Inaccurate Claims by Rev Desmond Tutu and Kofi Annan
Posted on August 15th, 2010

Dilrook Kannangara

Desmond Tutu and Kofi Annan have made several unverified claims about Sri Lanka. In addition, based on these inaccurate claims, they have made ridiculous recommendations. Little that these gentlemen realize, there are two sides to the same story. Often information reaching them could be polluted by Tamil racist elements that habitually monger racism, hatred, suicide bombings and child soldiers.

From 1983 to 2009, the war killed 100,000 people. That is on average 3,850 persons dying every year or 10 to 11 dying everyday. However, the war is over and people are not dying from it anymore. In other words, for the past 15 months of no-war, 4,800 lives have been saved so far! Aren’t you going to appreciate this enormous good deed by the government of Sri Lanka?

No other good deed can match this and it speaks volumes about what real peace is when thousands of people get to live.   

The best cause of action is to undertake a trip to Sri Lanka so that they can see for themselves what the ground realities are. Until then, here are factual revelations in relation to inaccurate claims made by the duo and The Elders.

Inaccurate Claim 1 – The persecution, intimidation, assassination and disappearance of government critics, political opponents, journalists and human rights defenders.

This is totally absurd. During the war, a number of journalists were killed, assaulted and some temporarily disappeared. Since the war ended in May 2009, this has stopped completely. No one was persecuted by government agencies for being journalists, political opponents or human rights defenders. On the other hand, being a journalist, political opponent or human rights defender should not entitle anyone to break the law.

Inaccurate Claim 2 – Ongoing detention of an estimated 8,000 suspected ex-combatants without charge or access to legal representation, their families or independent monitors.

 Charges will be spelled out after a careful process. Until then, they will undergo rehabilitation which includes training them to be good and productive citizens. What Tutu and Annan must understand is, most of these ex-Tamil-combatants are children and young adults. They must be rehabilitated, punished for their crimes after conviction by a court of law and then released. Already thousands have been released to their families. There are 20 million men, women and children in Sri Lanka and any untimely release of ex-terrorists endangers these innocent lives.

Inaccurate Claim 3 – The government’s failure to withdraw wartime emergency laws more than a year after the end of the conflict with the LTTE.

Emergency laws have been scaled down but still are needed because the Tamil terror network is still active outside Sri Lanka. They can easily sneak in to the country and continue their acts of terrorism. Besides whether to withdraw these laws or not is the sole responsibility of the government. Public security cannot be compromised under any circumstance.

Inaccurate Claim 4 – Lack of action by the government to address the political marginalisation of ethnic minorities that was at the root of Sri Lanka‘s thirty years of war.

There is no political marginalisation of ethnic minorities in Sri Lanka at all! Individuals of ethnic minorities have equal rights as any other and in every election they exercise their equal political rights. The root cause of Sri Lanka’s thirty years of war was the quest for a mono-ethnic Tamil Only nation by the name Tamil Elam by a section of Tamils. There is absolutely no way a separate Tamil, Muslim or Sinhala nation can be created in Sri Lanka. If Tamils need a separate nation for whatever reason the correct candidate is Tamil Nadu, India, where 85% of world Tamils reside and is the homeland of all Tamil cultural and religious and other affairs.Sri Lanka needs a political solution based on island-wide coexistence, island-wide ethnic integration especially in the North-East and banning of racist political parties. However, to this end, the government has done scant little.    

   Inappropriate Demand 1 – Allow immediate ICRC access to the estimated 8,000 people detained on suspicion of being ex-combatants.

There is no necessity do this since Sri Lanka has a well-developed courts system. If The Elders have no faith in Sri Lanka’s courts system, that is unfortunate because there is no other sustainable justice resolution system. Outside impositions are unsustainable and counterproductive.

Inappropriate Demand 2 – Co-operate with the UN Secretary-General’s panel of experts on accountability, including granting visas if requested.

The UN Secretary-General’s panel is not sanctioned by the UN or the UN Security Council and hence has no authority whatsoever! This amounts to selective persecution of a third world nation based on arbitrary appointment of a panel. Until the UN Secretary General follows decorum, procedure and practice of the UN, Sri Lanka should not allow the panel to interfere in internal affairs.

Inappropriate Demand 3 – Ensure that any prosecutions are based on evidence and not political expediency; cease political interference in the work of the judiciary.

This is none of the business of The Elders, UN or any other outsider. Sri Lanka’s courts system, just like any other, functions on law and evidence and not on political expediency. Courts only interpret existing law including Prevention of Terrorism Act, Public Security Ordinance, etc. These laws specify punishments commensurate with crimes.   

Inappropriate Demand 4 – Allow domestic and international NGOs and media to carry out their work in Sri Lanka without harassment, intimidation or undue restrictions.

No country in the world allows NGOs and media to function without restrictions. Legal restrictions must be in place to protect 20 million innocent civilians whose interests seem unknown to The Elders. NGOs and media instigating racism, hatred and violence or violating the myriad of laws must not be allowed in Sri Lanka. However it is a fact that over 800 NGOs and over two dozen media organisations continue to function in Sri Lanka.  

Inappropriate Demand 5 – Begin a meaningful process of consultation with people in the north and east of the country on land issues and economic development as well as constitutional reforms to address long-standing political marginalisation of ethnic minorities.

borders apartheid as it specifically marginalises people outside the north and the east and the majority community! There are nine (9) provinces in Sri Lanka not just the northern province and the eastern province. People of all provinces must be consulted for any political solution. Political and economic problems of not just the minorities but also the majority must be addressed. Otherwise, it is no different to the apartheid policy of South Africa. Is it not?

It is worthwhile to bring to the attention of The Elders the double genocide that happened in Sri Lanka against ethnic Sinhala and ethnic Muslim populations in the Northern Province, particularly in the Jaffna District committed by Tamil elements. While Tamils live in tens of thousands in each and every district of Sri Lanka (25 of them), the Sinhala and Muslim populace of the entire Jaffna District (and a few other districts) was massacred by Tamil Tigers. Why haven’t you showed any interest in making at least a statement on that?

Population of Jaffna District by ethnic group 1881 to 2007        
                   
Year Tamil Muslim Sinhalese Others Total
No. % No. % No. % No. % No.
1971 Census 673,043 96% 10,312 1% 20,402 3% 593 0% 704,350
1981 Census 812,247 98% 13,757 2% 4,615 1% 493 0% 831,112
2001 Estimate 541,133 100% 201 0% 49 0% 0 0% 541,383
2007 Estimate 559,142 100% 350 0% 67 0% 60 0% 559,619
                   
 

Source – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaffna_District

Genocides committed against Sinhalas, Muslims and Others by both armed and unarmed Tamil elements are clearly visible from above.

Please check for yourselves as a mark of respect for these voiceless people. As you can see this is even worse than most other acts of genocide around the world.The best thing to do is to let Sri Lankans as a whole, without racial and provincial divisions, find a political solution that suits them best using a democratic process. The final political solution must be based on coexistence, ethnic harmony and ethnic integration. It is likely that most Tamil political parties would be against such a solution as they demand a communal “ƒ”¹…”solution’. That is rather unfortunate.

Copies have been sent to:info@tutu.orginfo@tutufoundation-usa.orginfo@kofiannanfoundation.orgcmi.helsinki@cmi.fituula.tanskanen@cmi.ficarterweb@emory.edu

2 Responses to “Inaccurate Claims by Rev Desmond Tutu and Kofi Annan”

  1. Sam Perera Says:

    Dilrook presents a very precise argument to debunk the misguided elders. On the same stretch, the fact that LTTE terrorists have successfully fooled Rev Desmond Tutu and Kofi Annan is astonishing. Perhaps, it was easier for LTTE to take the advantage of these aging icons.

  2. Chintha Says:

    Very well said. Hopefully the misguided lot get to read . Not only the elders, the misinformation campaign is well organized and going strong in the West. We see outcome as stupid statements by thses idiots.

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