Gota slams British hypocricy on Julian Assange
Posted on February 7th, 2016

by Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island


Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said that the UK’s outright rejection of the UN ruling that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange be allowed to go free highlighted again British double standards vis-a-vis Sri Lanka.

“Obviously, the British do not practice what they preach to us here as well as other international forums regularly,” Rajapaksa sarcastically said.

Referring to recent statements made in Colombo by Hugo Swire, UK Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, he told the Sunday Island that the UK had been exerting pressure on Sri Lanka on the basis of unsubstantiated UN accusations propagated by the pro-LTTE Tamil diaspoa.

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The war veteran pointed out that UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has branded the UN ruling as ridiculous.

The UK, which is a member of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council, appeared to have been shocked by the ruling made by the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Rajapaksa said.

UK wants to arrest and hand over Assange, an Australian, to Sweden where he is wanted in connection with allegations of rape. Assange obtained refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in London in 2012.

“Assange is a fugitive from justice, voluntarily hiding in the Ecuadorian Embassy,” UK Foreign Minister Philip Hammond tweeted. “I reject the report from UNWGAD.”

The UK arrested Assange in London in 2010 under a European arrest warrant issued by Sweden over rape and sexual assault allegations.

Two years later, while on bail, Assange claimed asylum in the Ecuador embassy in Knightsbridge.

Rajapaksa said that the UN-UK clash couldn’t have happened at a better time for Sri Lanka now facing war crimes inquiry. “I hope the local media raise this issue with UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, who arrived in Sri Lanka on Saturday,”the former Defence Secretary said.

Rajapaksa alleged that Hussein is here to press for hybrid war crimes court to investigate allegations.

The former Defence Secretary said that the country appreciated the recent declaration made by President Maithripala Sirisena that there was no requirement for international judges in the proposed court. He urged the British High Commission here to explain UK’s response to UN ruling on Assange.

The British HC here had been playing a big role in pushing for a UN probe on alleged war crimes here at the behest of the UK based diaspora groups, Rajapaksa said recalling a spate of Wikileaks revelations pertaining to Sri Lanka over the years.

In fact, if not for Julian Assange we wouldn’t have known the then British Foreign Secretary David Miliband throwing a lifeline to sinking Tigers to appease British voters of Sri Lankan origin, he said.

Responding to a query, Rajapaksa said that the US reaction to the UN ruling would be the same as of the British. The former Defence Secretary, whom former US Ambassador in Colombo Patricia Butenis called a war criminal, in a cable exposed by Wikileaks pointed out that Assange had reiterated his fear of being extradited to the US to face charges.

Rajapaksa said that the reaction of various Western-funded champions of human rights should reveal their stand on the Assange affair. They had been ready to condemn Sri Lanka during the war as well as the post-conflict period, Rajapaksa said.

5 Responses to “Gota slams British hypocricy on Julian Assange”

  1. Nimal Says:

    I think many people in UK sympathise with Julian.UK is not in a position to upset US as her security needs the might of US.One has to be cautions about the countries in Europe that one day might turn on UK.Even Argentina could give us trouble and it is wise to be in the good books of US, though US is cynical about her security which is selfinflicted,can’t mind her own business, getting evolved all over.

  2. sena Says:

    Mr. Gotabaya, that is the way the world turns. The powerful always have the upper hand. Think of our society, the politicians and the connected can get away even with murder. The only remedy is like our eastern neighbors we need to develop a knowledge based economy and then the interferences will subsidized. Unfortunately despite more than 70 years of public investment in higher education it has not happened and the educated has become a liability as they depend on the productivity of blue collar workers like farmers and housemaids

  3. vyasan Says:

    The western nations, especially countries like U.S. and U.K. never bother about any ruling by any international body on any wrong doing committed by them. They just ignore it and even find faults with such rulings. ‘ The Might is always Right’ attitude! Ironically they were the very nations that helped to form
    the U.N. human rights council, but obviously their purpose was to give pressure to countries other than themselves through the UN.

  4. Fran Diaz Says:

    “Mighty is Righty”. !!!

    That is why small fry countries like Lanka must have a UNITED CITIZENRY re Security. Right now, there is a lack of PATRIOTISM from Tamil Leaders and some minorities in Lanka.

    Suggestions for Security :

    *. Have an Oath of Allegiance for ALL schools, to be taken daily in the morning with the right hand over the Heart. All other institutions, public & private, ought to do this once a week.

    *. In additional to the conventional SL Armed Forces, an army of ordinary citizens should be available, as all citizens are in Switzerland.

    *. How do we deal with Trinco harbour – any suggestions ?

    Sri Lankans still do not know how vulnerable they are ….. ?

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    Gota is quite right – the Brits do have double standards, and have unfortunately done so for many centuries. So have all Empires, Colonists and other world power blocs.

    Unless the UN is assertive re HR issues, and sees that justice happens, then the UN is running the risk of losiing credibility fast.

    We hope this trend of fairplay continues with the UN and justice prevails throughout the world. We hope and pray justice prevails for Lanka’s MR govt and the Armed Forces of Lanka re false War Crimes charges.

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