Navi Pillai a misfit at UNHRC
Posted on April 14th, 2013

H. L. D. Mahindapala

The saga of the anti-Sri Lankan Resolution, which snaked its way through the hands of the power-brokers in the corridors of the UNHRC in Geneva, has a rather intriguing history: it reveals more about the machinations of big power politics and the moral and institutional failure of the UN to uphold the scales of justice evenly than about any uncommon failure of Sri Lanka either in the battlefield or off it.

Since May 2009 the UNHRC has been used by the big powers of the West exactly the way Colin Powell used the Security Council to demonize Iraq to push its anti-Saddam Hussein policy. All the evidence since then has revealed that there were no weapons of mass destruction. The evidence only proved that Colin Powell was using the UN to pursue Bush’s personal vendetta of finishing his father’s unfinished war to  overthrow Saddam Hussein and grab oil wells. The current move against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC has only one difference: India too has joined US to pursue their vendetta against Sri Lanka. Both are working in devious ways for regime change.  Human rights is only a fig leaf to cover their naked political agenda.

Parenthetically, it must be emphasized that this argument is not about the rights and wrong of Saddam Hussein’s regime but about the methodologies of the West to target anyone that comes within the sights of their firing range. There is no basic morality in the self-serving selection of the targets  of big powers.  Self-interest come  first.  Morality comes later after the firing and the killings to justify their violations of international humanitarian law. Similarly, the entire propaganda machine of the West, aided and abetted by local and international NGOs, is diverted to denigrate Sri Lanka as a swimming pool filled with the blood of Tamil civilians.

Demonizing a nation that is perceived to threaten Western interests is a standard practice to pursue neo-colonial power politics. From Castro to Mao, from Allende to Saddam Hussein it has been the same Machiavellian story of demonizing nations targeted by the West with media blitzkrieg, UN reports  prepared  by hand-picked agents, predictable research papers produced by West-funded I/NGOs, resolutions and seminars of disaffected minority groups, and even local pundits posing as experts on national and international affairs joining the propaganda bandwagon.

Yesterdays’ cooked up fictions and partisan reports are used as today’s truth to beat the nations that refuse to bow down to the will of big powers. Colin Powell produced maps, reports cribbed from even an undergraduate’s outdated thesis, films etc., rejecting the reports of the inspectors on the ground to pursue Bush’s hate campaign against Saddam Hussein. The free media of the West, which unfailingly dances to the drum beat of their foreign offices, went along  merrily. Sri Lanka is feeling the heat of  a similar hate campaign right now.

Demonizing is a Western pre-requisite to deligitimize the power of established states, whether it be dictatorial or democratic. Without saying so, the anti-Sri Lankan activists imply that obedience to Western/India masters is moral and pursuing domestic policies and solutions, where foreign interventions have failed repeatedly, is immoral. Not surprisingly, the anti-national elements in the Sri Lankan polity too, including some self-promoting political scientists, have jumped in, boots and all, to run down Sri Lanka as having lost “the moral high ground”. Like Colin Powell at the UN Security Council, they deny or brush aside the ground realities.  They deliberately opt to believe their own propaganda.

Any defence to the contrary is dismissed as state propaganda. In other words, they uncritically accept the  narrative put out by Western/Indian foreign offices but not the  narrative of the Sri Lankan state. They feel superior and highly moral if they back up the foreign narrative, filled with fiction fed by I/NGOs, than the local one. For instance, the main narrative that the Sri Lankan forces acted with great caution to save the Tamil civilians used as a human shield is rejected in preference to the  Western conclusion that the  Sri Lankan Forces failed to observe international human rights and international humanitarian law. According to the gospel of the NGOs, only the stooges of the government peddle the national narrative. The fact that the NGOs are paid to believe and promote the foreign narrative is suppressed.

However, they are up against the hard ground realities changing the post-Nandikadal political landscape. Besides, in the aftermath of 9/11 they cannot argue that there was anything wrong with combating or defeating the Tamil Tiger terrorists. So they switched their accusation to blame Sri Lanka for not fighting the war in the last five months according to norms of international humanitarian law. One does not now whether to cry or laugh when one reads such weird logic.

It was, after all, the longest running war in Asia — from May 14, 1976 when the Tamil leadership declared war on the rest of the nation in Vadukoddai to May 18, 2009 when the Tamil Tiger terrorists were annihiliated on the banks of the Nandikadal lagoon. In such a long-drawn war it was inevitable that violations of international humanitarian law would occur on all sides, including the failed Indian IPKF forces which intervened to impose the Indian will as a political solution.

Besides, the internationalisation of Tamil separatist violence spread into the far corner of the Western world with practically every Western nation turning into a haven for fund raising, propagandizing, lobbying, arms procuring, blackmailing etc., — all which violated the entire gamut of UN Security Resolutions on terrorism. Considering the intricate and far-flung Tamil Tiger network that infiltrated the Western and Indian backyards, with the knowledge of each government, it can be argued that each of those governments can be held responsible for violating international and domestic laws against terrorism, in one form or another.

The grim reality is that despite these countries banning the Tamil Tiger terrorists they failed to apply the full force of the law that they applied, for instance, against al-Qa’ida. Despite their nominal ban  of the agents of Tamil Tiger terrorists, Western government failed to prevent the raising of funds, propagandizing, lobbying, procuring of arms, done under their very noses, to destablize a sovereign nation. Tamil Tiger agents had the full free run of the Western system because they did not threaten the Western regimes like the al-Qa’ida.  Their tactic was to keep the West safe fro them to destabilize Sri Lanka and that worked. Besides, destablizing Sri Lanka was tolerated by the Western bloc as it gave them a handle to meddle in the domestic affairs of Sri Lanka which they feared was drifting away from their sphere of influence in the post-Nandikdal period. Keeping the Tamil Tiger agents alive and kicking in their backyard was a handy tool to intervene in the domestic politics of Sri Lanka.

Even a glance at the knotted history of the internationalized history of the Sri Lankan crisis will reveal that  harges that the West and India should share a major part of the blame for the  origination, prolongation, the escalation and the brutal ending of the 33-year-old war. In short, Sri Lanka would not be facing the charges leveled by these Western countries had they cracked down on Tamil Tiger terrorism the way they did on the al-Qa’ida extremists.

While the war was on it was fairly easy for the West to keep Sri Lanka on their leash, what with the dodgy games played by peace brokers like Erik Solheim, a boozing buddy of Anton Balasingham, the theoretical and political guru of Velupillai Prabhakaran — the  mass murderer that killed more Tamils than all the other forces put together, according to Tamil leaders. Ending of the war meant the ending of this leverage . So they speedily opted to deny the legitimacy of the victory that put an end to the longest drawn war in Asia. When the war ended in May 2009 the West, with the collusion of the UNHRC, moved in rapidly to accuse Sri Lanka of not concluding the war according to international humanitarian law.  Did this reighteouos West ever contemplated taking President Harry Truman and Prime Minister Winston Churchill  before the Nuremberg trials for not ending the war according to international humanitrian law? Has India shown a willingness or a capability to charge any of the Indian IPKF forces that committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Jaffna?

A decisive Western policy against the Tamil Tiger terrorists, operating from their bases, would have cut short the war and saved the lives of tens of  thousands of Tamil civilians  But they were more prone to blame the Sri Lankan government than accept their responsibilities to protect the Tamil civilians.  They use R2P to accuse only Sri Lanka. Isn’t it time that they calculated meticulously their failure to protect the Tamil civilians by allowing the agents of mass murderer of Tamils to operate freely in their domains, violating international humanitarian law? Their policy during the 33-year-old war was to pinch the baby and rock the cradle.  However, when the war ended suddenly, running contrary to their expectations, they were stranded in limbo like the Tamil Tiger terrorists. Suddenly, like the Tamil Tiger terrorists, they realized that there was no profit for them in peace.

Their next move was to deny the legitimacy of the victory. So they cooked up the most ridiculous concern about the war waged in the last five months — i.e., January to May 2009. There is no known example of a war which has been judged only  on the last five months,  excluding the gory blood letting of the preceding period — 33 years in the case of Sri Lanka.

Leaving aside all other moral, legal and political issues, this focus on the last five months of a 33-year-old war has reduced logic and rationality to a farcical level. On what moral principles  or logic  can any argument  against Sri Lanka, or for that any war, take only five months of a 33-year-old war and accuse only one party at that (i.e., Sri Lanka) excluding the others involved? It is as bizarre as bizarre can be. What made the anti-Sri Lankan accusers exclude the 32 years and seven months that preceded the dawn of peace on May 18, 2009? Neither America nor India, the prime movers of the anti-Sri Lankan Resolution, has explained this. When they selectively focus on the last five months does it mean that the preceding 32 years and seven months were fought with plastic guns and bullets? Where is the rationality and the validity in the morality that selectively focuses only on the last days excluding the entire length of the war? It is a surreal scenario which could not have been imagined even by Monty Python.

Besides, the sequence of anti-Sri Lankan events that unfolded in the immediate aftermath of the post-Prabhakaran period questions the very essence of the principles and the morality invoked by India and America at the UNHRC. In the preamble to the anti-Sri Lankan Resolution both India and America states that they were “guided by the UN Charter” and other related provisions of the international humanitarian law. Really?

Take, for instance, the speed with which Ms. Neo-Nazi Pillai moved against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. She called for an international investigation within seven days of the ending of the war in May. On what basis? She had no authorized , or authoritative, or official report in her hands for her to take any action against Sri Lanka.  The “Report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka” was delivered to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon only on March 31, 2011. If she acted on that then there would have been some cover for her to legitimize her action. But to move within seven days is a bit too rich for anyone to believe that she acted on “credible and independent” evidence. Her indecent hurry to put Sri Lanka on the dock came on the heels of a joint move of the EU and US to move a resolution in the UNHRC within days of the war ending in May 2009. The coincidence is too stark to ignore.

Worst is, having accused Sri Lanka  in 2009 she hasn’t had time over the years to visit Sri Lanka and see for herself the ground realities. Prof. G. L. Peiris states that he wrote to Ms. Pillai — and she accepted the invitation in writing — to visit Sri Lanka. He wrote to her 11 months before the 2012 Resolution. To this day Neo-Nazi Pillai who was in such a hurry to accuse Sri Lanka has not kept her promise. She is not only running away from her promises to Sri Lanka but also from obligations under the UN Charter.

Under the terms and conditions of her job description it is obligataory for her to fulfill her duties in an objective, balanced and non-partisan manner. For instance, UN General Assembly resolution, outlining the founding principles of UNHRC, states that it resolved to create UNHRC “Recognizing the importance of ensuring universality, objectivity and non-selectivity in the consideration of human rights issues, and the elimination of double standards and politicization……”.

Clearly this defines her job in absolute terms. It states that she has no right to adopt double standards and politicize her office on partisan preferences. But that is precisely what she has done. When it came to Sri Lanka she has moved heaven and earth, within a few days after the 33-year-old war ended, to point an accusing finger at Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. However, neither the same speed nor the identical moral standard has been applied to judge India, which she knows has been a prime violator of human rights on Sri Lankan soil during the IPKF operations. She also knows that India violated international law by exporting terrorism to Sri Lanka. On what principles did she call for an international investigation on Sri Lanka within days of ending the 33-year-old war and ignore the decisive role of India in destablising Sri Lanka and the SAARC region as a whole from 1980s?

Isn’t exporting terrorism to friendly and neighbourly Sri Lanka the prime cause that led to the accusations faced by Sri Lanka at the UNHRC today? Why wasn’t this violation of international law factored into her calculations that demanded an investigation into the last days of the terrorist war exported by India? Besides, the Indian authorities have admitted that they too were actively involved in bringing an end to the Tamil Tiger terrorists who were a threat to them too. So  India, according to  norms of international law, is guilty on two counts: 1. for exporting terrorism to
Sri Lanka and 2. for being a part of the war that ended the 33-year-old terrorism exported by India. Which Navi Pillai are we to accept as the defender of human right eliminating double standards and politicization? Is it the Navi Pillai that accuses Sri Lanka or is it the Navi Pillai that overlooks and exempts the Indian violators of human rights in Sri Lanka?

Furthermore, can the CEO appointed by the UN to oversee human rights dogdge investigating her own accusations for nearly four years? Is she genuinely interested in human rights or is she using UNHRC and the issues of human rights to serve the political agenda of her patrons and clients? How come it took only seven days to accuse Sri Lanka but she has had no time for over four years to check whether her accusations are correct or not by visiting Sri Lanka?

Most of all, does anyone care about the guardian of human rights betraying human rights? She gets away with her double standards and politicization of issues according to her partisan politics with no one checking her. She knows that if she backs the right horses in the international stakes her job will be safe. So she lends her willing back for the Western cowboys to ride all the way to their goal posts. It’s a case of you-whip-my-back-now and I will lick yours in return later.

It is sad to say that she stands out as the most slippery, unscrupulous, and, spurious symbol of human rights playing footsy with global power players of the day.

4 Responses to “Navi Pillai a misfit at UNHRC”

  1. S de Silva Says:

    Thank you HLD-for whipping the UNHRC but whipping the UNHRC is not quite enough! Some of our reps at the UNHRC does deserve a caning as well for crass incompetency. We have meekly ‘accepted’ unilateral accountability and failed to include India / LTTE within those accountable and that all war casualties are the result of ‘unintended collateral damage admissible in War as the US does claim every time!! – S de Silva – London

  2. aravinda Says:

    History is cherry picked to fit Western agenda. UN was set up in 1945 as the organ of neo-colonization. This is part and parcel of UN activities. US, European nations and their lapdogs tend to ignore 99% of of history since 1945 when they pass resolutions at UN. Why inquire about last 100 days of the war. Why not 101 days. Why not 1 year. Well, the right path of action is to hold a inquiry to 33 years of war in Sri Lanka.

    This is because USA and Europe are build on pillars of great historical crimes, ie slavery, holocaust, Spanish inquisition, crusades and colonization slaughters of rest of the world. They are wired to think ” one American or Western European life is equal to 1000 lives of Africans, Arabs or Asians.” I came to that conclusion after studying news worthiness of American and European lives compared to rest of the World.

    Sometimes I can’t stop laughing when a African, Asian or an Arab is accused of war crimes at UN and hauled in front of the World Court ( The Hague) for a show trial. So far criminals who murdered 6 million in Indo-China, million in Iraq and other hundreds of crimes USA and Europe has taken part in Asia and Africa has gone unheard.

    The UN in present or shape is no use for Asians, Africans, Arabs and South Americans. This Dodo must go the way of League of Nations. Until a more equitable, honest and inclusive body decide on world affairs, we shall not see peace among nations. UN will create wars. It is their job. UN will work hard to rob oil. It is their job. Africans and Asians must look beyond UN.

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    Bravo, Aravinda!

    “The UN in present or shape is no use for Asians, Africans, Arabs and South Americans. This Dodo must go the way of League of Nations. Until a more equitable, honest and inclusive body decide on world affairs, we shall not see peace among nations. UN will create wars. It is their job. UN will work hard to rob oil. It is their job. Africans and Asians must look beyond UN.”

    I have been writing about this for some time now: The current UN is a PUPPET of Western Neo-Colonialist powers trotted out as a FIG LEAF to cover their NAKEDNESS, and to justify their UNJUSTIFIABLE HYPOCRITICAL crimes all over the world.

    As you say, we KNOW who the criminals are, but yet NO ONE has been brought to trial for the murder of 1.5 million people, and wounding/disabling of many times that number, in Iraq! The “arab Spring” has been manipulated by these same people under the nominal cover of the UN, to reduce several countries to Somalias wehere anachy and poverty reigns. SHAME ON THE UNITED NATIONS for prostituting itself!

    I advocate that China, Russia, India, Brazil , South Africa, and Indonesia, among others, take the leadership to create a new UNION OF NATIONS, designed to deliver justice to the vast majority of disenfranchised powerless people in this world. This new organization should deny VETO power to Rich & Powerful Western Neo-Colonialist who dominate the current United Nations as their own personal fiefdom.

  4. crobe Says:

    Navi Pillay sure knows who is buttering her bread.

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