House of Commons Sub-Comm on Int’l HR – Dr. P.Saravanamuttu’s Presentation
Posted on February 7th, 2014

Mahinda Gunasekera Agincourt, Ontario Canada

By E-mail

Mr. Scott Reid, MP
Member for Lanark- Frontenac-Lennox  and Addington
Chair of the Sub-Committee on  International Human Rights
Of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Int’l Dev.
House of Commons
Ottawa

 Dear Mr. Scott Reid,

Resumed Hearings on the Human Rights situation in Sri Lanka : Nov 7 to Dec 10,2013

I have had an opportunity to read some of the presentations made to your sub-committee and found it quite disconcerting to note that you had invited only critics and vociferous accusers of alleged violations by Sri Lanka to make submissions, which needless to say calls into question your bias and impartiality. The presenters have focused their attention only on the latter five months of a military action taken by the Sri Lankan authorities to eliminate three decades of terrorist violence launched by the Tamil Tiger terrorists which was successfully concluded on May 19, 2009, and the period thereafter, based on one sided information looked at from outside the country by persons with an agenda to demonize Sri Lanka and destabilize that country.  What they have presented are just unsubstantiated allegations, and it is a shame that Canada’s Parliamentary Sub-Committee would take such an unbalanced route to decide on a sovereign country which is a fellow member of the Commonwealth.

At the outset, I would like to give some background data for your information.  Sri Lanka made six separate attempts to reach a negotiated peaceful settlement with the militant Tamil groups that sought to carve out a separate mono-ethnic separate state for Tamils by armed force, through direct talks and internationally mediated peace talks using the facilitation by India and Norway.  Some of the Tamil militant groups halted hostile actions following the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord of 1987. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), aka Tamil Tigers, which claimed to be the sole representative of the Tamil people failed to negotiate in good faith and used the ceasefire periods to build up their weapons stockpile and fighting strength made up of child soldiers and other adults many of whom had been abducted and forcibly conscripted.  They blatantly violated the ceasefire agreements and continued to plant bombs in buses, trains, shopping centres, launch claymore mine attacks, unleash 388 suicide bombers, engage in machete attacks at midnight on remote villages, and carry out attacks by land, sea and air targeting members of the security forces, political leaders from all communities including moderate Tamils and civilians, causing wide scale death and destruction of valuable property on a daily basis.    

In December of 2005, the Tamil Tigers which had annual earnings in excess of $300 million raised mainly through illicit means as per the Janes Weekly of UK, with a large chunk of that being contributed by Canada, carried out large scale extortion of their diaspora members to launch their so called final war of liberation; refer Human Rights Watch report of March 15, 2006. Canada proscribed the LTTE effective April 6, 2006 joining 31 other nations including the USA, India, Uk and EU. The Tigers commenced numerous attacks on military installations and the civilian population, and thrust a war on Sri Lanka by shutting off drinking and irrigation water to 30,000 farming families at Mahavil Oya (Mavilaru)in August 2006, forcing the government to take retaliatory action.  Sri Lanka’s military succeeded in defeating the armed Tamil Tigers within a space of 33 months and rescuing the 300,000 Tamil civilians living under LTTE control who were forced to move with the retreating Tiger forces to be exploited for their labour, conscripted to replace fallen cadres and other combat duties and finally to form a human shield in the last redoubt in Putumatalan , where they held out in the hope of western intervention and asylum overseas. 

Two ceasefires were arranged unilaterally by the Sri Lankan authorities in February and April 2009 to enable the Tamil IDPs to cross over to safety but the Tamil Tigers used their guns to prevent a single civilian from leaving their control.  The LTTE terrorist fighters were also offered an opportunity to surrender, but they decided to fight to the last and were struck down in their attempt to cross the Nandikadal Lagoon and break through the Sri Lankan Army lines into the nearby jungles.  The defeat of the Tamil Tiger terrorists also helped in the efforts to rescue nearly 300,000 Tamil IDPs that had been held as a human shield by the LTTE. This humanitarian goal was attained at the enormous cost of over 5,000 Sri Lankan soldiers laying down their life in the latter stages in 2009 to free them with the least harm to these trapped civilians. It also restored the vitally important ‘Right to Life’ of Sri Lanka’s 21 million citizens made up of Sinhalese, Tamils, Moors (Muslims),Indian Tamils (indentured labour brought in by the British to work on new plantations established on lands confiscated from Sinhalese peasants and aristocrats w/o a penny in compensation) Malays, Burghers (Descendants of Portuguese and Dutch colonialists), Veddahs, Chettys, etc.  

 

Presentation by Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu(Exec Dir,Centre for Policy Alternatives)on Nov 21,2013

Dr. Asoka Weerasinghe of Ottawa has made a separate submission dealing with Dr. P. Saravanamuttu’s presentation where he has touched on key matters discussed by your guest.  I shall take up any areas that he may have missed to give a fuller picture.  

Dr. Saravanamuttu belongs to a very privileged class of Tamils that lived in Colombo where he was educated in the English medium in a leading school in the capital city.  His family had many servants from the Sinhalese community to attend to the varied tasks of this rich household which helped him to converse in Sinhala. Except for a smattering of spoken Tamil he has little knowledge of his mother tongue but remains an ardent supporter of Tamil nationalism with separatist tendencies.  As the Executive Director of the CPA which is funded by western countries including Canada and other western agencies, he enjoys a handsome remuneration in excess of Rupees One Million monthly plus a range of choice perks, which are not even dreamt of by the average Sri Lankan.  Therefore, he naturally knows on which side his bread is buttered, and is most amenable to carrying out agendas promoted by the western financiers which ensures the continuation of the elite personal benefits, even though same is not available to the vast majority of the populace.   

In his opening remarks, echoing his western masters he has said a mouthful, claiming that Sri Lanka was a floundering democracy threatened by institutionalized militarization, collapse of the rule of law, a culture of impunity with respect to human rights violations and rising religious intolerance. To most people in Sri Lanka, the defeat of the Tamil Tiger terrorists has opened up space for democratic dissent, freer discussion on human rights, re-engaging of the military in people friendly projects to speed up resettlement of the displaced civilians whilst maintaining vigilance to prevent resumption of terrorist violence that bled the nation for over three decades.  Just like Canada or any other country, the military is stationed in different parts of the national territory at the discretion of the heads of the armed forces and the government of the day.  The military’s strength in the north of the island has been reduced  to around 70,000, whilst the bulk of the troops are stationed in the rest of the country.    

Sri Lanka has a recorded history dating back to over 2,500 years which has been chronicled in the Deepavamsa, Mahavamsa and the Chulavamsa, wherein it is stated that the land formerly called called ‘Heladiva’ (island of the Hela people) made up of four separate clans or Sivuhela, later merged with the Sinha clan led by Prince Vijaya who arrived from India at the dawn of history to form SINHALE or the land of the Sinhala people. Even the word “ILAM” (Eelam) chosen by the Tamils for their separate state that they sought to carve out by force of arms has been mistakenly chosen, as the Tamil lexicon published by the University of Madras, the highest seat of Tamil learning, states on page 328 that the word “ILAM” (Eelam) has been derived from the PALI word SIHALA, meaning Sinhala, Tamilized as  ‘SINGALAM’ or ‘SIHALAM’ and later shortened to ILAM, also spelt as “Eelam”, which means the land of the Sinhala people.  This fact is again confirmed by Prof. S. Krishnaswamy Aiyangar of the Madras University, a well known Tamil historian, writing the foreword on August 29, 1926, to the book titled ‘Ancient Jaffna’ by Mudaliyar C. Rasanayagam, stated that the word ‘ILAM’ had been derived from the PALI word SIHALA meaning Sinhala. 

The Tamils of South India who first arrived as invaders held on to small pockets of territory for short periods, till such time as the indigenous people drove them back to their land in Tamilnadu.  They came as settlers around the 11th century AD, even establishing a sub-kingdom called Jaffnapatam in the 13th century confined to the Jaffna peninsula and a narrow strip on the northwest coast extending up to Mannar, paying tribute to the main ruler of Sri Lanka situated in Kotte or Kandy, and the Pandyan ruler in South India, which lasted for roughly 150 years, before the Sinhalese King of Kotte regained suzerainty over the territory.  The vast majority of the Tamils were brought by the European colonial powers namely the Portuguese and Dutch from the early 17th to the 18th centuries for tobacco cultivation. Lastly, the British brought over one million more Tamils in the 19th and 20th centuries as indentured labour , settling them in sub-standard housing in the heartland of the country to work on new Cocoa, Coffee and Tea plantations set up on lands confiscated from the indigenous Sinhala people, thus creating a ‘stateless’ underclass of people which adversely affected the existing demography in the region . The issue of ‘stateless’ Indian Tamils was resolved by the Sirima ” Shastri Pact of 1964 with Sri Lanka and India absorbing these people as opted by each individual.  The vast majority of the Tamils in Sri Lanka are those brought in by the European colonial powers with a comparatively short history in the island who are now seeking to carve out a chunk of territory in the north and east to set up a separate state for the newly arrived Tamils.

The Sinhalese who founded the Nation State of SINHALE allowed people of various ethnicities and religions to settle down peacefully and live as equal citizens subject to their allegiance to the king entrusted with authority to rule the land.  Whilst the Sinhalese were Buddhists, the settlers coming from outside were permitted to practice their faith or religion and even build kovils, mosques and churches for their spiritual usage.  The Christian faith first introduced by the Portuguese colonialists who arrived soon after the Inquisitions in Europe used lethal force to convert people, dispossessed  them of their lands and even destroyed Buddhist temples, Hindu Kovils and Mosques, over which they built their new Catholic Churches.  The Dutch and British were more cunning in that they openly discriminated against the followers of other religions, depriving opportunities for advancement unless one converted to their Christian faith. Even though the British undertook to protect the religion of the Budhoo in terms of the Kandyan Convention of 1815 under which power was ceded to them by the Chieftains of Sinhale, they failed to honour their treaty obligations discarding their obligations even before the ink dried out.  

The ending of the military action against the Tamil Tiger terrorists did not end the threats to Sri Lanka as the well funded remnants of the pro-Tiger groups living in western countries continued to use their vast  amount of accumulated funds to influence the politicians and the media by carrying on an anti-Sri Lanka campaign to seek revenge for eliminating the LTTE’s military leadership on whom they depended to establish their separate Tamil state in the north and east of the island. This goal they dreamt of for which billions of dollars had been expended to build an armed force to do battle on land, sea and air plus a suicide bomber squadron suddenly vanished before their eyes, just as the reality of a sovereign state has eluded over 85 million Tamils living in Tamilnadu and the rest of the world.  Former supporters of Tamil Tiger terrorism suddenly metamorphosed into human rights activists to beat up Sri Lanka on fabricated charges of alleged violations of international humanitarian law and war crimes. There have also been caches of weapons and explosives which the LTTE had buried that were being uncovered in the Vanni, and the string of unsubstantiated allegations and pressures to be dealt with in the midst of caring for the 295,873 rescued Tamil IDPs and rehabilitation of over 12,000 former Tiger cadres that had surrendered.  The unrest that the pro-Tamil Tiger diaspora hoped to create was effectively curbed by remaining alert and preventing any serious breakdown in the law and order situation. It is only with the cooperation of all the parties that the Rule of Law and respect for Human Rights could be upheld in any society.

There is no rising religious intolerance in Sri Lanka except for a reaction to creeping Islamist activities and the planting of churches and mosques in the Buddhist/Hindu hinterland by various Evangelical Christian groups and Moslems benefiting from Mid-East oil revenues who resort to unethical means to increase their flock.  These Christian groups which operate pre-schools in the rural areas including World Vision are known to devise plain trickery to brainwash infants in their temporary care by distributing small boxes with Baby Jesus’ picture containing goodies and passing empty boxes with the Buddha’s picture on them. They also misrepresent the life of the Royal Prince Siddartha who later renounced the palace and householder’s life leaving behind his wife and new born son to lead a spiritual path and attain the highest purity of body, speech and mind associated with the state of Buddhahood, thereby creating confusion in these tiny minds which is a lowly act that must be condemned. This technique of brainwashing has been referred to as the ‘Mustard Seed Program’ by World Vision.  They also use the vast funds available to them from their western churches and western governments including Canada  to exploit the poor by offering allurements on condition they would convert to the Christian faith, and as a sign of their accepting the new faith they are required to publicly destroy any Buddha images in their possession. This act of sacrilege naturally creates enmity in the village both against the individual and the Church concerned giving rise to incidents of what is termed religious intolerance.  Even the Muslim community of Sri Lanka is in receipt of funds from the oil rich Middle East which is used to surreptitiously build Mosques far in excess of the need of their community which numbers about  nine  percent of the population.  They would put up a temporary shed which is later claimed as being a Community Centre, which later becomes a Prayer House that grows into a gigantic Mosque to the annoyance of the non-Muslim population. Once the Mosque is established, they would use loudspeakers to blast the air to call people to prayer five times daily disturbing the entire neighborhood.  These acts of deception in the establishment of Mosques too have given rise to public fury.  The demand from the public to bring in legislation to prevent unethical conversion of persons to other faiths by offering allurements has been put on hold due to pressure from the US government, whereas several countries including a few European countries have introduced such legislation.    

Dr. Saravanamuttu also stated that “at the present moment, the policy of the government with regard to governance in general is very much a focus on economic development which is highly centralized.  The government’s attitude toward reconciliation is very much an attitude of economic development and of forgetting and moving on. As some people argue, it is an attempt to build reconciliation on concrete.”  Dr. Saravanamuttu is again wrong because it was necessary to rebuild a thousand schools, medical facilities and other infrastructure destroyed by the Tamil Tigers. The former homes of the IDPs which had been exposed to the elements as a result of their being abandoned by the inmates for a period of nearly 30 months as they were forced to move with the retreating cadres also had to be repaired or rebuilt.  The roofing sheets of the IDPs’ homes had also been removed at the time of their move to be used to fortify their bunkers.  In addition to using concrete in the massive construction work, the authorities also had to demine 6,182 sq. km. of land that had been heavily mined with anti-personnel mines, IEDs and explosives laden booby traps numbering in excess of 1.5 million, before the IDPs were allowed back into the region.  Damaged roads, rail tracks, bridges, irrigation reservoirs, fisheries harbours too were speedily upgraded using up more concrete.  Providing vocational training to the 12,000 surrendering Tigers to equip them with new skills to enable them to earn their living after being released to society.  The essential infrastructure being put in place and provision of livelihood skills have helped to attract new investment and jobs.  Following the gradual resettlement of the IDPs along with demining of the land, it was possible to hold elections to the local bodies in the Northern Province and even conduct elections to the Northern Provincial Council which previously was prevented by the armed LTTE which considered the Tamil Tigers as the sole representative of the Tamil people, even endorsed by members of the Tamil National Alliance deemed a proxy party of the LTTE.  A most laudable achievement by Sri Lanka to have not only resettled 295,873 IDPs, released 594 child soldiers to the custody of their parents or guardians, and also to have rehabilitated over 12,000 former Tiger cadres and given them new livelihood skills within the short space of 4 ½ years which no other country facing a similar conflict could lay claim to.  Even the UN is grappling with over 26 million displaced persons living in refugee camps around the world, with numbers growing each day and no solution in sight with as many as 12,000 remaining in camps for over ten years.

Dr. Saravanamuttu:  “The argument with regard to institutionalized militarization is one that has relevance across the country. The military is involved in the economy. The presence of the military in these provinces, in the north in particular, is of a ratio of one soldier to every 10 civilians. Most importantly, it’s the overbearing presence and the intrusion into the lives of the people that is of particular concern.” His assumptions are overblown and does not take into consideration the various tasks that had to be performed to make the northern province habitable and ready for resettlement of the IDPs. There were over 6,218 sq. km.(approx..1/10th of Sri Lanka’s land area) contaminated with mines laid by the LTTE to be demined, of which nearly 75 percent was completed by the military. The military had a well trained engineering unit which had experienced personnel who were disciplined, ready to serve in difficult conditions and able to undertake the infrastructure projects covering the education, health, water, irrigation, electricity, sanitation, roads and housing needs that were needed to be in place before moving the displaced persons to their former places of residence. This work was carried out effectively by the military enabling the resettlement of the IDPs within a short space of 3-4 years. This link gives you access to some of the humanitarian tasks handled by the security forces to provide care and comfort to the IDPs fleeing LTTE control: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URnPSrrnGHw .

The military stationed in the north have been able to quickly resolve problems faced by the newly resettled IDPs.  They even contributed part of their own remuneration to complete essential facilities such as homes and rural hospitals in addition to providing their labour free. The men in the forces have on a regular basis donated blood needed by the northern hospitals to treat the IDPs. The military’s artificial limbs unit has provided orthopedic devices to disabled Tamil civilians and even former Tamil Tiger cadres who fought against them. Contrary to what Dr. Saravanamuttu has stated, the people of Mullativu publicly demonstrated to show their displeasure when the Army’s presence was being scaled back in the region. The Hindu kovils have arranged special devotional services to bestow blessings on the military personnel in appreciation of their contribution to the community. The military representatives are invited to participate in community events, school functions, etc. where they are warmly welcomed, as these men have jointly made personal gifts to improve school libraries, sports facilities and other community needs.  There is no military intrusion into the lives of the people but cordial interaction based on mutual respect. Allegations of human rights violations, abductions, assaults and gender based violations mentioned by Dr. Saravanamuttu have been advanced to demonize the military and generate anger in your minds, when these should instead be brought before the courts with the assistance of any number of lawyers within the Tamil community if there is any truth to such accusations. Shanthini Vairamuttu, a community worker from Jaffna told IRIN that the increased number of Sri Lankan born Tamils from the diaspora visiting their place of origin has also increased the demand for commercial sex. Traditionally, Hindus consider widows inauspicious and unfit for remarriage, leaving Tamil women to care of their families alone. Refer www.ecoi.net/local_link/260228/373081_en.html .

The claim that there is a high ratio of soldiers to civilians is an exaggeration as the numbers have been drawn down with several camps being closed and these lands being handed over to the prior owners. Where it is not possible to reduce the high security zones (HSZ) as in the case of the Palaly airstrip where earlier the LTTE fighters were able to infiltrate into the adjacent privately held lands and shoot at the planes coming into land destroying three or more planes killing all of the passengers and crew, necessitating the expansion of these security zones. Compensation is paid to the owners of such lands or relocated to suitable areas nearby. In addition to the risk of the Tamil Tiger rump within the diaspora based overseas with accumulated funds mainly raised through extortion and illicit activities financing the resumption of hostilities, plus the risk from extremist elements among the 72 million Tamils living across the Palk Strait just 22 miles from Sri Lanka’s northern shore in Tamilnadu,South India, who regularly threaten to break up Sri Lanka to create a separate state for Tamils. There are major ports and airfields that need to be secured plus a vulnerable coastline that needs to be guarded against illicit immigrants from the overcrowded and poverty stricken southern Indian states. Stationing of adequate security personnel and provision of housing for them becomes a routine matter, just as much as the security forces are billeted in other parts of the island.  

Dr. Saravanamuttu has also referred to the killing of 5 students on the beach in Trincomalee and the murder of 17 local workers employed by Action Against Hunger in Muttur during the height of military action in the region. These cases could not be proceeded with in the courts due to lack of witnesses but later referred to a Presidential Commission tasked with uncovering further evidence if any. These are callous acts which are still being followed up, but remains unsolved up to now. One of the students had even been a table tennis coach at the military camp. The local workers of the INGO killed in Muttur had been asked by the security forces to close their office and seek shelter in the nearby churches as the Tamil Tigers driven from Mavilaru where they shut off water to 30,000 farming families were seen moving towards Muttur to make a lightening strike that would endanger the operation of the Naval Base in Trincomalee. The Tamil Tiger forces took control of the Town of Muttur forcing the residents to flee. They held the town for about five days before being militarily ejected from there when the bodies of the 17 men were discovered. These cases have not been closed, but needs evidence that will shed light on the person or persons responsible to enable further action by the authorities. 

In response to questions put to him by the members of the Sub-Committee, Dr. Saravanamuttu admitted that the Reconciliation Program conducted in the case of the former LTTE cadres who surrendered, prior to their release to the society with new livelihood skills was satisfactory.  The following article written by an Indian and published by the Centre for Land War Studies of New Delhi gives an in depth look at the entire ‘Reconciliation Program’ that was conducted in the case of the former Tamil Tiger cadres who gave up their weapons and came to government controlled areas with the fleeing IDPs, and a Defense Ministry write up to give you an inside view of the program:  (i) http://www.ipcs.org/article/sri-lanka/taming-the-tigers-reintegration-of-surrendered-ltte-cadres-3350.html ;
(ii) //www.defence.lknew.asp?fname=Rehab_and_rejoice_20120828_03. 
Also, he had nothing negative to say about the manner in which the Northern Provincial Council election was carried out by the Elections Commissioner except for a few incidents of violence between rival parties.  He was attempting to impute that some soldiers in uniform and yet others in civilian clothes had engaged in acts of harassment or intimidation of certain voters. The military was not a party to the election, and if he has any evidence to support such allegations, he should have brought it to the attention of the Elections Commissioner. 

MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan inquired if there were as much as 90,000 war widows in the north to which he answered stating that there were 40,000 in the north but the 90,000 figure includes those in the eastern province as well.  It is highly questionable how he is rattling off these numbers when no such survey or census has been carried out.  According to published figures of war casualties for the full period of the armed conflict over 26 years is 27,000 + LTTE cadres being killed as against 23,327 Sri Lankan Security Forces personnel being lost in action. Sri Lanka has done a mind boggling feat of demining 6,218 sq. km. of contaminated land, put in necessary infrastructure, provided care for nearly 300,000 IDPs  in welfare camps, rehabilitated nearly 12,000 former LTTE cadres, restored 7 irrigation reservoirs and brought back large tracts of land for cultivation, developed fisheries harbours, in addition to building a network of roads, within a space of four years. This resulted in the northern economy registering a 27 percent growth as compared to 7.2% growth in GDP in the rest of the country.  Nearly 85 % of the country’s development budget estimated at US $3 billion has been invested in the north with $1,821.2 billion of that being financed with loans. The biggest industry established by the LTTE along with over 30 INGO/NGO groups operating in the Vanni was a Cottage Industry in the northern Vanni where the civilian population was engaged in making landmines and other IEDs, whilst the Sri Lanka Government paid for education, health, other essential services, pensions, etc. to meet the needs of the people.   

There was talk of land grabs by the military and several missing persons whose whereabouts are not known. Some privately owned lands in locations deemed high security zones have been acquired by the military for which either alternate lands will be given or due compensation paid to the owners.  No mention was made of the 14 military camps that were drawn down in Jaffna peninsula and lands so occupied being released to the respective owners. The land issue is both complex and confusing in the north as the Tamil Tigers who virtually carried on a defacto state in the region for a period in excess of two decades have caused the destruction of records in most of the land registries making it an extremely difficult task to confirm the rightful owners of private land. The LTTE had alienated land and given generous parcels to those whom they considered ‘Maaveera’ families where a family member had attained martyrdom for their separatist cause. Furthermore, it has now been revealed that such families were even encouraged to bring over their relatives living in Tamilnadu, South India, to settle down in the Vanni on lands allocated to them.

The Norwegian INGO called Red Barna based in Jaffna headed by Jon Westborg, later Norway’s ambassador to Sri Lanka, had assisted Tamil separatist groups to turn back Indian Tamil plantation workers who had opted to return to India in terms of the 1964 Sirima-Shasthri Pact by providing funds to settle them in the Vanni region by encroaching into state lands. Many of the IDPs have lost their documentation including National ID papers, deeds relating to properties, making it an enormous  problem in determining their rights to property they claim is theirs.  A considerable period of time will elapse in sorting through this mess and registering lawful claims to property which are now being computerized to overcome the security lapses experienced with paper records.

Answers to the whereabouts of missing persons is not easy to provide as many either joined or were forcibly conscripted by the LTTE and may possibly have died in action and interred without proper records. Some LTTE cadres who were seriously injured at the front were taken in buses to desolate locations and blown up by the Tamil Tigers according to some relatives who  later fled the final ‘no fire zone’ to government controlled areas. Many of the IDPs with money are said have managed to avoid the government’s screening process and head out to Colombo and proceed to overseas locations with valid passports or false travel documents prepared by human smugglers and even new identities. Hardcore LTTE cadres who either slipped out of the welfare camps or avoided screening too have managed to obtain the aid of pro-Tiger groups in the diaspora who find ways to have them ferried to western countries. Some could be among the nearly 600 who arrived on Canada’s west coast aboard the Ocean Lady and mv Sun Sea earlier on in 2009 and 2010.  Yet others may have boarded other human smuggling ships to claim refuge in Australia, and probably awaiting in Christmas Island pending hearings. There are also over 100,000 who had left Sri Lanka to seek refuge in Tamilnadu. Some others have reached places in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc. to try and board a smugglers boat to take them to a developed country.  Some have even managed to reach UK and EU countries where they have sought asylum. The government could only give particulars of persons who have been detained pending prosecution in the courts for crimes relating to terrorism, or others undergoing rehabilitation prior to their release. Meanwhile, the government has appointed an independent Commission headed by a retired High Court Judge to review the cases of 11,112 reported to be missing or disappeared, of whom 5,098 are Sri Lanka Army personnel whilst 6,014 are civilians from the Tamil, Sinhalese and Muslim communities.  

No other country that faced a long drawn out conflict has achieved so much as Sri Lanka has within such a short space of time. A recently produced documentary captures some of the many post-conflict achievement of Sri Lanka which could be accessed at the link noted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHoNMIe1SLM . There is a scene of the Central Bank being blown up by a truck bomb carrying 400 kg of explosives, which were purchased from the Ukraine with $7.2 million being remitted by pro-Tiger Canadian Tamils who purchased 60 tons of regular explosives and 10 tons of plastic explosives with these funds prior to 1996.  Sri Lanka has since adopted a tri-lingual education policy (teaching Sinhala, Tamil and English) partly funded by CIDA, which too will help in the ongoing reconciliation process.  The country has also been able to recruit Tamils to the Police Service as the fear of being targeted by the LTTE has since been eliminated.  Already, over 2,000 Tamils have been trained as Police officers since 2009 and posted to predominantly Tamil areas to better serve the resident population.    

 Canada and the rest of the international community need to understand the real ground situation and allow the necessary time and space to resolve her internal issues and bring about healing among her multi-ethnic and multi-religious communities. Reconciliation cannot be achieved merely through promulgation of laws, commissions of inquiry, as it has to be nurtured through mutual understanding and trust without any group clamouring for pieces of the island but sharing the whole as Sri Lanka has done in pre-colonial times during her recorded history of 2,500 years.

 

Yours sincerely,

 Mahinda Gunasekera
Agincourt, Ontario

February 6, 2014

P.S. I will be submitting my response to the presentations made especially by Frances Harrison and Callum McRae of UK shortly.  MG

Copy to:  Ms. Miriam Burke, Secretary to the House Commons Sub-Committee on Foreign Affairs:  Please take printed copies and kindly distribute all members of the Sub-Committee.

Copies to Members of the House of Commons, Sub-Committee on International Human Rights:  Copies of this document are being sent by e-mail to you pending distribution of printed copies by the  Secretary.        .

3 Responses to “House of Commons Sub-Comm on Int’l HR – Dr. P.Saravanamuttu’s Presentation”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Good work by MG.

    Paki the traitor has to be dealt with by GOSL. SL needs new laws to stop HATE SPEECH.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    GLP will be in China next week trying to get Chinese support at UNHRC. Chinese support cannot be TAKEN FOR GRANTED.

    Tamara Kunanayagam’s behavior has been DUBIOUS. She is from the Dayan J camp. She should NOT be allowed to go to Geneva.

  3. Nanda Says:

    Chinese fullest support will not bring us a win. ( EVen if they agreed to support amid our terrible indicipline).

    I am sure the boss has determined to appoint DJ as the leader this time and bring a superficial WIN he need at the cost of the motherland. We will just have to see how he develop to be a full RuiNIL.

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