UNHRC Vote in Geneva though a moral victory for Sri Lanka time to shun gutless (bayagulla) diplomacy
Posted on March 28th, 2014

Shenali D. Waduge

Sri Lanka can claim a moral victory on the basis that 2014 UNHRC Resolution was adopted against Sri Lanka with 23 votes while a majority comprising 24 nations did not support the Resolution by either voting against or abstaining with India joining the list of abstentions. This is a striking difference from the pattern of voting shown on the last two occasions at UNHRC in 2012 and 2013 when Sri Lanka’s Human Rights record was reviewed. India’s decision not to support the Resolution despite a raucous Tamilnadu threatening to break away from India is a clear indication of a significant turnaround in foreign policy making in India with the Centre asserting dominance over Regional priorities. India’s withdrawal of support reduces the Resolution adopted at Geneva to nothing more than a Pyrrhic or hollow victory. The pattern of voting also revealed another significant development ” the emerging cleavage in the community of nations with the Western Christian countries (with a few exceptions) being placed on one side and driven to isolation while the populous Third World nations drawn from Asia, Africa and Latin America closing ranks. This is a foretaste of the new world order that is dawning with the Asian giants at the helm.     

The 2014 UNHRC voting nations & the results:

Those who voted for the resolution:

Argentina, Austria, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cote D’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Montenegro, Peru, Rep. of Korea, Romania, Sierra Leon, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, UK, USA.

Those who voted against:

Algeria, China, Congo, Cuba, Kenya, Maldives, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Venezuela, Vietnam

Those who abstained:

Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Morocco, Namibia, Philippines, South Africa.

The people of Sri Lankan bow their heads to the nations that bravely voted against the Resolution and backed their decision with very powerful speeches that revealed that they had a sound understanding of the ground situation including the under currents. In taking the populations of the nations voting in favor of the Resolution vis a vis the nations that voted against and abstained reveal that the total population of the 23 nations can hardly match the combined populations of the 24 nations. In other words, Sri Lanka has the support of the majority of the people of the world.

Special mention must be made of China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, Maldives, Vietnam, Kenya, Congo, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and in particular the magnanimous gesture of Pakistan whose chief delegate virtually stole the show with an eloquent presentation and analysis of the diabolical motives of the sponsors of the Resolution under the cover of protecting Human Rights in Sri Lanka. He said that the whole exercise was nothing but political. He argued that there was no available funding within the UNHRC Annual Budget for this proposed investigation and added that if the lack of funds were to be overcome with funds granted by the sponsors of the Resolution then the whole process will get tainted. In the light of lack of funds the Pakistan delegate proposed a No Action motion to defer the discussion of the Resolution to a later date when the availability of funds is certain.

He also proposed an amendment to the Resolution with the removal of the clause calling for a separate investigation on alleged HR violations in Sri Lanka to be conducted by the Office of the High Commissioner of UNHRC.  Though both his proposals were defeated by a carefully cultivated block of nations that has virtually hijacked the UNHRC and converted it into an Inquisition, the gutsy performance of Pakistan’s chief delegate did not fail to win the admiration of an international audience that watched the proceedings on TV. He also provided a valuable lesson to several other delegations from various countries including Sri Lanka grappling with the task of choosing the right candidates to represent their nations in international fora and bring credit to their nations through brilliant individual performances at international conferences and sessions.        

Sri Lankans are also grateful to the nations that abstained from voting for it symbolized their inclination not to vote with the US and the lies that had been built up against the country. In what was obviously a huge surprise to the entire UNHRC was India’s decision to abstain from voting. It was clearly a slap in the face to the eelam lobbyists, the LTTE diaspora and Tamilnadu while also showing that the care-taker Government of India though still nominally under the control of the Congress Party was no longer in control of India’s decision making on Foreign policy and with the likely Modi victory the South-bloc had ensured that India’s self-interest was re- established overriding parochial agendas promoted by regional entities.

Depart from ‘bayagulla’ Diplomacy

Unbeknown to the decision makers the patriotic forces both in Sri Lanka and overseas took it upon themselves to lobby support for Sri Lanka and counter the lies and false propaganda that was being built up against Sri Lanka whilst officials in charge of countering foreign diplomatic onslaughts preferred to adopt the age-old policy that has been a proven failure. That, gutless (bayagulla) diplomacy championed by Oxbridge speakers functioning as brown sahibs has not worked underlies the key message that being the nice-guy in today’s international scene was unlikely to reap dividends in the face of diabolical conduct by nations forging their geopolitical agenda. Timidity, moral cowardice, lack of spine and vision which has been the hall mark of Sri Lanka’s foreign policy and diplomacy in the last few years and particularly after the departure of Mr. Lakshman Kadrigamar from the foreign affairs scene needs to be radically overhauled.     

What Sri Lanka’s delegations should have included were the real victims to counter the lies

  • representatives of the Sinhalese killed ” family of children killed by LTTE, Buddhist monks killed by LTTE, the injured at various public places throughout Sri Lanka, the injured from suicide bombs and a representative of the 4198 missing soldiers about whom Navi Pillai has said nothing
  • representatives of the Muslims killed ” the children killed in mosques, the villagers
  • representatives of the Tamils killed by the LTTE ” nullifying the established notion that Tamils are all for the LTTE. It is evident that the Tamils now coming forward to present their cases for the missing and disappeared commission shows how Tamils are now not afraid to come out against the LTTE. To this list should have been the key protagonist in the Last Phase documentary, the former LTTEr shot at by the LTTE and now defaced. Her testimony would have nullified the lies being promoted. To this list should have also been Arun Thambimuttu whose parents were both slain by the LTTE, to this list should have been the child soldiers rehabilitated and now in employment or continuing studies.

What was clearly lacking in the country’s strategy was a plan to win the votes in Sri Lanka’s favor using arguments that would tap into the self-interests of these nations which is what forced India’s decision. That the UNHRC head was biased with an irrefutable conflict of interest was projected half-heartedly, that the discrepancies in the UNHRC’s treatment of Sri Lanka was not highlighted internationally, that Sri Lanka did not align with topics that would have inspired the nationalist and patriotic groups in nations of Africa, Latin America and Asia to bond with Sri Lanka was also sidelined ” colonial crimes would have been an easy topic to have silenced nations of Europe and UK and place them on the back foot. That is how the Jews and Israel do by drawing international attention to the horrors of the Holocaust. We have suffered enough and more during the colonial era of the Portuguese, Dutch and British and much of our ethnic and religious conflicts stem from the seeds of conflict planted on Sri Lanka’s soil by European colonial Governments. This is a common story all over the Third World and a viable basis to bond with others on a shared past of colonial oppression, plunder of resources and suppression of indigenous religions.

With Britain all out to destroy the unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka under the cloak of Human Rights, we find that the Ministry of External Affairs unashamedly has commended Britain for its colonial legacy in Sri Lanka on its website stating that merits of British imperial rule outweighed the demerits. It is this type of servility and subservience on the part of the decision makers in this Ministry that prevents Sri Lanka from bonding with Afro ” Asian nations and even the Buddhist nations of Asia and giving leadership and moral direction as in the days of S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and Sirima Bandaranaike.

People who take no pride in the country’s literary and cultural heritage, and have nothing but contempt for the country’s national heroes particularly those who defended Sri Lanka from foreign conquests should have no place in the Ministry of External Affairs. By placing an excessive emphasis on English language skills to the exclusion of all other relevant factors we find a Foreign Ministry lacking an Architecture in foreign policy making, vision and floating rudderless in the international arena. There has to be a constant engagement with the patriotic segments of this country and their input must be taken into account in shaping foreign policy. The last thing that the country needs is a Ministry converted into a one man show for self serving purposes nor policies that change just because a nation abstained from voting.

Sri Lanka needs to align with true friends and strategic stakes should not be given to nations that votes according to self-interest only therefore areas like Sampoor, Trincomalee, national assets need to be leased to countries that have solidly stood by Sri Lanka and detrimental agreements that the public continues to request to be repealed should now be taken up for review. This is not a time to be playing politics with these areas in the best interest of the leaders themselves for it is they who end up being taken to international courts and not the public – let the politicians remember that.  

Establish Commission of inquiry to cover period 1972 – 2009     

Even at this late stage the Government of Sri Lanka can exercise its sovereign rights and parallel to the intrusive inquiry that the UNHRC High Commissioner plans to undertake covering the period 2002 ” 2009, the Government can establish a Commission of Inquiry to cover the period from 1972 ” 2009. No one can challenge the rationale of such a move. 

The Government must take on the LTTE Diaspora and have a strategized plan to counter the lies, ban LTTE fronts and properly market the post-conflict developments while setting the story straight. Ethno-political parties must not be allowed to dictate the decisions the Government takes on behalf of the entire country as such we will not tolerate the Government’s silence when TNA or others claim the North as Tamil Homeland. Sinhalese and Muslims have every right to live in the North and the Government must categorically place this fact before the TNA and international community without playing politics with the issue.

Instead of waiting for things to happen let us make things happen. That should be the motto of both the Government and in particular the Ministry of External Affairs. We must stop cringing before nations or foreign leaders.

In addition the Government of Sri Lanka must challenge the suitability of Ms. Navi Pillay to conduct this inquiry given her blatant bias and conflict of interest which are in gross violation of well known equitable principles and natural justice.

We must bring a motion against her at the UNHRC even if it means that Sri Lanka has to walk away from the UNHRC in protest at the biased and vindictive stand taken by her. We must be prepared to canvass the points regarding her unsuitability that are now in the public domain. They are well argued and well researched and legally sound and tenable. The failure to raise these points is tantamount to a gross dereliction of duty and an inexcusable default. 

The fatal attractions of brown sahibs and unwinnable war proponents must not be allowed to marginalize alternate points of view generated by patriots in the best interests of Sri Lanka.

7 Responses to “UNHRC Vote in Geneva though a moral victory for Sri Lanka time to shun gutless (bayagulla) diplomacy”

  1. S de Silva Says:

    The UNHRC result was a foregone conclusion except for the Indian absention. Thank you Shenali for your words and your reference to our diplomats as being in a “$hit funk – Bayagullas” to boldly speak! Even now it is not too late to place a “No confidence” statement on UNHRC record for extreme bias of Navi Pillai against Sri Lanka. As I have said many times here, the UN will never appoint a Muslim to invesigate HR in Israel! So we do not need a highly biased and probably bribed Tamil to look into matters relating to SL either – S de Silva – London

  2. stanley perera Says:

    India sitting on the fence is not good enough. Either you are with us or not with us. GoSL must bring a no confidence motion against Pillai woman at the General assembly. Deny visa to Pillai woman. Start up our own Investigation from 1972. Tell the Pillai woman to go hell with Nadoos.

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    SCRAP 13 amendment.

    Otherwise it is BAYAGULLA diplomacy.

  4. Nanda Says:

    Bayagulla diplomacy and Walballa politics.

  5. Marco Says:

    Interestingly this very same article appears in the Daily News print & online edition, but the “tethered goats” at DN have censored/edited out the first para ( Depart from ‘bayagulla’ Diplomacy ) that refers to gutless (bayagulla) diplomacy.

  6. Lorenzo Says:

    USA attacks UNHRC over anti-Israel resolutions!!!

    “The United States on Friday issued a scathing attack against the United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday for its continued biased treatment of Israel and charged that the council was harming the peace process.

    America was the sole country to vote against five anti-Israel resolutions with the UNHRC approved on Friday afternoon as it met in Geneva at the close of its 25th session.

    Four of the five resolutions attacked Israel’s treatment of Palestinians over the pre-1967 lines and were approved 46 to 1.

    The fifth resolution that dealt with Israel’s continued presence on the Golan Heights, and its treatment of the Syrian population that lives there, passed with the approval of 33 nations. There were 13 abstentions and one vote against it.

    The US took particular issue with the council’s Agenda Item 7, which mandates that Israel must be debated at every UNHRC session. Israel is the only country with such a standing agenda item.

    “We are deeply troubled once again to be presented with a slate of one sided resolutions that undermine efforts to make progress in the negotiations,” said Paula Schriefer, who heads the US Delegation to the UNHRC.

    She noted in particular that the US remains “deeply troubled by the council’s stand alone agenda item directed against Israel and by the many repetitive and one sided resolutions under this agenda item.”

    “None of the world’s worst human rights violators, some of whom are the objects of resolutions at this session have their own stand alone agenda item at this council,” Schriefer said.

    “Only Israel, a vibrant and open democracy, received such treatment,” Schriefer said.

    “Especially disturbing is this council complacency with the repeated introduction of a resolution focusing on the Golan Heights,” said Schriefer.

    “To consider such a resolution while the Syrian regime continues to slaughter its own citizens exemplified the absurdity of this agenda item and each of the other resolution on Agenda item 7,” Schriefer said.

    She explained that the US supported the Palestinian’s right to self determination but that it did not believe these resolutions helped advance a two state solution or the peaceful resolution of the conflict.

    Schriefer noted that the US provided financial and technical assistance to the Palestinian people and was the largest donor to UNRWA.

    The Foreign Ministry was not present at the council meeting due to its ongoing strike.”

    -jpost

    How true about SL!! USA repeatedly attacks SL at the UNHRC but when others bring 5 RESOLUTIONS against Israel and pass it USA gets spikes up its arse.

    GOOD FOR THEM!!

    Karma! Karma!

    5 times!!

  7. Ananda-USA Says:

    The UNHRC vote was a FIASCO for Sri Lanka, let us not kid ourselves that it was a “Moral Victory”!

    Moral Victories don’t count in this world; only REAL Victories do. We can’t afford to have any more “Moral Victories” of this kind!

    I agree with Shenali; it is time to drop GUTLESS DIPLOMACY and TAKE ACTION! Many people … including me …. have proposed many methods of confronting Sri Lanka’s Hypocritical Tormentors. Let the GOSL move on these proposals.

    …………………………………
    Intelligence units on high alert:

    Three wanted suspects at large:

    Signs of LTTE regrouping in North and East

    By Kurulu Kariyakarawana
    SundayObserver.lk
    March 30, 2014

    While the Government and its diplomatic wing is effectively handling the recently passed UN resolution against the country, security intelligence units have been ordered to be on high alert against a potential threat of the LTTE regrouping in the North and the East following a series of events that have taken place during the last few weeks.

    The security forces cleaned the least potential terrorist element from the soils of the North and East almost five years ago, making it a safe place for civilians are once again faced with a grave responsibility of maintaining that security with certain incidents reported showing signs of regrouping of the almost eliminated terror outfit.

    This came to light with Police Headquarters publicising descriptions and photographs of three absconding high profile LTTE members last week with a reward of one million rupees for successful information relating to their arrest. They were identified as Gopi, Appan and Thevian.

    Kajeepan Ponniah Selvanayagam alias Kasian alias Gopi is a 31-year-old six foot cadre with a dark complexion and a scar on his upper lip. According to police Gopi is known to be one of the remaining aides of the LTTE intelligence wing chief Shanmugalingam Sivashankar alias Pottu Amman. The police decided to publicise Gopi’s details, who was already in the most wanted list, with a price on his head when he was confronted by a group of Police Terrorist Intelligence Division (TID) officials went to search a house in Dharmapuram in Kilinochchi District a few weeks ago.

    Amidst credible information collected from ground level that a series of events taking place throughout the past months showing signs of regrouping was confirmed, with the arrest of two individuals pasting anti-government posters in Pallai in the Jaffna District several weeks ago. The duo who were reportedly from Silawathura area were pasting posters condemning the government asking for a Geneva intervention in the alleged human rights violations in the country. Having interrogated them the police learnt that they were instructed to carry out the job by a man called Gopi. A remaining LTTE operative who is secretly engaged in regrouping and reorganising atrocities. By then the intelligence agencies have recovered more information about this individual who is reported to have buried a cache of ammunitions in an unknown location in the remote North.

    Shanmugalingam Sivashankar
    alias Pottu Amman

    They also learnt that Gopi was assisted by another cadre identified as Appan. Navaratnam Navaneedan alias Appan is a 36-year-old LTTE cadre with a height of 5’ 2” and a brown complexion. Credible information revealed that Gopi and Appan were reportedly leading the regrouping program of the terrorist outfit in the North.

    The TID having received information of a house suspected to be of sheltering Appan in Dharmapuram went on a search mission a few weeks ago. When the sleuths went inside the house to search an armed man hiding under a bed had fired several rounds at the approaching officials and fled the scene. Sub Inspector Ratnakumara who was among the search party received injuries after being shot in the leg. The suspect fled in the melee was identified as Gopi, whom the TID was looking for. Although there was insufficient information leading to prove the presence of Appan at the time of the confrontation, the police took the woman who was in charge of the house into custody along with her daughter.

    The arrested woman has been identified as Balendran Jeyakumari who was reportedly having a close relationship with Appan. Although she was not married to Appan, she had been facilitating accommodation to him. When the police questioned Jeyakumari they learnt that Appan was visiting her house intermittently. They also found records of a number of overseas calls on her mobile phone in the recent past, which the police suspect them to be of calls between the members of the LTTE international diaspora who have a vested interest in sending funds through local money transferring facilities.

    Arrest and detention of Balendran Jeyakumari and her daughter caused an uproar in the international arena after it was reported to the UN sessions in Geneva by TNA Northern Provincial Councillor Ananthi Sasitharan.

    TNA Northern Provincial
    Councillor Ananthi Sasitharan

    The Provincial Councillor complained that the Government is violating human rights by arresting an under-aged child. Sri Lanka issuing a statement in response to the accusations levelled by certain member countries stated that “interested parties were attempting to stigmatise the action of the authorities as an infringement when they were only carrying out their duties for the purpose of national security”.

    Although Jeyakumari is reportedly being detained at the Boossa Detention Centre under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, her daughter has been transferred to a childcare and probation home as no legal guardian came forward as her custodian.

    Also the arrest and detention of human rights activists Father Praveen and Ruki Fernando couple of weeks ago attracted much attention from the international arena again complaining the Sri Lankan government is violating the rights of its people. Intelligence agencies had to arrest the activists who were visiting the houses of Jeyakumari and Gopi in Dharmapuram and Kilinochchi as it provided sufficient need for an investigation to be launched into the nature of their involvement with the suspects wanted by the police.

    The duo were however released following the due judicial process. The police charge that the activists were sent on a mission to study and report the situation following the Dharmapuram incident by the interested parties in Switzerland.

    According to intelligence agencies the first signs of resurrection of the terror outfit was observed in 2012 where a Tamil national was killed in Kuchchaweli in Trincomalee by another Tamil national who is reported to have arrived from South India. The victim who is reportedly an EPDP supporter was killed by the visitor as he was becoming a hindrance to certain regrouping operations being carried out in the area. This came to light when the police arrested the assailant and interrogated him. Also in 2013 several attempts by groups of Tamil male and female youths to engage in secret combat training sessions in Jaffna and in South India showed signs that the terror outfit was re-emerging from the ashes. And also the arrests of two women Kulasinham Puwaneshwarie and Rasa Malam, mother of Gopi in two separate instances have lead to the revelation of much information related to the suspects wanted by police.

    Apart from Gopi and Appan the TID is also looking for another crucial operative by the name of Thevian. According to available information Thevian is a former Air Tiger and a senior member of the LTTE air wing.

    The police believe that there is a high probability that the suspect along with the other two suspects are roaming in the North Eastern areas as well as in Colombo and suburbs. The TID has issued two hot lines 0112 451636 and 0112 321838 to anybody willing to pass any information about the existence of any of these three suspects.

    And the agencies have once again intensified their espionage operations in the North and the East in preparedness of a potential regrouping of the terrorist organisation that disturbed the country’s law and order for over three decades.

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