‘Tensions rise between the US and Sri Lanka over HR – Ronak D. Desai
Posted on February 28th, 2014

Mahinda Gunasekera  Tambrook Drive Agincourt, Ontario Canada 

By E-mail
February 27, 2014 

Ms. Cathryn Cluver
Interim Executive Director
India and South Asia Program
Belfer Center, Harvard University 

Dear Ms. Cluver,

Article: ‘Tensions rise between the US and Sri Lanka over HR – Ronak D. Desai

I refer to the above article written by Ronak Desai, Non Resident Fellow, on February 26, 2014, and write to point out
several incorrect assumptions and errors contained therein.

The writer has wrongly assumed that the report published in 2011 by a so called Panel of Experts had been commissioned
by the UN, whereas it was one appointed by the UN Secretary General for his own guidance in dealing with conflicts similar

to the one concluded on May 18, 2009 by the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), aka “Tamil Tigers by
Sri Lanka’s security forces.  The UNSG appointed persons from outside the UN without the sanction of the UN General
Assembly, UN Security Council or the UNHRC , exceeding the authority granted to him by the Charter, to inquire into the

internal affairs of a member country.  This unofficial report was leaked from the UNSG’s office which Navi Pillai the High
Commissioner for Human Rights violating established protocol and principles attempted to include it in the agenda of the
UNHRC. 

Furthermore, the three person Panel of Experts located in New York looked at evidence presented by persons
linked to one side of conflict which obviously is a prejudiced source, to come up with what they termed “credible
allegations”, none of which were proven in their own words. The panel stated that their report did not meet with the high
standards required of a UN report, and also took the drastic step of locking away the evidence for the next twenty years.

Oddly, the panel confined their report to the last five months of the conflict ended in May 2009, whereas the conflict
dates back to 1976, during which period the country had faced a terrorist insurgency in pursuit of a mono ethnic racist

separate state for Tamils to be carved out of Sri Lanka’s sovereign territory in the north and east of the island where the
resident Tamil population was less than five (5) percent of the total population. The citizens were constantly targeted
by the Tamil Tigers with the planting of bombs in public transit, claymore mine attacks, unleashing of 388 suicide bombers,
truck bombs, midnight machete attacks, ethnic cleansing massacres, assassination of political leaders and two heads of
state, and much more, resulting in the loss of thousands of lives and destruction of an inestimable amount of valuable
property. Contrary to the writer’s assertion, there is a greater degree of peaceful coexistence and harmony among the
various ethnic and religious groups in Sri Lanka than in most parts of the world.

 Is the US, UK, India and their allies planning to condemn the Sri Lankan authorities for having eliminated a
ruthless terrorist group, and for rescuing 295,873 Tamil IDPs forced to move with the retreating Tamil Tiger cadres to
be
exploited for their labour, conscripted to replace fallen cadre and form a human shield, whilst restoring the ‘Right
to
Life’ of her 21 million citizens, based on a skewed one sided report by the UNSG’s panel which contains
unsubstantiated allegations (also called the Darusman
report) which covers just the latter five months of this three
decade long conflict?  The wild guesstimate of 40,000 civilian deaths assessed by the panel in the latter five months is
without substance and is completely out of line in comparison with number of 7,721 reported by the UN Resident
Representative’s office in Colombo, which latter number  too was deemed unverifiable by Sir John Holmes, the UN Under
Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs stating that the UN did not have a presence on the ground to verify same.
Sri Lanka carried out a census in the war affected area using Tamil school teachers and public officials as enumerators
who arrived at a number of 7,432 war related deaths, whilst the Tamilnet which is a propaganda unit of the Tamil Tigers
reported a total of 7,398 deaths.  None of these casualty numbers distinguish between civilian and combatant deaths
leaving one to conclude that close to 3,000 Tamil Tigers cadres died in battle which is roughly equal to the number of
Sri Lanka soldiers killed in action in the same period, while yet others pressed into battle by the LTTE who fought in civilian
attire too has to be left out, which will necessarily reduce the number of genuine civilian deaths to around 2,500.  The
panel should not be allowed to get away with such preposterous estimates when they do not have any clear evidence
to support such claims.

One is led to wonder if the intention of focusing on the latter five months, the sponsors of the resolution are attempting
to shield their co-sponsor of the latter two UNHRC sessions, i.e. India, that was responsible for training, arming and funding
the Tamil militants including the Tamil Tigers in Indian military camps in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, and the serious
war crimes and HR violations committed by the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) when they operated in the north of Sri
Lanka from 1987 to 1990.  One cannot ignore the pain and suffering of the victims of Tamil Tiger terrorism and the extreme
excesses of the IPKF if the main aim is to determine the accountability of the perpetrators, in order that justice will be fully met and
finality reached by those who have lost their near and dear ones as a result of violence relating to the prior 32 years and
7 months of the same conflict.

Sri Lanka on the other hand appointed her own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) in March 2010 which
heard both oral and written submissions numbering over 1,800 in open court, and published its report in November 2011.

This report was presented to Parliament in December 2011, translated to the national languages of Sinhala and Tamil before
final release in July 2012.  The government of Sri Lanka drew up a National Plan of Action and proceeded to firstly implement
the recommendations which did not require a political process or special approval of the people at a referendum, based on a
scheme of restorative justice instead of a retributive system. Within the short space of three years, Sri Lanka succeeded in

demining 6,200 sq. km. of land that had been contaminated with landmines and IEDs planted by the LTTE, put in necessary
infrastructure including housing, roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, irrigation reservoirs, fisheries harbours, power and water
services, etc. and resettle the 295, 873 Tamil IDPs with livelihood assistance, rehabilitate and release to society nearly 11,800
former Tiger combatants including 594 child soldiers, which no other country in a similar conflict situation could boast of. Not
one conflict related violent incident has taken place since May 18, 2009. Local government and provincial council elections
have been held allowing the resident population to elect their legislators bringing about a great deal of normalcy. The economy
of this conflict affected region recorded a post-conflict growth of 27 percent whilst the rest the country registered a growth of
only 7.2 percent. 

Sri Lanka is an independent, sovereign nation with equal membership in the UN, and has the capacity to investigate and deal
with any wrongdoing that has taken place in the long drawn out conflict which took place within her own territory.  She alone
has jurisdiction in respect of all internal matters just like any other sovereign country.  There is no need for an external probe

as Sri Lanka is a country with a 2,500 year civilization which is quite capable of handling her internal affairs in an open and
righteous manner.  All that Sri Lanka seeks is the time and space to enable her to conduct her own investigations into matters
which are entirely internal issues, and allow her home grown process to make the necessary findings and deal with them in
accordance with the laws of the land.  By the very fact that there has not been any conflict related violence after the conflict,
the regular inter-community interactions taking place, the extension of democracy and the rule of law to areas previously
controlled by the fascist forces of the Tamil Tigers, has helped in great measure to heal the differences and bring about
reconciliation combined with rapid economic growth.  Please do not impose foreign probes and interventions as it would
certainly disrupt the ongoing reconciliation that could allow divisive forces and hidden Tamil Tiger agitators living amongst
the overseas Tamil diaspora communities to recommence hostilities which will no doubt be counter productive.  Leave Sri Lanka
alone and allow her to resolve her internal issues with the inherent wisdom acquired in her history of over a two and a half
millennial period.  I trust you would publish this in your esteemed journal, so that your readers may have other related facts and
an alternative point of view by a person of Sri Lankan origin.

Yours sincerely,

Mahinda Gunasekera

7 Responses to “‘Tensions rise between the US and Sri Lanka over HR – Ronak D. Desai”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Desai woman is working for Endia secretly.

    USA should investigate Desai’s allegiance.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    BREAKING NEWS. CKDu CAUSE IS “ROUND-UP” HERBICIDE.

    RT reported the cause of CKDu in SL is the use of ROUND UP herbicide.

    We should immediately BAN its use.

  3. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Under the Obama administration Sri Lanka will continue to be selectively targeted for human rights. The weakness of the Obama government is that it easily capitulates to nations who are willing to stand up to President Obama as in the case of Iran.

    Keeping in mind that it was the Obama administration that drafted the first two human rights violations. It is becoming apparent that the US role to even have the right to draw human rights violations on another country should be questioned

  4. S de Silva Says:

    Have GoSL not got enough already of living proof to demonsrate the bias and prejudice of Navi Pillai against Sri Lanka to make a formal complaint under “conflict of Interests” ?
    Also the Tamil Navi Pillai is not the person for this task as much as no Muslim will be allowed by the US to investigate the HR issues in Israel! – S de Silva – London

  5. Nanda Says:

    Lorenzo,
    CKDu CAUSE IS “ROUND-UP” HERBICIDE was breaking news some time ago.
    Glyphosate , I believe is banned from import by the SL but various products containing is still being used ( same as LTTE).

    Unfortunately Powerful American Jewish company Monsanto is behind it. They run USA.
    That is why our best weapon is to implement this ban fully and threaten to ban more powerful American products.

  6. Lorenzo Says:

    The least we can do now is to BAN the thing now.

    It is killing our people.

    But special consideration should be given to Jaffna and Batticaloa farmers. They should be allowed to use it!! After all Americunts are their friends.

  7. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Since the war is now categorizes as a war against Tamil Terrorism then Colombo has the right to charge those nations who are playing host to the pro LITE and LITE members in their nations. This includes India where Karunanidhi has resurrected TESO (Tamil Elam Supporters Organization) New Delhi who supported the Tamil Tigers during the war and Jayalalithaa who is openly calling for the formation of Eelam. But it also includes Great Britain and other European nations including Australia since they all have LITE cells and these governments know this.

    A classic case is the US war against terrorism. When the US was attacked on 9/11 many nations who harbored the Al-Qaeda were targeted and wars broke out. Sri Lanka is not in the capacity to wage wars but she can take a variety of diplomatic actions including openly demanding in the UN the list of nation who are deliberately hosting the LITE and its sympathizers. Even worse these nations are willing to be the voice of LITE as they accuse Sri Lanka of selective unproven human rights accusations.

    If this was the Al-Qaeda or Hezbollah or Hamas or the Taliban the world would immediately condemn those nations who not only harbor them but speak for them. Sri Lanka does not and should not take any demands made by any nation who has a sizable population of LITE supporters. That is tantamount to taking orders from the LITE itself.

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