Open Letter to UN Secretary-General
Posted on June 30th, 2010

Bandula Kothalawala London N7

HE Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General, United Nations
New York

Your Excellency,

Newspaper reports indicate that Your Excellency is as determined as ever to go ahead with the Advisory Panel on Sri Lanka. As an ex-patriot Sri Lankan now living in London, UK, I should like to express my deeply-felt disappointment. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

  • At least, one permanent member of the UN Security Council (Russian Federation), in a communiquƒÆ’†’ƒ”š‚© issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has cast serious doubts on the propriety of your action. In addition, non-aligned nations have expressed their displeasure. Apparently, nothing seems to deter Your ExcellencyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s resolve and desire to punish a small nation that had to wage a 30-year bloody war foisted upon it by a ruthless terror outfit, responsible for thousands of civilian deaths, which still remains banned in the EU, USA, Canada and India. If Your Excellency had been genuinely interested in the welfare and safety of civilians, the matter should have been brought to the attention of the Security Council or the General Assembly, as has been done on countless occasions in the past.
  • It is hard to believe that Your Excellency is unaware of the outcome of the debate on Sri Lanka which took place in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in 2009. Your Excellency needs to wake up to reality and take note of the abject failure of the last-ditch attempts by the self-righteous Western nations to give solace, succor and strength to the rump of the terror outfit and its apologists by hauling Sri Lanka before the UNHRC in Geneva on alleged human rights violations.
  • Your Excellency looks totally confused over the situation, no doubt, due to the obfuscation created by the big barons of the human rights industry who bang (pardon the expression) incessantly at your door. Your Excellency showed no willingness to protest or at least issue a clarification when the venerable Amnesty International stooped to use Your ExcellencyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s remarks out of context on the state of the war zone in Northern Sri Lanka. Your Excellency is reported to have said ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-It was the most appalling thing I have seen in my lifeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚, on a flight over the area devastated by the war. Amnesty shamelessly distorted it and publicized it as Your ExcellencyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s comments on IDP camps! Despite numerous requests from the Sri Lankan media, Your Excellency chose not to clarify the matter.


  • Your Excellency appears to be suffering from a sort of amnesia not uncommon in diplomatic circles. (Your Excellency may recall that Mrs Clinton, US Secretary of State, presented unmistakable symptoms when she reminisced about her terrible ordeal in Bosnia where she landed amidst hundreds of bombs raining over her head!). It seems that your Excellency has been very selective (Of course, I am conscious that Your Excellency belongs to a select group, anyway) in the choice of human rights violations even in the case of Sri Lanka. Surely, Your Excellency has at least heard about the atrocities committed by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…”PeopleƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Liberation Front ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” in 1971 and 1988/89. Thousands of innocent civilians -school teachers, civil servants, bank employees, doctors, nurses, farmers etc – were murdered in cold blood by the Group. The Sri Lankan army put an end to both insurrections through a ruthlessly brutal offensive, adding to the toll. The saintly Western governments which have been breathing down Your ExcellencyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s neck in the past few months over the unexpected demise of the LTTE could not manage a whimper. I do not recall many foreign ministers, or for that matter, foreign secretaries making hastily arranged day-trips to Colombo (and going home empty-handed with their tails between their legs!). Those habitual howlers in the House of Commons rarely raised a murmur. Your Excellency will, no doubt, appreciate their reluctance to make a fuss on behalf of the victims. To be honest with Your Excellency, neither the victims nor their families, not even the few sympathizers they had in the West, could ever have afforded access to the members of that august assembly, let alone ministers or even ex-ministers. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Your Excellency may want to see it for yourself. Even an incompetent ex-minister with a lackluster track record is reported to cost up to ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚£5,000 a day!
  • Your Excellency displays surprising nonchalance vis-ƒÆ’†’ƒ”š‚ -vis the despicable crimes committed by (lily-white?) some other governments, especially, by those of Your ExcellencyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s political masters, to the hackneyed tunes of whom Your Excellency seems to have no choice but to dance (despite advanced age!). Surely, Your Excellency knows which side the bread is buttered! Let me remind Your Excellency of some of the most appalling violations of human rights committed by Your ExcellencyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s sanctimonious political masters in the UN.
  • Your Excellency is, no doubt, aware that the US and its allies who now wax lyrical about the welfare and safety of civilians did not even bother to compile data on civilian casualties in the illegal Iraqi war. Your Excellency will recall that when, in 2006, the Lancet published the result of a serious study and estimated that some 655,000 people lost their lives as a consequence of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, both the US and British Governments contemptuously rejected the figures and said that they had no information on civilian casualties at all. Since 2006 civilian casualties have risen to, according to some sources, nearly one million. I am not sure whether Your Excellency was in deep slumber or indeed burning midnight oil on the composition of an advisory panel on Iraq!
  • Your Excellency was certainly informed of the carnage caused by the indiscriminate bombing of an oil tanker hijacked by the Taliban insurgents in September 2009 in Afghanistan. The air raid was carried out despite the obvious presence of civilians surrounding the tanker. Is it possible to have a progress report on the work done by Your ExcellencyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Advisory Panel?
  • Your Excellency has surely seen the recent Report of the Dresden Historians’ Commission (2010) which concluded that some 25,000 people were killed by the US and Britain in their air raids in 1945. It would be helpful to know when Your Excellency intends to appoint an advisory panel (if Your Excellency has not already done so.)
  • Your Excellency is certainly aware of the mountains of credible, documented, easily verifiable evidence of unspeakably horrendous crimes committed by the US and France, for instance, respectively in Japan and Vietnam and Algeria and Indo-China. HavenƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t the Advisory Panels appointed by Your Excellency on those despicable crimes finished their work? Have the Reports been published? ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Your Excellency may want to refer the Panels to the Truman Library and Museum for the gory details of the apocalypse, and to the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Japan for the legacy left behind by the now eloquent defenders of human rights!
  • Your Excellency will recall the claim made on 12 May, 1996, Madeleine Albright, US Ambassador to the UN that the half a million children said to have died due to sanctions was a price worth paying! (ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚I think the price is worth payingƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚, according to the transcripts of the programme.).Your Excellency may get a little insight into the callous disregard and utter disdain with which the US Government treated civilian deaths in conflict.
  • Finally, I have no doubt that Your Excellency has already taken appropriate and adequate measures to persuade UN members like the US to sign up to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

In conclusion, let me recall a quote from Shakespeare.

‘Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon themƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

Your Excellency, it is, perhaps, time to pass the torch to a more dynamic, competent person- above all, someone capable of standing up to devious machinations by the self-appointed defenders of human rights in the UN and elsewhere. Someone with a sense of responsibility and dignity needs to restore some credibility to the UN.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

I look forward to hear from Your Excellency.

Bandula Kothalawala

London N7


One Response to “Open Letter to UN Secretary-General”

  1. Nihal Fernando Says:

    Colombo Page – July 01, 2011 “Sri Lanka should take all the measures to make it accountable for all these perpetrators who have committed and violated international human rights and humanitarian law,” Ban was quoted.

    So, Ban Ki-moon has put the cart before the horse. He has already given the verdict before the panel’s investigation. Further, this panel is going to be supported by the LTTE. The way things are happening the UN has become an Utter Nonsense and Utter Nuisance organization. It is no more the nucleus for the unity of the nations.

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