Sri Lanka says will not cooperate with the OHCHR-driven “comprehensive investigation”
Posted on June 10th, 2014

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN, Geneva

Sri Lanka has reiterated its categorical rejection of the Human Right Council Resolution 25/1, and said it will not cooperate with the OHCHR-driven so called comprehensive investigation” emanating from it. Sri Lanka has observed that the Government is firmly committed to continuing its ongoing processes of reconciliation, nation building and accountability, and towards this end, will continue to work with countries and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations that are genuinely interested in the welfare of the Sri Lankan people.

Sri Lanka’s position on the “comprehensive investigation” was outlined by Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Leader of the Sri Lanka delegation Ravinatha Aryasinha on the opening day of the 26th Session of the Human Rights Council that opened in Geneva on Tuesday (10 June 2014). This followed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay briefing the Council in the course of her opening address on the manner in which she was operationalizing the “comprehensive investigation” on Sri Lanka.

Ambassador Aryasinha said, the March 2014 resolution “adopted with the support of less than half the Council’s membership which mandated this action, challenges the sovereignty and independence of a member state of the UN, violates principles of international law, is inherently contradictory, and is based on profoundly flawed premises inimical to the interests of the Sri Lankan people. The resolution’s lack of clarity sets a dangerous precedent and will destabilize the intricate balance in the homegrown process of national reconciliation. The prejudice and bias concerning Sri Lanka repeatedly displayed by the High Commissioner and the OHCHR remain of deep concern, while reports which question the credibility of the coordinator appointed for the investigation have already emerged “.

He said “it is ironic that the Resolution calls on the Government of Sri Lanka and the OHCHR to conduct parallel investigations. Its OP 2 and 10, are contradictory, with the latter violating a basic principle of international law, that national remedies need to be exhausted before resorting to international mechanisms. The Government of Sri Lanka upholds that the processes of national reconciliation already instituted amply satisfies the elements contained in OP 2, and therefore the implementation of OP 10 becomes unnecessary”.

The Sri Lanka national statement also provided an update to the Council on Sri Lanka’s constructive engagement with the mechanisms of the Council and progress made in the reconciliation process since the Council last met in March 2014. It also detailed how although the LTTE has been militarily defeated, its overseas network, including trained cadre and funding by sections of the expatriate Tamil community, continues to pose a security challenge to Sri Lanka and the region.

The Sri Lanka delegation to the 26th session of the Human Rights Council includes Ms. Manisha Gunasekera, Deputy Permanent Representative in Geneva, Mr. Chandana Weerasena, Director/UN of the Ministry of External Affairs, Ms. Priyanga Wickramasinghe, Minister Counsellor of the Permanent Mission in Geneva, Mr. Chatura Perera, Second Secretary of the Permanent Mission in Geneva and Ms. Dilini Gunasekera, Second Secretary of the Permanent Mission in Geneva. The session which commenced on 10 June will continue until 27 June 2014.

Geneva

10 June 2014

7 Responses to “Sri Lanka says will not cooperate with the OHCHR-driven “comprehensive investigation””

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    SL should TOTALLY reject her panel. Saying SL rejects it to the GALLERY and then inviting them to do investigations is UNACCEPTABLE. If you go by MR’s typical conduct, this is what he does. THROUGH his ministers he bashes the move and VOWES not to cooperate. Then QUIETELY he cooperates. We don’t want it this time. Elections next year. IF MR cooperates with the UNHRC he can kiss his whatever goodbye.

    The least we can do is to SAVE the soldiers who saved us from BS allegations, investigations, etc.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    “COLOMBO: Hundreds of Sri Lankan nationalists on Tuesday staged a demonstration near the Indian High Commission here and burnt an effigy of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa to protest against the “undue influence” from India on Colombo to implement the thirteenth amendment.

    Activists from the Nationalist Organisations gathered opposite the Indian mission carrying portraits of the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jayalalithaa.

    Protesters later burnt an effigy of Jayalalithaa. “We are here to protest against the undue influence exerted by Jayalalithaa on the Indian government to act against Sri Lanka”, Dr Wasantha Bandara, a spokesman of the protesters said.

    Bengamuve Nalaka, a Buddhist monk said Jayalalithaa was acting at the behest of the Western powers who are anti Sri Lanka.

    The nationalist allies of President Rajapaksa have been irked by the new Indian government’s insistence on implementing the thirteenth amendment.

    Sri Lanka’s thirteenth amendment was introduced in 1987 as a result of direct Indian intervention to try and resolve the ethnic impasse in the island.

    “We want to tell India that all communities could leave in peaceful co-existence here. The thirteenth amendment could upset the hard earned peace after 30 years of war,” Nalaka said.

    Sri Lanka last week had said that despite a call by India for full implementation of the thirteenth amendment, no police powers could be granted to the provinces.

    Colombo also said the granting of police and land control powers to the Tamil controlled northern province could be the stepping stone for the creation of a separate Tamil state.”

    -timesofindia

  3. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Some key word leaped out from the article; “Repeatedly”. “ironical” “parallel investigations” “unnecessary’. This is response to the full fledged attack by the UNHRC based on trumped up charges against Sri Lanka. The response to such repeated attacks are weak and pitiful.
    No nation worth their existence would put up with the UNHRC. Not the 52 odd Muslim nations whose practice of Sharia law daily violates every act of decency known to a civilized nation, not the nations currently violating human rights to crimes against humanity. Some of them being the United States, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Venezuela Syria, Myanmar would use words like “ironical”, “repeatedly” or “unnecessary”.

    NO! their representatives would use words or phrases such as “Once is enough!” “No more Bull Hokey”. “Get out of our nation NOW”, “Hell with you and your trumped up charges” to “deal with this list of human rights violations that you have not even had the decency to even bring up before attacking my nation”

  4. Marco Says:

    War Crimes, War Heroes And Soldiers
    -Tisaranee Gunasekara

    The UNP and the JVP have it right. The government must face the UN war crimes investigation. There is nothing to be achieved – and quite a bit to be lost – through non-participation.

    Whether Colombo cooperates or not, the investigation will go ahead and a verdict will be given. Some of the extreme Diaspora elements will make the case for the LTTE. As the UNP pointed out, Colombo must use the investigation as an opportunity to make the case against the LTTE. And as JVP parliamentarian Vijitha Herath stated, “It would be the responsibility of the government to counter accusations made by UN Panel of Experts….(and) Channel 4 News”[
    The UN investigation is unlikely to be anywhere as lopsided as a Rajapaksa investigation. The Rajapaksas are likely to receive a far greater degree of fairness and justice from the UN panel than CJ Shirani Bandaranayake did from the Rajapaksas.

    But cooperation would mean allowing the panel into the country. Cooperation would mean letting the panel talk to both alleged victims and alleged perpetrators, including ordinary Lankan soldiers.

    Such openness would harm neither Sri Lanka nor Lankan military, as an institution.

    The real issue is something else. Can the Rajapaksas afford such openness?

    Forget civilian Tamils. If the soldiers are allowed to talk freely, what will they say?

    The Rajapaksas are in this predicament primarily because of their insistence on absolute impunity. Had President Rajapaksa not stymied his own Commission of Inquiry in 2009, the need for a UN investigation would not have arisen.

    In November 2007, Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed an eight-member Presidential Commission, headed by Justice Nissanka Udalagama to investigate 16 cases of human rights violations. The Udalagama Commission, amidst many obstacles, managed to investigate seven of the cases. There was more work to be done and, as Justice Udalagama told the media, previously extensions were granted as a matter of course. But within a month of defeating the LTTE, the President allowed his own Commission to lapse into non-existence through the simple expedient of not extending its life. The Commission’s interim report never saw the light of day.

    The Commission was appointed due to international pressure. As long as the war was on, the regime needed to maintain a façade of accountability and transparency. Once the war was over the Commission became redundant in Rajapaksa eyes.

    It is also possible that the Ruling Siblings had misgivings about what the Commission would uncover and conclude. The comments made by Justice Udalagama to the media, after the Commission ceased to exist, are of relevance in this regard: “In the killing of the 17 aid workers, ‘we are unable to pinpoint and tell exactly who it is, but there are certain possibilities,’ he said. In the slaying of five young people in the eastern city of Trincomalee, he said, ‘What we think is that someone in uniform did it,’ implicating the security forces. Investigations into some of the cases were hampered because witnesses fled abroad and the government stopped allowing the commission to take testimony via videoconferencing, he said”[ii].

    If the Udalagama Commission was allowed to do its work, there would not have been any need for a UN investigation. The international investigation became inevitable because the Rajapaksas hampered and throttled their own national investigation.

    But if the Udalagama Commission had been allowed to fulfil its stated mandate, what the Rajapaksas wanted concealed, for their sakes, might have been revealed.

    Desertions and Crimes

    The Rajapaksas are absolute masters at equating Lankan, Sinhala-Buddhist and military interests with their own.

    According to Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the calls for military demobilisation, post-war, are part of an international plot to ‘destabilize’ Sri Lanka. “An irate Rajapaksa said that large scale demobilization would cause a major social upheaval. ‘Can any sensible government send home those who risked their lives in the battlefield. Demobilization can cause uncertainty and political turmoil, thereby undermine social as well as economic stability. Perhaps, those working closely with the LTTE rump expected us to send men home believing such a course of action will lead to a major crisis.’”[iii]

    Demobilisation need not mean throwing soldiers out of a job. A different type of demobilisation, which benefits both the soldiers and society, is possible.

    Demobilisation need not be compulsory; it can be voluntary, like the early retirement schemes implemented by civilian state institutions. And if the high number of desertions, post-war, is anything to go by, a properly planned early retirement scheme will find many takers in the army.

    Al Jazeera (‘Crime among Sri Lanka soldiers on rise’ by Dinouk Colombage) reports that there have been close to 30,000 military desertions since the war ended. Increasing crime rate is a related problem: “Police statistics suggest that in the first four months of 2014, nearly 18 percent of reported crimes were committed by the members of the armed forces – a large increase on the 5 percent reported for the whole of 2013”[iv]

    According to Sri Lanka’s effortlessly Orwellian military spokesman, desertion is not really desertion: “Many of our soldiers are from rural areas. They are often absent during the harvest period because they are helping their families….. More often than not they return once the harvesting is complete.”[v]

    So the Rajapaksa regime, which gave the world such peerless verbal-gems as ‘Humanitarian operation with zero-civilian casualties’ and ‘Welfare Villages’, has produced another marvel – Seasonal Desertions. Soldiers run away from the military during harvesting season; soldiers come back to the military after the harvesting season.

    Wouldn’t it be much better to set up a ‘golden handshake’ type voluntary early retirement scheme for soldiers and officers who had served in the war? Those who want to use the option can be given full pension rights as well as opportunities to continue with their education or obtain some useful vocational training. There can even be a special ‘start-up’ loan scheme to provide financial assistance to soldiers who want to engage in small scale agricultural/industrial/commercial ventures.

    And if, as the inimitable military spokesman says, soldiers desert during harvesting season, wouldn’t it be better to give such soldiers extended leave during the harvesting season? That way they can retain their jobs and help their families with harvesting, without becoming criminals. After all, it is not as if there is a war to be fought.

    Instead of demobilising, the Rajapaksas are trying to expand the military even further. ‘Api Army’ is the name given to the next step in the Rajapaksa effort to turn Sri Lanka into ‘a khaki- clad country’[vi]. The programme aims to recruit professionals into the military as volunteers.

    Sri Lanka does not need a mammoth military. The Rajapaksas do – as the final guarantor of familial power and as a source of cheap, rightless almost bonded labour.

    Little wonder soldiers desert in droves.

    When the Rajapaksas say that they oppose an international inquiry for the sake of war-heroes they are insulting the absolute majority of ordinary soldiers who fought in the war, without committing any war-crimes. They – and the country – should not be used to provide a patriotic cover for Rajapaksa abominations.

  5. Nanda Says:

    Kalakannee Gunasekara,
    Sri Lanka does not need a mammoth military , if Tamils behave like Sinhalese.
    Sri Lanka does not need a mammoth military , if that military governs the country taking care of Kalakannees.

  6. Nanda Says:

    RuinNil has been taught by USA how to press the apparent backboneless government to somehow corporate with the prostitute and UreenPee is now barking in the parliament.
    Government should wake up and clearly accuse that the prostitute is a racist and the legality of the resolution shall be used to COMPLETELY REJECT the panel.

  7. Lorenzo Says:

    Vesarani Gunasekara is a WELL KNOWN LTTE terrorist.

    Now she is shedding CROCODILE TEARS for the army!!

    Army personnel DON’T leave in droves.
    Demilitarization affects them MORE than anything else.

    War crimes for Tamils are war chimes for non-Tamils. Remember how Tamils HOWLED in May 2009 while non Tamils (and a few Tamils) DANCED in the streets?

    This LTTE woman thinks everyone thinks like her. Too bad. She is in the MINORITY.

    MR did a fantastic job by getting the parliament to debate the war crimes investigation.

    ANY MP who supports such an investigation shall be DEFEATED in next year’s election as a TRAITOR.

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