An Open letter to the General-Secretary of the United Nations.
Posted on July 13th, 2010

Ranjith Soysa Cordinator “”…”WAPS

His Excellency

Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary-General,
United Nations,
New York, N.Y.

Your Excellency,

We, the undersigned  strongly oppose the decision taken by you to appoint an advisory panel on possible war crimes alleged to have been committed at the end of Sri Lanka’s military action  against the LTTE terrorists.

We regard the Secretary General’s move to be highly controversial as it is coercive in nature, reflecting a “selective discrimination” against Sri Lanka – coercive in the sense that you have used “ƒ”¹…”force’ in an implicit manner to appoint a panel, undermining the sovereign rights of Sri Lanka.

Indirectly, you have arrived at a judgment that Sri Lanka is not in a position to deal efficiently with the alleged war crimes. You are very well aware that the power to investigate and prosecute on alleged war crimes lies within the jurisdiction of individual states. The UN can interfere and call for investigations only when the national courts are unwilling to investigate or prosecute such crimes. There are many examples (two of which are mentioned in this letter) which prove that the UN followed this norm. We wish to stress that we are angered by the “selective approach” adopted by the UN when dealing with alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. It appears that the “wheels of justice” turn too slow or not at all when it comes to countries like Israel, the USA, the UK, France, Colombia and East Timor.

The following examples prove that the UN staff, who are chosen to demonstrate the “highest standards of efficiency, competency and integrity”, have not exercised impartiality, objectivity and efficiency in their actions to prove the organization’s credibility. It remains to be seen that unequal measures and distorted forms of representation advocated by the UN and its staff not only hinder the settlement of disputes in a peaceful manner but leaves room to suspect that the UN is being exploited by powerful nations, interest groups and lobbyists, whose prime aim is to expand and execute their own geo-political agendas through the UN.

We wish to bring to your attention the controversial position taken by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, regarding the investigations on alleged war crimes on Sri Lanka and Colombia. The impression created is that under the pretence of justice countries are rewarded or punished to achieve the desired result towards which Ms Pillay is aiming.
There are examples: To be precise, (on May 2009) at the 11th session of the UNHRC on Sri Lanka, a resolution was passed with the majority voting in favour of Sri Lanka’s position, voting against investigations on alleged war crimes. At the end of the 11th session Sri Lanka was advised to undertake appropriate measures to bring lasting peace and the UN brought a resolution on assistance to Sri Lanka to promote and to protect Human Rights. Ms. Pillay, an ethnic Tamil from South Africa, was unwilling to accept the result and attempted to take the law into her own hands, stating that she “was not accepting a defeat” (the Times, UK of 29 May 2009) and insisted that there was still an urgent need for inquiry into “very serious abuses”. A couple of months after the resolution she criticized the government of Sri Lanka implying that Sri Lanka did not have a good record in holding serious investigations and that she was searching for a possible mechanism. On October 2009, Ms. Pillay called for an independent, international investigation on Sri Lanka. Instead of searching for a dialogue or considering a persuasive approach, or providing necessary time and space to the government of Sri Lanka to take action in a critical situation, Ms. Pillay searched for measures and strategies to circumvent the accepted norms.

We are surprised to see a different approach when she was dealing with war crimes in Colombia even though Colombia had been accused of extra judiciary killings, para-political scandals, drug trafficking, vote buying of the 2.4 million displaced persons and killing of 40 journalists. On her visit to Colombia in 2008, Ms. Pillay responded to the widespread systematic crimes against humanity saying “An offense becomes a crime against humanity if it is widespread and systematic against the civilian population. We are observing and keeping record of the number of extra judicial killings and it does appear systematic and widespread in my view.” While calling the killings “alarming”, Ms. Pillay at the same time stated that the military officers may not have to appear before the International Criminal Court (ICC). The goal is to have the national authorities investigate these crimes and persecute the perpetrators. Further she said: “It is only when a country is unable or unwilling that the ICC would have the power to intervene.” Strangely, even though it was proved by an international commission that extra judicial killings were not isolated incidents but systematic practice, Ms. Pillay stated that she supports the commitment expressed by the highest civilian and military authorities of the country.

Contrary to her estimation, Amanda Lyon of the International Centre for Transitional Justice and researcher Michael Reed-Hurtado published a paper examining the circumstances in Colombia, particularly the procedure of the Justice and Peace Law. In it they found that the law was poorly implemented and proceedings extremely slow; victims had limited involvement in the proceedings; and the Supreme Court of Justice made inconsistent rulings and the legal framework was riddled with gaps in applicable law. In addition, the report revealed of high level of political interference such as President Uribe extraditing 30 paramilitaries from the court process to the United States on drug trafficking charges and many other charges. Yet, Luis Moreno Ocampo of the ICC informed the UN that the judiciary system works in Colombia.

The UN refrained from investigating alleged war crimes not only in Colombia but also in East Timor although there were accusations against the Indonesian government regarding 100,000 deaths, use of banned napalm, starved civilians, and arbitrary executions. The UN Security Council made no effort to appoint a panel. Indonesia rejected recommendations published in a 2500 page report and refused an International Human Rights tribunal stating that it would violate its national sovereignty if it adopts proposed recommendations. Though shortcomings in the legal system in Indonesia were documented, the UN recommended the Indonesian government to adhere to its pledge to persecute perpetrators giving full freedom to act on its own.

Such examples demonstrate that the UN pays little interest to prevent conflicts but attempt to employ selective punishment or practice favouritism to achieve its aims. We deplore such double-standards. Who should investigate misconduct, child-rape, bribery, sexual abuse of its peace-keepers? How can we be convinced that the UN can help to avoid war when it had failed to stop, provide help to prevent massacres?

In this context, we can never forget that in Rwanda, in 1994, the UN peacekeeping troops failed to take action because the General-Secretary remained inactive and even took pains to reduce its forces from 2500 to 270. When the UN’s role in Rwanda was examined, Mr. Kofi Annan admitted that the organization and its members lacked the political will and resources to prevent or stop the genocide in Rwanda. In truth, the situation was better described by the former UN Commissioner for Peace in Rwanda who wrote in his book that the international community, through an inept UN mandate and what can be described as indifference, self-interest, racism, aided and abetted these crimes against humanity. He described how all helped to create the mess that had murdered, displaced millions and destabilized the entire central African region.

Thus, as far as accountability goes, members of the UN are accountable to the highest ideals and aspirations of its Charter. We hope that its staff remains impartial and advocate fairness in their decisions and adopt more persuasive measures rather than use coercive measure to achieve their aims.

Since the decisions and non-decisions, action and non-action of the UN directly or indirectly affect millions of people in the world, we request the General-Secretary to urgently review and re-consider the action he has taken regarding Sri Lanka.

Yours sincerely,

 Ranjith Soysa

Cordinator “”…”WAPS

 President – Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights for Sri Lanka, Vic

President – Sri Lanka United National Association (SLUNA) of Canada

President – Western Australian Society for Peace Unity and Rehabilitation, (WASPUR) in Sri Lanka

President – Sinhala Cultural and Community Services F. Vic

President – Canadian Association for United Sri Lanka-Canada

President – Sri Lankan United National Association-Canada

President – Sinhala Centre- U.K

President – The International Campaign for the Liberation of the Sinhala Nation- U.K

President – Sinhala Association of Sri Lankans in the U.K

President – New York Society of United Sri Lankans-U.S.A

President – United Sinhalese Association in Italy – Rome.

President – Pacific Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka, Vic (National Office), Australia

President – Alliance Against Tamil Domination, UK

President – Veera Parakramabahu Foundation (VPF), NSW, Australia

President – First Society of Sri Lankan Professors in American Universities

President – First Society of Sri Lankan Professionals in Japan

President – Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights of Sri Lanka (SPUR), UK

President – FOSUS – FRIENDS OF SRI LANKA in US

President – New York Society of United Sri Lankans and Consortium of Sri Lanka Expatriates

President- United Sri Lankan Australians- QLD- Australia

President – Swarana  Hansa  Padanama, Sri Lanka

President – SRI LANKAN PATRIOTS, Los Angeles, California

President – President- Hela Abhimana Foundation, Germany

President – Lanka Friendship Synopsis “”…” UAE

President – Sri Daispora-Geneve

4 Responses to “An Open letter to the General-Secretary of the United Nations.”

  1. gdesilva Says:

    It is a sad state of affairs when the UN and its staff have to be reminded of the standard of their conduct by ordinary citizens of the world. What is more worrying is the fact that that the Western Axis of Evil (US/UK etc) is now able to freely and openly manipulate organizations such as the UN for their own political and economic gains with the aid of puppets like ‘Monkey’ Moon and Navi Pillai. Hope people of the rest of the world will rally around to clean up this stinky mess.

  2. sharpeshooter Says:

    Its a relief to read comments by people such as gdesilva above who has the capacity to understood the real culprits behind all world’s ills – the Anglo Saxons especially the British and American varieties. Most beleive its a Western or a White problem but if you analyse world politics and power play thoroughly you have no difficulty in finding the root cause of the problem. All this push against Sri Lanka is by Anglois whether its EU, UN or any other body.

    Another thing people should realise is to keep a decorum in this forum. Few show ‘authoritative’ attitude/mentality and some make irritable comments about the statements made by others. If anyone makes any authoritative statements it is wise to point to a source instead of making run-of-the-mill statements or passionate chauvinistic statements. Sunil Vijayapala

  3. Chintha Says:

    Happy to see patriots around the world getting to gether to stand up against unjust and harassment to motherland. Hoping they will be united enough to form one strong body to help motheland stand up against the still existing LTTE and seperatist movements who, are misinforming and misleading the world to achieve thier seperatist agenda.

  4. Equality Says:

    Believe me, it doesn’t take a non-‘Westerner’ to realize that something stinks at the UN. I praise the author of this open letter and stand in solidarity with my friends and all Sri Lankans in the country, who are bravely standing up for their rights. People like Pillay should be reprimanded not be allowed to participate in discussions on Sri Lanka, as their there is CLEARLY a conflict of interest. It is highly questionable whether she is looking out for Sri Lankan Tamil rights, or other greater political motives of the Diaspora and the bruised egos of Western leaders who, once again bet on the wrong horse. It is about time for the United Nations to be a united voice for the world, not the mouth piece of a few with unbalanced agendas.

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