Presentation by Representatives of Amnesty International & R. Sambathan on November 17,2010
Posted on November 29th, 2011

Ira de Silva London, Ontario Canada

Mr. Scott-Reid, M.P.
Canadian House of Commons Sub-Committee on Human Rights of the Standing committee of Foreign Affairs & International Development
Dear Sir:
Listening to the recording of the presentations made on November 17, 2011 to your committee by Amnesty Canada’s A. Neve and J. Argue, the impression I got was that although these two gentlemen use the mantle of Amnesty to appear impartial, unbiased and have one believe that they are “balanced” and work for everybody’s  “human rights”,  their statements, conclusions  and recommendations lack not only credibility,  impartiality and the much emphasised concept of accountability, but appear to be asking you to further punish the people of Sri Lanka who have been terrorised for twenty seven years with no help from these champions of human rights. 
Amnesty needs to establish their integrity and credibility on Sri Lanka before they can make recommendations for action because just this year in August, they accepted a cheque for $50,000 from the front groups of the LTTE supporters in Toronto. In Mr. Neve’s own words at this hearing he believes that one has to “put the money where the mouth is”. Following that argument, is Mr. Neve merely a mouthpiece of those he has taken money from? Is his  testimony against Sri Lanka and in favour of the on-going efforts of LTTE supporters in the diaspora to condemn Sri Lanka  the result of this “donation” particularly when representatives of this organization were in parliament to hear testimony by Amnesty?  By any standards, I am sure you will agree, that Amnesty have compromised their credibility and integrity and could be accused of promoting the agenda of their sponsors i.e., the supporters of LTTE terrorism. 
I was interested in the statement by Mr. Argue that he has visited Sri Lanka ten times and in 2008, went to the country on a tourist visa and ended up being an election monitor. It does not need any stretch of imagination that the monitoring committee in Sri Lanka, which is a foreign funded NGO, would have been told by him that he worked for Amnesty, another foreign funded NGO. It is important to note that  he was not prevented from doing his monitoring job even though he was a member of Amnesty. He does not mention whether he accepted any payment for these duties but it is well known that NGO election monitors in Sri Lanka particularly foreigners are well paid and enjoy many “perks” all paid for by foreign money. The question that should have been asked was if he had been paid because it would have been illegal for him to work on a tourist visa. 
Regarding his comments on the LLRC – he states that Amnesty has had great trouble with it’s mandate or process and claims that domestic processes are not credible. It is a reflection of Amnesty’s double standards because although Amnesty has a mandate that clearly states that it should independently verify any allegations made against a sovereign nation, or for that matter an individual, BEFORE taking action, Amnesty Canada has confirmed to me that they made no attempt at verification of their accusations against Sri Lanka but accepted whatever other like minded and like funded organizations provided to them.  That Amnesty should pre-judge the LLRC and claim that it would not be credible, is the height of arrogance when they themselves have questionable integrity and credibility. The possible reason that they and the other “human rights groups” who were invited to give testimony did not do so was because their arrogance, ignorace, bias and prejudice against Sri Lanka would have been exposed when they could not provide any credible proof to substantiate their allegations against Sri Lanka.
Regarding Amnesty’s criticism of the composition of the LLRC, Mr. Argue claimed in his testimony that the Sri Lankan Government did not discuss the formation or mandate of the LLRC with the Tamil political parties. This is a blatant distortion of the truth – all political parties in parliament were asked to attend discussions. He ignores the fact that the panel was composed of Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims which gives the lie to his statement that the Tamil community was ignored but illustrates his unprofessional, prejudiced and vindictive attitude to Sri Lanka. Further, both Alex Neve and John Argue are so full of their own importance and know it all attitude that they ignore the fact that it is a well known rule of international law that domestic remedies must be considered first. 
Regarding the question of witness protection, that is just an excuse by Amnesty. Thousands appeared before the commission without protection, and no one had any problems before, during or after. Amnesty probably did not want to appear because they would not have had any credibility. Mr. Argue’s statement that Amnesty has a “balanced” approach towards Sri Lanka is a joke.
Based on the above, it is clear that Amnesty’s statements to you lack integrity, clarity, independence and objectivity. It has been compromised by the half truths in their testimony and the clear bias against Sri Lanka perhaps because they were constrained to represent not human rights but the dictates of their donors. 
As for Mr. Neve’s remmendations and statement that Sri Lanka needs to get it right – based on the biased statements made before you, it would be more appropriate for Amnesty to get it right, follow their own mandate, stop being prejudiced and vindictive.
Mr. Neve states that Canada can express its concerns on human rights in bilateral discussions, which is a good idea. It will give both Canada and Sri Lanka the opportunity to discuss the support and funding of terrorism in Sri Lanka by Canadians which went on for decades. It is well known that about two million dollars a month was sent from Canada for terrorism in Sri Lanka. The funds to blow up the Central Bank killing and injuring thousands was by a direct payment from Canadian citizens. It deprived the people of Sri Lanka of their fundamental right to life without fear. Will Canada accept accountability? 
Statement by Mr. Roy Samanthnam
He states that he came to Canada in 1990 presumably as a refugee. He becaame a Canadian citizen. He then returns to Sri Lanka in 2005 not just for a visit but to get married, start a business and lived there for years. I find it surprising that no one in the panel asked him why, having claimed refugee status possibly based on the usual claims of fear, torture, persecution he returned to live without any fear in the country he had accused. Obviously as he had no fear to go back to live in Sri Lanka he had lied to get entry into Canada. The Canadian Government is making many public statements of stopping abuse of the immigration system by bogus refugee claimants but accepts this blatant abuse of the immigration system without question or comment.
In the course of his “business” in Sri Lanka he imports GPS devices and cell phones. Everyone in Sri Lanka knows that these items were used extensively by the LTTE terrorists to blow up buses, trains, buildings on a regular basis and that they were banned items. This took place in  2007 at the height of LTTE terrorism agaiinst civilians. He however proceeds without fear or permission to inport these items,  knowing full well that he was breaking the law. It seems that laws do not have any meaning for him as long as he gets his own way. If he broke the law in Canada, would he have been given a pat on the back and asked to carry on disregarding the law?
He pays a fine and is released in August 2010. However he does not return to Canada until April 2011. If he had undergone the ordeals he claims, why did he not return immediately to Canada? Is his  statement to the committee merely to get support to bring his wife into Canada? He lied to get into Canada, is he now lying to get his wife into Canada? Given his history is that not a possibility?
On a lighter note, I wonder if Mr. Roy has a problem with basic arithmetic too. He claims that when the police came to arrest him, his wife was four months pregnant. He was taken into custody and according to him after being held in a detention centre in Colombo for some time was sent to a detention centre in the south. He returns to Colombo after six to seven months – his wife is still pregnant! What part of his statement is credible?
Yours truly,
Ira de Silva
London, Ontario

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