UNHRC 2015 Truth Derailed: Is Sri Lanka defending the State forces or buckling to foreign pressure?
Posted on September 8th, 2015

Shenali D Waduge

 3 successive UNHRC Resolutions crying ‘war crimes’ in 2012, 2013, 2014 calling for international investigation and for the first time UNHRC commencing an investigation after a conflict has ended cannot suddenly change to a ‘collaborative’ resolution if the accusers genuinely believed war crimes were committed. If the resolution drafters say war crimes were committed their stand can’t change just because Rajapakse was defeated and their favoured candidates are now in power. If the current push for a ‘collaborative’ resolution cum US-aided domestic inquiry is to be accepted it only highlights that we are heading for Part 2 of another malicious effort to hold a domestic inquiry and use allegations of war crimes as a means to throttle both Rajapakse’s and even the TNA lest they function out of line. All these sessions just go to show the hypocrisy of justice, the hypocrisy of the players and the systems and totally nullifies claims of truth or accountability.

Facts that have been ignored

  • No truth or accountability can omit to name the nation that created armed militancy in Sri Lanka clandestinely in the 1970s – will India allow itself to be named as guilty party?
  • No truth or accountability can omit to name the Church & Church-linked NGOs/foreign governments & officials that had direct contact with the LTTE even supplying equipment and technical assistance
  • No truth or accountability can omit the Sri Lankans involved in providing material & other support to the LTTE whether they are political parties, politicians, people politically connected, media, NGOs, businessmen etc.
  • What people have conveniently forgotten is that the military solution came after 30 years of unending bloodshed including political assassinations, suicide missions, bombs on public infrastructure, public transport. It was strange that none of the UNHRC member countries came forward to pass resolutions on behalf of these victims that were killed during ceasefires, peace talks.
  • The Nordic Monitoring mission claimed LTTE was responsible for 1743 instances of child recruitment – why were these statistics not used
  • The Nordic Monitoring mission claimed LTTE was responsible for 253 abductions of children and 579 abductions of adults during the CFA. Over 1000 civilians had been abducted by LTTE during the ceasefire.
  • As per SLMM LTTE comprised 14,000 cadres in 2002 and by 2006 June, the LTTE cadres were 25,000.
  • The Nordic monitors also recorded 3830 violations by LTTE (the violations by GOSL were 351 only). SLMM also records 1369 incidents of LTTE killing of Security Personnel, 247 cases of hoisting of LTTE Flag in public institutions, 800 cases of killing civilians – why have these records not been included to the Ban Ki Moon report, the UNHRC Resolutions, UNHRC head’s reports when non-conflict related items are being included?
  • Following the liberation of the East, the liberation of the North commenced only after LTTE attacked Muhamalai entry/exit points on Kandy/Jaffna A9 road on 11 August 2006 killing unprepared military personnel & civilians.

The military option came after these failures and inaction of the international community

  • LTTE assassinated 1 foreign leader, 1 President, 1 Opposition candidate, 10 leaders of political parties, 7 cabinet ministers, 37 MPs, 6 Provincial Council Members, 22 Pradeshiya Sabha members, 17 political party organizers, 4 Mayors including Alfred Duraiappah who was the 1st to be killed in 1975.
  • 4 Mayors including Alfred Duraiappah who became the LTTE’s first killing in 1975 outside a kovil in Jaffna. LTTE killed 82 Tamil politicians / 54 Tamil Government officials / 24 Tamil intellectuals & academics and thousands of civilians that included Sinhalese, Muslims and Tamils including LTTE cadres
  • LTTE was banned in 32 countries except isolated arrests LTTE terror never ceased (LTTE was banned by India in 1994, banned by US in 1997, banned by UK in 2001, banned by EU in 2006) and UN and entities and foreign governments only insisted on talking to the tigers. Nothing was done to stop LTTE’s killing.
  • Altogether 5 attempts were made – 3 direct talks between GOSL and LTTE and 2 foreign aided peace talks (1. 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord / 2. 2002 Norway brokered cease fire agreement). 1st peace talk was in Bhutan (1985), 2nd peace talk in Colombo 1989, 3rd peace talk in Jaffna (1994 – 4 rounds), 4th peace talk in September 2004 in Thailand, Norway, Germany & Japan, 5th peace talk in 2006 in Geneva, Norway and Switzerland. All failures.
  • On 2 January 2009 the Sri Lankan President asked LTTE to lay down arms and surrender. 2 other requests were made all of which refused by the LTTE claiming that all civilians were volunteering to be with them
  • From the UNSG to foreign envoys appeals were made to release civilians, not to recruit children, to allow civilians to flee, not to shoot at fleeing civilians – these statements are evidence that LTTE were guilty of these offences.

Questions never answered

  • The humanitarian operation started in 2006 when the LTTE closed the Mavil Aru sluice gates denying water to over 30,000 people in the East of Sri Lanka. After LTTE ignored warnings and in order to provide humanitarian assistance to water-deprived civilians the army was ordered to open the sluice gates. Liberating the East started on 24 August 2006 & ended on 4 September 2006 by gaining full control of the Sampoor area. Thousands of people were displaced in the East. Why didn’t the UNHRC and members bring resolutions against Sri Lanka following the liberation of the East citing civilian casualties/IDPs?
  • When UN/UNHRC/the international community were mum throughout 30 years of killings by LTTE why are they only interested in the last 3 months of the conflict?
  • When a conflict has lasted 30 years how fair is it for the victims to only insist on investigating the last 3 months of the conflict
  • How fair is it also to concentrate only on Tamils as victims totally forgetting the crimes – cultural genocide, ethnic cleansing, civilian killings by LTTE upon innocent Sinhalese and Muslims?
  • What is the excuse given by the UNSG to singularly pick out Sri Lanka after the conflict ended to set up a personal panel to appraise him of the last 3 months of the conflict after the GOSL had established the LLRC?
  • Why has a panel report meant for only the UNSG’s personal appraisal ended up being the foundation for 3 successive resolutions and quoted by the UNHRC Head in her reports/statements on Sri Lanka?
  • How can a non-UN General Assembly or UN Security Council mandated report become the basis for resolutions and investigations against a founder UN member country? How legal are these resolutions based on the illegality of using a report for the personal reading of the UNSG only?
  • On what basis has the UNHRC exceeded the mandate when the original investigation was to cover the period mandated by the LLRC (2002 to 2009) with the UNHRC head extending the period to 2011 whereby nullifying the investigation of ‘both parties’ to only finding fault with the GOSL for the periods (2009 May to 2011).
  • If the UNHRC resolution drafters and the UNHRC head is using the Ban Ki Moon report why was that never tabled officially at the UNHRC giving Sri Lanka right to response?
  • Why has the UNHRC violated procedures by not tabling Sri Lanka’s response to her reports against Sri Lanka?
  • If the claim that war crimes were committed holds true why have the accusers failed to provide even 100 names of the quoted dead. These supposed dead figures ranged from 40,000 to 225,000. For anyone to be dead they have to be born, there has to be relations, they must have a place of residence, an address – none of these details have been forthcoming except a barrage of propaganda and hype and insistence on an investigation. Shouldn’t an investigation start after claiming that x named person is dead and as such the names of all 40,000 or more must be given. What is being demanded instead is to hold an investigation to search for the dead! How long is this drama earmarked to last?
  • Moreover, presuming that such a number was killed, they had to be buried. To be buried there needs to be graves. To have graves there needs to be people to dig the graves. Isn’t it curious that footage of soldiers ‘killing’ are shown by Channel 4 throughout the past few years but so far not a single clipping has been shown of soldiers digging graves and dumping dead bodies inside. Surely, it takes a lot of time to dig graves and dump 40,000 or more dead bodies while firing is taking place from both sides!
  • More importantly the UNSG arrived in Sri Lanka on 23 May 2009 after 5 days of ending the conflict. He travelled via helicopter over the conflict areas and photographers clicked the entire area. Surely they would have photographed newly dug and visible mass graves? Where are these photos? They will provide evidence of graves or no graves and if no graves then the whole 40,000 dead story is a lie. If that is a lie then the whole WAR CRIMES allegations should rightly be thrown into the dustbin and the malicious campaign to tarnish Sri Lanka’s war effort should end.
  • The whole war crimes allegations rests on the 40,000 or more dead figure. If no one can produce the names of the dead, find the skeletons or the mass graves the whole war crimes allegations become a farce.
  • Those pointing fingers alleging war crimes must remember that
    • Laws of armed conflict finds civilians who have died while involved in hostilities having lost status of a civilian.
    • We do not know how many civilians were killed by LTTE, were taking part in hostilities voluntarily or by force – therefore no deaths can be attributed only to the SL army
    • We do not know how many LTTE cadres fought in uniform or civilian and died – if so they cannot claim to be civilians just because they wore civilian clothes.
    • The 11,000 cadres who surrendered were all in civilian clothes
    • If the army wanted to end the military operation gruesomely why would they take over 5 months to complete the liberation of the North and compromise over 2500 military lives, save close to 300,000 Tamils (some of whom were LTTE cadres) and not kill the 11,000 LTTE cadres who surrendered in civilian clothing? That close to 300,000 Tamils were saved and over 11,000 LTTE cadres in civilians were accepted nullifies the claims of a bogus 40,000 or more number without names or details when the Presidential Commission on Missing Persons has under 20,000 names of missing for a period covering 1983 to 2009 of which 5000 are named as missing soldiers. Why is the UNHRC not showing any interest in finding what happened to 5000 missing soldiers whose names and details are given but is more interested in going after a nameless and detail-less 40,000 or more number?

Therefore the present Sri Lankan delegation must remember that they are not going on a political mission. Politics against the Rajapakse’s need to be kept at home and part of internal politics only. In Geneva, the Sri Lankan delegation must heed to the facts and argue on the facts. Obviously the drafters of the successive Resolutions, the UNSG and the UNHRC are realizing that their lies are getting exposed and so given their close ties to the present Government they are trying to cover their tracks by entering to a collaborative agreement which the present Government will jump to accept given their reluctance to want to point fingers at the LTTE for wrong doings. It appears every party now going to Geneva wish to subtly cover themselves by buying more time with a foreign-collaborated domestic inquiry that would throttle any Rajapakse come back scenario.

We can safely say that none of the Resolutions /UNHRC reports, other reports were ever interested in delivering justice to the victims or holding the guilty accountable. Sadly that is the state of affairs globally….we are simply silent onlookers in a well-orchestrated and masterminded charade!

Shenali D Waduge

 

3 Responses to “UNHRC 2015 Truth Derailed: Is Sri Lanka defending the State forces or buckling to foreign pressure?”

  1. S de Silva Says:

    Thank you Shenali for repeating your observations endless times on the so called ‘number of casualties’ but the repetition of these allegations will not stop unless the GOSL takes action against those making up these numbers. I have said this before and repeat that the GoSL must legally pursue for libel etc and create the legal framework on the lines against the ‘holocaust deniers’ in Germany or better. The entities repeating these fictitious numbers must be legally punished by financial penalties, etc. Unless we do that this bogus numbers game will never stop – S de Silva – London

  2. Dilrook Says:

    Thank you Shenali. This is a very complex matter. This issue will display Sri Lanka’s character, its priorities and the sensibility of its trade-offs.

    Sri Lanka gave into UNHRC and foreign pressures since 2009. UNHRC was headed by a Tamil until now which is absurdly against rules of natural justice. Due to her ethnicity, she was a party to the matter being investigated. However, the submissive role Lanka played since 2009 is worse than the Tamil-headed UNHRC.

    Instead of pushing Lanka’s stand on comprehensive accountability (not just one-sided accountability but the culpability of the Tamil diaspora, NGOs, India, Tamil political parties, etc.), ethnic integration as opposed to reconciliation and equitable economic development as opposed to devolution/demilitarisation, Lanka fell into UNHRC dictates. As a result, Lanka is in irreversible trouble with the UNHRC and most of it, self-inflicted.

    Sri Lanka wrongly focused on trying to win the UNHRC vote (2009, 2012, 2013 and 2014) instead of focusing on doing the right thing whatever the vote was. We should not forget how the 13A was sold to win the UNHRC vote in 2009 which haunts us to this date. We surrendered our right of self-determination to the UNHRC by this move.

    Now the UNP regime uses the fear of UNHRC action/investigation of a number of MPs to silence them and get their tacit support for ridiculous parliamentary moves. Attempts by the former army commander and the civil defence force commander to enter parliament were dashed by voters while attempts by the former navy commander and the defence secretary were barred by the president. These moves show the grave situation our war heroes are in thanks to our UNHRC blunders since 2009.

    Due to our attachment to popular personalities, we tend not to criticise them and justify their deficiencies. Unfortunately, when faced with real crisis, this does more harm than good. Sri Lanka has a history of brave innocent men and women sacrificing themselves to save the unitary nation. War heroes fought a war and sacrificed their life, limb or time to protect the unitary status of the nation.

    There is no way and no justification for the nation’s unitary status can be sacrificed to save its heroes (if it comes to that). Its not worth it.

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    GOOD GOD! If the Tiger Nominated Agents of the TNA are “Moderates” then the “Radicals” HEADED by that ARCH TRAITOR Wigneswaran must be BLOODY AWFUL! Let the Radicals come …. we KNOW how to DEAL with them!

    EVERY DAY, in EVERY WAY, the Tamil People are SHOWING that they have LEARNED NOTHING from the last three DECADES of VIOLENCE and DESTRUCTION!

    Suffering from SUICIDAL MYOPIA and Advaced Memory Loss, they are DETERMINED to COMPLETE the DESTRUCTION of the Sri Lankan Tamil Community that the “Tamil Saviour”, the late unlamented SunGod Velupillai Prabhakaran began and nearly completed.

    They have STILL NOT UNDERSTOOD that WHATEVER HAPPENS … the SINHALA PEOPLE WILL NOT ALLOW the creation of a Tamils-only EELAM in Sri Lanka … NO MATTER WHAT GOVERNMENT currently holds the REINS of POWER! Governments come and go, but the SINHALA PEOPLE are here to stay! It is not the Anti-National Colombians who will make that DECISION but the ordinary Sinhala, mainly Buddhist, people of Sri Lanka who sent their sons and daughters by the THOUSAND to fight and die for their ONLY Motherland!

    The Tamil People SHOULD NOT BE MISLED by the results of the LAST 2 ELECTIONS to put their COLLECTIVE NECK under the Tamil Diaspora’s Guillotine, just as they did RELYING on the ASSURANCES of the SunGod urging Tamil youth to die by the thousands in “Unceasing Waves”.

    REMEMBER that STUPIDITY is defined as repeating the same things and expecting a different result.

    If you can live in AMITY with the Sinhala people in ONE Indivisible Nation, of ONE Inseparable People, sharing ONE INDOMITABLE Destiny, we welcome you with open arms to stay on in Sri Lanka.

    If you CANNOT DO SO, PACK YOUR BAGS NOW FLEE abroad before the NEXT STORM orchestrated by the “Radicals” to LIVE THERE WITHOUT ANY OF THE UNEQUAL RIGHTS YOU DEMAND In Sri Lanka …. with our HEARTFELT BLESSINGS! Vaya Con Dios!

    …………………………..
    Moderates and Radicals Clash in Jaffna Politics

    Sept 08 (NIE) COLOMBO- For the first time after the exit of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) from the Sri Lankan Tamil political scene in May 2009, Jaffna district politics is witnessing a clash between moderates and radicals on the ethnic issue.

    The August 17 Lankan parliamentary elections, and the current session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), have brought the conflict into the open, posing a challenge to the 14-year unbroken dominance of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) over Jaffna politics. Surprisingly, the TNA is facing such a challenge after convincingly winning five out of the seven seats in the Tamil heartland of Jaffna, and after being named the official opposition in the Lankan parliament.

    The challenge comes from both within and outside the TNA. Internally, it is from defeated TNA candidates and the Northern Province Chief Minister, C.V.Wigneswaran. The external challenge comes from the Tamil National Peoples’ Front (TNPF), Tamil civil society, the pro-LTTE Diaspora and the Tamil media.

    Defeated TNA candidates, many of whom were linked to militancy or the LTTE itself, have been campaigning against the moderate Tamil leadership comprising R.Sampanthan, M.A.Sumanthiran and Mavai Senathirajah, on the issue of investigations into alleged war crimes. The radicals want an international investigation plus an international judicial tribunal. The moderates say that an international probe has already been conducted and that its report will be placed before the UNHRC on September 30. What the Tamils should demand now is an international court to try those indicted in the report, the moderates say. Rebutting this, the radicals point out that the so-called international “probe” report is not based on field visits.

    The moderates think that recognition as the official parliamentary opposition will help the TNA push the Tamil case within Lanka. But the radicals think that the post will only be a distraction. The moderates feel that the Tamil case cannot be furthered by alienating the US, Europe and India, but the radicals believe that pandering to these powers will not take the Tamils very far.

    Though the TNA enjoys mass support, it is not taking the challenges lightly. Disciplinary action against dissidents, including Chief Minister Wigneswaran, is not ruled out.

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