OUTCOME OF CHOGM
Posted on November 20th, 2013

Janaki Chandraratna Perth, Australia

‚ CHOGM 2013 was an outstanding success by any standard. In fact it was the best CHOGM we have had for many years. Sri Lankan President and the Government need to be congratulated in presenting a great display to Commonwealth visitors as well as to the world. There were many benefits in hosting CHOGM in Colombo. Firstly, Colombo received an accelerated face lift and the arterial connections were strengthened in time to be on par with of many developed nations. Secondly, Sri Lanka successfully attracted many tourists for CHOGM as well as for other related forums and workshops, received an unprecedented exposure for investments and had the opportunity to pioneer the establishment of the youth forum. Sri Lankan culture and hospitality were well showcased and the President-â„¢s message was fittingly appropriate for the occasion. The lack of major mishaps demonstrated the hard earned peace and harmony of the Island after the gruesome 30 year war and the few protests at the time displayed a robustness of the freedom of expression, an indispensable feature of a democratic State.

‚ Notwithstanding the above there were a few areas of concern. Although most visitors were genuine and focussed in promoting the camaraderie of Commonwealth countries there were the likes of the British Prime Minister, David Cameron and Channel 4 journalists who descended on our land for the main purpose of ridiculing the integrity and good name of our country. They were hell bent on -Ëœshinning a light-â„¢, as described by Cameron on allegations of war crimes of the final phase of the war. Cameron-â„¢s appalling and boorish behaviour was rightly condemned in the British media as unbecoming of a Head of State. The staged press conference, ensuring that Sky Channel was in place for the relay, ignoring the local press and calling on his colleagues by name to raise possibly pre rehearsed questions was indeed a disgrace to free speech for arguably the best guardian of democracy in the world. Similarly, Channel 4 McCrae and supporters ending up in rude confrontations and denying payment of taxi fares for their sojourns were despicable confrontational acts not expected from civilised persons.

‚ Despite the churlish delivery and the fact that Britain is the least qualified to lecture to other nations on Human Rights and War Crimes, the message presented with the undignified ultimatums does pose some challenges to the Sri Lankan Government. Incidentally it should be noted the war crimes allegedly committed at the end of the war in fact is the main contention of Hillary Clinton and the US Government on the Sri Lankan question. It is also the centre of Diaspora assertion that no reconciliation can take place in Sri Lanka unless War crimes issue is resolved. The backing of the West to Tamil Diaspora has no doubt made a great set back to the reconciliation process. The underpinning cause for the reticence of TNA as well as our opposition to participate in reconciliation forums is the support of the West to the Tamil Diaspora. Understandably TNA is hoping for a division of the country through Western intervention and the motive of the opposition on the other hand is unashamedly the grab of power through a regime change, regardless of the disastrous impact on the country. Libyan experience is an example.

‚ Moving forward, the Sri Lankan Government has several options to follow. They can follow a policy of isolation from the West and withdraw from unconstructive forums. Such isolation in this day and age is not a practical option because of the intricate economic, social and political dependencies countries need to have with other countries for survival.

The Government can continue the current strategy of asserting sovereignty of the nation, revel in the development that had taken place after the war for reconciliation, report on the satisfactory implementation of LLRC recommendations, dismiss Channel 4 as a force to be reckoned with, and make clear that other nations are also perpetrators of war crimes in one form or the other etc. Whilst Govt. is quite entitled to stick to this approach it should be noted that there is a degree of vulnerability for having to depend on other nations for support in international forums. Although most nations are with us and believe that we are bending backwards to reconcile and move forward, their backing at international forums however cannot be guaranteed because of the underlying economic dependencies they have with our opponents. Also the rebuttal of constant blackmail in the foreign media on the alleged atrocities, the ever increasing number of deaths (e.g. 7000 to 40,000), and alleged lackadaisical interest of the Government to investigate and resolve alleged crimes, is a daunting task to be sustained. There are also the issues related to the less apparent reality of being a -Ëœnon white-â„¢ and a less developed nation with a Buddhist heritage. This reality often tends to attract many critics to prevent us being heard in wider forums. Very often we are not provided with the deserved media exposure although we sing our praises and deny allegations of war crimes until we are blue in the face. In the biased media of the West we do not hear of human rights violations pursued against the so called -ËœWhite nations-â„¢, although they had committed ‚ and still continue to commit the most horrific crimes in the world.

‚ The current Sri Lankan situation presents some resemblance to Saddam Hussein and Weapons of Mass Destruction. The non response from Saddam created a public opinion that provided support for US intervention on baseless allegations. Although a Western intervention in Sri Lankan affairs is remote, the constant negative focus on the country and the need to defend ourselves can be a drain on our limited resources and destabilize the development of our country.

‚ Although war crimes were part of the LLRC investigation, the coverage appears to be not wide ranging and comprehensive as the Diaspora complainants and the petitioners to the Darusman Inquiry did not take up the offer to front up to the LLRC Committee. It is prudent therefore to commence an internal investigation on the alleged crimes at the final phase of the war for our benefit more so than to satisfy the so called international community. To this end it is satisfying to note that Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka had decided to conduct an inquiry into the alleged human rights violations with the technical assistance of the Commonwealth. It is imperative that we include the final phase of war allegations in this investigation and openly request sources linked to Darusman Report from the UNSG, Ban Ki moon so that our efforts would not be a futile exercise.

‚ It is mysterious that Darusman Report sources are classified for 20 years from the date of publication in 2011. Our Defence Secretary has already requested and explained the need for Sri Lanka to be aware of the allegations and the respective sources to conduct an all encompassing enquiry. Yet thus far, these requests appear to have fallen on deaf ears. It is significant we insist on this information to proceed with our investigations and put an end to the continuous harassment Sri Lanka has to face in the world scene.

6 Responses to “OUTCOME OF CHOGM”

  1. jayasiri Says:

    Thank you, Janaki Chandraratna, for a valuable artcle. Coming from Australia, I am sure Auss PM, gave thumbs up to Sri Lanka’s progress & handling of illegal immigrants rushing to Aussi.

    As you pointed out we cannot live in isolation, BUT my strong feeling is that we ARE TOO DEPENDENT on India. This has to be curtailed. If India delays signing a particular agreement with us, THEN we too can take enough time to decide, if this is IN THE BEST INTERESTS of Sri Lanka, IF NOT we should not sign,just beacuse India is our closest neighbour. Apart from India there are many countries we can TRADE with & we should have relationships in TRADE & CULTURE with those countries EXCEPT INDIA.

    Coming back to Australia, it is a very important country to Sri Lanka, BUT only one who STILL HAVE NOT banned LTTE. Illegal immigration, and many other shortcoimngs are due to this LTTE organization. Some of our members of UNITED SRI LANKA ASSN or similar org, was mentioning about their activities in Australia to promote Sri Lanka in Australia.

    It is opportune time for organizations such that & many Sri Lankans in Australia to advice Australian PM to ban this ruthless org: as early as possible. Once that is done illegal immigration will stop considerably.

    Thank you again & I hope our Sri Lankan citizens in Australia take this issue as ONE of the most important one..~.Another expat from Canada……expressing his views & Hopes……J

  2. Marco Says:

    Janaki you say..
    “CHOGM 2013 was an outstanding success by any standard. In fact it was the best CHOGM we have had for many years.”
    Even the likes of the Daily News guided by Rajpal and Lucien have not exactly come to your conclusive sentiments, but i’m sure you are well informed in Perth than us mere mortals and the tethered goats in Sri Lanka.

    Please refer to the Terms of Reference of the LLRC. Can you please point out where the “war crimes” (alleged or otherwise) were part of the LLRC.

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    SL received 2 warships from Australia for FREE at CHOGM. That ALONE is enough to credit CHOGM with some success.

    Too bad Tamil terrorists are HOWLING again out of jealousy.

  4. aloy Says:

    These OPVs (Ocean Petrol Vessels) are very expensive. The new ones are worth Billions of Dollars.

  5. Lorenzo Says:

    BREAKING NEWS – MR IS SO RIGHT ABOUT MONKEYS IN GLASS HOUSES THROWING STONES!! NEWS JUST IN.

    OMG! I can’t believe this.

    This is the biggest SLAP ON THE ARRSE of Cum-Moron!

    Now SL should bring a UNHRC resolution against UK IF they bring any resolution against us.

    “Soldiers from an undercover unit used by the British army in Northern Ireland killed unarmed civilians, former members have told BBC One’s Panorama.

    Speaking publicly for the first time, the ex-members of the Military Reaction Force (MRF), which was disbanded in 1973, said they had been tasked with “hunting down” IRA members in Belfast.

    The former soldiers said they believed the unit had saved many lives.

    The Ministry of Defence said it had referred the disclosures to police.”

    – BBC

  6. Ananda-USA Says:

    Bravo … Australia! NO HALF-MEASURES!

    If you are an ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT, you get DEPORTED!

    Sri Lanka should DO THE SAME: No HALF-MEASURES!

    INVESTIGATE the Citizenship Status of 1.6 Million potential ILLEGAL Tamil IMMIGRANTS (per 2012 Census, accounting for 1.5 million Tamils who left as FAKE refugees) from Tamil Nadu illegally imported into Sri Lanka during the last 30 Years of LTTE Rule of the North when Sri Lanka lost control of its coastline.

    ENFORCE the Law & DEPORT if found to be ILLEGAL; No HALF-MEASURES … just like Australia!

    Let them CLAIM they are REFUGEES from Tamil Nadu; DEPORT THEM ANYWAY … No HALF-MEASURES!

    ……………………
    Australia returns remaining Sri Lankan boat arrivals to Colombo

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Nov 22, Colombo: The Australian Government has successfully returned every one of the 79 Sri Lankans who arrived illegally in Australia by boat on October 10, the Australian High Commission in Colombo said today.

    The last six Sri Lankans returned this week joined the group of 73 who were returned last month after arriving illegally by boat and being screened out of a protection assessment process.

    “The government’s new policy implementation sends a strong message that if you arrive illegally by boat, you will be sent back to Sri Lanka,” the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison said today.

    “The Australian Government’s policies are tougher than ever before and ensure that people seeking to come to Australia by boat without a visa do not get to stay in Australia,” Morrison added.

    More than 1100 people who arrived in Australia by boat have been sent home since October 2012.

    “The message is clear: people who pay smugglers are risking their lives and throwing their money away. There is no visa awaiting them, they will not get what they paid for, they will be sent home,” the Minister said.

    Australia and Sri Lanka have strong cooperation at the operational level to disrupt people smuggling ventures departing Sri Lanka.

    “The Australian Government does not deal in half measures and has the policies and resolve to fight people smugglers and stop illegal boat arrivals,” the Australian Minister asserted.

    The Australian government will continue to return people seeking to come to that country illegally by boat, according to the Minister.

    People removed involuntarily do not have access to reintegration assistance.

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