separatist movement going by the names of ‘Trans-National Government of Tamil Eelam’, ‘Global Tamil Forum’ that control the vast funds accumulated through illicit and legal means, and a host of country specific organizations based in the western countries that are linked to the same movements and cause.  While the LTTE rejected the 13th Amendment and went on to militarily attack the IPKF and played for time in agreeing to ceasefires and peace talks to build up their forces to achieve their goal of beaking up the country through armed force, the Diaspora and their proxies in Sri Lanka led by the TNA are seeking international support for substantial autonomy via 13A plus as a first step towards separation at a later date. 

What guarantee can Ambassador Jayatilleka provide that the Tamil Diaspora and the Tamil separatist forces in Sri Lanka have given up their dreams of a separate “Eelam” with the support the Tamil parties in Tamilnadu and elsewhere?

The 13th Amendment which came about as a result of Indian pressure and threat of military intervention in support of the Tamil separatists which is a coercive move which negates the Accord reached thereby. 13A was passed by the J.R. Jayawardena government by resorting to unethical means of a threat by the President to table undated ‘letters of resignation’ obtained from the ruling party parliamentarians,  and without consulting the people.  If the present government has any intention to implement 13A, it is obligated to firstly obtain the consent of the people at a National Referendum to either withdraw same from the Statute Book or agree to its adoption in full or amended form. Due to the ever present risk of opening the country to eventual break-up through a combination of Tamil forces that have earlier resorted to every form of violence including suicide terrorism, it would be best to withdraw the 13th Amendment, and if at all consider granting a reasonable degree of devolved powers to a unit not exceeding the District, plus enhanced powers to Grama Sabhas at the village level where the majority of people live.

 In this thread, I have attached a copy of the Resolution below Dr. DJ’s article, which was adopted at the 11th sessions of the UNHRC in May 2009 where Sri Lanka succeeded in obtaining majority support for her efforts to defeat terrorism, rescue the 300,000 displaced Tamils and take steps to re-settle them and bring about reconciliation.  Dr. Jayatilleka played a prominent part as Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative at the UN in Geneva, where again Sri Lanka has intimated her  “commitment to a political solution with implementation of the thirteenth amendment to bring about lasting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka,   In the absence of a clear decision by the people in a free and fair referendum held for the purpose, it is difficult to understand with whose authority such commitments are made at international fora?

 Mahinda Gunasekera   

 Geneva outcome 2012

http://island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=48141

March 23, 2012, 8:21 pm – Island

By Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

 Let’s learn the right lessons from the Geneva outcome, not the wrong ones. It is not the case that a small country such as Sri Lanka cannot fight a diplomatic battle with the mighty USA and win. Minutes after the Sri Lanka vote at the HRC this time, the Cubans moved a resolution on the composition of the staff of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the opacity (code-named independence) of which the West regards as a holy of holies. The USA opposed the resolution. The Cuban resolution won with a massive 33 votes.

 Last year the USA invested far more effort and political capital at a far higher political level than in the case of the Sri Lanka resolution in Geneva, to prevent Palestine from being granted full membership of the UNESCO in Paris. The US lost that battle, and besieged Palestine, an embryonic or proto-state (unlike Sri Lanka) won a two thirds majority. The battle was fought by a core quartet comprising two Palestinian diplomats “”‚the impressive Left Bank intellectual Ambassador Elias Sanbar, his deputy Munir “”‚and the Permanent Delegates of Egypt and Saudi Arabia. (The Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki addressed the Council after the victory to thank the member states). I was privileged to be a participant in that historic struggle.

 Even in the case of the Special Session on Sri Lanka in the UNHRC in Geneva in May 2009, we have confirmation from Wikileaks that the USA “ƒ”¹…”led from behind’, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton instructing the US Mission thus: “…the USG [US Govt] supports a special session on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka and related aspects of the humanitarian situation. Mission is further requested to provide assistance, as needed…in obtaining others signatures to support holding this session…Mission is also instructed to engage with HRC members to negotiate a resolution as an outcome of this special session, if held. Department believes a special session that does not result in a resolution would be hailed as a victory by the Government of Sri Lanka…”[Cable dated 4th May 2009 from Secretary of State (United States)] Sri Lanka won that battle, of course, with more votes than the sole superpower, the US, managed to secure this time.

 The classic example of how to beat the US in a diplomatic battle is Cuba, which moves a resolution against the blockade every year at the UN General Assembly in New York and secures a mammoth victory of 190 votes in favour and 3 against.

 

The examples of Palestine (2011), Cuba and Sri Lanka (2009) have one thing in common: you can resist the West successfully only if you have built a sufficiently broad cross-regional coalition, a global united front. Such a counter-hegemonic bloc is predicated upon support in one’s own region, from among one’s own neighbours. India’s decision to support the US resolution came as a shock. Yet, it shouldn’t have. There can always be “ƒ”¹…”black swan events’ but those are pretty much unpredictable. Other events can be anticipated if preceded by accurate analysis. The Indian turnaround was not only predictable; it was predicted and therefore preventable, and yet it wasn’t. I wrote the following, six months ago, ringing the alarm bell regarding the UN Human Rights Council when there was time enough to do something:

 “If one has to identify a single critical or crucial variable for Sri Lanka, it is India, but our strategy cannot be reduced to Indian support…A few weeks after we fought and won our battle in Geneva in May 2009, Myanmar lost in the same forum though it had the votes of India, Russia and China. So the secret of our victory in 2009 was not simply and solely India…We will find it almost impossible to win without India’s support, and we cannot win if India ever turns against us, but we cannot win only with India’s support. We must always remember that many Asian, Middle Eastern, African and Latin American states will take their cue from India. India has a wide presence and is widely respected among Sri Lanka’s friends. We must rally our neighbourhood in our support. We must have the solid support of our continent, Asia. We must balance the South against hostile sections of the North, and the East against hostile sections of the West. India is pivotal in all these defensive moves and it is difficult to implement any of them if India is against or conspicuously on the sidelines. If, as some critical commentaries assert, India’s position has changed, or is changing, or might possibly change, from that of our May 2009 UN HRC victory, we must seek out the reasons and rectify them jointly.

 We must certainly strive to countervail the mounting anti-Lankan opinion in Indian civil society and the media, militant opinion in Tamil Nadu and the lobbying of certain Western elements. We must secure Delhi’s support and swing Indian public and political opinion firmly over to Sri Lanka’s side. This cannot be done by purely verbal means but by policy reforms. As a UN based top official of Sri Lanka’s firmest, most powerful international friend told me once, “ƒ”¹…”short of capitulating on or compromising its vital security interests, Sri Lanka must do what it takes to help its friends to help it’.” (“ƒ”¹…”Defending and Protecting Sri Lanka’, Daily Mirror, September 29th, 2011, my emphasis, DJ)

 My warning six months back was no one-off flash of foresight. The danger of an Indian shift and what should be done to forestall it was set out in cold print by me as long as three years ago. In an article that appeared exactly three months BEFORE the death of Prabhakaran, entitled “ƒ”¹…”The Indian Reality in Sri Lanka’s Existence’ I wrote:

 “…India cannot afford recrudescent Tamil Nadu separatism which thrives on the charge that New Delhi is insensitive to Tamil Nadu’s feelings for their ethnic kin in Northern Sri Lanka. Tamil Nadu… is an important and influential component of the Indian Union, and when push comes to shove, carries far more weight than Sri Lanka and the Sinhalese, in New Delhi, Washington, Moscow and Beijing. If faced with a serious strategic choice, Delhi will choose Chennai over Colombo. It is up to Sri Lanka to prevent matters coming to that…

 Sri Lanka needs to countervail and neutralize the anti-Sinhala extremists in Tamil Nadu and the Diaspora…The balanced solution of fullest autonomy within a unitary framework may be opposed by smaller extremist forces among the Sinhala majority. The grim reality though, is that even at their most disruptive and violent, these forces can do much less harm to the Sri Lankan state than a decision by India, under mounting Tamil Nadu pressure, to tilt against Sri Lanka, and a corresponding decision by India’s partner the USA to mount economic pressure on Sri Lanka through multilateral institutions and agencies. Under the unlamented Bush administration there was daylight between the positions of the US and the EU. Under the new and universally welcomed Obama administration there may be no daylight between the positions of the US, EU and India.” (“ƒ”¹…”The Indian Reality in Sri Lanka’s Existence’, The Island Feb 16, 2009)

 I had quickly returned to the theme in the next month, again before the war was won, in a piece significantly entitled “ƒ”¹…”Winning Locally, Winning Globally’:

 “The Sinhalese and Tamils are in a Mexican standoff. Locally, the Sri Lankan armed forces have surrounded the Tigers…Meanwhile, globally, from the US Senate to the UN Security Council, from Ottawa to London, from Brussels to Pretoria, from Delhi to Dili, Sri Lanka is under pressure and scrutiny as never before. Are we being encircled globally just as we have encircled the Tigers locally…The Tigers have no exit from military defeat, but do the State and society have an exit from the crisis?” (“ƒ”¹…”Winning Locally, Winning Globally’, The Island Midweek, March 11, 2009) 

 In June””…”July 2009, in the immediate aftermath of the military victory and, more topically today, our diplomatic success in Geneva at the UN HRC, I repeatedly stressed the point in what turned out to be a polemical exchange.

 “…As the paradigmatic victory in Geneva showed, we can win against the Tiger Diaspora and the Western European bloc influenced by it, when we are supported by our neighbours, our continent and our natural constituency the developing world plus Russia. In this strategy the support of India is critical. Without India’s support, the rest will distance itself from us, leaving us wide open to Western pressure and coercion. China alone cannot carry the weight…” (“ƒ”¹…”13th Amendment: Why non-implementation is a non-option’, The Island, 13th June, 2009)

 “..Sovereignty not only has to be asserted, it has to be defended and defensible. Sri Lanka cannot defend its sovereignty against all comers from all points of the compass, North and South, West and East. It can defend its sovereignty only by power balancing in a multi-polar world…” (“ƒ”¹…”The 13th Amendment, Indo-Lanka, Sovereignty’ The Island, June 27, 2009)

 Sadly, this reality manifested itself in Geneva, on March 21st 2012.


11th special session of the Human Rights Council: “The human rights situation in Sri Lanka” – Tuesday 26 and 27 May 2009

 S-11/1 Assistance to Sri Lanka in the promotion and protection of human rights

……… The Human Rights Council,

            Guided by the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and other relevant human rights instruments,

            Reaffirming the purposes and principles of the United Nations as contained in Articles 1 and 2 of the Charter, including the principle of non-interference in matters that are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of States,

            Bearing in mind General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006,

            Recalling Council resolutions 5/1 and 5/2 on institution-building of the Human Rights Council,

            Recalling also that States have the duty and responsibility to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to all segments of the population, including internally displaced persons, without discrimination,

            Recalling further its decision 2/112 and its resolutions 6/28, 7/7 and 10/15, and recalling General Assembly resolutions 57/219, 58/187, 59/191, 60/158, 61/171, 62/159 and 63/185, and welcoming the efforts of the States Members of the United Nations in the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and reaffirming the obligations of States to respect human rights law and international humanitarian law while countering terrorism,

            Reaffirming the respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Sri Lanka and its sovereign rights to protect its citizens and to combat terrorism,

            Condemning all attacks that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam launched on the civilian population and its practice of using civilians as human shields,

            Reaffirming its commitment to promote international cooperation, as set forth in the Charter, in particular Article 1, paragraph 3, as well as relevant provisions of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights on 25 June 1993 for enhancing genuine cooperation among Member States in the field of human rights,

            Recognizing that the promotion and protection of human rights should be based on the principle of cooperation and genuine dialogue and aimed at strengthening the capacity of Member States to comply with their human rights obligations for the benefit of all human beings,

            Welcoming the conclusion of hostilities and the liberation by the Government of Sri Lanka of tens of thousands of its citizens that were kept by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam against their will as hostages, as well as the efforts by the Government to ensure the safety and security of all Sri Lankans and to bring permanent peace to the country,

            Welcoming also the recent reassurance given by the President of Sri Lanka that he does not regard a military solution as a final solution, as well as his commitment to a political solution with implementation of the thirteenth amendment to bring about lasting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka,

            Emphasizing that, after the conclusion of hostilities, the priority in terms of human rights remains the provision of assistance to ensure the relief and rehabilitation of persons affected by the conflict, including internally displaced persons, as well as the reconstruction of the country’s economy and infrastructure,

            Encouraged by the provision of basic humanitarian assistance, in particular, safe drinking water, sanitation, food and medical and health-care services to the internally displaced persons by the Government of Sri Lanka with the assistance of Untied Nations agencies,

            Encouraged also by the recent announcement by the Government of Sri Lanka of the proposal to safely resettle the bulk of internally displaced persons within six months,

            Welcoming the successful rehabilitation of reintegration of former child soldiers after the conflict ended in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka,

            Acknowledging the continued engagement of the Government of Sri Lanka in regularly and transparently briefing and updating the Council on the human rights situation on the ground and the measures taken in that regard,

            1.         Commends the measures taken by the Government of Sri Lanka to address the urgent needs of internally displaced persons;

            2.         Welcomes the continued commitment of Sri Lanka to the promotion and protection of all human rights and encourages it to continue to uphold its human rights obligations and the norms of international human rights law;

            3.         Encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to continue to pursue its existing cooperation with relevant United Nations organizations, in order to provide, to the full extent of their capabilities, in cooperation with the Government of Sri Lanka, basic humanitarian assistance, in particular, safe drinking water, sanitation, food and medical and health-care services to internally displaced persons;

            4.         Welcomes the announcement of the proposal to safely resettle the bulk of internally displaced persons within six months, and encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to proceed in these endeavours with due respect for persons belonging to national, ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities;

            5.         Acknowledges the commitment of the Government of Sri Lanka to provide access as may be appropriate to international humanitarian agencies in order to ensure humanitarian assistance to the population affected by the past conflict, in particular internally displaced persons, with a view to meeting their urgent needs and encourages the Sri Lankan authorities to further facilitate appropriate work;

6.         Encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to continue to persevere in its efforts towards the disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation of former child soldiers, recruited by non””‘State armed actors in the conflict in Sri Lanka, their physical and psychological recovery and reintegration into society, in particular, through educational measures, taking into account the rights and specific needs and capacities of girls, in cooperation with relevant United Nations organizations;

7.         Urges the Government of Sri Lanka to continue strengthening its activities to ensure that there is no discrimination against ethnic minorities in the enjoyment of the full range of human rights;

8.         Welcomes the continued cooperation between the Government of Sri Lanka, relevant United Nations agencies and other humanitarian organizations in the provision of humanitarian assistance to the affected people, and encourages them to continue to cooperate with the Government of Sri Lanka;

9.         Also welcomes the recent visits to Sri Lanka by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and the Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons, and encourages them to continue to cooperate in the mobilization and provision of humanitarian assistance to the affected populations;

10.       Further welcomes the visit to Sri Lanka of the Secretary-General at the invitation of the President of Sri Lanka, and endorses the joint communiquƒÆ’†’© issued at the conclusion of the visit and the understandings contained therein;

11.       Welcomes the resolve of the Sri Lankan authorities to begin a broader dialogue with all parties in order to enhance the process of political settlement and to bring about lasting peace and development in Sri Lanka based on consensus among and respect for the rights of all the ethnic and religious groups inhabiting it, and invites all stakeholders concerned to actively participate in it;

12.       Urges the international community to cooperate with the Government of Sri Lanka in the reconstruction efforts, including by increasing the provision of financial assistance, including official development assistance, to help the country fight poverty and underdevelopment and to continue to ensure the promotion and protection of all human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights.

3rd meeting
27 May 2009

            Adopted by a recorded vote of 29 to 12, 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.

 

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS
COUNCIL, AMBASSADOR MARTIN IHOEGHIAN UHOMOIBHI, 
ON THE OCCASION OF THE 11TH SPECIAL SESSION 
OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL, ENTITLED 
“THE SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
IN SRI LANKA”

 

 

 

 

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As we meet here today in a Special Session on the Human Rights Situation in Sri Lanka, once again the Human Rights Council signals its readiness to contribute to promoting and protecting human rights in all parts of the world. This is right and is consistent with the mandate of the Council. However, I believe no one in this hall is unaware of the long history of the needless conflict that has ravaged the nation of Sri Lanka for the past two and a half decades and more. In the course of this conflict, thousands of innocent lives have been wasted and millions of people suffered untold hardships. We commiserate with the civilian population, particularly the most vulnerable segments of the population, who borne the brunt of the war. Mercifully, so to speak, today as we meet, the guns have gone silent in Sri Lanka, hopefully forever. The dawn of peace which appears to be beginning is most welcome. It is hoped that, in the next days and months, the important tasks of rehabilitation, reconciliation and reconstruction will begin and pave the way for sustainable peace and development in the country. I could not agree more with the United Nations Secretary-General who, in his recent visit to Sri Lanka, stated that it is imperative now to find a lasting political solution to the situation in the country, while addressing the aspirations and grievances of all concerned. 

The Human Rights Council, convening this session today, joins in sending a message of readiness and willingness to work with the Government and people of Sri Lanka to address the most urgent humanitarian and human rights challenges facing them. As the Human Rights Council, this should be our focus and objective. I wish, therefore, to call on all delegations present at this meeting to work together in an open and constructive manner in the conduct of debate, discussions and negotiations. As I have underscored on previous occasions, no useful purpose can be served if we do not invest our efforts on addressing the needs of the victims. And the way by which this is best achieved is through dialogue, conducted in an atmosphere of respect and dignity for all sides and opinions.

Message of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Navi Pillay at the Human Rights Council Special 
Session on the human rights situation in 
Sri Lanka

 

 

 

 

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26 May 2009

I regret that I am not able to attend in person the Human Rights Council special session on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. It is appropriate that the Human Rights Council, as the premier body for the protection of human rights, should address the tragic human rights and humanitarian consequences of the conflict in that country.

The images of terrified and emaciated women, men and children fleeing the battle zone ought to be etched in our collective memory. They must spur us into action. 

Since December, during the latest phase of intense fighting, tens of thousands of civilians have been killed, injured or displaced. They have seen their property and livelihoods shattered. Independent human rights monitors and the media should be given unfettered access to verify reports of serious violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law which have consistently surfaced in the course of the fighting. 

Furthermore, the fate of thousands of civilians believed to have been in the conflict area, or in transit to displacement camps is still unknown. The plight of those who have already reached the camps must also be addressed with urgency. These people are in desperate need of food, water, medical help and other forms of basic assistance. Severe overcrowding is creating serious problems. Malnourishment is a pressing concern. There have already been outbreaks of contagious diseases. 

Unrestricted humanitarian aid will make the difference between life, illness or even death to many, and yet access for the UN and NGOs to the IDP camps continues to be hampered. I call on the Government to ensure that unimpeded assistance promptly reaches the survivors. 

I also urge the Government to expedite and correct flaws in the screening process implemented to separate LTTE combatants from the civilian population. Full access to independent monitors is crucial to ensure due process and humane treatment for detainees. Freedom of movement for the very large majority of displaced people who do not pose security threats should also be granted as soon as possible. 

The Government claimed military victory over the LTTE and announced the death of senior LTTE commanders. For many years, the LTTE’s campaign of violence had terrorized Sri Lankan people of all ethnic communities and ruthlessly eliminated independent-minded Tamils who dared to dissent. I fully recognize the Government’s responsibility to protect its people against acts of this kind, but as in any comparable situation, the rules of international human rights and international humanitarian law must be upheld at all times. In no circumstances can the end justify the means employed to achieve it. 

There are strong reasons to believe that both sides have grossly disregarded the fundamental principle of the inviolability of civilians. An independent and credible international investigation into recent events should be dispatched to ascertain the occurrence, nature and scale of violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law, as well as specific responsibilities. 

Allegations that the LTTE purposefully prevented civilians from leaving the conflict zone, despite their suffering and the dangers that they faced, warrant close scrutiny. The LTTE has reportedly engaged in forced conscription for military purposes and located military facilities amongst civilians, effectively using them as human shields. There were even alleged cases of the LTTE firing on civilians as they sought to flee, or targeting with suicide attacks checkpoints as the IDPs left the area. 

For its part, the Government reportedly used heavy artillery on the densely populated conflict zone, despite assurances that it would take precautions to protect civilians. This and the reported shelling of a hospital clinic on several occasions in the last weeks of fighting, if verified, would be of great concern. Allegations that the army may have killed LTTE members who were trying to surrender and who thus may qualify as “hors de combat,” if confirmed, would constitute serious violations of the laws of war. 

Establishing the facts is crucial to set the record straight regarding the conduct of all parties in the conflict. 

Victims and the survivors have a right to justice and remedies. The Government has already indicated that it may grant amnesty to lower and mid-level LTTE cadres and only prosecute senior LTTE leaders. I would like to underscore that amnesties preventing accountability of individuals who may be responsible for war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity or gross violations of human rights are impermissible.

As I record this message on May 25, the Secretary-General has visited Sri Lanka. I wish to join the Secretary-General in his appeal to the Government of Sri Lanka to address the root causes, the longstanding human rights conditions, to ensure a comprehensive process of accountability for human rights violations by all concerned. A new future for the country, the prospect of meaningful reconciliation and lasting peace, where respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms can become a reality for all, hinges upon such in-depth and comprehensive approach. 

Clearly the challenges of recovery and reconciliation extend beyond the conflict-affected areas to the broader political and institutional life of the country. Three decades of conflict have had a corrosive effect on public life and the rule of law. Human rights defenders and journalists have continuously faced threats and even death. The independence of important institutions, such as the national human rights commission, has been compromised. As is almost invariably the case in post-conflict situations, general trust must be rebuilt by reenergizing a human rights culture in the country. 

I remain convinced that an OHCHR office with a promotion and protection mandate in Sri Lanka could play an important role in supporting the Government and in building the confidence of all stakeholders in Sri Lanka’s recovery. I urge the Human Rights Council to support the call for the international community’s help at such a critical juncture for Sri Lanka. 

Thank you.

 

Statement by Ms. Magdalena SepĮՠռlveda, Independent expert on
the question of human rights and extreme poverty, delivered on 
behalf of all Special Procedures mandate holders of the
Human Rights Council at the Eleventh Special 
Session of the Human Rights Council:
“The human rights situation in Sri
Lanka”

 

 

 

 

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26 May 2009

Mr. President,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Coordination Committee of Special Procedures has asked me to deliver the following statement on behalf of the Special Procedures mandate-holders of the United Nations Human Rights Council. 

We welcome this opportunity to address important immediate and longer term issues in relation to the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. We hope these discussions will lead to a constructive and effective dialogue to ensure that all rights are enjoyed by all persons in Sri Lanka.

We reiterate our deep concern at the continuing humanitarian crisis and at the serious human rights situation in Sri Lanka. We are also concerned about the lack of transparency and accountability that accompanies this crisis. A huge number of civilians have been displaced and many have been killed. The devastating situation of civilians in Sri Lanka trapped in the midst of fighting between the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE resulted in over some 300,000 displaced persons interned in Government-run camps. Their situation must be immediately addressed. 

As we have stated on previous occasions with regard to other situations, the obligation under international law to distinguish between combatants and civilians, to direct attacks only against combatants and military targets, and to ensure protection of civilians must be respected by all parties to the conflict. In this regard, it is clear that the LTTE has acted in flagrant violation of the applicable norms of international law by using civilians as human shields or in preventing them from leaving the conflict areas. As to the Government of Sri Lanka, citing security concerns, after three months it continues to detain in temporary camps the more than 300,000 men, women and children who escaped the fighting. This gives rise to concerns of arbitrary detention. Many have endured months of terrible conditions in the conflict zone before their present internment. With combat operations in the conflict zone coming to an end, it is necessary to speed up the screening process in the camps. Releases must take place without further delay and should prioritize the most vulnerable. The reintegration of these persons into society with due attention to their mental and physical integrity is critical. We welcome reports that, as of 18 May 2009, 1,535 of the most vulnerable people had been released from the camps. However, many children and sick persons remain detained and their survival is at stake. We deplore that in the camps some have already died from starvation or malnutrition. 

Today, a critical humanitarian situation exists with regard to essential needs such as food, water and sanitation, shelter, education and healthcare. Access to food has been hampered by arduous and lengthy registration procedures. We stress the importance of full and unfettered access to all areas of the country, including the points of initial reception for persons leaving the conflict zone and internment camps, to enable the international community to assess the actual situation and be in a better position to provide essential assistance. We regret that United Nations personnel were until very recently denied access to the conflict zone and initial screening points for persons exiting the conflict zone, including Kilinochchi. This makes it very difficult to determine the veracity of the allegations of serious human rights violations, including enforced disappearances and arbitrary executions and detentions. Indeed, we are very concerned about recent reports we have received that some of those who risked their lives to help the sick and wounded in the conflict zone are now being detained incommunicado

As mandate holders appointed by the Human Rights Council we stand ready to assist the country in helping to ensure that the rights of every person in Sri Lanka, irrespective of origin, are realized. While some mandate holders have had the benefit of seeing first hand the situation in the country, many of us have not had this opportunity. In this regard, we call upon the authorities to swiftly extend invitations to those special procedures mandate-holders who wish to conduct country visits to Sri Lanka. 

In addition to our concern at the severe abuses in areas of conflict, we want to emphasize the wider and endemic problems and failures to protect human rights throughout the country. Weak institutional structures permit impunity to go unabated. We continue to receive disturbing reports of torture, extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances. Those defending human rights, journalists, doctors and lawyers, do not have the space they need to do their important work without fear of reprisals. Regrettably, human rights defenders continue to be arrested and detained without charges; threats and attacks against them occur all too frequently. The denigration and stigmatization of human rights defenders is a cause of serious concern, as attempts to portray them as traitors or enemies of the state put their lives in peril. Room needs to be provided for constructive dialogue which also includes the possibility to express dissent in a democratic society.

The wounds of war run deep and will require careful attention to heal. We strongly urge the Government of Sri Lanka to immediately take measures in support of the victims of human rights abuses and their families. In support of the views expressed by the United Nations Secretary-General during his recent visit to Sri Lanka, we believe that reconciliation and peace-building is paramount for the society of Sri Lanka. Thorough governance reforms are needed to prevent further human rights violations. This reconciliation process must be established and implemented on the basis of the rule of law and the principles of non-discrimination and equality. Respect for and protection of minority rights must be an essential component of a peace-building process. This process must ensure the Tamil community and all other minority communities in Sri Lanka their rightful place in society, their participation in Government and institutions of the State, and a meaningful role in determining their future as equal citizens of Sri Lanka. A climate of constructive dialogue, confidence-building and mutual understanding must prevail.

A true reconciliation process requires an assessment of what has happened and must ensure accountability and an end to impunity. In this regard we recommend the establishment of an effective mechanism to impartially inquire into all violations committed to ensure that Sri Lanka’s society can build a peaceful and prosperous future based on the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

Thank you for your attention.

 

14 Responses to “Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka advocates implementing 13A”

  1. mjaya Says:

    Well the cat is out of the bag! Dayan Jay is a devolutionist who jumped on to the patriotic bandwagon during the last stages of the war. We should be careful of people like him. We should scrap the 13A, pure and simple.

  2. mjaya Says:

    Our response to TN Jokers should be,

    SAVE SRI LANKAN MONEY, SAVE SRI LANKAN JOBS, BOYCOTT INDIAN RUBBISH!

  3. Dilrook Says:

    Dayan is an Indian expansionist. He is also an opportunist.

    Imagine we implemented the 13A. Does it change the imbalance in Geneva?
    No.

    India may or may not vote for the resolution but that does not change anything.

    Why do we have to implement 13A?
    People never approved it. It cannot resolve the problems of the masses.

    Already the 13A costs $1.1 billion. Full implementation will cost many times more. It has not given us any benefit whatsoever.

    Dayan’s foolishness is amply displayed when he starts name calling. He calls those who don’t agree with him “Sinhala extremists”. If he has a genuine case for 13A, he need not do so.

    He is obsessed with Cuba – a country suffering under bankrupt economic policies, a closed economy, lack of democracy and near total isolation. We cannot follow Cuba into a dictatorship. If we are the follow Cuba, we don’t need India’s support anyway!

  4. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    If GOSL trying to force 13A on US, we should opt out to select a regime change instead. A patriot should come out now to replace the corrupt regime. Not SF nor Ranil/Sajith jilband.

  5. Ananda-USA Says:

    Bloody Hell! Has dear old Dayan Jayatillake taken leave of his senses?

    Either he has begun smoking SOMETHING not completely legal, or he has received a sudden infusion of funds by international draft into his bank account! Perhaps he is short of retirement income, but RETIRED HE WILL BE, now that he has cooked his own goose among patriots.

    Expecting Tamil separatists led by the Tiger-proxy TNA to be satisfied remaining a part of unitary Sri Lanka, is like asking Herr Hitler to be satisfied accepting the Sudetenland as a peace offering on the eve of World War II. Racist murderers suffering from the mental disease of ethnic superiority RARELY RECOVER; They NEVER CHANGE THEIR TIGER STRIPES!

    As long as Tamils KNOW that Tamil Nadu, with its 70 million Indian Tamils, remains just across the Palk Strait, they will not be satisfied being a part of Sinhala majority Sri Lanka. Devolution is just the first stepping stone to separation and union with Tamil Nadu.

    Karunanidhi (or is he Karunabudhi) has reportedly prepared and displayed maps showing Northern Sri Lanka as a part of Greater Tamil Nadu. They were temporarily shelved after May 19, 2009 in a fit of dispair, but have now been dusted off and redisplayed in his living room. The NEXT FIT, when Sri Lankan Patriots finally dismantle Eelam through Ethnic Integration, will finally carry him away to the sixth hell reserved for unrepentant Racists.

    Nah! Dear old Dayan Jayatilleke can preach DEVOLUTION under the 13th Amendment till the cows come home, but WE JUST WON”T BUY IT!

  6. Ben_silva Says:

    If devolution is allowed, North and East would be an extension of TN. The rest of the country would soon follow, as the hill country and Colombo are already in the hands of Tamils. If we give in, it would appear that the Sinhalese are incapable of defending their only homeland. People need to stand up and be counted.

  7. May182009 Says:

    So we thought the government was lame?

    Lanka warns India of repercussion over Kashmir

    COLOMBO – Sri Lanka on Saturday warned India of possible repercussions over Held Kashmir after it voted for a US resolution in Geneva on rights abuses during its war on the Tamil Tigers.

    Government spokesman Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said some countries or groups might use the vote on Sri Lanka as precedence to bring a similar resolution on India over the Kashmir dispute, Xinhua reported.

    Sri Lanka was, however, mindful that India acted as a result of immense pressure from Tamil political parties, Abeywardena, the acting media minister, told a public meeting.

    Much to the disappointment of Colombo, India was among 24 countries which voted in support of the US sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Thursday.

    Fifteen countries voted against and eight abstained.

    President Mahinda Rajapaksa has warned that countries which voted for the resolution would have to worry about consequences of terrorism.

    The Sri Lankan President commended the 15 countries which voted against ‘the anti-Lanka resolution for their support’ and the eight nations which abstained in the 47-member UNHRC. Countries which voted against Sri Lanka would have to be concerned about consequences, he was quoted as saying. Meanwhile, in an apparent move to reach out to Sri Lanka and cool down passions against India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday wrote to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, telling him that India made all efforts and succeeded in introducing an ‘element of balance’ in the US-sponsored resolution at UNHCR. Singh also stressed the need for achieving a lasting political settlement to address the grievances of minority Tamils in Lanka.

    Singh wrote to Rajapaksa, “Your Excellency would be aware that we spared no effort and were successful in introducing an element of balance in the language of the resolution.” Though India voted in favour of the resolution, it worked behind the scenes to tweak the document to make it ‘non-intrusive’, the letter claimed. “It is our conviction that a meaningful devolution package, building upon the 13th Amendment, would lead towards a lasting political settlement on many of these issues and create conditions in which all citizens of Sri Lanka, irrespective of their ethnicity, can find justice, dignity, equality and self-respect,” Singh said.

    http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/international/25-Mar-2012/lanka-warns-india-of-repercussion-over-kashmir

  8. S de Silva Says:

    Thank you Mr Mahinda Gunasekera for your views on the 13A. As you say one way to get out of the 13A is via elections or a specific referendum held for that purpose Everyone including those in every country abroad should be reminded that SL is a democracy with a fully elected Parliament and a President with >60% majority and despite any shortcomings it is certainly not a ‘Banana Republic’. Therefore it has the power with a majority greater than 2/3 to change the Laws of the Land. Such a majority vote to modify / reject some aspects of the 13A as not relevant on a document which was drafted over 20 years ago under duress is clearly possible. I doubt very much if a vote with such a majority in the SL Parliament can be overturned by the UNHRC or even the UN!! So there you have the ‘Road Map’ and let’s get ready to move away from 13A if all reasonable requests to India or others fail. If required, a specific REFERENDUM should be held (with the help of the opposition for constitutional compliance ?) to decide whether the existing 13A terms are to be accepted, changed or scrapped…S de Silva –London

  9. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    DAYAN IS SUFFERING FROM SENILE DECAY AND E D.

  10. Marco Says:

    I’m rather surprised Lankaweb readers/commentators are perplexed of Dr DJ stance. Had you read his many articles in Sri Lankan Guardian/Transcurrent and Groundviews including his comments you would have gathered his views have never changed.
    He propagated the same ideas and views in 2009 and it has not changed. It was possibly the reason why he was excluded from the “Geneva” Team and headed by the Minister of Plantations,Mahinda Samarasinghe
    (see Wikileaks expose “I Haven’t Had An Easy Time With Rajapaksa Brothers”. It’s commendable that CT did not publicise this prior to the UNHRC voting even though it had done the email rounds)

    Regrettably the only Diplomat that can bring any credibility to Rajapakse has been sidelined.

    Perhaps, next time we ought to bring our erstwhile Minister of Public Relations to Geneva!

  11. Marco Says:

    Ananda
    “Either he has begun smoking SOMETHING not completely legal, or he has received a sudden infusion of funds by international draft into his bank account! Perhaps he is short of retirement income, but RETIRED HE WILL BE, now that he has cooked his own goose among patriots.”

    Thought you had a little more sense than making a comment as above.

    The fact of the matter is 13A is part of the Constitution. You either implement it or repeal it. Why dither?

    MR may be right in some ways, the 13 is going to hang him one way or another unless he acts very soon.

  12. Ananda-USA Says:

    Marco,

    I fail to see why my comment indicates a lack of sense … DJ as a former heroic defender of SL on the world stage, should not be undermining our basic contention now: that DEVOLVING regional power to any community on ethnic (or other communal basis) will be the beginning of the end of Sri Lanka as one nation, and that such devolution of power it should be PREVENTED AT ALL COSTS!

    Therefore, either DJ has taken leave of his senses in failing to recognize that central precept, or more humorously as I meant it to be … is either HIGH ON SOMETHING or has RECEIVED AN OFFER he cannot refuse.

    These things DO HAPPEN to able people when they feel excluded from center stage and are resentful like Sarath Fonseka did. We expected DJ would be able to put his Love of Lanka above his injured feelings, but here he is attempting to drive a nail through Sri Lanka’s heart by advocating to give into blackmail in peace what the LTTE fail to win by war!

    When DJ advocates DEVOLUTION, at this crucial time when the TNA is emboldened by the Geneva vote to resume talks with the GOSL (see below) for a “political solution”) it AIDS and ABETS the TNA in that racist quest.

    I agree with you that we should not DITHER, but not to accept the 13A, instead to REJECT it PERMANENTLY.

    We should SEIZE THIS GREAT OPPORTUNITY presented by the RESOLUTION and India’s VOTE in favor of it in Geneva, as a “Causus Belli” if you will, to REPEAL the 13th Amendment together with ALL PROVINCIAL COUNCILS in favor of DISTRICTS, and ADOPT Ethnic Integration as GOSL Policy as I have advocated in my previous posts. Do it NOW, do it FAST, and do it FOREVER!

    …………..
    TNA calls for fresh talks

    Nation.lk
    March 25, 2012

    The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has called for a renewal of bilateral talks with the government to move towards a political solution.

    Talks between the government and the TNA for a durable solution to the ethnic issue were suspended in January this year after several rounds, following TNA’s refusal to join the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC).
    TNA Parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran calling for the government to renew talks said “only then we could at least go towards something on the political solution.”

    He however said the TNA would not join the PSC without reaching on an agreement on certain important issues at the talks with the government. Premachandran also said the TNA was willing to work with the government if the latter would act to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

  13. Dham Says:

    Only devolution required is to trasfer power from politikkos like Silvas to people.
    This is the common problem of all communities. People should be able to live without going after licking the bums of uneducated thugs who have been appointed a s MPs and ministers.
    Endless elections and three hundred ministers. People have a useless vote.

  14. LankaLover Says:

    Many times this question has been asked from all those who talk about an ‘Ethnic Problem’, ‘National Question’, ‘Tamil Problems’ etc., are to define them and put out. Nobody is doing so, but trying to advocate a ‘solution’ or ‘solutions’ i.e. 13A, 13A+ etc..

    What is the ‘Problem’ that these so called ‘solutions’ try to solve???

    Tell us what they are??

    Do Tamils in Sri Lanka have any problems that Sinhalese do not face? Tell us??

    This ‘solution business’ is B*ll S%&t!

    A 13 A will create more problems and pave the way for division.. What we need is ‘ethnic integration’ and demolish/break ethnic enclaves.

    We are in the corner of Muslim revolt/Jihad, because they are creating ethnic enclaves in many part of the island, being about 12% of the population now.

    Wait for the results of the recent Census.

    We need to have a national strategy to break all the ethnic enclaves, and make people evenly spread throughout the island. No favorism should be given to any single ethnic origin. We have to make sure that everyone is treated equally.

    ‘Equal opportunities and treatment’ is the best solution to any problem. We MUST advocate that.

    Even without land or police powers, we can see what is taking place in the North and the East where land robbing and Sinhalese people being mistreated by Tamils and Muslims. This 13A is a NO NO..!

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