The changing role of the United Nations: From enabler and developer to that of a policeman. The Double Standards of the Superpowers.
Posted on March 2nd, 2013

By Garvin Karunaratne  Ph.D(Michigan State University)  Formerly  of the SLAS.

Currently in Geneva  in the Sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council(UNHRC) we are seeing in action a United Nations that has become the policeman of the world, and that too on a double standard basis. Gone are the days of the Fifties and Sixties when the United Nations was spearheading development functions. World Development has now been taken over by  the IMF’s Structural Adjustment  Programme  while the United Nations is now a cat’s paw in the hands of the Superpowers in their attempt to police the world.

 The Policeman has thought it right to ignore  Article 2, Section 7, which  specifically states that “Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter”, in the case of a small powerless country like Sri Lanka,

 The Policeman has ignored many flagrant aggressions by other powerful members of the United Nations, though such aggressions cannot by any means be classified as being domestic. Power wields  weight and Human Rights are used to subjugate small countries when they defend themselves though without the approval of Superpowers who want to see the countries crack into pieces so that they can further dictate to run their countries..

 In other words today we have in the United Nations, an international organization that has far exceeded its mandate and is in actuality hounding a small country, Sri Lanka  that has with the greatest difficulty rid its country of a terrorist outfit- the LTTE, which  held a sovereign country of twenty million people at bay, with incessant attacks against its armed forces and civilians, causing immense loss of life and limb for almost three decades.

 In actuality, in liberating its own country,  the leaders of Sri Lanka were acting well in terms of the Charter of the United Nations which details the purposes of the United Nations:

” Article 1.1:  To maintain international peace and security and to that end to take  effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace”¦”

 When the citizens of Sri Lanka, a population of twenty million  was assailed and attacked everywhere in the island, when dozens of monks were brutally gunned down at Arantalawa, when its Central Bank was bombed casing the deaths of 91 persons and 1400 injured, mostly innocent civilians- hundreds of them blinded due to shattered glass shaprnel injuring their eyes, when its most sacred Sri Maha Bodhi, the most venerated place of all Buddhists was attacked,  killing hundreds of monks and devotees and when its citizens were not safe anywhere in the country,  the United Nations failed to support the Government in its  attempt to subjugate the insurrection of the LTTE.  It is well known that the LTTE masterminded the use of child soldiers and suicide bombers but the United  Nations took on the position of an unconcerned bystander  and allowed the LTTE to  run amock, killing all Tamil leaders including the Mayor of Jaffna,  thereafter killing many Sinhalese leaders including the President of Sri Lanka and when the Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi intervened  they eventually murdered him when he was having less security as a former Prime Minister of India.

 The United Nations was also an unconcerned bystander when the Prime Minister  of India, Mrs Indira Gandhi, in the early eighties established armed training camps for the LTTE in India and engaged itself in training the LTTE cadres, equipped them with arms and armaments and sent them to Sri Lanka, a sovereign country to destabilize it. The editor of The South. Denzil Peris who first proved that India was training the LTTE cadres strangely died suddenly in a London restaurant in a manner like the Russian spy Litvinenko who was poisoned in a London restaurant in 2006. .

 Today in the hallowed  precints of the United Nations , Navi Pillai and a few others  are trying to bring together the cobwebs to weave a net of accountability for deaths at Nandikadal, a hamlet within Sri Lanka, in the last few days when the Sri Lankan Army  knocked the LTTE arsenal out of action.  Navi Pillai calls for  an independent and credible international investigation into alleged violations  of international human rights and humanitarian law which could also monitor any domestic accountability process.  They forget the absolute fact that the Sri Lanka Armed Forces were only liberating their own land from the marauder Prabhakaran who had with the help from India and other powers  tried to establish a separate state in the North and East of Sri Lanka. It was a scene of real war, with the well armed LTTE having carried a human shield of civilian Tamils was fighting the Sri lankan Army in a hand to hand battle where there was no time for photography and recording losses.

 The imposition of the 13 th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution as dictated to by Rajiv Gandhi the Prime Minister of India itself is an aggression of India on Sri Lanka which should have brought censure on India by the United Nations.  Instead with the might of India flexing its muscles Sri Lanka is yet unable to discard this Amendment to its Constitution, done on the armed threat of Rajiv Gandhi. The Prime Minister of India.

 Ban Ki Moon the Secretary General of the United Nations too has come to the support of Navi Pillai quoting the findings of his Panel of Experts.

 In the appointment of this  Panel of Experts,  while UN rules authorize the Secretary General to appoint a panel to advise him on any matter, it is laid down that the experts and the members of the panel should be from within the United Nations(Charter 100.1) However the Secretary General brought in outsiders- Marzuki Darussman, Yasmin Sooka a South African Judge and  Stevan R. Ratner from the USA. Darusman should never have been on the panel,  purely because he had served on an earlier Panel of Investigation in Sri Lanka where he had been unauthorisedly high handed and very critical of the Government of Sri Lanka and had abruptly left the Investigation. Steven R, Ratner’s credibility is severely marred because he had to buy his way out of Securities and Exchange Commission charges by paying  $ 6.2 million.  This reflects adversely  on his character. ( The Secretary General should have appointed Experts whose credentials cannot be called into question.  Though this panel concluded that there was credible evidence that  war crimes and crimes against humanity were commited by the Sri Lankan Army and the LTTE, the Panel failed to prove anything with facts and evidence. In fact they came to such conclusions even without holding a proper investigation

 Though the Report was meant only for his information the Secretary General of the United Nations, even released the Report and it is being used in the UNHRC proceedings. The facts disclosed above on the  Experts Darrusman and Steven Rattner indicate that the Panel findings cannot be  accepted with  authority.

 The fate of the Chagossian people also comes to my mind. This happened in the Indian Ocean thousands of miles away from the USA as well as the UK and therefore cannot be considered a domestic matter for either of those Superpowers. .

The Chagossian islanders were the original inhabitants of the Chagos islands, The islanders led a peaceful life till the USA wanted a sea base in the Indian Ocean, Britain decided to give the Chagossian islands including Diego de Gacia to the USA., Britain then moved  2000 Chagossians by force from 1967 to 1973 first to Peros Banhos and later to Mauritius. By a Court Judgement, Justice Ousley of the High Court denied the right of the islanders to return to the Chagos islands. This decision was overturned by the High Court on  May 11, 2006, but the British Government  appealed to the House of Lords and the Court of Appeal on October 22, 2008 ruled that the islanders had no right to return to the Chagossian islands. Today the Chagossian islanders are homeless and destitute.,

 The  United Nations is totally silent on the rights of the Chagossian islanders, which is a flagrant violation of human rights by the Superpowers.

 There are many instances of flagrant human rights  violations that have even caused over a million deaths which have not been investigated by the United Nations. One is the war waged by the USA and the UK on Iraq, on the basis that Iraq did have weapons of mass destruction, which were never found.

 Quoting my words written in 2010:

“It will be of interest for the Secretary General of the UN  to look into the fate that befell the UN Arms Inspector, the British Officer Dr David Kelley who told the British Government that there were no weapons of mass destructions in Iraq. It was Dr Kelley that contested claims by George Bush, Tony Blair and Colin Powell that mobile biological warfare units did exist. This was not what Tony Blair the UK Prime Minister wanted to hear when he plunged the Armed Forces of UK to battle Iraq, playing poodle to George Bush.. David Kelley died a strange sudden death classified officially as suicide. “Evidence concerning the assassination of Dr David Kelley had been covertly classified as Top Secret and will not be released for at lest 70 years”(The InsiderMarch22,2010). In the words of The Daily Mail:”David Kelley post mortem to be kept  secret for 70 years as doctors accuse Lord Hutton of concealing vital information”(Jan 25,2010). The evidence indicates that Dr David Kelley had to pay with his life for telling the blank truth.  This is an instance that would behove activity on the part of the ONHCR. It is the poor and powerless that always succumb and similarly a small country like Sri Lanka is hammered.  

 The United Nations has not forcefully taken any action against Israel for its actions in The Gaza Strip or for forcefully annexing Palestine land.  I quote one of my earlier papers:

“Is the Secretary General  of the United Nations aware that  the Israelis who occupy homes do not hold the title deeds to those occupied lands. The title deeds are held by Palestinians who are today homeless in Gaza and other areas in Palestine to which they have been forced to flee in the face of military aggression by the Israeli onslaught. The atrocities even including the use of phosphorous on the civilian population  of Gaza, how Gaza was reduced to rubble in January 2009  when the Israel Army is alleged to have killed over 1,400 Palestinians, destroyed hospitals  and even UN establishments. A few years earlier Israel reduced Lebanon to rubble. The Secretary General avoids these flagrant aggressions.

 Perhaps the Secretary General is playing poodle to the USA in his continuous aggression against Sri Lanka for taking action to liberate its country from the LTTE  insurrection within the country.  His acceptance of this domestic matter as international which is the crux of the UNHRC attitude against Sri lanka deserves due consideration by all the members of the UNHRC before they vote for the US sponsored  proposal; against Sri Lanka.

 It is important to note that both Navi Pillai as well as Ban Ki Moon should concern themselves with flagrant violations of Human Rights that have happened on an international basis by other members,but have been ignored by them.

 Navi Pillai has replied that  her mandate is to protect the human rights of everyone everywhere”. However it is evident that she has singled out Sri lanka and has interpreted Sri lanka’s liberation war against the LTTE as an aggression, which is far from the truth.  As I pen these words the Radio blared that  US, CIA drones did kill innocent civilians in Pakistan and according to the UNHCR that is not a flagrant violation of human rights.

 Navi Pillai is ignoring the human right record of her own country South Africa. Today the UK newspaper The Sun discloses the ghastly manner in which the South African Police murdered a Taxi Driver. The newspaper Sun in its headline today(Thursday 26 th February 2013__ reads:”South African police “ƒ”¹…”beat taxi driver to death in parking row” In detail: “The cabbie named locally as Mido Macia was handcuffed to the back of a police van and dragged over 400 metres along a road. Cops were unable to explain how 27 year old  Mr Macia , a Mozambian immigrant  died when  he was found dead in his cell two hours later. The arrest was filmed on a mobile phone as dozens of onlookers watched in horror.”

 Navi Pillai should hang her head in shame at the manner in which she has singled out Sri Lanka for having acted in a legitimate manner to wipe out the terrorist LTTE  that plagued Sri Lanka killing thousands of innocent civilians over the past three decades.

 Let me quote the statement of US Congressman Eni F.H.Faleomavaega delivered at the committee hearing on “The Rebalance to Asia: Why South Asia Matters”:

“The Tamil tigers hacked to death innocent men, women and children in Sri Lanka, carried out some 378 suicide attacks more than any other terrorist organization in the world”¦

The USA should join Australia in praising the work that the Sri Lankan Government has done in the North and the East of the island in such a short period since the war”.

The Congressman concludes:

“Where is the consistency in our standards  as far as Human Rights are concerned. We are pointing our fingers at this little country Sri Lanka “¦ if we are going to do it against Sri Lanka, Let’s make sure we are clean ourselves.”(“US Congressman on Sri lanka Resolution: Retract It” in Daily News(Sri Lanka)March 3, 2013.

 May I end with the note that the aims of the Sri Lankan Government as well as that of the USA  are very similar- that of annihilating the scourge of terrorism.  It would behove of the USA to be  actually supportive of Sri Lanka, a small country that put all its resources to end terrorism. The USA is a great country with a great people and its dignity and prestige will actually increase if only its leaders can ensure that the track of double standards followed by some of its officials who act in ignorance cease.

 Garvin Karunaratne Ph.D(Michigan State University)

Formerly  of the SLAS.

March 1, 2013..

3 Responses to “The changing role of the United Nations: From enabler and developer to that of a policeman. The Double Standards of the Superpowers.”

  1. Amarasiri Says:

    “The Double Standards of the Superpowers.
    Posted on March 2nd, 2013″

    Well Said.

    Question. How did they become Superpowers? Let’s review.

    Let’s Review RECENT History;

    Afghanistan leader accuses U.S. special forces of torture””
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai orders the troops to cease operations in Wardak province, where abuses were reported to have occurred.
    February 24, 2013|By Shashank Bengali and Hashmat Baktash, Los Angeles Times


    1. UN was formed by the victors of World War II.
    2. Now it a Uni polar and Multi polar world, practicing Double Standards.
    3. Smaller countries, Afghanistan ( Invaded by Soviet Union 1989), Iraq Invaded by USA (1990 and 2003), Bangla Desh ( India East Pakistan- 1971) many others including Sri Lanka is on the outside have been victims.

    BUT For Little Sri Lanka How does it look?

    They ALL practice Double Standards on a Global Scale.

    Sri Lanka practices Double Standards, preference to Buddhism and Sinhalese on a local but smaller scale. So, the Sri Lanka problem is a local problem, but still the same. Double standards. It is very small compared to the double standards of USA and Russia(Chechnya). Look at the so called Buddhist monks going rampant, and shaming Buddhism and the Sinhalese, beyond the so called ar Crimes of the Separatist War.

    USA needs to practice a single standard before they accuse Sri Lanka of Double Standards,

    ONE Consolation is that it cost these Superpower Aggressors.

    In 1979 Soviet Union Invaded Afghanistan. In 1989 They Withdrew. In 1990 Soviet Union, the Evil Empire Collapsed.

    In 2003, the USA under Bush Invaded Iraq for OIL, under false charges of WMD( Weapons of Mass Destruction) Excuse, and it has become a $3 Trillion War for US. USA will not collapse, but there is cost.


    USA will lose 700,000 jobs. Courtesy of George Bush.

    BUT For Little Sri Lanka How does it look?

    Practicing Double Standards on a Global and Local Scale does not pay.

    Double Standards and Discrimination internally against Tamils have cost a 30 year Separatist war that could have been prevented if not for the racist Buddhist monk who killed the Prime Minister in 1959. Then successive governments made thongs worse, and the problem International. The core problem is that Sri Lankans are not thinking like Sri Lankans or Ceylonese, but as Sinhala Buddhist, Tamil Hindu, Sinhala Christians, Tamil Christians, Muslims etc., because the Sinhalese Buddhists keeps reminding all Sri Lankans. Buddhism is an enlightened religion or philosophy, Unfortunately, in Sri Lanka, even though imported to Sri Lanka, it has been misused and mixed up with Sinhala nationalism, even though both Sinhala and Tamil were both imported to Sari Lanka from India, like Hinduism and Buddhism and the original inhabitants were not Hindus or Buddhists.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    UNP attacks its own offices when UNHRC sessions are in progress!!!

  3. aloy Says:

    “Double Standards and Discrimination internally against Tamils have cost a 30 year Separatist war that could have been prevented if not for the racist Buddhist monk who killed the Prime Minister in 1959”
    Could you please enumerate the discrimantions against tamils?. If not do not waste our time.

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