Thus spake Marapana
Posted on March 21st, 2019

The Editorial Courtesy The Island

Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana waxed eloquent in Geneva, the other day, defending as he did Sri Lanka to the hilt. It was a compelling brief, but the problem is that the architects of the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka have already made up their minds and do not want to be confused with facts.

Marapana’s presentation contained nothing new, though. The facts he marshalled cleverly had been in the public domain for the last several years. They should have been made use of much earlier. Having agreed to co-sponsor the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka and decided to humour the western governments, the yahapalana leaders ignored them in 2015.

It is not that the representatives of the governments which masterminded the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka are unaware of what Marapana said; they are au fait with the situation here, but theirs is not to listen to reason; theirs is to reject the facts that do not conform to the agendas of their countries bent on furthering their geostrategic interests. They have even refused to accept vital UN data, which run counter to their arguments anent Sri Lanka. The US and the UK have disregarded information contained in the diplomatic cables dispatched by their own Colombo-based defence attaches on the final phase of the Vanni war.

The UNF government is like a woman who has waited till she goes into labour to say that she wants to have an abortion. (Eating raw pineapple will be of no use, at this late stage!) The Geneva baby is fully developed and will have to be delivered. The yahapalana leaders will be made to fulfil their Geneva undertakings including the setting up of a war crimes investigation. However, they may be given some more time, at least, until the next year to perform that painful task, in view of the next presidential election to be held at the end of this year.

Marapana would not have been allowed to challenge the UNHRC’s arguments and tell what the western governments did not want to hear but for President Maithripala Sirisena’s intervention. The President went so far as to warn that he would be compelled to send a separate team to Geneva if he felt that the country’s interests would not be defended. The government had to do something to steal his thunder.

Many a pair of shoes is said to be worn out between saying and doing. Will the government translate what Marapana has said, in Geneva, into action?

How do the UNF leaders propose to reconcile their Geneva volte-face with the TNA’s demand for an international war crimes tribunal to probe the alleged war crimes? They are dependent on the TNA for survival in Parliament and the latter won’t settle for less. Some TNA MPs have even taken to the streets in the North, demanding a hybrid court to try military personnel. It will be interesting to see their reaction to Marapana’s speech at the UNHRC.

The government’s strategy may be to criticise the very UNHRC resolution it has co-sponsored so as to appease those who are opposed to it, buy some more time and face the presidential election with a view to fulfilling its Geneva commitments, later on, in case it succeeds in winning the presidency. Marapana can always be removed and someone else brought in as the Foreign Minister to carry out that task.

China uses loans to dominate the world and stands accused of luring countries like Sri Lanka into a debt trap. Other big powers are no better and only their modus operandi is different. The US and its allies are using human rights to achieve the same goal. So, it is highly unlikely that the western powers will soften their stand on Sri Lanka, in Geneva.

Let Marapana be congratulated on his brilliant presentation in Geneva, but no one should make the mistake of expecting it to make any difference there, for what we see at the UNHRC or the UN, for that matter, is not evidence-based policymaking but policy-based evidence making.

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3 Responses to “Thus spake Marapana”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    True.

    But this would happen regardless of what Sri Lanka did or didn’t do. All resolutions on Sri Lanka were passed with or without Sri Lanka.

    Co-sponsoring was stupid and was done to appease TNA. However, it doesn’t change anything as Sri Lanka never was and never will be in charge of UNHRC resolutions since 2009.

  2. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    THANKS TO MR. TILAK.

    If I remember, The President was associated with the last Resolution. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  3. Randeniyage Says:

    Susantha,
    That time Sirisena had no intention run as next President.
    Now it is different !
    All the Maathrubhumi Love and War is relevant only for political power to rob the country.

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